When trying to decide on this month’s Hey, It’s Okay… topic there was one I kept coming back to and it is something I have received a lot of backlash for over the past five or six years; not being able to drive. For most people driving comes second nature and they’d hate to imagine what life would be like if they weren’t able to drive. If you ask me why I don’t drive it’s not because I’m lazy or I don’t want to but I’ve never done any driving before and the thought of having to control a car and not knowing what to do if something went wrong terrifies me.
In New Zealand there are three licence progressions. You can sit your Learner’s Licence (theory) once you turn 15 and have to have that for a minimum of six months before sitting your Restricted Licence (a mixture of theory and practical). Once you’ve had your Restricted Licence for two years (18 months if you complete a defensive driving course) you can then sit your Full Licence test. At school everyone used to get so excited about getting their licence and learning to drive and that was just something that never interested me. My priority was my schoolwork and I only lived 10-15 minutes away from school anyway so I walked. After high school when I did my Communications course it was refreshing to meet people who also didn’t have their licence and it made me feel like less of a loser. I took the bus as it was free for polytech students and a lot of people did the same.
I’m not completely useless when it comes to road rules and how to drive. I know what most parts of a car do and I have The Road Code (the New Zealand equivalent of The Highway Code) which I have read more than once and have had my brother quiz me on the questions multiple times. The questions for the Learner Licence test are multiple choice so I don’t think I would have a problem there because I have done practice questions online and seem to get them right. I start to worry and think about once I’ve got my Learner Licence and need to start practicing driving in a car for the next two tests. I picture myself as one of those people who drives 20km an hour and gets beeped at to speed up. Just the thought of sitting in the driver’s seat fills me with anxiety and dread. Another fear I have is that I won’t be able to reach the pedals because I am so short.
I do feel that not having my licence may have impacted the time it took for me to find a job. I personally didn’t see it as an issue because I am the kind of person who will always be at work and find a way to get there. Currently, my mum drives me to work and picks me up and I pay her petrol money. She doesn’t mind doing this but it’s amazing how much it affects other people and how they think they have the right to weigh in on the situation. I’ve had work colleagues almost imply that I’m lazy and need to gain some independence. I know they’re only trying to help but it hurts my feelings. I have never been late for work and it doesn’t harm anyone so why does it matter how I get to work as long as I’m there?
I don’t never want to learn to drive but I want to make sure I’m ready. After my course, I focused on getting a job as it was more important but I am working my way (slowly) towards sitting that first test. I am going to set a goal that I would like to sit my Learner Licence test before the end of 2016. Once I get over that initial hurdle, I will probably feel a lot better about the situation. My brother is really keen for me to learn how to drive and in a lot of ways I have to thank him for teaching me things and going through the questions with me. I am also lucky that I live in a town with a reliable bus system and town is not vastly spread out so it is possible to walk most places once you’re in town. As I said, I don’t have my license because I have no ambition to drive but because I am trying to learn how to deal with my emotions and feelings and make sure I’m prepared for when I am ready to drive.
I hope this post helps you understand me a bit better and if there is anyone else out there like me who worries about driving, know you’re not alone! It would be nice if we could encourage and support each other. For those of you with your licence, let me know if you have any tips for first time drivers!