Learning to drive is a rite of passage. You’ve probably been looking forward to this day for years, and, when it finally arrives, can’t wait to get on the open road and drive your way to freedom. All you have to do first is sit in the car next to a random man/woman you’ve never met before, attach some big warning Ls to your vehicle and reverse around every corner you can find.
There’s no denying it – there’s a lot of potential for driving lessons to get awkward very quickly, so we thought we’d give you some advance warning on 10 of the most cringe-tastic situations to look out for.
1. Small talk
It’s an inevitable part of the experience, and, seen as you’re going to be sitting next to your instructor for some time, you might as well embrace it. What are your hobbies? (don’t say drinking). What do you do at school and do you have any pets? Just get the small talk out of the way and make sure you haven’t made up any elaborate hard-to-keep-up lies about your life.
2. One of you needs the toilet
You have to sit in that car for at least an hour every time you have a lesson, so there’s a good chance that one of you will need to go for a wee at some point. Hey, it’s natural… you might have had a cup of tea before your lesson or you might just have terrible bladder control. Either way, your best course of action is to stop at some public toilets and a) be quick or b) pray to God that they’re quick…
3. Your instructor forgets your name…
…and picks a new one then sticks with it. OK, they see a lot of different people every week, but your name’s not Sarah and it never has been. Is it too late to correct him three lessons in? Definitely – just stick with Sarah and get on with it. After all, he’s probably calling someone else your name so you could open up a whole can of worms.
4. The nose picker
Some people seem to think that their car makes them invisible to the outside world. We call these people the nose pickers. Never ever momentarily forget that you’ve got company on a driving lesson and go for a little ‘scratch’. They will almost definitely have to tell you off for leaving the ten to two position.
5. Driving past the person you fancy
So seeing your fave boy or girl strolling down the road just as your instructor tells you you’re about to perform an emergency stop isn’t ideal. Our advice: style it out. They’ll be the first to ask for a lift when you’ve got your licence.
6. Forgetting you have a driving lesson
…and answering the door in your pyjamas. If it’s a onesie, you might just be able to get away with it by saying ‘this is what the kids are wearing these days, dontya know?’. Just make sure you brush your teeth first.
7. Your mum inviting your instructor in for tea
Your thought process: What is she doing!? Please say no… please say no… oh sh*t, he said yes. Now you’re sitting over your dining room table with a pot to Tetley, giving it another go at the small talk. He knows all about your upcoming family holiday and your mum wants to hear all about your parallel parking abilities.
8. Admitting to not knowing your lefts and rights
You’re expected to know a few things at the ripe old age of 17, and unfortunately one of them is your lefts and rights. Just get it out in the open at the beginning – you don’t want him to find out after he’s already told you to ‘turn right at the end of the road’.
9. You failed your test
Now this is crap on a number of levels. You’ve failed your driving test, so you’re not quite on that road to freedom just yet. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, failing your test can also be a bit awkward. Not only do you have to break the news to your instructor, but then there’s the drive home when you have to try your very best not to cry like a baby in front of them. We say just go for it… you won’t be the first or the last person.
10. You passed your test
Wooohoooo! That’s more like it – you’ve passed your test, you can taste the freedom, and it’s already on Facebook gathering likes… YOU CAN DRIVE!!