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.

me p

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.

britney

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.

kid driving

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.

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Source: Reddit

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:

judge

 

 

  • 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

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  • I love that you have your Ps!
    A friend’s daughter was on her P’s and she was hesitant at a round about. The car behind her got impatient and blasted the horn. She got confused and thought they were telling her it was OK to go so she did. She got T-boned and ended up shattering her leg in multiple places. She’s fine now, but it could have not been fine.

    This is a great post.
    A very important reminder to nurture those around us who are still at the start of their driving lives.
    Happy Friday!
    L

    • Oh my goodness. The poor thing. This is one of my pet hates about driving- people that honk at you because they want you to go through the round about or around the corner- yet they aren’t in a position to see if there is oncoming traffic and you are. I often wonder why they think they’ll benefit from me having an accident in front of them and that’s just what happens to your friends daughter! I’m glad she’s ok now, but how awful for her.

  • LydiaCLee

    I have noticed how quick to aggression everyone on the road is here – in Hawaii, no one blasted their horn ever, everyone just cruised around happily. I think there’s an issue with how stressed everyone is here (I don’t honk at people but I do notice I’m muttering ‘what’s this idiot doing?’ and getting cross pretty much as soon as I’ve driven a kilometre….

    • I’m not immune from getting cranky but I’m really quiet about it too, a mutter or head shake and that’s about it unless someone nearly kills me!

  • writeofthemiddle

    Well done on getting your P’s as an adult! You are so right – we develop so many more fears as adults. It’s a bit sad but that’s reality. My daughter is on her P’s – 2nd year of them – and she is FAR more confident then I was when I got my license. I got my license at 19 – which was considered late back then. I have 2 x 22 year old sons neither of which have their P’s yet. One is at least working on getting his hours up. The other started to and then backed off. Spose one day they’ll both get their license!!

  • I got my P’s at 34y & pregnant too 🙂 I’ve got my full license now but am still far from being a relaxed driver. I think generally because I have very precious cargo on board most of the time!!

    • Maybe that’s it- having kids on board must add to the paranoia!

  • Ha ha, love it. Especially that picture of Melbourne v Sydney. Another reason why Melbourne ROCKS! Our neighbourhood seems to be a hot spot for learner drivers on lessons. People who park out the front of our house often freak out because L platers will frequently use their car to line up against while they’re learning to parallel park:-)

    • Oh hahaha, we get the same in our street. Too funny! And yes, Melbourne rocks!

  • Oh see, I drive in the city all the time. No wonder I’m always slightly freaked out!

  • I’m, 41 and have never learned to drive! I have always been terrified by the concept of it, but I am currently freaking out at the idea of what I am going to do with my little boy, who I still have in the pram now, but I am goin to be screwed as he gets older. My partner drives, but he’s not the primary care giver. My mum used to try and give my driving lessons down the little country lane where she lives, years and years ago, and I was terrified then (I think I was 19 or 20).

    • I hear you. It’s scary as. Also I don’t believe you’re 41! You look so young in pictures!

  • I appreciate learning to drive must be much more nerve wracking without the invincibility suit of your teenage years! Congrats on doing it anyway.

  • I can so feel your pain! I got my license in the U.S. at 18 and was always a confident driver (been cross-country and up and down the East coast by myself many times), but when we moved to Sydney 5 years ago, I was like … uuuuummmm, sorry, but what is this all about? Narrow lanes, aggressive drivers, super weird traffic patterns. I’ll take the bus, thanks!
    I finally got my Australian driver’s license last year, but that was only because I was going back home for a visit and my U.S. license had expired, so I needed something to drive on. Since then, I’ve dipped my toe into the world of Sydney driving, but, seriously – yikes. I still stick with the bus 95% of the time. Sydney driving is definitely for the brave and the young enough to not know any better!

  • Kaz @ MeltingMoments

    Driving in Sydney is not for the feint of heart. Once you get your confidence up here, you can take on the world 🙂

    • Haha right so in the next 10-15 years..l 😉

  • In NZ we call that a restricted licence and yes, I have one too! Yay! You’re not alone! Haha. 33 and on a restricted but I reeeeally need to just go and get my full licence which requires another test over here and I hate tests! I lived in the middle of the city through my twenties which meant I could walk everywhere so I procrastinated and by the time it became essential (yes, when I was pregnant with my first child too!) I was scared shitless! Totally wish I had learnt in my teens but my parents said I had to pay my own lessons and I had other things I would rather spend my money on! Haha.

