Taking That First Step
November 14, 2018 By adminsunlightdriving
Meet Anna: A New Driver on the Road to a Better Life
As a busy mother of three in the Sydney area, Anna spends her days helping with homework, quelling arguments and negotiating bus routes. Although she’s been meaning to get her driver’s licence for years, life has gotten in the way and she’s never quite managed it. However, public transportation with three young kids is a hassle, and Anna knows it’s time to gather her courage and enlist in Sunlight Driving School.
While Anna’s ridden in countless cars, she’s always shied away from driving one. As she embarks on her driving school experience, Anna has several chief concerns:
What Will Anna’s Lessons Be Like?
Before Anna can embrace the open road, she has to pass a theory test and get her learner’s permit. The theory test consists of 30 questions, answered on a computer. Anna needs 24 correct answers to pass. To prepare, Anna plans to study the standard handbook and take sample quizzes online.
With her learner’s permit in hand, Anna is ready for her first driving lesson in St. George. She’ll need to take her permit with her to the school, then she and her instructor can set out on their journey. The instructor will drive Anna to a quiet, designated place so she can practice without too many other cars around.
Who Will Her Instructor Be?
Since Anna feels a little anxious about driving for the first time, she needs an instructor who will be calm, patient and understanding. Fortunately, the instructors at Sunlight Driving School specialise in helping nervous new drivers conquer their fears in a controlled environment. All the school’s instructors emphasise a peaceful atmosphere and construct low-pressure lessons to help drivers like Anna feel confident and comfortable.
What Skills Will Anna’s Instructor Teach?
In her first lesson, Anna’s instructor will give her an overview of the car’s controls. She will learn about safety procedures, and all about the automatic transmission. The instructor will also check with her as they go along to make sure she understands everything.
Next, Anna will learn how to adjust her mirrors properly—mirrors are a vital tool for safe and defensive driving. Her instructor will also teach her how to check her blindspot and how to use proper steering techniques.
Anna will also learn tips and tricks, such as when to use the handbrake on hills and how to drive during bad weather.
How Can Anna Combat Anxiety?
Even with a calming instructor, Anna is worried she’ll still get anxious during her lessons. Driving fears are common, especially for first-time learners, and Anna is no exception. Anna practices the following relaxation techniques to help her feel more comfortable behind the wheel:
When people feel deeply afraid, they may have difficulty breathing properly. Anna learns that if she closes her eyes and focuses on making each breath long and slow, she feels much better. She sometimes counts as she does this to make sure she breathes long enough. She inhales deeply and counts to four. She holds her breath for four. And then she breathes out for a count of four more. After she’s practiced this breathing technique a few times, her mind and body relax and can concentrate on driving.
Anna often tenses up when she feels anxious, so she combats the stress with a muscle relaxation technique. Starting with her toes, Anna flexes her muscles as hard as she can and then consciously relaxes them. She does this with every part of her body from her feet to her fingers before she even leaves home for her lesson. By the time she’s finished, she finds her muscles a more at ease.
Anna finds things around her to look at or think about when she feels anxious. She knows if she can distract her mind from its obsessive, negative thoughts, then she will feel more relaxed. Anna thinks about a good conversation she had with her neighbour or the upcoming trip she’s taking with her family. She uses any pleasant experience she can remember to help ward off the anxiety she feels about driving the car.
Anna avoids catastrophic or absolutist thinking as she works to become a more confident driver. She recognises negative thoughts that do not serve her and dismisses them with rational alternatives. If Anna finds herself worrying that she will get in a car crash, she remembers all the people she knows who drive every day and avoid accidents. She also reminds herself that most crashes that do happen are minor, and that she is a competent driver who is learning to drive defensively.
Prepared with information and filled with confidence, Anna can easily complete her driver’s lessons in St. George. She knows that with a driver’s licence in hand, she and her children will have a whole new world open to them.