This month we feature your early driving experiences.
I'd been taking lessons for a year before I passed my driving test at the
age of eighteen, but my dad never gave me any help. Even after I'd passed he never
let me use the car. So I used to take my dad's keys before leaving the apartment
block where we lived and would run round to the car park at the back where my
father left the car at night. He hardly ever used the car after getting in from
work. I used to go and see my girlfriend or just drive around and then come back
and leave the car in exactly the same place. One night though, I got back at around
ten thirty only to find there were no parking spaces left. I suppose because I
went in and told my dad the truth straight away he was quite good about it. Although
he did stop my allowance for four weeks.
My most unfortunate driving experience happened ages ago, before I'd actually
passed my driving test. My girlfriend's father used to let her borrow his car
whenever we were going to the cinema or something. Anyway, I'd been thinking about
learning to drive and I persuaded her to let me have a go. We took the car down
to the beach on the sand where no one could see us and she let me take the wheel.
We were having such fun that we didn't notice the tide was coming in until the
car was actually swimming in the water. We had to leave the car where it was and
catch the bus back to tell her dad. By the time the three of us returned, the
car was almost covered in water. Needless to say, her father wasn't too pleased.
The funny thing is her dad ended up selling me the car after I passed my test.
I was teaching my mum to drive and we were coming down a rather narrow road
which had cars parked on both sides. Suddenly, from nowhere there was a young
man on a bike coming towards us. Mum slammed the brakes on but she crashed into
us, landed on the car and then rolled off. My mother and I both jumped out of
the car to see if he was all right. Fortunately, he stood up and said he was OK,
just a little shaken. My mum offered to give him some money for the repair of
the bike, and then an old lady came along. When she saw what had happened, she
began shouting at my mother, saying she must have been driving too fast and that
it was a bad example to set her young daughter. Poor old mum didn't say a word
and I had to explain that she was still learning to drive.
My advice about learning to drive would be to have proper lessons from a qualified
instructor and never to let a friend or family member try to teach you. It's a
guaranteed way to spoil a good relationship. Every Sunday, when the traffic was
quieter, my father would pick me up and take me for a drive along the streets
of our hometown and give me a lecture on how to drive, explaining everything he
was doing and why. Eventually it was my turn to have a go. My dad was so nervous
that he panicked before I'd even started up the engine. He used to shout at the
slightest mistake, and when the lesson was finally over he'd come home and have
a large glass of whisky to calm down.
I didn't start learning to drive until I was twenty one. I'd spent lots of
money on lessons but I was a terrible driver, I must admit. The first time I took
my driving test nobody expected me to pass. But after failing another four times
the pressure was really on. I took my test for a sixth time and failed yet again,
but I was too embarrassed to admit it to my family, so I just pretended that I'd
passed after all. My family were delighted and my mother went out and bought me
a car the next day. I didn't know what to do so I just got in and drove. I continued
to drive - illegally - for three months. Fortunately I was never stopped by the
police and the next time I took my driving test I passed.