The hardest part is setting the wheels in motion, literally.
After months – years even – of putting it off, making excuse after excuse, the time had come to get behind the wheel and as my grandfather says ‘take life’s next step’.
First and foremost, it’s not as easy or straightforward as it looks or its made out to be by your mate who cruises down the M50 at 120kph without a second thought as he sings along to the radio or engages in a full blown conversation with his passengers.
It’s like learning how to ride a bike all over again – the countless hours out practising, the sessions that end in tears and the shouting match with your Dad after he inadvertently directed you into the curb.
It’s mentally draining. You’re concentrating so hard not to stall or to change into second gear when you should be in third or perfecting that blooming turnabout that when it comes to driving, on the straight and narrow, it’s actually easy*.
It’s slow progress and that’s not just me behind the wheel doing 30kph in a 60 zone with a tailback of cars as long as my wing mirror (that’s car lingo) can see. From safely negotiating the first obstacle of the Driver Theory Test, it’s a protracted process that cannot be accelerated or rushed.
Having motored through the theory test, the tedious application forms and then the actual lessons themselves, the prospect of the test looms.
What’s more, everyone is an expert. Even those who don’t drive feel they have the capacity to offer titbits of advice which offer no value whatsoever, particularly when you just want to keep things as simple as possible – start car, drive car would be nice.
But, why is it one of those things that the longer you put it off the harder it seems to become? There are people I know who don’t drive but when you ask them why they haven’t learnt, they have got to the age where they just couldn’t be bothered.
Well if that’s the case, I’m delighted I started now and didn’t leave it any longer because if the early stages were any harder, I’m not sure I would be behind a wheel now.
For anyone learning to drive (here I am offering advice) then there are some brilliant videos online from a Dublin-based school of motoring that act as tutorials in addition to your driving lessons. I found them really useful and picked up snippets of information that didn’t necessarily registered with me when the instructor mentioned it.