Driving again

A week ago, N.’s mum bought herself a new car and gave us her old one. So we are finally car owners. It’s a small 2005 Nissan Micra, and we hope it will last us a few more years. It will be so handy to be able to quickly nip to Asda or to the beach. While we live in a suburb of Edinburgh, and have very good public transport, depending where you go, the car can be so much quicker.

Our car

The only problem is that N. doesn’t have his driving license (yet), and while I have had one for 13 years, I never got much driving practice and in fact haven’t driven a car in the past 10 years at all.

We knew we would be getting the car for a while, but we didn’t know for sure when we would, so when we got it on Monday, I signed myself up for some refresher driving lessons.

Luckily I have lived in the UK for nearly two years now so driving on the left side of the road doesn’t throw me anymore (actually, I get confused whenever we go to Germany now), but it was just starting driving again in general that I wasn’t too confident about. Plus driving in another country with slightly different rules and signs … I just wanted some help to get back into driving and to become more confident too.

This morning (hooray for four-day work weeks!) I had my first driving lesson. It went well. In some ways better than I was expecting, but driving just felt so alien to me. It almost felt like I was starting completely from scratch again in some ways, while I remembered some other things pretty well.

And then there was that one moment, when I found myself on the right side of the road, which is of course the wrong side of the road here! Even when my driving instructor told me “you’re on the wrong side of the road” I didn’t get it right away. Oops. Luckily we were in a pretty quiet area, so no harm done! It didn’t happen again after that. Just goes to show how easy it is to go back to something that has been deeply ingrained for almost all your life.

I will take a few more lessons until I feel confident enough to go out on my own, and until I become a little more experienced again at the basics. At the moment nothing feels like a routine, from shifting gears and indicating to remembering to check the mirrors.

Being able to drive somewhere when we want to will come in so handy though, especially now that we are planning our wedding. We have been looking at venues and have been depending on N.’s mum to drive us quite a bit. It will be wonderful to be more independent and flexible.


6 thoughts on “Driving again

  1. I don’t drive much, but having a car makes certain things a lot easier. I’d get a little freaked out over having the gear stick on the “wrong” side though. I’ve driven in a few Australian cars, and got used to driving on the left very quickly, but all those cars had automatic transmission.

    • Oh, driving automatics is so much easier in general, isn’t it? I actually didn’t have too much trouble with it (or with the indicator which is also on the left side of the steering wheel) but expected it to be a problem as well. But maybe that is something where not having driven in so many years actually helps as it’s not something I would do automatically.

      • Except for our time in Oz I’ve always driven stick shift. I had my own car for 7 years and it’s still so automatic. I already had quite a few problems with the indicator and windscreen wipers…

  2. I was just going to ask if it was manual or stick shift; I’m a stick shift girl, all the way….but I would have a hard time switching to shift with my left hand instead of right. For sure. :-/

    But! Yay car!!!


  3. That’s awesome! And really clever idea about the refresher lessons! Good luck to Nick getting his!
    I found driving in Ireland not too bad but kept turning on the windshield wipers instead of signals. :D I do love the independence that a car gives you. Enjoy!!

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