For a lot of people, the very definition of stress is learning to drive. Regardless of your age, it appears to be a rite of passage we all need to go through, so we can get by in life, for the most part. But, there appears to be a growing number of people who never learnt to drive at a young age. And as life wears on, and the necessity of driving becomes something that they can't ignore, people get behind the wheel much later in life. For some people, they learn to drive in their mid 20s, but some start much later. When learning to drive later in life, there are some positives to it, but there are some negatives. So, if you are considering learning to drive, and it's somewhat after the typical age, what do you need to know?
Does age equal experience?
The big benefits of starting later in life is that you've lived more of it. For those who have an intention to drive quickly, for example, if you're about to be a parent, this motivation, combined with a lifetime of experience, can make you a safer driver. But, if you speak to some instructors, this can be a hindrance. Because people who learn to drive when they are younger have higher confidence levels, this means they're not too afraid when it comes to driving in general. We're all different, of course, but when you are learning to drive, there has to be some confidence instilled. This is something that can wane as we age. Some of us learnt to drive when we were younger, but we couldn't get on board with it. This means that there is a bigger mountain to climb when you're getting back behind the wheel. As a result, your anxiety levels could be through the roof. To help you through this, your choice of instructor will help. For a lot of us, going through the rigmarole of being tested, especially in such a stressful environment as behind the wheel of a moving vehicle, is something that gives us Vietnam-esque flashbacks to school. Your two options when it comes to learning to drive is to get an instructor who is more than experienced with older people, and so they have more patience, and can guide you through the process with a little more care, or you can learn with a relative. But for some of us, learning to drive with a relative is potentially more difficult. It's your own personal choice.
Everybody you know has gone through it
At the age of 16 or 17, everybody is learning to drive, and so, you'll go through it together. But when you're older, there are a lot fewer people to help you through the process. While it's a cliche that everybody is in the same boat, as a mature driver, you can speak to people who have been through it before. And in fact, pretty much everyone you know will have been through it by this point. This has its own fair share of pros and cons. Because people have been driving for 5, 10, 20 or more years, they will have picked up their own bad driving habits. And they will try to give you advice on the actual mechanics of driving. It's best to avoid this, and focus the instructor and how they teach you. However, when it comes to looking at cars for sale, everyone you know has a wealth of experience, and this can help you pick a car that suits you right off the bat. For example, if you struggle with a manual transmission, maybe an automatic will help you. This is something that might benefit you more in the learning process. Driving an automatic takes a lot of the stress out of driving. For a lot of people, learning to drive is, predominantly, common sense, especially when you are that bit older, but it's the actual mechanics of the vehicle and the worry about stalling the car in the middle of busy traffic that is one of the more overwhelming aspects that could put someone off learning to drive altogether. But, with everyone that drives on the road, no matter how youthful or aged they are, they all have a story of stalling a vehicle, or even worse! Stalling the vehicle is a part of learning to drive, and it's better to accept this now. Because, in learning how to cope with these stresses, it's going to help you build up a well of resilience down the line also.
Picking a learning routine that's right for you
Either you have a deadline in which to pass your test, or you have all the time in the world; when you're a bit older, picking a routine that suits you will help to reduce stress levels. Choosing whether to learn in a manual or an automatic will help to reduce the amount of learning time, which benefits you if you do have a deadline. But there are so many intensive driving courses out there now, where you can learn over the course of a week or two, and have your test at the very end of it. Granted, these are quite expensive, but if you look at the cost of driving lessons now, if you have the funds available, cramming it into a two week session, rather than spreading it out over 6 months, a year, or longer, equates to the same amount of money approximately. And if money is a problem, you might not be able to afford lessons all the time, meaning that if you go a few weeks in between lessons, it might take some time to reacquaint yourself with everything. This is why you need to be regular in your lessons, because after a while, driving becomes an automatic function. You want to get to the point where you don't need to think about the actual mechanics in how you drive, and focus on the road. This is why going out with family members or friends, and getting used to the roads on your own terms will benefit you hugely.
Don't feel like you're at a disadvantage
For some strange reason, people who learn to drive a bit later in life feel that they have a major disadvantage over young people. The only major difference is that younger people, in a general sense, are cocksure when it comes to the rules of the road. But, if you look at younger drivers who have just passed their test, they are more dangerous on the roads. The benefit you have, as a mature driver, is that you will drive more safely. Being older means you are wiser, so when it comes to the rules of the road, you will have a far better understanding of safety, and this puts you at a distinct advantage over the other driver.
Starting to drive when you have that bit more life experience is something that proves to be a benefit overall. Because you spent so long without a car, you won't rely on it to get you from A to B constantly. A car, in this respect, is merely a way to help you achieve a bit more freedom in your life. Whether it's because you need to transport a baby around, or you live a little bit further out from civilization, you won't be using your car as a crutch. There are more and more people out on the roads these days, and you managed to get by without driving this long. When learning to drive later in life, there is no point in putting the stress on you, as it's something that will, in the end, make your life easier. And this is how you should be thinking when you go into this. Once you do pass your test, you won't look back, because you won't find yourself bound by bus or train timetables, and the option to go on day trips somewhere, and get somewhere in an emergency, are instances where you will be so pleased that you learnt how to drive.