Friday, 6 September 2013

Challenge Carrie - Blogtember...Afraid

Today's BLOGTEMBER prompt is "Tell a story about a time you were very afraid"

There have been plenty of times that I've felt nervous or apprehensive, but there's only one time that I've been very afraid.

I didn't start to learn to drive until I was 21. Before that I lived close to everywhere I needed to go, public transport was pretty good and I was a student who put more priority on buying fresh pasta and dark chocolate than the necessities like driving lessons.

When I moved back to Cornwall my Dad refused to be my taxi, instead telling me to get the telephone directory out and book myself some lessons.

It turns out I was one of the first pupils my instructor had taken on since qualifying. For the first 3 weeks we spent 2 hours driving around deserted industrial estates and car parks, never once going higher than 2nd gear.

On week 4, in a burst of confidence my instructor told me that we would be driving to Truro, a town 10 miles from home that the tests were held in. This involved 2 dual carriageways and numerous roundabouts...I had never driven around a roundabout...

The first roundabout I got to led onto the dual carriageway, I forgot to brake - took to the dual carriageway at a death defying speed of approx. 20 miles an hour...tried to change gears...and stalled. Yep STALLED on one of the main roads in Cornwall. It was a Saturday so there was a lot of traffic.

My instructor was shouting at me to switch on my hazard lights and pull on the handbrake, I burst into tears and shouted back at her not knowing what to do, all the while cars were having to pull out to overtake me, sounding their horns...I have never been more afraid! I was convinced I was going to be involved in some awful accident, or worse cause one.

By some miracle I managed to get the car moving again, we limped along the road to the first junction where the instructor took to the driving seat and dropped me back home. I refused to book anymore lessons and resigned myself to a lifetime of buses.

It took my Dad to book a block of lessons with a more experienced instructor over a year later to get me back on the road - and we drove to Truro, without incidence on my very first lesson with him. I now love driving and can't imagine life without this skill, but for that short space of time back in 1999 I was petrified!

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