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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just started driver's ed today. Let's just say it's going to be a long 3 weeks. The course is called Licensed to Learn, but everyone but me has been driving for awhile, and is pretty comfortable behind the wheel. Obviously, they also don't have anxiety to contend with as well. The instructor kept telling me to calm down and relax -- I was thinking "this is me on xanax and meditation, I don't get much calmer than this!". Luckily, my instructor is a pretty nice guy, because I was pretty close to tears today. Ugh, I'll just have to stick it out and do my best. Any words of wisdom?
 

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Surprisingly enough, my driver's ed experience was one of the best things I've ever experienced. I was so excited to get my license and the instructor and I really hit it off. Seriously, this was a woman in her mid 40s and we had more in common than I had in common with most of my classmates in school.

These instructors are usually really friendly and relaxed people. They almost have to be. I guess I'm trying to say you should just try and relax and have fun. You'll only have to do this once. It kind of sucks with SA because you do have to kind of put yourself out there. My license has been expired for 4 years. I wish I could drive :(
 

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Hey. I think it's cool that you're doing a 3 week course like this. I learnt to drive over a period of months; and naturally, used to dread my lessons. I can understand how being behind, in terms of driving experience can increase your anxiety. As if it isn't already hard enough, huh?
It's cool that you have a nice instructor. Mine was very understanding as well. It's probably the only reason I stuck at it to be honest.

In terms of words of wisdom, I would say that the thought of actually passing my driving test and getting a car was what spurred me on. I now have so much more freedom to do what I want/go wherever I want without necessarily having to put myself in high anxiety situations. Trust me, it'll all be worth it in the end.

I'm always here if you need to talk about this further. Good luck :)
 

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my instructor is a pretty nice guy
Driving instructors need the ability to remain calm even if a student happens to be a rotten driver. Teaching someone to drive is not for those who anger easily.

Just keep in mind that everyone was once a student driver and was totally clueless, so anything you may do wrong has surely been done just as badly by many others before you. You're not at all alone in this.

The first time I ever drove was in early 1989 with my then 28-year-old brother. We drove his 1987 Ford F-150 (a full-size truck for those not familiar with pickups). It had a four-speed stick coupled with what was by far the worst clutch I've ever had the misfortune of driving. That truck would either buck like a wild horse or stall unless one was relatively skilled at driving a stick. Even those who knew how to drive sticks had to get used to this very finicky clutch. This kind of wild bucking can't be replicated on a manual transmission Toyota even if one was to intentionally try to drive as badly as possible.

My first drive was in an empty parking lot and I found myself wondering how the hell does everyone else manage to drive when it's so difficult. I soon found the answer: everyone else drives an automatic that takes no skill.

Trying to drive a stick shift (especially a really horrid one) as your first driving experience is on par with learning to swim by being thrown in the deep end and seeing if you drown.

On a positive note, after you pass your driver's test you never have to do it again ever! I've had my license for the last 20 years and other than a few quick eye tests that last all of ten seconds that's the only test I've ever had to pass for renewal. My last two renewals both lasted 8 years each.
 

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At 19 I took a driver's ed class and it was one of the worse experiences ive ever had.

My driving instructor was angry and short tempered. He constantly yelled at me which made me even more nervous and led to make more mistakes. He even indirectly asked me at one point if I was mentally challenged (which i am not). At times he would make disparaging remarks about my driving. One time he said i shouldn't be on the road because i'd end up getting someone killed. That comment stayed with me and ive never driven a car since.

Ive pretty much accepted now that I will never get my license. I get too nervous on the road and lose control of the car. I can't even back out of a drive way correctly without having the car go onto the grass. I am pretty convinced i have to be one the worst car drivers ever. Even when I was a kid I couldn't even steer correctly when playing those racing car videogames at the arcade.
 

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Trying to drive a stick shift (especially a really horrid one) as your first driving experience is on par with learning to swim by being thrown in the deep end and seeing if you drown.
Outside of North America learning to drive in a stick shift(manual) is not considered a big deal, as automatics are relatively rare.

In many countries if you pass your test in an automatic you are restricted to that and aren't permitted to drive a manual, which makes sense. It's a bit strange that this rule doesn't apply in the US!

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I remeber my first go at driving with an instructor, I was really anxious, he kept having to remind me to breathe, lol. He was ok though, always beeping the horn as I was driving and shouting at bad drivers.

It just takes practice, take it at your own pace and you'll slowly gain confidence. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all of the words of encouragement! My second class went a million tims better than the first and today's class was so-so. I've been practicing 30-60 minutes a day with my mom outside of the class, as I have a "midterm" exam next week. It's amazing how much difference just a few days can make; I'm still anxious, but not as much so. Wish me luck for the remainder of the session!
 

