After forty minutes of what could be described as off-road driving on the streets of Newport (awkward gear shifts, over-revving, general manhandling of a poor Toyota Yaris and all that), I was pretty certain I’d failed the test. Even though I didn’t feel nervous on the day, I knew that adrenaline was still affecting my performance.
Back at the centre, I sighed and the word ‘bollox’ came to mind, as the examiner spent a few seconds marking up the sheet. It came as a complete surprise when he told me I passed and handed me the certificate.
What I didn’t realise was my instructor (highly recommended by an old friend) was secretly confident that I’d pass first time. We spent the last five months navigating awkward road systems, taking junctions halfway up steep hills, and driving on busy dual carriageways at night in some crappy weather conditions.
Driving was definitely the hardest and most frustrating thing I ever had to learn. I even found it harder than a Masters’ degree in terms of patience, perseverance and self-control. Some things took numerous attempts to get right.
Yesterday I bought my first car, a nice little Renault Clio, and cautiously took it through some main roads to my place. Apart from having slack pedals and brakes that might need testing, it handles pretty well. It’s also got a Knightrider-style fuel gauge, CD player, a remote keyring thingy that makes the front and rear lights flash twice, and it’s got electric windows!
I’ll probably take the vehicle somewhere quiet on a nearby mountain, where I can check the braking system and clutch really are safe enough on steep gradients.