Learning to drive later on in life can seem super scary. Many people say that you pick up new things far easier when you are young, so what if you struggle to do something that people younger than you seem to be great at? What if you can’t get the hang of it at all, or what if, heaven forbid, you have an accident?
Learning to drive later on in life is possible for just about anybody. It’s never too late to learn something new, and a simple change in mindset is often all it takes to begin. Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about learning to drive later in life.
It May Take You Longer – But You’ll Get There
You might be worried that you simply won’t be able to learn how to drive, but this is not the case at all. It may take longer for you to reach your goal, but you will get there – no matter how difficult it seems right now, It takes around 30 hours for a younger driver to learn to drive, while it can take up to 50 for somebody in their 40s or older. It might not take you this long, or it might take you a bit longer. It will depend on many factors.
However, the reason it takes longer isn’t usually because the driver is a slow learner – it’s because they have more commitments, and need to fit in their lessons around them. You actually might be at a better advantage, as those who have spent many years as a passenger will have a good idea of hazards and be very perceptive to the road around them. Don’t focus too much on how long this is going to take you. If this is something you know you want to do, just try to enjoy the process and track your progress. Feeling like you’re not progressing fast enough will almost certainly slow you down.
Intensive Lessons Could Help
You don’t want to schedule infrequent lessons as by the time you get back behind the wheel you may have forgotten what you learned in your last lesson. Driving comes naturally to people who learned a long time ago, as it’s all about muscle memory. That being said, you need to work harder to build the skills in the beginning before they will stick.
Having intensive lessons on your days off work could be a good way to really hone your skills and get your license faster. For example, rather than an hour long lesson, you could get a double lesson. An intensive driving course may also be a good idea if you’re worried about the process taking a long time. However you decide to do this, the frequency of your lessons is very important. You should go for a minimum of one lesson a week for the best results, but in an ideal world, 2 lessons a week is best. You need to do what feels right to you and what you can afford, but the more frequent your lessons, the faster you will pick up the skill.
You’ll Need An Instructor You Get Along With
Don’t pick your instructor on a whim. Read third party reviews online, check out social media pages, and ask friends and family. Even ask your social media contacts for recommendations. This is an important decision, and you’re going to need somebody you trust and can chat to. You don’t need a therapist or somebody to spill all of your deepest, darkest secrets to, but you do need to have a rapport with them so you can build a good working relationship.
You don’t want somebody who is easily frustrated, or will chastise you for making mistakes. You also don’t want somebody who will purposely hold you back. They need to challenge you without making you never want to get behind the wheel again – this is how you will improve and grow. Make sure you ask questions to people you know so you can shortlist a few and then call them up and ask anything you need to know to ease your mind. Not all instructors are created equal, but many will agree that somebody who will challenge you, along with a calm demeanor is best.
Consider Learning In An Automatic
If you’re worried about the length of time it may take for you to learn and how difficult it’s going to be, learning in an automatic car will be a fair bit easier and give you less to worry about. Just bear in mind that passing a manual isn’t that much more difficult, and you will be able to drive any car once you have passed. Also, only learning in an automatic means you will be limited to the models you can drive. You won’t be able to look at buying the Nissan Silvia S16 and similar manual cars if you decide to go automatic. It’s only advisable you learn in an automatic if you need to get your license in the shortest amount of time. If you can help it, learn in a manual so you have more choice.
Remember, Confidence Is Key
Your confidence is key to your success and how quickly you progress behind the wheel. It’s normal to be a little nervous, but you can still keep a positive mindset and a can-do attitude. You will make mistakes and get confused, but that doesn’t mean you should start thinking that you’re attempting to achieve the impossible. Below are a few ways you can improve your confidence.
- Have a good chat with your instructor beforehand so you’re comfortable with them before you get in the car.
- If you have some big worries, explain them to your instructor and they will likely put you at ease.
- Practice visualization and see and feel yourself driving a car. Do this each day, especially before lessons. Many athletes and successful people swear by this technique!
- Practice good posture.
- Breathe deeply.
- Swipe negative thoughts away like you’re closing apps on your phone.
- Make sure you’ve had plenty of sleep. You should never drive while tired!
- Don’t drink the night before a lesson. You want to feel refreshed.
- Book your lesson at a time you feel your best, whether that’s morning or afternoon.
Remember, it can also be helpful to book lessons for different times of day if possible, so you can get used to the road in various conditions. This can be scary, but you want to be as prepared as possible before getting behind the wheel of a car alone.
The Odds Are In Your Favor
There’s some good news if you look at the stats: even in your 40s and 50s, you still stand a 1 in 3 chance of passing first time. Those are really good odds, so if you have it in your head that there’s no way you can pass because you’re ‘too old’, you can stop thinking that now. You don’t get in the car with an automatic fail. Many people think that they have a fail and they have to try to turn it into a pass, but the opposite is true. You get in the car with a pass and you simply have to keep it that way. Remembering this as you go about your lessons could help you!
See If You Can Gain Further Experience From Family Or Friends
Only having lessons in one kind of car may not be the best way for you to improve. Why not see if you can gain further experience from family or friends? You will need to have somebody experienced in the car with you, and you may need insurance. If somebody isn’t a qualified instructor, you need to make sure you trust them enough to take you out in the car. There’s nothing more stressful than driving alongside somebody who is a poor teacher and gets stressed out easily! Make sure you keep this in mind as you attempt to gather extra skills.
Your Biggest Obstacle
Get it into your head that Your own beliefs and attitude towards learning to drive are your biggest obstacles. You can learn to drive as an older person, no two ways about it. You simply need to make sure you schedule in regular lessons, work hard, and keep that positive mindset. Getting into the right headspace before a lesson is also a big help, which is why looking after your health is important.
It may also help you to know that learning to drive may not always be a linear process. For example, you may have a few great lessons, and then bomb on your next lesson. It’s more like a rollercoaster than a straight line. You can get home feeling dejected after a bad lesson and like you should give up. Don’t! Everybody has days and lessons like this, and eventually, you will have a breakthrough.
Are you going to learn to drive later in life? Leave your own thoughts below!