Friday, 17 March 2017

FINDING CONFIDENCE IN DRIVING & THE IMPORTANCE OF CAR MAINTENANCE


This is a post I have been wanting to write for quite some time now, and one that if you had told me I would have been writing 2 years ago .. I never would have believed you! Cars and driving in general are a pretty scary prospect to start with - for some people anyway! Others are so excited to start that they never have any feelings of anxiety or any form of fear towards the prospect of getting behind the wheel. Sometimes peoples anxiety and worries about driving are shaped by things which have happened in the years before hand or by things that have happened to people they know or whatever! But for me, it was a mixture of things - but mainly to do with having a quad bike accident when I was in my younger years. 

I feel as though I maybe touched on this a little while back in a blog post or possibly a video - I can't really remember. But essentially yes, when I was 12 I was driving a quad bike on my friends farm with her sitting on the back. I hit a icy mole hill, lost control whilst going down a hill and went straight into a stone wall at some speed. This resulted in me being completely knocked out, waking up with my head on the handle bars, the wall completely knocked down in front of me, and when I lifted my head up all I remember seeing was my friend running off into the distance towards her house to get some help! I joke about it now, and can kind of laugh it off but at the time it was really quite severe and someone up there was certainly looking down on me that day, because if I was on the other side of that wall - it would have been a very different story meaning I may not have been here today... 

The long and short of it is.. I have had a little bit of a fear of speed and driving in general since this point. Being a driver and even a passenger is something which I have been really frightened of since the age of 12 and so when it finally came around to learning to drive I knew it was going to be a long journey to me ever feeling comfortable behind the wheel or if I ever even would feel comfortable. 


I wanted to write this post to talk about my experience of anxiety and driving and to talk to you about the journey I have come on in building my confidence, the advice I would give to anyone who is also frightened of getting behind the wheel, and how I have grown to absolutely love and enjoy driving now! It just so happens that this post is also in collaboration with Ossett Tyre House who want me to touch on the importance of car maintenance and I thought that this would fit extremely well with the content of this post! 

I am overall hoping that the outcome of this post is that it can help any of you out there who have serious anxiety about driving, learning to drive, panic about breaking down, driving a different car! I just want to help any of you out there who have the same fears I have had over the years, and talk to you about how I have overcome these as well as what you can do to combat your fears and feel more confident behind the wheel! 


So, as mentioned above I have touched on my fear of cars and driving before I even started so naturally the accident was the instigator of my horrendous fear of generally just being in a car. I knew I needed to start driving though, this was something that I simply needed to do and actually did want to do - but I knew it would be a long road to passing and overcoming my fears! I did enjoy my driving lessons, but as I said it really was a long journey and I passed my theory test first time, but then had another confidence knock when I failed my driving test the first time. Nobody likes to fail lets be honest, so it did knock my confidence but I knew I just needed to crack on and finish it and once it was done I would feel so much better, so 1 month to the day later I actually passed my test and I was so happy! It took me 11 months of learning, and one failed driving lesson to do it - but I passed and I was so happy! Now the fun started.... 

The actual driving for me was no longer a problem. I was pretty confident when I was behind the wheel and I think that this was because of an accumulation of the fact I knew what I was doing but also because I actually do have a pretty good sense of direction as well. The anxiety for me was the actual getting in the car part, and the thought of it. I had my own little car and really did love it but then when it came to going to university my car was no longer needed because I lived in a city and so therefore my Mum sold it, meaning that I did not have a car to drive even when I was home. I think I must have had a break from driving for roughly around 3 years before I suddenly decided I needed to start it again! It was not until I had finished university and moved to Cardiff that I decided I had had enough of getting public transport everywhere. The fact I did not have my own car meant that I was getting up at 5am every morning for work and getting the train at 6am and walking quite long distances either side of the train station to start at shift at 7am. It not only was tiring before I even started, but it was also expensive and quite frankly pretty unsafe too! Especially when it was raining and I had to walk with my hood up when no other people were around - I just felt pretty vulnerable really. 

