Learner takes the wheel

Shepparton News - - WEEKEND LIFESTYLE - LAU­REN FORMICA Goul­burn Val­ley Gram­mar school stu­dent week­endlife@shep­p­news.com.au

The time had come for me to Ånally hit the road.

Yes, I was anx­ious. Yes, I was scared. Yes, I thought I was go­ing to crash my dad’s beloved ute. But I knew the time was right and I needed to stay fo­cused.

I had passed my learner’s test a cou­ple of weeks ear­lier and de­cided to strike up the courage and ac­tu­ally drive about a week af­ter that.

My mum, who is a highly stress­ful and anx­ious per­son, thought it was in my best in­ter­ests that she did not su­per­vise me on my Årst proper drive as she felt she “wouldn’t cope”.

How­ever, my dad did want to teach me as he prides him­self on the fact that he taught him­self to drive and couldn’t wait to showcase his skills to me.

He de­cided the best route for me to start on was around my un­cle Vic’s or­chard, so with my sweaty hands Årmly grip­ping the steer­ing wheel, I took off.

Slowly and cau­tiously, I started driv­ing through the or­chard and on to the road, re­peat­ing this cir­cuit a cou­ple of times. When he felt I was ready, Dad di­rected me on to the back roads of Dookie, where I gained conÅ­dence and re­as­sur­ance that no, I was not go­ing to run off the road, no, I was not go­ing to lose con­trol of the wheel — how could I with my very tight grip? — and no, I was not go­ing to be a dan­ger to pass­ing cars.

I found the back roads of Dookie per­fect for learn­ing to drive as it was quiet but there was still enough trafÅc to learn how to share the road and get to know the dif­fer­ent road tex­tures. The trafÅc con­fu­sions also al­lowed Dad the time to in­struct me and for me to ask ques­tions.

Af­ter 45 min­utes of solid prac­tise, Dad re­mem­bered he needed to visit his friend in Tatura, so Tat was my next des­ti­na­tion. I trav­elled through the cen­tre of Shep­par­ton, mak­ing a right-hand turn on Wyn­d­ham St and driv­ing through Mooroopna be­fore ar­riv­ing at Tatura safe and sound.

Thank­fully Dad re­mained calm through­out the whole process, con­stantly re­as­sur­ing me that my driv­ing was sufÅ­cient.

Al­though I felt I drove well, I turned down Dad’s of­fer to drive back home as I be­lieve that I need more prac­tise.

One hour and 12 min­utes down, 118 hours and 88 min­utes to go. Where will my Ls take me next?

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