    • Oh yes, I’d have been the same with that option as a teen! And glad I’m not the only one 🙂

  • Eek! I was just talking to my childhood bestie the other day and he son has almost gotten all of the hours he needs to get his licence even though he only just turned 16 and is more than 6mths off 17 (when he can get his provisional licence). On the other hand, my niece got her learners when she was nearly 18 and is about to turn 19 and has probably done fewer hours than you can count on one hand. She’s not gonna be getting her licence any time soon.

    I was lucky and lived in a small town when I got my licence. I turn 17 after Christmas and I was going to Brissy to Uni in February and back then you had to do 6wks with your L plates before going for the test to get your provisional licence and I just scraped in before heading to Uni. And then I didn’t drive for almost a year and promptly forgot everything I knew!

  • I’m currently living through the pleasure of supervising my 17 year old L-platers’ hours. In Victoria they need 120 hours of supervised driving before they can sit for P plates. Aaarrrrggggh.

    I love the image of Melbourne map vs Sydney – that’s exactly how I feel when I have to drive in Sydney!! (Came here via #FYBF)

    • 120 is what we do here too I think- if you’re under 30! The map cracks me up- so, so true!

  • I’m teaching a learner driver at the moment. Technically she could go for her P’s now, she has done the hours, but she is not ready. Half her problem is anxiety and lack of confidence. It is getting better now..It’s a scary thing being out on our roads with all those crazy inconsiderate drivers out there.

  • Good on you for getting your P and starting the driving journey! It is terrifying at first. I have to say even after driving for a number of years when we moved to Melbourne I didn’t want to drive initially because of the trams and the hook turns! Crazy! So my tip is “just follow the road rules”. Don’t get out youngster off to a bad start by showing them not what to do. The roads are crazy as is!

    • I’m on my green p plates now, almost three years in. Takes forever! Those hook turns look confusing as hell!

  • So true… so many drivers are such arses. I still remember how scary it was those first few years, ahem, weeks after getting my licence.

  • Lucy @ Bake Play Smile

    I never really wanted to learn how to drive, but living in the country – there’s kind of no other option!! I’m still not a huge fan of driving. Totally agree that you have no fear as a teenager (which is definitely not a good thing!). I had a car accident when I was 19 because I thought I was a brilliant driver – which clearly I was NOT!!!

    • That’s my biggest worry- I’m so scared of the idea of an accident!

  • I was a late bloomer too! Well, I got my license at 23 which was still a lot later than everyone else I knew. I grew up in Sydney and had no need to drive. Public transport got me everywhere. I only learnt to get people off my back.

    I actually believe that fear is a good thing. It makes you cautious and shows you appreciate that it’s a really dangerous thing to do. Most P-platers have no fear and think they’re invincible which makes them dangerous because they don’t know how to drive defensively – I know this because a P-Plater nearly killed me when he drove too close and then couldn’t control his car and t-boned me. My car rolled a number of times and ended up in a field on the side of the highway. It was a close one and I was badly hurt, but survived. No thanks to him.

    Keep your fear. Don’t trust other drivers and keep alert. You’ll be much safer because of it. xxx

    • F**KEN SCARY LAUREN!!!!!! OMG!!! I was in 4 car accidents in one year once but none of them like that. BUT it’s impacted the way I drive, how safe I feel, and the fact I’ve had to live with chronic pain the last 15 years, and will do for the rest of my life. Do you have pain as a result of the accident? STUPID driver.

      • I have pain in my chest when it’s cold (broke my sternum) but nothing bad, luckily. Four in one year is shithouse!!

    • Oh wow, I’m actually really scared I’ll stuff up and hurt someone. I’ll keep that fear!

  • I’ve had my full licence for OMG NEARLY 20 YEARS I AM SO OLD – I still don’t enjoy driving, will happily scoot over to the passenger seat whenever possible and driving in Sydney, NFW.

    • Hahaha not old at all, you just started young, right?!

  • Congrats. That such great news!! Go Amy! I wouldn’t have gotten my license if it wasn’t for the family I lived with in year 12. Then I moved to Australia. I didn’t have my own car until I was 24 so I went from 18-24 with no real experience as a driver. I scared my husband heaps and he had to re-teach me many things. It was SCARY!!!
    BUT since I’ve now driven in Canada and here I can tell you a major flaw of the Australian system is the lowered speed limits for L & P platers. It’s so insane and so unsafe. Prime example is driving the Hume HWY over the Easter period. Every time I almost die a thousand deaths when everyone jams on their brakes last second because they happened upon a slow L plater clocking up their hours. AHHHHH! Madness. I’ll never understand the logic for forcing these drivers to go slower than the flow of traffic. DANGER!

