“Don’t grip the steering wheel so hard! No need to strangle it!”
Four months after registering at driving school, two months after passing my basic driving theory, and with my final driving theory test looming next week, I finally had my first driving lesson today.
Unlike Sarach, who’s learning privately, I registered at one of the official, recognized-by-the-Traffic-Police driving schools, because my dad’s theory is that I learn better in a structured environment.
As a result, I pay much more than she does, and the waiting time for lessons/tests can bring tears to your eyes- booking of lessons occurs two months in advance.
But finally, I had my first lesson today, and it was pretty interesting!
At the driving school, I don’t have a fixed instructor (I get a different one every lesson, does this not sound like the lottery)- so I’m glad that the first instructor I got was nice and covered the basics quite well.
“Driving is like cooking. You must agar-agar.”
(Now, I know agar-agar is a type of jelly, but in the colloquial terms of this sunny island it’s a means of saying that you should go with your instincts/estimate.
Example: “How much sugar should I use?” “Just agar-agar!”)
So today’s lesson was quite simple- we spent most of it in the parking lot, and I learnt how to drive and reverse in a straight line, as well as familiarising myself with the controls of the car, such as the gearing, brakes, and accelerator. I also learned a little bit about maneuvering bends in the road, though I do have a tendency to oversteer.
My instructor also gave me a pretty good piece of advice: look at where I want the car to be.
“If you want to go in a straight line, look at the centre of the road! If there’s another car, don’t look at it, because where your eyes go your car will follow!”
Which does make a lot of sense, yes.
The entire time, though, I was gripping my steering wheel pretty hard, and my instructor kept telling me to “relax!”
“You’re going to leave marks on the steering wheel,” he joked- not that I blame him, I was clinging pretty damn hard to it.
But seriously, I was genuinely worried and very scared. What if I oversteer into the path of an oncoming car? What if I hit the accelerator too fast? What if I can’t brake in time? I was practically in hysterics.
It was an onslaught of worries, and well, when the time came for my lesson, I just offered up a plea to the heavens.
Jesus, please take the wheel.
And today’s driving lesson went pretty smoothly- of course there were some bumps, and I’m still not really good at keeping in my own lane when I’m turning, but otherwise, it went really well.
I’m glad for that, and, well- here’s to learning how to be more relaxed when I’m behind the wheel, and trusting my gut!