I thought I’d lighten the mood a bit today and to start it off, I have an admission to make. I’m a P-plater. Yes. A few weeks shy of my 34th birthday and the holder of a provisional driver’s license.
I had a few fits and starts but finally learned to drive when pregnant with my youngest child. I passed my P’s test when I was 38 weeks along, first go. I like to think it’s because I’m a natural; a skilled and competent driver even in that early stage of my driving career. But I suspect it was actually a combination of my stunning competence and the nervous testing officer’s certainty that they wanted no part in the delivery of my second child. Fair enough.
Learning to drive as an adult is different to learning as a teen. As an adult, you have this thing that teen drivers do not: fear. I’m not saying teens are never scared- but their confidence and self-assured attitudes can overcome most anxieties. Also, their excitement at the freedom driving can bring far outweighs the scary scenarios your subconscious throws at you when you’re just starting to drive.
My 13 year old step daughter is already looking forward to driving and can’t understand why she can’t learn how to yesterday now. 13 years old and already brimming with a confidence that outweighs any anxiety. I’m sure she could see over the steering wheel. Just.
I spoke to some younger people that I know who assured me that they, too, experienced anxiety and nerves when they first started driving- for at least the first six weeks. I smiled and nodded in agreement. “Oh yeah, me too… Those first few weeks were rough…” Truth be told, I am about 6 months off a full license and still can’t quite shake the driving nerves- merging in certain places sees me breaking into a cold sweat and getting lost is one of my bigger fears because I live in Sydney.If you’re a functioning grown up, you probably already have your full driver’s license and are quietly chuckling at the thought of an almost 34 year old on her P’s. If you’re also a parent, one day soon, you may well have a terrifyingly confident teen driver on your hands. So I thought a few tips on how not to drive like a jerk around less experienced drivers might be helpful, because, in my experience, people don’t actually know this stuff.Consider this part of an unofficial Code of the Road. The Code should cover all road etiquette, of course- this is just one small section:
- If you’re “stuck” behind a learner driver, have a bit of fecking patience. No one, despite what they may think, is born knowing how to drive. We all had to learn. Give them some room.
- Learner drivers and provisional drivers are usually speed limited in some way. You know it; they know it. If you need to be going faster, overtake them safely. Roaring around them in your car or tailgating them to try to force them to speed is intimidating and unnerving and does not help them pass their test sooner.
- Getting frustrated behind a hesitant driver with P Plates? Hot tip: blasting them with your horn, rude gestures, fist shaking or yelling colourful instructions is not actually helpful! It’s shitty behaviour and makes it much more stressful for the other driver, which can force them into recklessness or freeze them right up. Neither end of the scale is going to help you.
- In fact, keep your horn limited to what it’s actually intended for: Alerting your friend who is out for a walk that you are driving past *waves* other drivers to imminent danger. It’s not actually there for the purpose of scaring the crap out of inexperienced drivers as punishment for their dire crime of being an inexperienced driver.
Care to add to the list?
#FYBF @ With Some Grace