By Lizzy Donker, BCN intern.
Editor’s note: Bryan County News intern Lizzy Donker, a soon-to-be senior at Richmond Hill High School, recently got her driver’s license. It’s such a milestone in a teen’s life the editor badgered her until she agreed to write a first-person account about her experience.
Getting a license is much easier said than done. I would know, because I just got mine.
Nevermind the whole driving test and silent awkwardness that happens between the test taker and examiner when you back into a cone instead of parallel parking the car, which I will get to in a minute. The couple weeks of crunch-time driving leading up to the exam have got to be one of the most stressful factors of it all. At least it was for me.
As most average teenagers would do (or maybe that’s just me trying to make myself feel better), I procrastinated actually driving a car until just about two weeks before my driving test. Sure, I would drive around a parking lot every once in a while, but on an actual road? With other cars? That was a different story. A few things to remember when driving that I unfortunately had to learn the hard way on the days leading up to my exam:
1: Don’t cover your eyes if you get scared. I know it can be tempting when attempting to make a three point turn with a semi truck coming at you, but I can promise it will not help the situation.
2: There surprisingly is an actual difference between the gas and the brakes. I know, I know, it can be confusing. But driving through an intersection is not the time to not know the difference.
And 3: If your parents or whoever you’re driving with does not approve of the use of foul language – well, they just might have to get over it when you’re first learning to drive. Some things just cannot be controlled.
Now, despite all of this pre-driving test practice I did (clearly skillfully and above adequately), none of it really seemed to matter when I was taking the actual exam. Fair warning to all those considering taking a driving test: All of your hard work and practice will go 100 percent out the window during your exam.
Or maybe I’m personally just an anxious wreck, who knows.
The first thing I was told to do by my examiner was to drive to the right of the cones until the white marked cone at the end. Sounds simple enough.
Well, her instructions were apparently unclear, because I drove into opposing traffic. In all fairness, how was I supposed to know that by “to the right of the cones” she actually meant “to the right of the cones”?
After working through the kinks of said situation, it was time to test my ability to park.
First I was told to back into a spot. I surprisingly didn’t do terribly at that task. My car might’ve been more parallel to the spot than it was straight back, but it was not the time to be picky.
Then of course, parallel parking. Now, honestly, why parallel parking still remains a part of the driving exam is beyond me. Parking garages exist, people! Nevertheless, I did as instructed and attempted to parallel park my car.
As with most things, I started off not so bad. I clearly had the procedure down (shoutout to that one guy on YouTube who’s video I watched 10 times on the day of the test once I remembered I would have to parallel park), but once my car started inching into the spot it all just went downhill.
And I’m really being generous by saying “into the spot,” because my car was more inching into the cones behind the spot.
But, like I said before, parallel parking clearly did not matter that much (neither did the other 80 percent of the test), because I passed. You’re probably just as confused by that fact as I was, but I wasn’t about to ask questions.
So, in a state of shock and gratefulness (but really mostly just shock), I returned to the desk where I picked up my temporary license and a newfound sense of freedom (more like fear but freedom sounds a lot better don’t you think?).
I can now confidently say I’ve been driving on my own for a little less than a few weeks. It took some getting used to, of course, but now I actually love driving. And I even know how to do it!
So, moral of the story is, get your license, no matter how scared or incapable you may think you are of doing so.
Confidence comes with time, and you will figure it out at some point or another, so just do it.
Also, if you see me driving on the road, please watch out.