I came quite late to the driving thing, not learning till I was well into my 30s. Before that I had lived in London and Moscow for years, where driving was completely unnecessary - and where I really didn't want to learn anyway! When I finally bit the bullet, I bought a car before I started my lessons (cart before horse) but a few months later was happily beedling about in my compact limousine, having passed my test first time. My friend Andrea has not fared so well...
Having started her lessons nearly ten years ago, she finally passed her driving test last year. She stopped counting tests at number 20! But pass she finally did, although she has yet to embrace driving. Whilst I will happily drive anywhere, she hasn't gone beyond a fifteen mile radius of her home, and is aghast that I drive around Brighton or Southampton, let alone central London! Even when driving locally, she turns on her SatNav and also checks the route meticulously before she sets off - and that's just to go to Tesco's.
I don't know if the length of time or number of attempts it took her to pass her test is to blame for her lack of confidence, or whether the lack of confidence is to blame for the length of time. A bit of a chicken and egg situation maybe. Unfortunately, her lack of confidence does come across in her driving: brakes constantly, takes ages to pull out at roundabouts, refuses to drive on the dual carriageway or any faster roads (35mph is her limit), struggles to park in car parks etc. Oh and the best one: she never turns right!
Never, ever turns right.
Instead she will plan her route so that she can go round in a left-handed circle rather than ever turn right. It takes forever to get anywhere!
I've only been in the car with her a few times and it was all right to be honest. Although I really think she needs to have some more lessons to boost her confidence. If she would just go out for a few hours with an instructor sitting quietly next to her, giving tips when needed, I think she could be a good driver. In many ways better than the race up to the traffic lights/roundabout types (how many brake pads do they get through?!). She recently got one of those driving black boxes fitted to help improve her driving and has found that the More Than telematics Driving Style Score has really helped her identify the areas she needs to improve on. Helps bring down the insurance costs too, so there's a great incentive to get better at driving!
Hopefully, with the continued monitoring the score gives her, the great tips from More Than, and a bit more help from an instructor, she'll be turning right before the end of the year! She might even brave 40 on the A roads...