    • I know- it seems counter intuitive doesn’t it!

  • I gave all 5 of my kids their first driving lesson and couldn’t believe how impatient other drivers were. I was 17 when I got my licence and back then it was a lot easier. One of my sons took three attempts before he got it. Congrats! There’s nothing strange about not having a licence if you live in Sydney. We don’t have decent public transport here so it’s an absolute necessity.

    • I’ve actually had it for nearly three years but it takes that long to get your full license here! You’re right. I never really needed it before!

  • Lilly Mary

    Welcome to the roads – I love driving. I love the independence it gives me, the sense of control (fleeting and not real though it may be) and testing my brain with tiny car parks all around Sydney. I don’t use my horn – unless you are about to hit me, run over someone, back into a low wall you didn’t see or when I am leaving my parent’s place to say ‘cya!’. But what erks me are those drivers who sit on 40 in 60 zones, don’t indicate or have yet to learn how to stay in a lane. The code goes both ways when it comes to being polite and remembering that you are not the only one on the road – it really is about the journey not the destination 🙂 If I see you, I’ll toot hello (I’ve been known to do that too). Stay safe x

    • Absolutely Lilly- slowpokes, those that don’t indicate or stray into my lane drive me bonkers too!

  • Shona Williamson

    I was a very late bloomer, and it was 2 friends, Handbag Mafia being one of them, that inspired me to get my licence.. My goal was simple.. have my P’s before I was 40! I achieved this thanks to a well received recommendation on a driving instructor (again, thank you Handbag Mafia). Just the other day while driving on the M5 with green P’s insitu, a truck decided he needed to honk the crap out of me to overtake me (I was sitting on 100) , promptly overtook me and then slowed back down to 100 to sit right beside me.. WTF?
    Some advice to new drivers.. learn to turn a corner (you do not have to slow to a stop to turn a corner) and learn to merge..
    Rules state: When a driver is travelling in a marked lane which is ending and is required to cross a broken painted line to enter the adjacent lane, the driver must give way to the traffic travelling in the lane being entered. It is not the other way around, despite what people will tell you..

    To all L platers and P platers… keep it up, breath, drive as much as you can in all conditions, drive to places you have never been, get on the freeways travelling next to trucks, although daunting at first, it will make you a better driver and most of all, be alert and careful at all times.

    • Oh god, wasn’t he wonderful? Such an awesome teacher and great guy!

  • So much truth. My heart rate goes up pretty much every time I have to change lanes at any time for any reason. Even if there’s no other cars within 100 meters of me.

    Though driving in Melbourne is way less scary than driving in Sydney. I learnt to drive in Sydney at first (I was on my Ls for 7 years lol). No wonder I was so hesitant to get my Ps.

    • Oh god, me too! Why can’t I just stay in the one lane??

  • Some good tips here! One of my besties didn’t get her licence until her 30s. She’d lived in New York for a number of years – no need to drive there. I felt for her. Sydney can be scary for new drivers! I grew up in Perth so got my licence there. Well done!

    • Thanks Jodie 🙂 Learning in Sydney is indeed daunting!

  • Liv @ eeniemeeniemineymum

    I didn’t get my license until I was 21 or 22! Everyone around me had theirs thirty seconds after they were of driving age. I was NOT a mature 16 year old. Or 17.. Or however old it is you have to be. 16? Gosh that seems incredibly young to be driving. Anyhoo.. I think waiting, for me, was for the good of everyone else on the road and myself lol.

    • I think it definitely worked better for me. At 16 I was an airhead. I wouldn’t have trusted me with a car!

  • Grace

    Congrats! Having only ever driven in Canberra (long wide roads and roundabouts) for most of my life, driving in Sydney for the first time was an absolute nightmare! It was like learning to drive all over again!
    I have a lot of time for Learner drivers. The arrogant P Platers annoy the crap out of me, though…

  • I feel that people in Canberra have forgotten how to use their indicators of late {although, originally from Sydney, I know that Sydney-siders aren’t much better – especially in the city}. Please always indicate – it helps people to know what you are going to do.

  • emi

    fun blog! so entertaining!!!

    xo welltraveledwife.com