These days, being able to drive is the fine line between your utmost freedom, some jobs or whether you pick up a KFC on a Friday night or just settle for what's in the fridge. I had every intention of applying for my provisional license and getting stuck in to it when I was seventeen, however a slight fear of getting behind the wheel and maybe a hint of laziness saw me only taking the plunge when I was 21. Ten months later, last Friday, I had just done a brilliant job of straddling the bay upon my return to the test centre car park, and I was sat beside a driving examiner awaiting my fate. And I PASSED. The feels were real, guys.
On the run-up to my test I had scoured the internet for bloggers who had shared their driving test experiences (what can I say, I trust you guys for moral support!) but I couldn't find many, so I thought it might be useful to share mine for any of you who may have your test coming up.
The morning of my test was pretty hectic; I was working at Creamfields over the weekend and I had to be on site for my briefing at 10:30AM. I wouldn't recommend running around like a headless chicken on the day of your driving test; with my driving instructor booked for 12:30, making it there and back with the possibility of festival traffic was only my first hurdle, but it kept my mind off the actual test at least. My last lesson with my instructor went pretty smoothly, if you don't count the fact that I botched up my parallel park manoeuvre four times and neither of us could figure out why (I'll give you three guesses as to which manoeuvre I was asked to do on my test as well), but after a pep talk and a quick reminder of all the "show me, tell me" question answers, I was ready as I would ever be.
I think I was quite fortunate to have a driving examiner who made small talk with me at points throughout my test, as after ten months of having conversations with my driving instructor about music, football, our mutual fear of flying and his 'dad jokes' about how every speed limit under 50 was the same as his age *rolls eyes*, the thought of driving in silence next to somebody I had never met before was terrifying.
The biggest piece of advice I could give to anybody taking their driving test is just to stay in the moment. I went in to my test with high hopes that I would pass, as does anybody, but I kept an open mind about it and I didn't anticipate the result, either before or during the test. Did I drive perfectly? Of course I didn't, but the examiner isn't looking for a perfect driver, they are looking for someone who can drive safely. I made mistakes; I started rolling back on a hill at a busy stop junction, and then immediately after I got the car moving forward again, I stalled. Not the most nerving situation to be in- I had no idea how serious this mistake was as I had queuing traffic behind me, plus I must have been messing around at this junction for a good minute or two (and I may have uttered a swear word under my breath), but I concentrated on correcting myself safely and this was the difference between a minor and a fail. If you make a mistake, forget about it. You are not the examiner. Don't let what could have been a minor error be turned in to a major one later on in your test. I learned this the hard way on my penultimate driving lesson a couple of days before my test, which just so happened to be the worst lesson I had ever had (I won't go into details, I'm still slightly traumatized, haha), but looking back I'm glad it happened.
I was surprised at how fast the driving test was over; I expected 40 minutes to feel like a lifetime but I found myself glancing at the clock for confirmation as my examiner told me to turn left on to the road that the test centre was on after what felt like twenty minutes of driving. There is honestly nothing like the relief you feel as you put the car in neutral, apply the handbrake and switch the engine off for the last time. I barely had time to gather my thoughts together and open the door for my driving instructor before the examiner turned to me and said, "So, that's the end of the test, and I'm pleased to tell you that you've passed". Sorry, what? I gaped at my instructor for a moment and then cried like a little weirdo as I had my report read out to me.
It's such a surreal feeling to know that in the space of five minutes, whilst your examiner fills out all the documents and hands you your certificate, that you go from being a learner to a fully licensed driver. I am now able to go wherever the heck I want to, whenever the heck I want, and I can make playlists of all my favourite songs and hold concerts for everyone on the M62. And best of all, no more public transport. Hallelujah.
To anybody whose test may be approaching, I know it is difficult (I'll be the first to admit that I had many nervous breakdowns in the week approaching the big day) but just treat your driving test as though it is a lesson. Check your mirrors, have confidence in yourself, don't be afraid to ask your examiner if you don't understand something and enjoy driving.
I studied and revised every single page of the Driving Test Tips website in the few days prior to my test, and I believe it made a huge impact on my confidence, so I would definitely take a look if your test is coming up. Good luck, lovelies, and my fingers are crossed in the hope that you get the result you are hoping for!
Have you passed your driving test? Is your test coming up?