I didn’t learn to drive at 17. I waited a few years. Thinking back now I have no idea why. When I started learning to drive I was a scaredy cat. I honestly thought I would never pass my test let alone go out and buy my first car.
I remember that first lesson. My driving instructor was called Chris, a nice bloke who was very patient. I suppose all driving instructors need to have some sort of patience and calmness about them. So that first lesson he picked me up from my mum and dads and drove me to our local leisure centre car park. I just hoped no one saw me as it was across the road from where I worked!
He parked up and we swapped seats. I got behind the wheel with my hands shaking, no idea why, but nerves kicked in big time. I started the engine and put the car (a Vauxhall Corsa) into first gear. To my amazement I didn’t stall! I even went up into second gear in that car park! I gained confidence quickly after that first lesson. Shame I didn’t pass my test until the 3rd go!
On the first driving test a bus pulled out in front of me at a bus stop and I had to slam on the brakes. The examiner said I should have been aware that the bus could pull out at any moment. What I said, with no indicators. It was no good arguing I was one of his test failures of the day. You know examiners have to fail a certain number people per day, otherwise they get questioned why they pass so many.
Test number 2. I had a fantastic test right up until 5 minutes before the end. I was just coming up to the last set of traffic lights with a huge lorry right up my backside. The bloody lights turned amber as I got to them so I kept going because I didn’t want the lorry to hit me. Big fat fail.
I have always believed in third time lucky. My older sister passed her test on the third go, so I had to pass and yes I did. Only a couple of minor faults so practically a perfect test! I did use plasters on my two thumbs with L and R on them for my left and right so I knew which way the examiner was asking me to go. It worked!
Well now I passed my test it was time to go on the hunt for my first car. My dad and I would have a look in our local paper every Thursday when it came out for a little runabout for me. It took a few weeks to spot an advert for a red fiesta. Great, a little car in a fabulous colour.
My dad called the people advertising the car and arranged for us to go and have a look. The owners lived high up on top of the cliff overlooking the sea. Their house was amazing with stunning views from their living room right out into the sea. No idea why I remember these details but these memories have stuck with me.
The bloke was reluctant to sell the fiesta but as he had a new car with his job and the wife was getting his car, they had no need for this car. We went out for a test drive and it was perfect. A big clunky diesel engine that sounded like a transit van but I was in love. I already knew what car seat covers I was going to buy from Halfords.
Do you know what? I worked overtime on Sundays for months to buy this perfect little car. I scrimped and saved all the spare money I had. I know some people are not fortunate to buy their first car out right and need some kind of finance. If you are looking at buying a car for yourself or helping someone else there are some great little car finance calculators out there that can get you on the right track.
What are your memories of your first driving lessons and buying that first car?
As always I love to read your thoughts.
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