Luckily enough for me, at the time of this realisation, my brother was selling his old car and planning to buy a new one. I text him one day out of the blue and putting minimum thought into the idea, and asked if I could buy the car off him. The ball got rolling really really quickly with me getting the car down to Cardiff from Durham and so therefore it suddenly occurred to me that I had no excuse now. I had to push the anxiety of getting in the car to the back of my mind, think about my safety and get in the car. 

I very quickly became far more confident in driving, and before I got the corsa down to Cardiff I had never even driven my boyfriend around before. So this was also something I needed to conquer. Once I had done this, I felt far better and gradually the steps and things I was frightened of, gradually got ticked off and my anxiety eased and eased. It was not long before I had no fears of driving to work and back, taking Simon to the supermarket, popping on the dual carriageway on my own and everything else - I was pretty comfortable in my little bubble in Cardiff. 

Then came the corker of all anxieties for me! And the countdown came around VERY quickly. Until the age of 22 I had never driven on a motorway. And it suddenly occurred to me that the first time I would be doing this would be the day we moved from Cardiff to Sheffield. Taking on about 7 different motorways, horrendous traffic, many different lanes and doing it all alone. This had me absolutely terrified and the worst bit was, that I had no choice. I had to do it. I had to get my car from Cardiff to Sheffield some how, and there was no way of getting out of it. 

So the time came around, and soon the moving day was upon us. I got in my corsa and me and Simon drove in convoy from Cardiff to Sheffield in one day. I did it. I not only conquered a motorway, I conquered about 7!! And I was so bloomin proud of myself! My biggest fear had been ticked off! I had nothing to be frightened of anymore, because nothing would ever have been as bad as that journey! 

Following this drive, we then obviously moved to Sheffield which I am sure you are all well aware. Simon no longer needed his car in the city as he was within walking distance of his University and would be for the upcoming year, so it was decided that he would leave his car with his family up in Durham. This meant that I was the only one of the pair of us that had a car in Sheffield, meaning I would be doing all of the driving. I very quickly got in the swing of driving in a different city. Learnt all the roads, routes to work, routes to the shop and everything else and gradually I built my confidence up here as well. It also meant that I was obviously driving Simon around a lot as well, which no longer phased me whatsoever. And it also meant that whenever we wanted to go home to Durham for a weekend, I needed to do the 1 and a half hour drive on the M1 and A1. Again, this no longer bothered me whatsoever, in fact I LOVED it! And never did I think those words would ever come out of my mouth, ha! 

Obviously over the year Simon was at university again and had no car, I built my confidence up so much so that the anxiety of driving was no more. When we moved to Chesterfield and Simons car came back down again, it no longer occurred to me to let him do all the driving anymore. I wanted to continue driving because I loved it so much. At the beginning of 2017, my car gradually began to get louder, and I noticed one day when I was getting out of it at work and turned around the check I parked ok, that my exhaust was literally hanging off and nearly touching the floor. I felt like this was the final straw with this car and although it had been an amazing first car buy for me, I knew it was time to get myself something new. However, obviously my funds obviously do not mean that I could just go straight out and buy a car straight away. I obviously have to save! 

In case you all did not know, I live in Chesterfield but actually work in Sheffield so I have to drive to work and it takes roughly around 40 minutes for me to do that! I obviously still need a car, but because mine was literally unsafe to drive and needed to go into the garage I had to tackle my anxiety of thinking of driving Simons car! I was terrified of the prospect of driving his car, its his baby and its also so much bigger and newer than my corsa was so I was just panicking about everything to do with driving it! However, it occurred to me that I NEEDED to drive this car just to actually get to work day to day, so one evening I got in it, and drove it. The moment I got in and set off driving I fell head over heels in love with it. Yes, I nearly put myself and Simon through the windscreen by how sensitive the brakes were, but I fell in love with it straight away - and again, my anxiety for that immediately disappeared! 

