If you’re a non-driver but you’ve passed the legal driving age, you may feel embarrassed or out of place when people start discussing recent driving situations. Perhaps you’ve even concurred as they list their pet peeves about other drivers, pretending you understand from personal experience.
Not everyone learns to drive in their lifetime, but it is an important rite of passage for many Canadians. If you missed learning to drive as a teenager because of fear, limited access to a car, or lack of need, you’ve probably learned to get around in other ways.
But, sometimes life changes like relocation or a different marital status give you an impetus to add driving skills to your repertoire. Don’t fret! Your 20s, 30s, 40s, or beyond are a great time to learn to drive.
Why Learn to Drive Now?
Do you need a little more convincing before you agree to vacate the passenger seat? Here are four benefits you can gain by becoming a driver:
- Learn to love the convenience. Driving a personal vehicle is one of the world’s most popular transportation modes for a reason: it’s convenient. If you learn to drive and buy a car, you can go where you want, when you want. No more waiting for buses or taxis.
- Get to know your city better. Many non-drivers feel helpless when the driver asks for help with directions. If you’re accustomed to walking everywhere in your city, you’ll be surprised at the new perspective you gain when you navigate its streets behind the wheel.
- Conquer a fear. Many people avoid driving as long as possible because they know it can be dangerous. Lessons from a professional driving instructor will allow you to learn at your own pace and face your fears about driving.
- Gain a sense of accomplishment. If you have “learn to drive” on your bucket list, work on checking it off now. Many people who learn to drive after their teenage years count it as one of their biggest achievements.
How Can You Get Started?
Okay, so you’ve decided to take the leap and join the driving club! Now what? As a non-driver, you almost certainly don’t own a car. And you’d probably prefer not to strain any valued relationships by asking a friend or partner to teach you.
No problem. Follow these tricks to begin your journey on the road to a driver’s license:
Take solo lessons. As an adult learning to drive, you’ll have different levels of confidence and nerves than a teen driver. Instead of enrolling in a big class with other first-time drivers, meet one on one with a professional instructor. He or she can assess your current skill level. You may only need a few lessons before you’re ready for a solo drive.
Start small. Choose a practical, smaller-sized vehicle for your first driving experience. You can learn the basics better in a small sedan than a massive truck. Small cars have smaller blind spots and navigate easier. They also tend to have less power, which makes it easier for you or your instructor to catch mistakes and correct them.
Go slow. We don’t mean keep your car under 25 kph (although you should follow posted speed limits). This tip means that you should learn to drive at your own pace. Don’t try to fit every skill into one or two lessons, especially if you have major fears about driving. Take your time so you learn to drive safely under all conditions.
Acknowledge your emotions. Driving can bring out many emotions, from fear to excitement and even fun. And when you venture onto the road, the actions of other drivers inspire other emotions. When you start to experience road rage or driving anxiety, acknowledge it. Control your feelings as much as possible. If you feel your emotions getting out of hand, pull over when it’s safe and take a quick breather.
Ask your instructor for tips about special driving conditions. Most adults learning to drive need only a short time before becoming solo drivers. Therefore, they only experience a fraction of the numerous driving conditions. Take time with your driving instructor to discuss driving:
- In harsh weather conditions (heavy rain, snow, strong winds)
- During and after car problems (tire blowouts, accidents, etc.)
What Driving Skills Should You Focus On?
Finally you’re at your first lesson, and it’s almost time to start the car. As you begin life as a driver, you may feel like you’re doing a lot of multitasking. You have to control the gas and brake pedals, steer the wheel, check your mirrors, watch your gauges, and navigate through traffic.
You don’t need to feel overwhelmed. Try to focus on these important driving skills (that are sometimes harder to master or remember):
- Changing lanes
- Passing other cars
- Applying the right amount of pressure to the pedals
- Checking blind spots
After your first lesson, ask your instructor what your strengths and weaknesses as a driver are. During your next lesson, you can focus on those skills so you’ll have more confidence in them.
As you take these steps, you can become a self-assured driver. At North Shore Driving School. we are known as a quality driving school in Vancouver. We offer driving lessons out of our North Vancouver driving school. Contact North Shore Driving School today and get ready to hit the road.