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I wish you best of luck with the rest of your driving course. Judging by your postings, it seems you're doing much better, and that's wonderful. :)

I took a driving course while I was in high school, and it was not the most positive experience. Driving scares me to death! A year and a half later, I took a public driving course which was much more positive, but because of my age, I couldn't get my license from the school but through the DMV. Talk about scary! There was so much pressure because my learner's permit was set to expire in a matter of weeks. I failed the first time, but then finally passed the second try. Yet, driving still freaks me out, and I still haven't driven on my own yet because of my fear. I've had my license for almost 2 years now.
 

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I wish you best of luck with the rest of your driving course. Judging by your postings, it seems you're doing much better, and that's wonderful. :)

I took a driving course while I was in high school, and it was not the most positive experience. Driving scares me to death! A year and a half later, I took a public driving course which was much more positive, but because of my age, I couldn't get my license from the school but through the DMV. Talk about scary! There was so much pressure because my learner's permit was set to expire in a matter of weeks. I failed the first time, but then finally passed the second try. Yet, driving still freaks me out, and I still haven't driven on my own yet because of my fear. I've had my license for almost 2 years now.
You're able to get your license through the school over there? Lucky.

If you're like me you might find a lot of pleasure out of driving alone (or with friends). I often do it just to kill time and get out of the house. I have my own car though.
 

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Ugh, my driver's ed experience was awful. The teacher would actually hold me aside after practice runs to ask me if I was even listening to her. Usually, I was such a nervous wreck on the road, I really couldn't pay attention to anything she said. I ended up having so many negative experiences from that class that I stopped driving all together, and then I was a year late in getting my license. Now that I am licensed, driving has become one of my favorite things to do. It's really liberating, and it's given me a lot of independence.

So, as far as advice goes, I would just echo you: "stick it out and do your best." You already know what the right thing to do is. :)
 

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Outside of North America learning to drive in a stick shift(manual) is not considered a big deal, as automatics are relatively rare.
Yeah, I know. I don't understand why sticks are so popular everywhere else in the world, yet 90% of US cars are auto. In the past there were sometimes stunningly large differences in fuel efficiency, but that wasn't so much due to it being an automatic. It had a lot to do with it being a really sucky cheapo auto that had only three gears, no overdrive, and no lockup torque converter. Today all autos have at least 4 gears, overdrive, and lockup torque converter and I think some autos now go up to as many as 6 or 7 gears. While a stick is still the ultimate in efficiency, the margin is getting pretty thin. I asked an auto mechanic who's an SAS member and he estimated the difference between a good auto and a stick to be about 1 mpg.

What has always seemed odd to me is that the UK, Japan, and Australia all drive on the left side of the road, which means a driver has to use their left hand to shift and manipulate a majority of other controls found in the middle of the car. Seems odd using a left hand to do the shifting when most people are right handed.

In many countries if you pass your test in an automatic you are restricted to that and aren't permitted to drive a manual, which makes sense. It's a bit strange that this rule doesn't apply in the US!
Ideally, driving a stick is something you should learn after you learn how to drive properly to start with using an auto. It's similar to how a swimmer starts out in the shallow end. Giving a 15-year-old with a permit a stick and saying "drive it" is like throwing a non-swimmer in the deep end.

If I owned a stick shift there is no way I'd want to teach anybody how to drive it. There is nothing quite like the sound of gear grinding. It's on par with fingernails on a chalk board. Bucking & stalling as also a standard part of learning to drive stick (though some sticks are much easier to drive than others).

I know one of the restrictions that can be put on a US drivers license is "automatic only" -- I assume that's for elderly drivers who have a hard enough time driving anything period. These are likely the same folks who get "daytime driving only" restrictions.
 

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Yeah, I know. I don't understand why sticks are so popular everywhere else in the world, yet 90% of US cars are auto.
I don't understand it either. Here in Ireland there's a certain stigma attached to driving an automatic, particularly if you're male. This doesn't apply to luxury cars, but a guy who drives a smaller automatic is thought not capable of driving a "proper car"(i.e a manual) and is considered a bit of a wimp. Utterly ridiculous!

What has always seemed odd to me is that the UK, Japan, and Australia all drive on the left side of the road, which means a driver has to use their left hand to shift and manipulate a majority of other controls found in the middle of the car. Seems odd using a left hand to do the shifting when most people are right handed.
One big advantage of shifting and using controls with the left hand is that the right hand remains on the steering wheel. So, overall, there's probably little difference between driving on the left or the right.

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