So I guess this is my journey from being an absolute wreck about the thought of even getting in a car, to suddenly being able to drive on any motorway, anywhere, in any car - and not only that but be confident and enjoy it! As you can see, I have been on quite a journey with my confidence in this sense, but I could not be happier and prouder that I have combated it! So now, I just want to give you some hints and tips and talk a little bit about how you can do this yourselves, and feel more confident about the idea of getting in the car! 


So you may well have picked these tips up from my story above.. but I am going to summarise them now! 

- If you are frightened of something, just do it. It seems easier said than done. But all of the fears I have, were soon forgotten about when I just got in the car. Or I just drove that motorway. Or just got in Simons car and drove it. Try not to think about it too much and just do it. 

- If you are frightened of doing something, do it alone or with someone else. Whatever will make you feel more comfortable. Do it. So for me, I drove the motorway alone but following Simon in his car. And immediately when I did it I was so pleased I did it by myself, because there was nobody to comment on anything, nobody to tell me to do things a different way or comment that I was doing anything wrong. I only had me to worry about and in hindsight I think I definitely did the right thing by being pushed to do it alone! 

- Just think about the independence driving can give you. I love the fact I can get in my car and drive to where ever I want, when ever I want and there is nothing at all stopping me. No anxiety. And I actually have a car and a license to do it. Think about all the possibilities driving brings you! I miss my car so much when its even in the garage for a day, or if I don't have the option to drive for half a day! I feel like something is missing and I hate it. 

- Make sure your car is fully taxed, and MOT is up to date. I feel like this will definitely reduce your anxiety because there's nothing worse than realising your tax and MOT are nearly due, but not actually knowing when. Write these dates down, get your car booked in for its MOT early and get it taxed on time. It will definitely relieve SOME anxiety about driving and cars. 

- Make sure your car maintenance is up to scratch. When I spotted that my car exhaust was literally hanging off, it was a little bit too late to do anything else about it other than get it sorted immediately. So make sure you check over your car regularly to check everything is in place and nothing is hanging off! At the end of the day would anything be more mortifying than breaking down on the side of a road! That would certainly make me not want to get back in the car any time soon! 


- Make sure your car tyres have enough air in and the tread is above the minimum depth which is currently 1.6mm. Obviously never let them wear down to this point though, because it increases the time it takes to spot and brake, and also makes it more difficult to drive in the snow and ice! I usually get my boyfriend to help out with this kind of stuff because its kind of alien to me, but it really is important, and he is pretty obsessed with checking the tyre pressure of the car! In particular the service from Ossett Tyre House which can help with this is the wheel balancing and tracking service which is designed to even out the imperfections in your tyres to help your vehicle drive smoother and to realignment the wheels to ensure that they are running parallel to each other. Simply having something like this done to your car could be that extra step to preventing your car from breaking down and so therefore accelerating your anxiety further. 

- Make sure you have enough petrol or diesel. Seems pretty self explanatory really but I hate nothing more than watching the metre when I am driving and panicking about whether I am going to have enough to get to where I need to be. Instead just ensure that you fill the car up before you travel and have enough in your tank! 




So overall I really hope that you have enjoyed reading this post. I am so unbelievably happy I have got to the point where I can write about this in this way, and know that I feel confident and happy when driving and enjoy getting behind the wheel now! Driving brings you so many opportunities and allows you so much more independence that it is far better to beat your anxiety than ignore it! 

Please don't forget to share any of your tips down below for anyone else who struggles with getting behind the wheel! And don't forget to check out the Ossett Tyre House website to check out what services they offer which could benefit your vehicle and make sure it stays in tip top condition to help prevent any awkward and unnecessary break downs! 

Let me know if you enjoyed reading this style of post as I really do love the more story time style and the chattier more lifestyle posts!


Much Love

Lauren
x

Shop the look : 

Coat (Primark) - Similar Here  
Jumper - Topshop
Jeans (New Look) - Similar Here
Boots - New Look
Glasses - ASOS

*This post is a collaborative post with Ossett tyre house*

SHARE:

No comments

Post a Comment

© WhatLaurenLovess. All rights reserved.
BLOGGER TEMPLATE MADE BY pipdig