My learner driving experience started on February 17, 2019, the day after I turned 16.
Walking into the RMS I was quite nervous, as I knew my first step to freedom all relied on this one test. But after weeks of doing practice tests online, I was sure I was in a safe position to pass this test on my first try, an accomplishment I managed to achieve.
That afternoon was the first time I stepped into the driver’s seat. To be quite honest I was more nervous driving for the first time than I was sitting my provisional licence test, as driving was not as easy as I thought it would be.
My mum, nan and pop were my three biggest supporters during my driving experience and I am so grateful for everything that they did. The three of them suffered through the whole 120 hours of my logbook requirements in the passenger seat, while repeatedly saying the phrase “slow down” and stepping on that fake emergency brake.
As a young 16-year-old male going fast seemed to be the only thing I wanted to do behind the wheel. But I soon learnt my life is a lot more valuable than driving fast.
Achieving my 120 hours came easy for me, and after 7 months I had filled up my book with those precious hours. From driving to rugby league training to driving to games on a weekly basis there was no need for me to drive just for the sake of filling my logbook up. I know that not everyone is as lucky as I am, to always have someone available to drive with me whenever I wanted, but I can’t express just how valuable clocking up those logbook hours was, and how much better prepared it made me.
Talking to my friends now about their driving experiences, I still hear at least 60% of them say “I’ve done all my hours, but I haven’t filled out my book”. As I have been through the process I still strongly believe that as a learner driver one of the best things you can do is fill in the book as you drive and not leave it all to the last minute.
Whether it’s a 5-minute or a 2 hour drive, every bit of time is crucial and at the end of the day it all adds up to that 120 hour requirement and to getting confident behind the wheel.
“Congratulations you have passed” are the four words I will never forget.
It was only a 30-minute driving test to get the licence, but that 30 minutes felt like it was never going to end. Sitting in the RMS after my test waiting for the assessor to add my scores to the system, not knowing whether I had passed or not was quite daunting. But as soon as I was told I passed I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face for the next week, it felt like a huge achievement.
The first few days of driving alone didn’t feel real, it felt illegal! As time passed it became more and more natural to me and now after having my licence for a few months it feels like an everyday thing to have even though I still have the thought in the back of my mind, after being told thousands of times by my family – “having my licence is a privilege and not a right”.
The amount of freedom I have gained from getting my licence is crazy. From being able to drive myself to training sessions, to driving down the road to get groceries for my family, it enables me to take a lot of pressure off other people as they no longer have to be the ones to drive me places and wait around for me.
Having my licence has made not only my life significantly easier but also made life easier for my family. Being free makes my life a lot more enjoyable as I am able to just pick up my keys and take off (as long as I have mum’s permission of course). It is so rewarding to not have to feel like I’m a hassle to anyone else. Having my licence helps me be independent to do the things that I need to get done, without having to rely on other people all the time.
Along with the benefits of obtaining your provision licence, there are also many responsibilities, and driving alone has taught me so many things. From being vigilant of everyone and everything around me, including other road users, cyclists and pedestrians, to learning about being responsible for my own car; how my car drives, how clean it is, how I drive and represent myself in my community. Everything from finding out about petrol prices, to learning how different fuels and tyres help my car operate better has all become stuff I need to know. But more important than that was learning what I can do to help keep myself and everyone else safe on our roads.
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