Erin (_notyourgirl) wrote in drivingimpaired,

Hi there! Looks like no one has posted here for a while, but I just wanted to share my driving experiences with someone. I used to be scared of driving, then I kind of got over it. But unfortunately it's back again.

I'm 20 years old. I got my permit a little while after I turned 16 (we call it a G1 around here). I was a bit nervous about driving at first, but I thought that if I took it slow I'd be fine. The first time I got behind the wheel was in a parking lot with my Dad. I didn't enjoy driving, but it wasn't too bad either. Then I started driving on real streets. My Dad took me to a quiet residential neighbourhood, which wasn't too bad. But then he surprised me by telling me to turn onto a major street and all of the sudden I see a whole lineup of cars behind me. It really freaked me out because I wasn't expecting it and I lost A LOT of confidence. I was going too slow, my Dad was yelling at me, and I felt like I never wanted to drive ever again. Afterwards I went home, got in bed, and cried myself to sleep.

Over the next couple of years, I slowly got over my fear and I got my confidence back. I started driving with my Mom instead, which was REALLY helpful. She was terrified of driving when she first started to learn, and she was like 30 at the time too. So she understood my fear and was good at keeping me calm in the car. I started driving to the local grocery store with her from time to time. Then eventually I started driving on busier streets as I began to feel more comfortable. Little things like making my first U turn, driving to the other end of my city, making a left hand turn at a really busy intersection made me proud of myself every time I had accomplished one of them. So within the past month or so, I finally decided that it is time for me to get my full license. Even though I can take the test at any time, I still wanted to take driving lessons. Because even though I technically know how to drive, I wanted to learn all of the little things like parking, etc. properly by an instructor.

So while I've been doing my in class lessons over the past month, I've been driving with my Mom almost everywhere she goes. I can drive anywhere in the city now, and I'm really proud of that. I still have never driven on a highway, but I'm not allowed to without an instructor anyway. Other than that, I can drive anywhere else.

Two weeks ago was my first in car lesson. I was really really really nervous for it. It was at 9:30 in the morning and I think I woke up at like 6 because it was all I could think about. I got ready and just sat in my living room waiting for my instructor to pick me up. I had no idea what he would think of my driving. Finally, he arrived. The first half of the lesson was really boring. It was mainly just him talking and demonstrating things. Then for the last 20 minutes, he let me drive. I didn't know what to expect because I'd only ever driven 1 other car in my life. But I was actually really good! He had me drive around the city for a bit, and I was perfectly fine. He told me that I was such a good driver and was like "why don't you have your license? You can already drive!" I was so relieved and happy when I got home. He said that I just needed to be smoothed out a bit, but that these lessons would be a "breeze."

The second lesson was three days ago, but it was nowhere near as good as the first. I was nervous beforehand, but because I had so much confidence from the first lesson it wasn't too bad. I started driving, and just like the first lesson I thought I was doing really well. I was paying attention for pedestrians, watching for signs, checking my blindspot, etc. Everything seemed great. And then all of the sudden, like 20 min. into the lesson my instructor was like "if this was a test you would fail." I was just like "what??" He hadn't corrected me on anything, I didn't understand. He was like "you're not stopping." Once again I didn't understand. I was almost positive that I had seen every single stop sign. Suddenly I got really paranoid and thought that I was going through red lights without even knowing or something. He soon explained that what he meant was that I was doing rolling stops. So I would come up to a stop sign to turn right, slow down (but I guess not stop 100%), look both ways and then go. I didn't even realise I was doing it AT ALL. In fact, earlier I read that a lot of people fail the test for rolling stops and this gave me more confidence because I was convinced that I would never do something so careless. The rest of the lesson wasn't so great either. He had to use the brake on me twice (like he has his own brake he can push if necessary), and also I got stuck behind this truck one time not realising that it was parked (it was in the middle of the road still!) and instead of telling me to go around it, he actually grabbed the wheel and turned it for me. Later he tried to compliment me, saying that I had the best vision out of all his students or something like that, but I didn't pay attention to that because I think that he's probably required to say something nice just so students who are paying almost a thousand dollars don't get mad. My confidence, which I have been building up for the past few years, which I thought I had after the first lesson when all he did was go on and on about how great I was, PLUMMETED. Now, I don't trust myself at all. At one point during the lesson, I was one the verge of tears. I seriously thought that tears were going to start rolling down my cheeks and that I would have to pull over. But I looked straight ahead and had to focus really really hard to stop myself from crying. I wanted to explain myself, but I knew that if I heard my own voice then it would start to crack and then I would definitely start crying. As soon as the lesson was over and I got inside my front door, I burst into tears.

So now, I'm absolutely terrified for my next lesson. It's this Tuesday and I can't stop obsessing, as if thinking about it more is going to make me do better or something. This one is 2 hours instead of 1 hour, because I'm leaving for my summer job soon so I have to get this done within the next few weeks. So that makes it even worse. And then the lesson after that is only 2 days later, and that's when I'll start highway driving which TERRIFIES me now even though a few days ago it didn't seem that bad. I'm not comfortable with my instructor at all. I wish my Mom could come in the car with us or something, because I know she would stand up for me when I make a mistake. I hate not being perfect, and I'm really scared about what's going to happen next.

To make matters worse, I went driving today for a bit and had a really rough time. It took me like 10 min. just to park the car, which was super easy for me before. And I almost ran into like 4 different cars just in one parking lot. I don't trust myself.

After the first lesson everything seemed fine. I thought I was doing great. Then all of the sudden I was told all these mistakes that I didn't even know I was making. I feel like my phobia has come back again, and I'm terrified for my next lesson. I'm worried that I'm going to get thrown into a situation that I can't handle, or that I'm going to buckle under all the criticism.
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