I scheduled my driver’s license test appointment a week ago, and since then I’ve been anxious. Trying to figure out which route would be best to take to the testing centre a few blocks away.
Awake at 3am. Visualising which roads would be most congested during school drop-off and the delivery trucks making their way from the Main Road through the back roads, onto their next stop. I considered the starting time of staff signing on for duty at the municipal offices. Wondering what parking would be like and whether I’d have to navigate a narrow parking bay before I even got into the testing yard.
First time testing on an automatic after failing my manual driver’s license test seven times!
Needing a sense of calm on the morning of my driver’s test, I decided to NOT have a driving lesson on test day, and to go without a driving instructor. I didn’t want to talk pre-checks, parking or K53 and needed to centre my thoughts.
Thankfully, I had a very good friend available to accompany me (at short notice). Her calming presence and encouragement without any focus on my driving ability, or the test itself, set the tone.
I arrived at the testing centre at 07:25 and met with the testing officer at 07:40 where he took me through the process. With it being first thing in the morning there was less buzz around the offices, a favourable space as I maintained my calm.
Driving into the yard I parked my car in block A, facing the wrong way. Not part of the plan! Requiring me to do a three-point turn. And all I could think was that I hope I don’t get penalised for anything since the test had not officially started. I managed to turn the car around successfully, listened to the instruction, completed my car inspection and then started with my parking.
Previous tests saw me with penalties that resulted in immediate fails.
- Driving against the curb on a three-point turn
- Driving against the curb on my first parallel parking attempt
- Driving into a pole on my second alley docking attempt
- Rolling the car on the incline, twice
If you don’t know, or can’t recall, you are allowed 50 penalty points in the yard.
I completed my yard test and moved on to the stop street at the yard gate within ten minutes. Not sure if I made it, I welcomed the testing officer into my little Quirk and completed the pre-start check. Again, he explained the next steps to me and we moved off, turning left with a sudden instruction for an emergency stop!
This, my third road test. I failed the first one on penalty points and the second one for going over the speed limit.
The route we took was a bit different to the route that I thought we’d take, but still familiar to me. Not having to worry about the coordination for clutch-control made a world of difference this time around. I could focus on the road and my driving. Giving me enough space to take in my K53 observations without my mind going into a ramble about changing gears.
Throughout the road test I was able to hold a conversation while focussing on my driving as the testing officer sat back in the passenger seat observing my observations. Ticking off penalties!
Back at the testing centre, taking a seat next to the testing officer’s desk, I anxiously looked at the piece of paper as he calculated my penalty scores. He turned towards me, handed me a copy of the score-sheet and said.
“Congratulations, you passed. Go on over to the traffic office for your eye test, I will meet you there.”
I scored 17/50 for the yard test and 96/176 for the road test. Not bad at all considering that this was my eighth driving test!
It took me almost two decades and way too many lessons on a manual car. No one ever told me to try for an automatic driver’s license. The thought only occurred to me the day my dad downscaled and parked his new automatic car in the garage – two months before he died.
Could not have done this without the constant, at times most irritating and anxiety provoking, encouragment from my son!
Sometimes we forget that it's okay to move at our own pace or we expect others to succeed or develop at a pace that is not theirs, but ours. Be open to people who require a little bit more patience, understanding & acceptance. #ActuallyAutistic #BeKind #LivingWithIntent #mylife pic.twitter.com/PrgPwnTJ38
— Chevone Petersen (@ChevsLife) August 11, 2018