Sunday, 3 January 2010

Danger On The Roads

I took my first steps into a strange and terrifying new world yesterday. Although, "steps" is, in fact, entirely the wrong word to use. For, you see, at the tender age of thirty three years old, I took my first driving lesson.

Actually, that's not strictly true. I did take several driving lessons just as I turned seventeen but, for various reasons, I stopped and somehow never got back round to them. Living generally within swift commuting distance of London, there didn't seem to be a huge amount of need for it and I've got by for the last sixteen years without it. Of course, situations change and the time has come to put aside thy pedestrian ways and get thee behind the wheel.

First impressions? Fear, mainly. Having told the instructor that I'd had a few lessons many years back, I was pretty much plunged straight into driving the car, although we swiftly moved to a new location once he realised that the road was very narrow and my steering was atrocious.

So why fear, then? Well, not so much for myself and my own abilities (my steering improved throughout the two hours) but for something which all you drivers probably mostly take for granted - the sheer number of external factors that you need to concentrate on at every single moment. Oncoming traffic, following traffic, mind that bus, look out, pedestrian danger, cyclist, cyclist, etc., etc. All while doing things inside the vehicle to make it go, go faster, slow down or stop.

One advantage is that I have had a few lessons way back in the day and the instructor said that some of that knowledge is still locked away in there, ready to leap to the fore again. And he was confident enough in my improvement to let me drive all the way back. Let's just hope I don't forget it all in the intervening week...


7 comments:

cerebus660 said...

Hey, good luck Baldy! It must be daunting taking on such a challenge at your advanced age! Seriously, hats off to you mate, hope it works out for you. Keep at it and keep us updated!

erin said...

My mom didn't get her license till after I did. Then we couldn't keep her in the house.

Good luck!

BugginWord said...

I've been driving for a decade and a half...and I still suck at it. Then again, my brother has one of those "buy 10, get one free" punch cards with the Jaws of Life. Good luck!

That Baldy Fella said...

cerebus660 - Thanks, squire! The hardest thing is having to leave the zimmer frame behind...

erin - Ta! Hmm, it is possible this is a ploy on my girlfriend's part to get me to bugger off more...

BugginWord - Cheers! Well, I'm hoping that, if I do go down, I take plenty of people with me...

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

I'm fully aware that, as a driver, we need to share the road with cyclists and pedestrians. However, on my drive in this morning, some jackinape darted out in front of me on his bicycle without even a glance in the direction of on-coming traffic.

You're right; there's a ton of stuff that we take for granted when we're driving that is seriously terrifying, once you stop to think about it.

Lady Euphoria Deathwatch said...

Hi Baldy,

I didn't get my license until I was thirty. And that was only because the job I had at the time required it.

Now I never use it to drive because I have seizures. It is nice to have the ID though.

Good luck in your new venture. May the force (and not the fear) be with you.

Euphoria

That Baldy Fella said...

mjenks - Yep, it's those finely honed instincts that I'm lacking. Still, a few dead cyclists here or there won't hurt too much, surely...

Lady E - Thanks! Well, it's just time to learn something new, really. It limits what I can do so time to change, I reckon.