We say it all the time, but learning to drive can be a nerve-wracking experience. There's lots to learn and being in control of a vehicle is a big responsibility. Plus, come on, no one likes tests. To get your hands on a full licence you have to pass two! So, even though we're in the driving biz, we understand that learning the ropes might not seem like the most enjoyable process…
As with many things, though, driving seems daunting until you actually give it a good go. In fact, once you start to get the hang of it, you might even find yourself looking forward to your lessons! The reason learning to drive has become a kind of rite of passage for many people is that it's such a useful skill to have. Being able to hit the road on your own is both convenient and incredibly freeing. That's why our advice, even for nervous learners, is to believe in yourself and take the leap.
A great way to rip off that band aid and speed up the whole process is to take an intensive course. Now, we know the word 'intensive' can seem a bit… intense. Because it is! Seriously, though—when it comes to driving, that can be a good thing. You'll learn faster, be too distracted to focus on nerves and soon realise that you had nothing to worry about!
Below are just a few of the reasons that intensive courses can actually be great for all of you nervous nellies.
The most obvious reason intensive courses are better for nervous drivers is because it allows you to reach the finish line a lot quicker. After all, why drag out something you think you're not going to enjoy? When something makes us anxious we want it to be over as soon as possible, right? The aim of intensive courses is to do just that. They provide everything you need to know in as few hours as possible.
This, of course, does mean that you must be prepared to put the work in. Be ready to concentrate for a few hours at a time and take the process seriously. The more you focus on what your ADI is teaching you, the quicker you'll adapt to the car and absorb information. Another upside for nervous drivers is that the intensive approach gives you little time to overthink things. You'll be too distracted by all of the things you're learning to start worrying about what could go wrong!
Unlike with regular hourly lessons, on an intensive course you tend to cover more than one skill during each session with your instructor. This means that if you don't end up getting the hang of something first time around, you don't need to dwell on it. Before the lesson ends you'll have moved on to an entirely different skill. Didn't quite master the parallel park? No point stressing—pick it back up next time, when you're in a better frame of mind. You can't beat yourself up over the small things when you're already working on something else!
Another thing to consider is that if you space your lessons out it will take you a lot longer to get to the stage where you feel comfortable in control of the car. The first few weeks can be particularly frustrating for nervous drivers—who tend to doubt their ability to learn in the first place.
On the other hand, being thrown in at the deep end (though a bit scary at first) means you'll soon realise how quickly you can adapt to driving. The more you learn, the more you relax behind the wheel. As intensive courses push you to take on more information in a short space of time, this sense of comfort in the driver's seat should kick in earlier. There's also, of course, the added bonus that when it comes to test day, the knowledge you've learned is still fresh in your mind. Yet another reason to kiss goodbye to those nerves!
Don't be offended—we're sure to someone you're very special. What we mean is, this is a very common problem. When it comes to nervous drivers, most instructors have seen it all. Seriously. Part of their job is to build up your confidence and show you that there's no reason to feel anxious. If we're quite honest, almost all learners start out with at least a few niggly nerves. A good instructor will help you cope with these feelings.
The fact that on an intensive course you'll notice vast improvements in your abilities within just a few days should help you feel better. Tracking your progress is a great way to dispel any negative thoughts that affect your confidence. Learning to drive in the space of a few weeks is a massive achievement! If you manage it, maybe you are special after all...
OK so clearly we love intensive courses, and for good reason. Then again, if your nerves are so bad that you think you'd find an intensive course overwhelming, maybe give it a miss. If softly softly, catchy monkey is more your learning style, there's no point setting yourself up to fail.
You could just dip a toe rather than plunging in head first. What we mean to say is, why not try out a semi-intensive course? As you might imagine, this means more hours than basic weekly lessons, but not the full commitment of an intensive course. Many nervous learners actually find that this is the sweet spot. Plus, if you do take to it, there's no reason you can't ramp up the intensity as you get more confident behind the wheel.
Don't just assume that because you're nervous about learning to drive you should take things slow. This could end up backfiring and leave you a bag of nerves that can't progress past the early stages. Let's face it—more time also means more opportunity to dwell on problem areas and overthink everything you're doing.
Intensive courses push you to be brave and really embrace the learning process so you can throw off those L plates as soon as possible. With everything packed into a shorter schedule, there's also no chance of you feeling a bit rusty by the time you've secured a test date. Keep things fresh and keep things moving!
At PassMeFast we give you the option of an intensive or semi-intensive approach, as we've found this is the most efficient way for pupils to learn to drive. Fit lessons around your schedule and decide on a pace that works for you. On top of that, our booking agents will take care of all of the admin for you—so there's an extra weight off your mind! They'll liaise with your instructor and book all necessary tests. All that's left for you to do is buckle up, take the plunge and believe in yourself!