What a mess...

It started off well enough August last year. I was nervous, but I drove my new car home from work without incident. The next practice drive wasn't too bad either. But then early one Sunday morning...

I backed from the Kotkankatu parking place, and there I sat across the street - the car wouldn't turn, it wouldn't go forward... A police car proceeds towards me... They check the papers, breathalyse me... Finally it turns out that the handbrake is on. So I drove back to the parking space, got out of the car and returned home shattered.

Unfortunately this incident undermined my self-confidence completely. The next time I tried driving the motor stopped at almost every crossing, and after that I just couldn't drive. The MOT test was approaching, soon it would be time to change tyres, the car should get serviced... I can't drive - what to do?

On my short autumn holiday in Helsinki - during which I had planned to practice driving - I finally managed to calm down enough to book the garage pick-up service - it's just money after all. And that liberated me enough to have additional driving lessons with my nice instructor, and a bit later to pass the course for driving in the dark. I had again enough self-confidence that I could concentrate on learning to drive on my own.

I drove to Lahti for the Christmas holiday. It was both boring and nerve wracking. I was so bored I tried to listen to the radio: first turning it on I almost drove against the rails, then turning it off, I drifted to the right side lane... At Renkomäki I turned to the right when I should have continued straight and found myself in an industrial area, made a U-turn, got stuck crosswise on the road... But finally I arrived safe home, where I almost drove in the ditch staring at my mother smoking on the veranda: Look mama, I'm driving a car! During the holidays I drove almost every day, and finally I was able to feel relaxed when driving to the nearby shop.


On July 10th I had my driving estimate for the second stage instruction, and all the old faults were back: tension, hastiness leading to stopping at crossings, etc. Next week I used one day of my summer holiday for the actual course at the Kulloo track 96 km from Lahti. I left home before 9 a.m., and spent most of the day driving on the track: emergency braking on slippery track, jinking plastic cones, avoiding "elks", etc.

On my way back the police stopped me on suspicion of drunken driving: someone had informed them of an unsteady driver - me. Which I was, but not because of drunkenness but of tension and exhaustion - the winding and hilly main road 55 with its 100 km/h speed limit is an interesting experience! The police thought my driving was alright, but that I should have a break and a cup of coffee. However, I continued straight home, where I arrived safely after 6 p.m. Anyhow, it was all a bit too much.


I have left the certificate of passing the second stage driving instruction to the police, and I will get the permanent licence in November.