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Tears, frustration, and disappointment: An honest account of learning to drive

The prospect of learning to drive can be both exciting and terrifying.

For some, it means freedom and opportunity but for many, it can trigger a real sense of panic for many learner drivers.

Limerick Voice Features Editor Mairead Sheehy recalls the challenges she faced trying to pass her driver’s test.

Turn -abouts, reverse-around corners and parallel parking are just some of the terms sure to send shivers down any learner drivers’ spine.

The truth is, learning to drive can prove to be one of the most daunting experiences for people, and one that requires sheer motivation, determination, and perseverance to overcome.

Unlike many of my friends, who have sailed through their lessons, passing the dreaded driving test with flying colours well before heading off to college, I struggled to grasp the skill.

From learning the basics around my uncle’s country laneways back in sixth year, to finally sucking up the courage to practice around the house without fear I would damage something, my driving career has been one hell of a journey.

Coming home from countless drives with my ever-patient father a frazzled mess, I often felt as if I would never get the hang of it, hearing many liken the art of learning to drive similar to the adult version of ‘sitting at the kitchen table with your dad struggling to understand your maths homework’ and I most definitely agree with that statement.

Unlike many, I learned how to drive almost entirely with my driving instructor, fearing the tension between myself and my father would become too much if he took the challenge upon himself.

Learning to drive is not without many errors and fails, countless conks, heated roars as you tread dangerously close to the side of a country road, and plenty of tears.

Coming home from my first driving test I felt dejected and sad.  I was a prime example of someone who had let the nerves get the better of them. I had also made the textbook mistake of revealing my test date to my friends beforehand, so the anticipation and excitement came to a halt as I drove feebly in the gates of the test centre.

However, not letting failure knock me down I began to practice even more, with a fire in my belly to overcome my mishaps and prove my tester once and for all, minus the coasting this time around.

As I await my second test date, I can already taste the freedom of driving unsupervised without a care in the world and will finally realise the extra lessons and countless hours spent wracking my brain, will be worth it.


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