Learning How to Drive Isn’t so Easy

Though driving is an easy concept when you already know how to do it. When learning it’s not, not for me at least. When I was 17, which was almost two year ago, I learned how to drive. My literacy sponsor Alexis, which is my boyfriend, taught me how to drive. He  taught me because he’s 21 and has his license since he was 17. Therefore, he’s been driving for a while. Also, he’s a very good cautious driver. Driving was a real challenge for me because I was terrified.When learning how to drive, I was like Aunt Josephine from The Series of Unfortunate Events. I didn’t want to be considered a bad driver. I’ve seen how my parents complain about them all the time. I didn’t want to get in an accident. I’ve seen the terrible ones that happened. Nor did I want get pulled over. I would probably be one of those people that would cry in front of the officer. Literally the only thing I knew how to do was turn on the car. I also knew that I had to switch gears and all, but I didn’t know how, so it was a challenge for my boyfriend too.

He taught me in his uncle’s 1995 white Honda Civic hatchback. It was automatic, so no big deal right? We get in the car and the first thing I do is turn it on. I really didn’t know what to do, so I was kind of just sitting there looking around. Then he yells “seatbelt!” at me. I immediately put it on feeling way under pressure. I was nervous and he knew it. I didn’t want to crash the car. It was his uncle’s! I didn’t want to get pulled over. I obviously had no license. I especially didn’t want him to get hurt. All these things were going through my head and that’s probably what made me nervous in the first place, but I just tried to relax and listen to his directions.

First thing he told me to do was adjust my seat and mirrors to my preference, so I did. Second thing he told me to do was put my foot on the break. Easy enough. Third thing he told me was to switch the car into reverse. Things were looking pretty good so far. Fourth thing he told me to do was let go of the break, but the car wasn’t really moving, so I put my foot on the gas and sped out my driveway. I suddenly hit the brake. Nearly hitting my neighbors car. I looked over at my boyfriend and his were eyes wide, he was breathing deeply, and his hand over his chest. I scared the hell out of him. I instantly started saying “I’m sorry” over and over again. He didn’t say anything, which made me feel even worse. I was so embarrassed. I couldn’t believe I had already made a mistake trying to get out my driveway. I just wanted to get out the car and give up for the day, but I decided that I wasn’t going to let my fear get in the way. I switched the gears into drive, slowly pressed on the gas, and began to drive down the street.

Before I knew it, I was driving. It was only around neighborhood, but I was driving. It was only going 30-45 miles because we were in a residential area, but I was still driving. I used my blinker, turned corners, and parallel parked. That’s all that happened in the first session, but it felt nice to accomplish some things. I practiced more and more. Mostly just around my neighborhood, but sometimes at K1 speed. My boyfriends’ idea of course.  There I learned in the go cart how to use the pedals, brake, turn, and how to accelerate. My boyfriend liked to go there, so it was a win win. Even though I always came in last place. Soon enough he didn’t even have to show me how to drive anymore. I knew. All by myself and it felt accomplishing.

Shortly I was making my appointments at the Department of Motor Vehicles to get my license. First the written portion, of course. When studying for it I learned traffic laws. What you’re supposed to do when you hydroplane. What you should when you get in an accident and so on. I ended up passing. Second the driving portion. The first time I didn’t use my blinker all the time, therefore I didn’t pass, but even then I learned that every little thing in driving is important. They’re all there for a reason. The second time I did though. With a perfect score!

In this experience I learned a crucial skill in the path to adulthood. Driving is going to be apart of my everyday life. It’s going to help me by going to school, work, and basically anywhere I want or need to go. By learning how to drive not only is the world at my fingertips; driving also presented itself with millions of its own complications. Cars can be pricey, let alone filling up the gas tank can put a dent in my wallet. As well as car insurance, tags, smog checks, et cetera. It’s all apart of growing up. Learning too. Everything is difficult when you’re first learning how to do it. We shouldn’t be intimidated by it. Just let it happen.