My first driving experience began as I’m sure many other people’s did: sat on my dad’s lap pretending to steer while he did the pedals. I’d like it noted that we were in a field so no laws or limbs were broken in the process. In that same field at the age of 17, I had another go but sat on the seat and with access, much to my father’s distress, to the accelerator pedal.
“The brake is just as important as the accelerator Alice,” he would repeatedly tell me, eyes wide with anxious fear.[pullquote]I, Ally Wilson, have been a driver for three years now, and haven’t crashed since passing.[/pullquote]
Yeah right, Dad. Try telling that to an excited 17 year old who thinks that having mastered Rainbow Road on MarioKart qualifies her to be the next Lewis Hamilton. Safe to say it ended with a very poorly judged jerk on the aforementioned accelerator towards the edge of a fairly substantially sized cliff and a subsequent explosion of colourful language before a hasty ejection of myself from the drivers’ seat.
Surprisingly, I think the worst near death experience I’ve ever had whilst driving was after I’d started lessons. I had the classic three-lesson-in-cockiness and was convinced that I could drive my parents to the countryside and back again with elegant ease.
To this day don’t think this episode is as bad as my mum made out, and I still stand that the difference between second and third gear was far too extreme on the old Ford Focus I was driving. Alas, I was not aware of this quirk when I went into a sharp right hand turn in third gear, mounted the curb and forgetting to break simply accepted my inevitable death of crashing into the tree which was getting closer and closer. It was a shriek from my mother and a heave of the handbrake that eventually stopped the vehicle, and an argument very similar to the one I’d had some months earlier repeated itself.
Without giving the full details or naming names, I think having to learn from people who managed to get a speeding ticket in a motorhome, or who got the car stuck in a bog on the first night of our first and last camping holiday immediately set me back a few paces when it came to learning how to drive. But I can safely say that I, Ally Wilson, have been a driver for three years now, and haven’t crashed since passing. Depending on how you define the word ‘crash’.