So you just took the “L” plates off, and now the whole world is ahead. You can go anywhere, anytime and thousands and thousands of miles are yours to explore, providing you’ve got a large bank balance, of course. Your hand quivers a little as you turn the key, and what about that huge space on your left where someone has always sat, up to now?
Don’t forget to put the clutch down before you put it in gear, no-one to tell you now, must remember everything yourself. But it’s exciting, isn’t it? It is also stressful and worrying. For your first drive by yourself, choose a quiet route. Avoid shopping centres, large roundabouts and definitely avoid motorways just now.
You didn’t put green “P” plates on, did you? Or the much worse green “L” ones. Much worse because they can be mistaken for red “L” plates that you have worked so hard to get rid of. And why don’t I like green “P” plates? It is not that I don’t like them, it is that you have just been handed a piece of paper headed “Certificate of Competence to Drive”, and it means exactly that. You don’t have to apologise to anyone for your driving, that’s what the “L” plates were for. You are at least as good and as safe as they are, and probably a lot better, and this is the first thing you will notice.
They have been around for a while, they have experience, and they know it all, or think they do. In truth they have wasted their chance to improve with experience and instead have deteriorated to a sort of common level, at which they nearly all drive. You are still brand new,and will probably never drive again quite as well as you do now. Oh yes, you will become street wise and will gradually fit into the jungle, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Keep doing it as you were taught by the professional instructor (ADI) that helped you through the test. Other drivers will bunch up behind you as you keep to the speed limits, they may even toot their horns, that is whilst they still have their licences. Do not start cutting corners when you turn into side roads. Don’t hold the car on the clutch for long periods on hills, with it see-sawing to and fro slightly, then slightly screech the wheels as you rush away. Repair garages love this, your bank manager will not. Remember that amber at traffic lights means the same as the red – STOP, unless it would not be safe to do so, which you will know because you are using your mirrors as you were taught.
So be confident, have trust in what your instructor taught you, have pride in that Certificate of Competence to Drive, and keep on doing it right. There is a Pass Plus scheme which I hope your instructor told you about, that will help you to complete your training beyond the test. It includes several modules, which together will prepare you for the big step into the big world of driving. After that there is the Institute of Advanced Motorists, which I also am a member of, and their test which is similar to what the Police Class One drivers do, and the world is your oyster.
I wish you all the best in your driving, and in your life. Perhaps a little luck might help in life’s ups and downs, but it plays no part in driving, you control that.
Ah! What is that I hear? The men in white coats are coming. Good-bye.