Operation vroom-vroom

I have been meaning to get my UK driver’s licence for several years but never quite got around to putting a plan into action. That is until now! Yes, I have decided that the best way for me to survive the rest of this pandemic – and the subsequent lockdowns and isolation – is to have the freedom that car ownership provides*. But that also means that I need to have the requisite permission to drive said car.

And so, Operation Vroom-Vroom is now underway!

Once successful, I will have both a car and a driver’s licence. But it will be a little more complicated than just going out and getting them. Of course, everything about my life seems to be more complicated than the “norm”, so I am well-practised in taking alternative routes.

The first two steps of Operation Vroom-Vroom (OVV) are to (1) get a vroom-vroom, otherwise known as a “car”, and (2) get my provisional driver’s licence.

These two things are happening in tandem for now, as I am in the process of looking for a used car and have just started an application for my provisional licence**. I hope that both things will be in my possession within days of each other. However, I realise that it might take a bit longer to find a car if the one I am currently looking at doesn’t work out. (Fingers crossed that’s not the case!)

Once these two steps are complete, OVV will move into the exciting and (probably) frustrating stages. Those are the stages that will lead to my becoming a fully UK-licenced driver*** and car owner, which will (hopefully) lead to some amazing adventures!

When I began OVV last week, it was looking as if I would be unable to find a driving school that had lessons available due to COVID19 restrictions. That means that my initial plan was to practice driving on my own (or, rather, with my licenced housemate) and take the test hoping for the best. I imagined I would fail my first practical test, but that I would use the knowledge gained from the experience to practice more and to pass a subsequent test.

However, after contacting 24 schools, only to be told there was no space, the 23rd school**** got back in touch to say they could fit me in. That means that I will have my first driving lesson in early December, provided my provisional licence is in my possession by then. The instructor knows that I am an experienced driver and that I am comfortable driving on the roads here in Scotland, so I only need the lessons to learn how to “pass the test”. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself! But she has said we can be flexible on the number of lessons I need.

Of course, I can’t do too much until I have the car as I will need that to really practice my skills. However, assuming I do get a car and my provisional licence in the next month, the rough plan for OVV is as follows:

  1. Spend a couple of days getting used to the car so that I am comfortable driving into the city
  2. Book a theory test, which I expect to pass with ease
  3. Practise driving, parking, and manoeuvring around the estate and local roads with my housemate as my licenced overseer
  4. Take some driving lessons, the number of which will depend on an assessment of my needs based on the criteria for the test
  5. Book a practical test, which I expect to fail (but hope to pass)
  6. Practise more based on what I failed on the practical test
  7. Book a practical test that I expect to pass (although I might repeat steps 5 and 6 first)
  8. Drive somewhere all on my own in my pretty little vroom-vroom

As I generally do, I will share a few updates on my progress here on Just Frances. At the very least, you can expect posts about my getting the car and the licence. I might even share a post about taking my first practical test – but if I fail that, I will probably not share subsequent posts each time I fail another! (But I promise to admit to the number of tests it took to pass if when that happens.)

So, stay tuned for updates on Operation Vroom-Vroom followed by posts about all the subsequent adventures I take in my yet-to-be-named (or purchased) car!

And please do feel free to wish me luck and to send positive prayers, thoughts, and energy!

* Whilst car ownership will provide the freedom to travel and “escape” from home a bit, I know that there are a lot of responsibilities and stresses that come along with it. After all, freedom is never really free!
** It’s weird because there’s no test for this licence; just a bit of form-filling. Where I had to pass my theory test to get my American learner’s permit.
*** I have been here for far too long for my American licence to be technically valid for car insurance, which is the hold-up.
**** I will hold off on naming the school until I begin my lessons. No reason to jinx it!

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