By Maddy Turner
Okay, so I’m pretty sure any time anyone goes for their P’s (or license in general), they have sweaty palms, a rock sitting in the pit of their stomachs, and a restless mind that runs constantly through worse-case scenarios right? Just me?
On Monday the 4th November 2019, I, Madeline Turner went for and passed my P’s test. *applause* But boy was it a journey. So, if you’re Australian, you’ll know that prior to attempting the practical driving exam to receive your P’s, you have to complete a Hazard Perception Test (basically a super easy electronic test where you respond to hazards). So I completed that, easy, no sweat. I wasn’t nervous at all which is very unlike me. So I returned home with that small victory, opened the page on my phone to book my driving test and looked at the availabilities. Holy crap, there was a spot at 12:00pm on Monday. That gave me four days to finish all of my night hours and get prepared for what felt like the biggest exam of my life – keep in mind I left school at the start of Year 11, so the HSC wasn’t a factor here. Look, I knew it would be cutting it close to get all of my night hours, but the next availability was the 27th of November, and there was no way I was waiting that long.
So, against all rationality on my part, I booked it in.
For the next four days I was all stress and worry, with every possible scenario running through my head. What if I forgot how to reverse parallel park? What if there was someone sitting on my tail when I was meant to do a curb side stop? Hell, what if an elephant escaped the zoo and sat on my car in the middle of a test? Look I know that that last one was irrational but I was panicking. On top of all of that, I did the worst thing possible – I told people I was going for my license and when I was going for my license. People, DON’T DO THIS. No matter how bad the temptation is do not tell anyone when you are doing your driving test, because guess what? Now they’re going to know if you fail. So the pressure was on.
Finally the day came. After days and days of waiting, it was Monday the 4th November. It was time. Luckily, my parents had pushed me to hire my driving instructor’s car for the exam (they weren’t entirely sure that my sedan 2003 Toyota Echo would quite cut it). I also booked in a lesson with my instructor as well, an hour before the test (shout out to JSP One2One Driving School, they’re great). If there is one hint I would give to people going for their license I would say definitely book a lesson before the test, because you feel like you’re on a role and you can do a lot of last minute manoeuvres practicing (oh, and also make sure to head check, head check, head check).
Now, I won’t bore you with all the details of the actual test – it was fine, probably the shortest 45 minutes of my entire life, a bug flew onto my arm and made me spasm in the middle of changing lanes… it was fine. I almost failed too – if I had missed one more head check or one more hazard I would not have received those shiny red P plates. But you know what? That’s all in the past now. I passed. I was so happy, I took my sister out for an obligatory Maccas run, and I even paid for her food even though I’m currently broke from buying a car.
Anyway the point of this story is to basically say, yes, the P’s test is scary. But these days, it’s the last test you have to take in regards to driving. It’s one day (or a couple in my case) of nerves and stress for decades of freedom. And hey, you won’t have to ask for lifts from people anymore – instead you have to give people lifts. Also if you fail, it’s really not a big deal – no one is going to judge you because a lot of scenarios/hazards can happen on the road that you can’t prepare for or anticipate. So it’s all good, just book in and try again.
Happy driving everyone!