…..was the number of driving lessons I took between 17th September 2011 and today 29th January 2012.
I was up from 2.30am this morning after only 2 hours’ sleep. I had chest pains and my stomach was in knots. My driving test was booked for 10.24 this morning. My confidence was low after hitting the curb twice during yesterday’s lesson, something I rarely did in previous lessons.
I had a pre-test lesson at 9.20am. My instructor left all the ‘show me/tell me’ part of the syllabus for this morning and it didn’t seem too daunting. We did a reverse around a corner, as well as a turn in the road. I went for a spin down a test route.
We then drove into the test centre and I had to reverse the car into a bay. We then proceeded to the waiting room. Another lady was due to do her test at the same time and she was a bundle of nerves, while I was strangely calm. Perhaps I had given up hope, or I was exhausted from lack of sleep. Either way, I was determined to keep my nerves in check and get the damn test over and done with.
At around 10.25am, my examiner called my name and I had to sign some paperwork. We then did an eye test – I had to read the number plate of his car from a distance – I had it memorised when I drove into the centre earlier. He didn’t need to know that.
We approached the car (I was using my instructor’s) and he asked me to show him how I’d check if the brake lights were working. For the ‘tell me’ question, I had to tell him how I’d know if the ABS braking system wasn’t working. He then got me to start the car and he asked me to bay-park the car. I was tempted to tell him that I already did! I drove the car out of the bay and to the right, and then reversed the car back in. The car was positioned between the lines. Manoeuver – done. Hallelujah! No reversing around a corner!
We then drove out of the centre and into a housing estate nearby. I was asked to pull over to the left and then drive off when I was ready. This was requested of me 5 times during the test. At one point, he asked me to pull over on a busy road, but when I was going to drive off, the car stalled. Yikes. Panic set in and I should have pulled the hand brake but I didn’t. I stepped on the brake when the car rolled ever so slightly and once cars overtook me, I drove off when the coast was clear.
I found myself at a T-junction and was asked to turn right. Across the road from me were at least 20 cyclists waiting to cycle off. I checked the road to my left, right, left and turned to the right. As I did, I saw a car speeding down towards me on the right. I knew I had made him slow down, and perhaps should have waited for him to pass.
We then drove on a route where the speed limit was 50mph on a country road and boy did I fly along!
The independent driving section of the test was on a route I was familiar with, but I suspect I forgot to indicate when turning right.
We were driving in a housing estate when he asked me to pull over and explained that I had to do an emergency stop. It entailed me driving off and at some point, he was going to raise his palm up to indicate that I had to stop the vehicle abruptly. My instructor and I only practised this manoeuver yesterday.
We finally approached the route back to the test centre. There is a small junction which I stopped at and on my left was the other test vehicle but we were both going extremely slow and I decided to jump ahead and drive into the centre. &%$$! I should have waited for the other vehicle. It dawned on me then that I’d possibly failed at the last second.
Thankfully, I didn’t.
4 minors. 33 lessons, no lie-ins in the last 4 months. I finally passed my test. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support and encouragement of Hubby, my friend E across the channel and my instructor Ally who has the patience of a saint.
The errors I listed above made me realise that this is just the beginning and a pass doesn’t guarantee mistake-free driving.
But for now, I’m just looking forward to my weekend lie-ins.