Things I Wish I Knew Whilst Learning to Drive!

Well guess who’s back again with her blog posts?! I’ve run out of excuses as to why I’ve been so MIA on here, so I’ll be completely honest – it’s purely because I have been so lazy with it and had almost given up with it (I know, silly me).

Right, you’re not here to listen to my sob stories, you’re probably here to read my tips, that I wish someone had told me when I was learning to drive! As some of you may know, I passed my driving in August, it took me about a year of on-and-off lessons with multiple instructors, until I stuck by one that I learnt best from (if you’re based in East London, I would definitely recommend checking out @salman_sure.success for manual lessons). 

One thing that I would bear in mind before booking driving lessons is to save up for it, I’ve spent over thousands on lessons and early test dates (thanks to covid) which is the down part. I think that’s one thing I underestimated when I was eager to drive, I didn’t realise how expensive it is – from the lessons, to booking test dates, to actually getting to drive your car. Let’s just say I’m officially sick of driving at this point because why on earth is all my money going on simply just being on the road LOL. 

Whether you’re doing manual or auto, there are various things that you may find difficult and others may not – which is why you need to make it clear to your instructor on what you find hard and what you’d like to work on. Oh and believe me, no question is too silly, my instructor had to deal with my dumb questions, but they’ve heard it all and more I guess LOL. 

Watch Youtube Videos.

One of the things that helped me the most when learning to drive was watching driving videos. I’d recommend watching DGN Driving School on YouTube as his videos are quite informative, I also purchased a course from his website, however personally I wouldn’t recommend buying any extra courses as the internet/ YouTube has already got everything you need. 

I also suggest watching driving videos, specifically mock driving tests so that you know what you’re getting yourself into. Remember, driving isn’t for everyone, it is actually very difficult, so if you feel like it isn’t for you, then it simply isn’t for you!

It is so important to be prepared when it comes to lessons, make sure you learn something new in every lesson you take, and ask a lot of questions.

I also used to write down the main mistakes I made in every lesson on my notes folder, which used to be a good reminder of not repeating those mistakes. Hence, I’d recommend either creating a folder on your phone, or writing the mistakes you made in each lesson, on a notebook as it will help you in the long term if you keep going over it, it’ll become second nature to you. 

Get Learner's Insurance

If one of your family members already have a car, and you’ve had a few lessons of driving and are comfortable to drive without your instructor controlling the car – then I’d say get learners insurance on your family member’s car.

You could just do it for a month which would be around £90, depending completely on which insurance company you choose to go with. I had learner’s insurance with my dad and as much I absolutely hated driving with him, it built my confidence and made me feel like I can actually drive without my instructor’s help.

It also familiarises you with your area, what the speed limits are and what the signs say – i.e. bus lanes and what times you can go in there (examiners may see if you follow the signs at the start of the test, so if you’re allowed to use the bus lane, make sure you do to show initiative, as you’re supposed to be on the left lane anyways UNLESS the bus lane timings say otherwise, which you need to be able to read beforehand).

It's Okay to Fail.

You guessed it, I didn’t pass first time and although I thought the world was ending at that point, I am SO glad I didn’t pass when I took my test last year. Sometimes the thing you want so much won’t come to you at ease but you need to be okay with that as it may be for your own well-being.

I’m pretty sure had I passed my driving at 18, I would’ve gotten into a serious accident because I’d be over-confident, which is a no go when it comes to driving, obviously non-applicable to BMW drivers lol. I had also told a lot of people when my driving test was coming up, which wasn’t a wise idea, as I now truly believe if you want something in life, don’t tell anyone about it and just go for it because the results will always speak for itself, not just referring to driving here. 

Learning to drive is all about making mistakes and making sure not to repeat them, although it is bound to happen again, you will learn from them eventually. One of the things that I found hardest was not to be hard on myself. I was literally my biggest enemy and would get really upset when I’d make mistakes which looking back, I really don’t know why I used to do that.

Driving isn’t easy at first, it can take so long to learn, especially if its manual you’re learning, so you need to be patient with yourself and not give up! The amount of times I told myself I’m going to switch to auto after I’d make mistakes and stall the car, you’d laugh. However, I’m glad I didn’t because I have my moments where I absolutely love driving manual (and days where I hate it too – me and my Aygo have a love/hate relationship lol).  

Ignore the Tailgaters!

Nothing stresses me out more than when people drive up my ass, it’s not only rude but it’s also illegal and can cause serious accidents. If you’re not sure what tailgating is, it’s when the driver from behind is coming really close to your vehicle, which can be very intimidating, but you need to learn to control your nerves and just ignore it. Even if you sped up, they’d still be tailgating you, so it’s best to stick to the speed limit because you could also get into trouble for speeding. 

This also links to not giving a sh*t about what other drivers think of you whilst you’re driving. I used to constantly be in fear of stalling the car so I’d never put the handbrake up and be on go mode all the time – if you’re in the same boat right now, my only advice to you is; even if you do stall, don’t panic, just start over and go – you may find it embarrassing at the time, but the driver behind you will be patient as you’re still learning!

This also relates to the importance of following the right speed and distance when driving. Your observations need to be on point at all times, because accidents can happen at any time, simply because of not paying attention whilst driving. 

I remember, the first test I took, was so early that I’d never really stalled my instructor’s car before, and on the test day – the first 10 minutes I kept stalling the car, which meant the engine turned off and I was so confused on what to do, I just gave up there and then lol. But don’t pull a me and book your test before you’re actually ready!

Stop Stressing & Have Fun!

Although driving can be very difficult and time-consuming, you should enjoy the process of learning to drive, build a good relationship with your instructors and have a laugh, it’ll only build your confidence in driving more. Also have a think about why you want to pass your driving, I personally wanted to pass so that I could drive to my shoots as some of the locations are about an hour/two away from me. Work hard for it and be proud of yourself no matter what the outcome is, you’ll get there eventually, and once you do – you’ll miss it all! 

I hope my thoughts were some what well constructed and helped you guys, there are so many other things to take into consideration whilst learning to drive, but I’d be here for weeks if I tried mentioning every single thing. I wish all the learner drivers good luck & I hope you all pass when the time is right for you! For now, enjoy the experience of learning to drive 🙂