Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Progress report

Because I know everybody else is on the edge of whatever seat s/he is currently occupying about this whole Mary's Driver's License saga, I thought I'd point out that today marks one whole week since I started putting myself into the car on a daily basis.

Admittedly, prior to these 7 days, I spent 3 years avoiding all opportunities to drive, so I'm far from accomplished. Still, I have made some progress. I can now

change lanes (as opposed to shrieking, signaling, and darting down the nearest side street)

make a three-point turn (though imperfectly) and

... h'mm. I can't actually think of a third thing. Drive aggressively? Is that a good one or did I pick up another bad habit while overcompensating for giving away my right of way?

Okay, let's count making an appointment for the actual test instead. May 27. That's about 30 days away, I think.

I also think 30 days is nowhere near enough. After a brief surge of confidence, plummeting optimism over the past two days of driving practise has me questioning whether I shouldn't just cancel the test altogether and let my license go.

I'm not quite sure what happened. On one of the days, I drove with a white-knuckle passenger whose navigation skills were sadly lacking, and narrowly escaped becoming part of a quite serious accident that happened about three minutes before I made a left turn into the site of it.

On the other, I drove my instructor's car on the highway, twice, even though I never did get the hang of his gas pedal and couldn't accelerate at all comfortably. I experienced moments of sheer terror in which I thought I want to stop the car right now and walk home which is just about the worst thing to think while driving in the extreme left express lane on the highway.

That one lesson alone further complicates the question:

Do I take the test in my instructor's car, which has a brake on the passenger side and a big sign on top that says Student Driver and might therefore make my examiner more comfortable or

Do I take the test in my car, which I know well, even though its turning radius is less than ideal and its visibility marginally less good, because I will almost certainly drive better in it?

Stymied by that decision, I'm not sure whether I will try driving today or not. I should. But I have a lot of other stuff to get done and out of the way and today is a good day to deal with them; also, I think I need a break after so many days of stress.

Maybe I need to keep getting back on the horse.

Or maybe I just need to eat a lot of chocolate.


Anonymous said...

I have followed the driving process and it makes me quite nervous! I can't imagine stopping driving and then getting back into it! So many more cars are out there than there used to be, at least in my area. I used to work in our city's downtown and rove the maniacal highway during rush hour twice daily. Once I stopped, that route at that time of day scares me to death! I wish I lived in an area where I didn't have to drive. It would be nice to walk to the store, library, etc. Good luck to you, though. I'm sure you'll do very well. Just keep practicing!

Karen said...

Keep in mind that driving confidence is a stepwise process: one day you'll feel like you're totally getting the hang of it, and the next three days in a row you'll screw up and think they should confiscate your keys. And then on the fifth day you'll get behind the wheel and find that it feels a huge increment more natural to be there. You'll still make mistakes -- we all do, and that's why they call it "defensive driving" -- but they'll be fewer and further between, and most of the time you'll feel okay about it all. Best of all, you'll be able to get where you want to go on your own steam!

Kathleen Taylor said...

take the test in the car you're most comfortable driving. That's the one you'll have to parallel park and back up with on a daily basis.

You can do it!