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As we head into March, it’s time to catch up with another past pupil. This week we’ve had a chat with Annette Osborne, who did her driving lessons with Weelz instructor, Paul Jenkins, passing her test in August 2018. We caught up with her almost 9 months on to see how she found her lessons, and how she’s been getting on since she became a full licence holder. Here’s what Annette had to say:

“The run up to my first driving lesson was terrifying, my mind was racing with what to expect, as it had been 30 years since I had last tried to drive. Paul was so patient with me though and told me what to expect in a “new” car. I was pleased to drive on my first lesson, getting up above 20 miles an hour, and even gear changes went OK! I struggled with confidence in my own abilities and awareness. This stumped me for months, but I gained so much experience from different situations, some of which I would only expect to encounter after years of driving. I honestly could write a book about the things that happened to me whilst learning, from cyclists swerving out in front of me to a police car pulling out in front of me at a roundabout. We had a standing joke that if it was going to happen, it was going to happen to me while Paul was teaching me. Whenever I managed to achieve something new, it was such a boost, and perfecting the roundabouts was, by far, my biggest achievement.

I feel that my driving lessons have definitely prepared me for being out on the roads on my own, with a mantra of awareness, and always double checking it is safe, to be certain. My driving lessons taught me, not just how to drive, but to have confidence in myself and my driving ability.

I actually passed my driving test at the third attempt, and I have to say, my first test was one of the most scary things I’ve ever done. I could not stop shaking, and I was so nervous. Having said that, the drive was going great, and I just made one silly mistake. I didn’t mind that too much, because I felt it was a great learning curve, and the examiner was so nice about it! I realised then that there was nothing to be scared of.

My second attempt was perfect, until the last 5 second, when I failed on reversing into a bay at the test centre, you just couldn’t make it up! It was funny in some ways, but so, so frustrating. Thankfully, on my third test, I had the same lady examiner as I’d had on the second, and that made me feel a little more relaxed, so I passed that one. I can not express enough how the examiners are there to pass you and not to fail you. They aren’t scary at all. Even when I failed they both gave me great words of encouragement.

9 months on, I haven’t done loads of driving, but I will be doing when the summer finally gets here. The freedom to just be able to jump into a car and go wherever you want is so good, I honestly wish I’d done it years ago.

Learning with someone like Paul, who praises you constantly, and explains where you’ve gone wrong, without getting cross or annoyed, is a credit to Weelz and to Paul himself. I sometimes wish he would come and sit in to encourage me whilst I am out and about on my own. I’m still not a fan of reverse parking in carparks, but parallel parking is a doddle, as I cheated and bought a car that drives itself!

Thankyou all for giving this old girl a new lease of independence!”

Annette’s instructor, Paul Jenkins, who is based in Blackpool, said:

“Annette is a prime example of a perfect learner, She was always keen to listen and absorb information, whilst having the patience to learn from her mistakes. I always inform pupils that examiners are there to monitor a drive for forty minutes, not to fail you. It’s always nice to get a first time pass, but safe driving for life is the key, and its fixing the small faults that makes the difference.

Everybody that I teach is unique. Male, female, young and old will all learn in their own time, but the overall result of knowing road safety is always the goal. So, whether it takes you ten or fifty lessons, or one, or five tests, then don’t worry, you’ll get there in the end”