31 May 2012

Adventures in Driving

Though I completed my five to six weeks of refresher driving lessons a couple of months ago, I can’t say I love jumping behind the wheel. So I’ve been taking it in very small steps. The driving itself is never that bad, but the crushing anxiety I felt before leaving the house was awful!
First I started driving to my WI events with Mr Goldfish, but then he’d drive the car home and pick me up later. So I was getting practise when it was quiet, but it wasn't very practical.

Then our cousin, who lives nearby, needed someone to wait in for a delivery. So I made my first solo journey. It was on this journey that I discovered I could still perform an emergency stop without stalling, as a cat thought it was a good idea to stop in the middle of the road! Though he was fine, my nerves were quite frazzled.

I made a few more early morning or evening trips with Mr Goldfish before tackling the next challenge. My mother and I were going to the WI Book Club, but I didn’t know how to get there. So we set up the satnav on my phone, and between the two of us we managed to arrived in one piece.

Last night I combined all three of these challenges into one – I was driving by myself, somewhere I didn’t know and about the furthest I’ve driven (not during a lesson). The first route I found on google took me through St Helen’s which I thought might be a bit busy (my biggest fear is other cars). So instead I planned a route which was a bit out of the way, but took a main road I was more familiar with. The satnav wasn’t impressed with my modified route and threw a strop, but halfway there it kicked in and I reached my destination quite easily.

The return trip wasn’t quite so straight forward. While I’d attempted to program in the same route home, the satnav apparently decided to ignore me. Unfortunately I didn’t realise this until I was approaching the ASDA we pass on the way to craft classes. I pulled into the empty parking lot hoping to reprogram the satnav, but I’d travelled too far. It would not let me backtrack to the main road. So I grit my teeth and blindly headed off.

Here I made my second mistake: I assumed the current route would take us back along the roads I know, but instead it took me along a chain of big round-abouts. I really don’t like two-lane roundabouts. Though I couldn’t tell you where I was, luckily they were round-abouts I’d used in my driving lessons. So I never really felt panicked or lost – but boy was I narked at the satnav! I’m glad it was quite late and the roads were quiet, or it may have been much more tramatic.

As it is, I think I’ve finally squashed the worst of the anxiety. Hopefully with just a bit more practise I’ll have my old confidence back and soon I won’t even think twice before hopping in the car!