Myself in front of my grey car (Ford Tourneo Connect) wearing a green knitted jumper holding up a practical driving test certificate.
Cerebral Palsy

Driving Update- 4 Years On

August this year marked 4 years that I have been on my driving journey, as I have spoken about in my previous post. So, I just thought that I’d update you with what’s going on with my driving, as it’s such a massive part of my life.

What’s going on…

Well, I do have some big news with this update…I’ve PASSED my driving test!!!!

Okay, that may be a bigger update than expected. Of course, I’ll fill you in with all the details, but I also want to reflect on how big of a moment this is for me. As I write this post, I’m still in disbelief that I’ve passed because of how long my journey has been.

Passing my test is so significant to me and will change my life. It will enable me to be more independent. You see, it’s hard for me to use the bus to visit friends or go out. Now that I can drive, I feel like I can finally start living my life as a 20-year-old (well not without considering the pandemic of course).

My original driving test was meant to happen in April, (so now I get to add a global pandemic to my driving story- this could be a best seller one day, lol).

I wasn’t ready to take my test in April, but I booked it for the experience and the fact that my instructor was moving. I didn’t want to have another instructor, because I knew that I’d never get on with another instructor as well. Having a connection with your driving instructor is important for anyone, but with my disability, I needed someone that understood me and got my needs. So, I was determined to pass my test with my instructor.

I started lessons again in July, and luckily my instructor was still around, but I knew time was running out. I was also worried that my theory test certificate would run out as well. Then there’s the ‘second wave’ of the pandemic which all tested my anxiety levels.

I was super nervous for my first lesson after the break, as I felt that all my hard work had been undone and that I’d have to go back to basics. However, I wasn’t as bad as expected and my instructor advised me to book my test for August…

I never took the test in August, my anxiety was far too high, and although we knew that it was unlikely that I’d pass and we thought we would treat the test as an ‘experience’. We still decided to cancel it, as it probably would have made my anxiety much worse, as at this point I was having a meltdown every lesson (I don’t know how my instructor put up with me).

So, I booked another test for September. I was feeling much better about my test, it was at a more suitable time, I still had another month- I was feeling more positive.

Only good things can happen between mid-August to mid-September surely?

My confidence certainly improved. However, the state of my car didn’t… Someone damaged my wing mirror whilst I was STATIONARY. I mean, I know I’m not the best driver but yeah. My wing mirror is still currently taped on, hopefully, that will get sorted soon!!

After numerous phone calls with the insurance, and a lot of mock tests, my test date in September came around, and this time I did it. I failed but I did it and as deflated as I was because I failed, I was so proud considering that the month before, I couldn’t even make it through a mock test without having a meltdown.

Failing my first test just made me more determined to get this done. Time was ticking with my instructor, restrictions around COVID were getting tighter I needed to get this done!!

I didn’t care about passing my test the first time, or second time. If it took me 10 attempts then that’s what it would take. It was the stress that I didn’t want, as booking my second test was not straight forward. I spent hours (no exaggeration) on the phone, trying to book. I was told to wait a week, then when I almost got through, I had a lecture that I needed to go to. It was so stressful and that was the part that I wanted over!!

I meditated before my first test, but I upped the meditation this time around and tried different programmes, and different apps to find the perfect one for me. I ended up using Insight Timer which was recommended by a friend and this helped. I did different styles of meditation every day, rather than a programme to help me look at meditation from different angles, and this worked.

I also booked in a massage to have the night before the test, to help me to relax, as relaxing is certainly my weakness. Everything seemed to be going my way, and my anxiety was improving…

However, again the state of my car deteriorated, and my electronic handbrake decided to stop working! This caused more trouble, and due to my car being so heavily adapted, it couldn’t go to a local garage, so it had to go back to the place where it got adapted. They were amazing, they ordered the part straight away, and a week later my car was fixed.

Whilst the car was in the garage, they also checked that all the systems in the car, that operate my adaptions, were working correctly and did all the updates needed. This put my mind at rest. Everything was now in place before test number two, and that test was less than two weeks away so not much could go wrong now.

The day before my test, the computer that controls my adaptation displayed an error, and therefore Paravan Space Drive (the computer) totally shut down, and I couldn’t use my adaptation. Aggghhh.

I don’t know how I didn’t cry, I was 24 hours away from my test, with a car that I couldn’t drive. I was so ready for this test, and the fact that it was potentially going to get cancelled was soul-destroying.

My dad phoned the garage that deals with my car and explained the situation. Thankfully, they came and solved the issue. Luckily, that was the last scare that my car gave me, as not sure if I mentioned it but I passed my test the next day!! My journey to get here has been very bumpy but I did it, and that’s all that matters.

Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly elements of my journey that I would change if I could! But now, I can finally get my pink licence and being independent is all that matters. Driving will give me so much more freedom, and I can’t wait to see what my future holds now that I can FINALLY drive.

Thank you for reading and supporting me throughout this journey!

Georgia x
@georgiavine4213
@GeorgiaVineOT

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