Learning to drive is often seen as a rite of passage for teenagers; getting your provisional licence in anticipation of your 17th birthday and eagerly booking in that first lesson.
While teens and people in their 20s make up a large proportion of the learners we have at How-2-Drive, there are of course lots of reasons why many people don’t learn when they are younger, or why they start lessons but then don’t end up passing their driving test until years down the line.
We often get enquiries from people who aren’t sure if driving lessons are for them and the answer is usually yes! We’ve helped lots of people in their 40s, 50s and beyond to become safe drivers.
With this mind, we caught up with Susan Green from Chedgrave who passed her test with us at the first try in April 2017, aged 52. She said getting her licence changed her life so much, she didn’t know how she had managed without a car earlier.
What prompted you to take driving lessons in your 50s?
I had started lessons when I was 30, but didn’t get on with my driving instructor so I gave up. I then tried again when I was 50 but my instructor said I would never be able to drive, so I told him to get lost.
I am a carer for two disabled people so it was hard without a car having to take them on the bus. My son was the driver in the house, and when he left home it pushed me into trying again. I contacted How-2-Drive and the rest is history.
How did you feel about starting lessons?
I was very nervous to start with but I was told there was nothing to worry about. My driving instructor Fraser and I hit it off straight away, which was great; he was very calm and he soon put me at ease.
I found the theory test a challenge, but was helped through that and used Theory Test Pro, which is free when you learn with How-2-Drive. Once I had done a few lessons, I was really happy to go out every week and it was something to look forward to.
What was test day like?
I was very nervous for the test but my instructor just told me to do what I do on every lesson. I passed first time after 26 hours of lessons, and was so happy. I was the oldest person at the test centre!
How did driving on your own after you passed compare to lessons?
Driving on my own with no instructor, I was more nervous than I was during the test. When I got my car, it was like a first driving lesson again, and I would only go on short runs to start with. But I will go anywhere now, it’s fantastic.
It changed my life so much; I don’t know how I ever got on without a licence. Now I don’t have to wait for a bus or rely on friends for a lift. It’s also meant being able to go on holiday each year and it’s lovely to be able to get away.
What advice would you have for anyone else who is considering starting lessons when they’re a bit older?
Do it! It will change your life. Just stay calm and don’t worry what other people are doing.
Want to find out more about taking lessons?
Starting driving lessons can be daunting at any age, but there is no reason it should be any harder in your 50s, 60s, or beyond, than earlier in life.
Our instructors are all trained to deliver lessons in a pupil-centred way, which means everything is based on the individual’s learning style, strengths and weaknesses.
It doesn’t matter if you find some elements of learning more difficult than others; they will work with you to make sure you master everything you need to know and do.
If you have previously had lessons but stopped because of a bad experience, or have become anxious over the years about the thought of learning, we can help you feel more confident behind the wheel and become a safe driver.
If you’ve already passed your test, but not driven for years, check out why refresher lessons to get you back on the road may be perfect for you.