A lot of people find that the road is just not for them. Perhaps you or someone who has been contemplating getting back behind the wheel for so long so you’re trying to amass as much information as possible so you can do it properly and safely. But whether you’ve passed your test a long time ago or you were involved in an accident, getting back behind the wheel is always going to be a difficult thing. But it doesn’t need to be this almighty task that stops you doing the important things in life. What are the things that we all need to know when we get back to driving after some time off?
Finding The Car That Feels Right
Have you had that dream where you’re not in control of the car? If you are someone who has had to get back behind the wheel for an important reason it can be about acquiring that sensation behind the wheel. A lot of people need to find a car that feels right. A lot of us have to stop driving because it’s so expensive. But when we start back behind the wheel again after a lengthy break it’s important that we feel at ease, and even if we don’t right away that we, at least, get some feeling of confidence from the car. Whether it’s finding a used Ford Focus for sale that you feel you can drive or finding a larger people carrier like a Nissan Juke which has all of the safety features you’ve got to feel at ease in the car. If you’re getting back to driving because of various external reasons you have to remember that you need to be in control. Find the car that feels right and then you can start to work on the other components that you may feel you are lacking.
Starting With The Basics Again
We might feel that we are best jumping back into the situation but if it’s been a long time you have to remember that while your habits might not have changed, the road has! It’s beneficial to get started with the basics just to give you that grounding. It is so easy for us to think that because we are qualified that we can get back onto the road and do what we used to do. Any sort of break can leave you feeling a little bit unsure in your ability. So this means that you should start on some of those basics again. Working on your theory is always a good idea even if nothing has changed. We have to remember that there are little alterations to the law and if you’ve been away from driving for a long time you haven’t actively been up to speed. There are plenty of driving theory tests you can take online just to make sure you remember everything. But also think about the things that you weren’t too confident with when you were driving every day. Maybe it was that dreaded parallel park or reverse around the corner? Or it might have been using your sat nav at the same time as driving. Now it’s part of the driving test that you show the instructor how to use a sat nav properly as opposed to the big manoeuvres, so it’s worth bearing this in mind.
Once you’ve reacquainted yourself with the basics and got the right car you have to figure out what the best approach is. Some people like to jump back into it and drive for 12 hours and learn by their mistakes. But the best thing for you to do if you’re feeling a little on the rusty side is to start small. A very good example would be to go around an empty car park or a quiet estate. This gives you the opportunity to control your situations more effectively. There is no point in heading onto the motorway during rush hour when you’re feeling rusty, partly because this is one of the most stressful situations for any driver, but there are so many idiots on the road at this time of day that one near miss or worse could shock you way too much. Instead, think about the smaller areas but also testing yourself in those manoeuvres as well as things like clutch control. For some of us, it’s all about activating that muscle memory again, but others can feel worse when you get behind the wheel. Partly this is to do with that feeling of confidence but it’s also about making the situation as comfortable as possible. It may be best for you to have someone next to you or you may be someone that would rather go by yourself. Whatever the situation that benefits you should work towards that. You may feel that you’ve got to get your skills back up to speed quickly but you’ve got to do it safely.
You have got to address your own personal issues with relation to why you took a break in the first place. Sometimes it’s because of financial problems so you have to sell the car which means that it may not be an issue for you but this still means you’ve got to get yourself back up to code. But other people that had a major shock to the system getting back into driving is a major mountain to climb over. Acquiring confidence is about starting slowly but it’s also about realising that you need to go at your own pace. It’s a good idea to have some outside help and because there are instructors that specialise in Pass Plus or refresher courses it’s a good approach to give you that confidence. Some people may not like the idea of having to go back to an instructor because they hated learning to drive the first-time round. But learning that confidence behind the wheel with a professional next you may be the best approach. The Pass Plus method is a good idea because it encompasses so many different aspects of driving that you wouldn’t necessarily learn when you start out. This takes into account things like motorway driving but also help you to sharpen those skills when driving rurally or in different weathers.
Building Up Your Skills
For some people, driving is an easily learnt skill. For others, it’s not so straightforward. You have to remember that when you are getting back on the road after a lengthy break that there will be times when you’re not able to do everything perfectly. Building up your skills is crucial but we have to remember that after we passed our test this was when we learnt a lot about life on the road. The same thing applies even if you’ve been away for a long time. You’ve got to trust your judgement but it’s also about pushing your comfort zone a bit further out. This is why driving in smaller estates is a good idea and then slowly building on your confidence in this way. Sometimes it’s about being in the passenger seat and looking at someone else driving so you can learn. It’s important not to be a backseat driver in these circumstances but when you’re looking to build up your skills, sometimes the fact that there is someone else behind the wheel whose skills are somewhat questionable from your point of view can give you that confidence. Nobody is a perfect driver and there are plenty of idiots on the road; sometimes this can put us off going out but it can also give us that confidence in our own abilities. It’s important that when we build up the skills that we do it gradually but also remember that not everybody is perfect. This is partly why everybody has that wobble when they learn to drive at the very outset because they don’t have that understanding that others aren’t as responsible as us behind the wheel. And the great thing is even if you taking a long break that you will naturally be safer behind the wheel and a bit more cautious. But use this to your advantage.
Getting back behind the wheel after a long break is never easy but if you understand that it’s a case of practice making perfect then you will start to get that confidence again. It can be to do with getting that muscle memory back but it’s also about feeling safe in the knowledge that you can go a bit by bit. A lot of drivers feel that they learn something new every single day even after a few decades of driving. It’s not a case of just getting the skills but it’s about looking at what you need to do behind the wheel. You may very well only make a few trips to the shop or you will have to go a bit further out. But for everybody, when they go outside of their comfort zone, it is always a shock to the system. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been driving because you can always learn something new behind the wheel. And also you have to remember that you will get there! If Maureen from Driving School can do it, so can you!