This time 4 years ago (cries inside) I was preparing to take my practical driving test. I’d failed my first attempt and, after nearly crashing into a lorry, had cried for the remainder of the test. Embarrassing and possibly one of the most humiliating moments of my life? Yes. After throwing a proper strop that was completely hideous (but unfortunately not out of character) I was convinced to get straight back on the horse and prepare for try number 2.
The two-month wait from my first failed test and my second attempt was painful. I didn’t want to do it. I wanted to give up and use the trains – I mean I didn’t have to drive anywhere at the time, I worked a ten-minute walk away from my house and my friends were mostly in a mile radius. Despite my protests, I turned up anyway and to my absolute surprise, managed to pass.
You’re probably wondering why I’m telling you this. Most people learnt to drive and it’s a well-known fact that if you pass second or third time around you’re a better driver (I am biased towards myself). Well, like I said it’s been 4 WHOLE years since I earned my full UK license, and without being able to drive the last 4 years would have been very different indeed.
Without driving I wouldn’t have had jobs, I wouldn’t have moved half an hour away from my family home, I wouldn’t have maintained some of my friendships, managed to have a boyfriend who lived 15 miles away or even been able to start my own business so easily.
Driving has made me.
To celebrate that fact, I wanted to share with you three things that being on the road has helped me with. This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Point S but I think you know that I wouldn’t say anything that I didn’t believe, and hey, it’s good to grab opportunities by the horns, right?
Without learning to drive and having the privilege of my car, I would still be at home and probably never be going further than my local park or nearest Sainsbury’s. Having my own little box on wheels has given me the freedom I’ve always longed for and needed.
Since I didn’t go to university, that teenage push of getting out of town and meeting new people did not come naturally to my life. Feeling a little bored of my part-time job I remember searching for some more career type jobs and felt over the moon when I applied to one, got an interview and was able to go completely independently. That little moment of freedom and independence led to my first full-time job, which kickstarted my passion for design and digital talent. All of that just from the determination of learning to drive.
The freedom my car gives me also allows me to pop to IKEA (when I can afford the fuel), go to an artsy Instagrammable coffee shop in the middle of nowhere and support my friends on their own quest for freedom. My freedom during those late teenage years is something I’m unbelievably thankful for and despite the struggles and the strain (hello insurance costs), I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Looking after and maintaining a vehicle is no walk in the park. Thankfully, my Dad has always been there to help with problems and questions I’ve had. Together we’ve serviced my car a few times and I’ve learnt so much about keeping a car safe and in good nick. Although the lead up to MOTs and the eve of big car journeys can stir up my anxious side, taking the time to learn about my car and what it needs to be safe means that my anxiety is somewhat settled.
From keeping my car safe (to keep my anxiety down) I’ve learnt that preparation is basically everything. Especially since I’m susceptible to bouts of stress and anxiety, prioritising safety across all boards has kept me sane in times of crisis.
You might know that October is tyre safety month, meaning that it’s the perfect time to give your own tyres to once-over. The things to check are the air pressure and tread depths as well as checking for any cracks, rips or abrasions in the rubber. The 20p test is a great way to check your tread depths. Simply place a 20p coin into the main tread grooves at several points across the tyre and then repeat all the way around. If the outer band of the 20p is visible then it’s vital that you plan to change your tyres ASAP.
Point S is part of Europe’s leading group of independent professional tyre dealers. They offer a range of services including affordable tyres with local fittings. Order tyres in Lancashire from Point S.
Ultimately, safety is vital when it comes to being on the road and learning to drive, maintaining my own car and being a regular driver has helped me get to grips with sticking to safety regulations and understanding why they’re so important.
Most teenagers and young adults have some sort of confidence issues. Most of the time, it’s the problem of too little confidence, right? Of course, I’ve never been any different and have possibly have had even less confidence than most. I’ll be honest, taking a different path to your friends and peers does lead to those feelings of self-doubt. When you’re not doing what your best friend is, you haven’t got many people to talk about everyday life with. When you’re doing different things it’s easy to fall into the comparison trap – the trap of feeling like you’re not doing enough and haven’t achieved enough – which I fell into.
Another aspect of confidence and driving comes along in the form of anxiety. Now, if there’s anything that my anxiety will completely stop me from doing, it’s driving. I go through periods of being scared to get in the car, being worried my wheels are going to fly off down the road (I know, it’s kind of ridiculous) but the longer I’ve driven and the safer I feel in my car the lesser my anxiety crops up. I’m by no means the most confident driver, but I’m surely getting there.
Driving and getting on the road not only helped my anxiety but gave me that feeling I needed. The feeling of achieving something and doing something with my life (even if I was doing a lot anyway). Having something to show for a period of your life – no matter if it’s a degree, a driving licence or just a really great side project – gives us so much more pride and satisfaction in our lives and ourselves – which leads to more confidence (I mean, duh).