Monday, October 12, 2015

Are you scared of learning.. to drive a car?

Img courtesy here
Lots of people have congratulated me on my post "What I actually learned while learning to drive on Indian roads" and few have come forward to email me to share their personal fears towards driving.
Like this snippet from a mail I received few days back from a reader :
"I am scared of driving and every time I have tried driving, I don't know but there's this strange feeling of getting involved in an accident which keeps me away from the steering wheel.
It has now reached an embarrassing situation for me. I have a car sitting at home yet have to rely on public transport for my daily traveling needs. I am running low on self esteem because of this one single reason and sometimes I wonder if there are other men who actually go through this fear. My to be wife is not aware of this. Probably if I tell her, she will simply move on in life without me. What kind of a guy doesn't drive a car after all? 
I don't know where this fear of driving has stemmed from considering my father is an excellent driver.
However your article gives me some hope. May be I should keep trying.
Thank you for the wonderful article."
Though I replied to this person personally giving some tips that helped me overcome my fears, I realized why not to share those thoughts with a wider audience now that I am aware about many such people who have this fear for driving. But before giving my tips, let me express one sentiment here:
Please do not associate the skill of driving to a gender. Anyone can learn it, just the same way anyone can refrain from it. At least, one should realize that driving car does not help anyone in producing more sperms or ovulate better! It's just a skill - that's it!

I have a friend who doesn't drive and his wife, though she would love to see him driving, doesn't mind much. I also have an aunt who drives while my uncle i.e. her husband, doesn't. Believe me, they both are normal couple in a very loving relationship.
Having said that, it doesn't mean you should not drive and if your wife turns out to be someone like my friend's wife you should try to learn driving all the more; such a lady deserves that. And if you are a woman reading this post, do not let that fear cripple your urge to drive. Your skill to be able to drive a car will make your husband proud of you and you will be like a helping hand to him in this chaotic world esp.  in Metro cities. Driving Car is not a necessity when you can avail of good cab services like Uber but in these times it sure makes life comfortable in days of need like during nine months of pregnancy or being with elderly parents when visit to a doctor is a routine and sometimes, urgent

I have tried learning to drive 4-5 times (I even completed a course in a driving school!) and even when I failed each time, I didn't gave up. There came a time in my life - let me call it the magic month when I started feeling confident driving the car alone on the busy Bangalore roads. I'll give you my tips that I followed during that month to overcome my fear:

1. Sleep tight in the night with the resolve to drive to office next morning at early hours as soon as light breaks out like 6 am. There is almost no traffic that time. This will make you familiar with the road that you travel every day without any fear.
2. In the evening also, make sure to leave office early like 4 pm when traffic is very less. Initially two three days you will be scared but I bet it's manageable.
3. Always drive slowly. Let others honk or bark, keep the windows up, AC on, wear your smile and give others way to carry on with their race. You take your own sweet time in covering any distance.
4. Start with driving at 2nd gear and don't bother about shifting to 3 till you are a bit comfortable about the road.
5. Do this for at least four-five days and don't give up in just one or two days. Remember, it takes at least 3 days for a new situation to settle in. I am sure by the end of the third day you will start feeling like a winner.
6. My father says - In any case of emergency, forget all other controls and just apply break.
7. The more you practice, the more you'll overcome your fear. Stop in between and you have to start all over again! Choice is yours.
8. Always follow rule no. 3 and be always aware of rule no. 6.

But more than all the points above, it was the company of my friend who was at similar stage of learning as me that kept me moving. Instead of having a person who is a good driver at passenger seat, try to find someone who is also in the learning phase and take alternate turns in driving. That way, you will not be conscious of the presence of someone who is a master of the art and can concentrate more as well as meditate on your mistakes more. My friend and I, were a constant support to each other as we drove together to office during that magic month.

Do you have any other tip to add to this list that can help those who want to learn driving? Or you have your own driving story to tell? I would love to read those, please share in the comments section below.

For all those who are trying to learn, all the best and don't forget to tell me when you win over your driving fear.

Happy Driving :)

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