Late To My License

Planche writes about his traumatic experience with learning to drive

Seth Miller

Planche writes about his traumatic experience with learning to drive

Zach Planche, Staff Writer

Summer just began, and I already have to wake up early. My mom drives me to Mansfield Driving School. I’m nervous about my first day. I walk in and see an old friend. We catch up, and my nerves become settled. The instructor interrupts our conversation and calls us into the classroom. We take our seats and wait for the instructor to begin in silence.

I began my driver’s education in June 2018 and the class would conclude right before July. It began at 10 a.m., and that’s when I wake up during the summer, so needless to say: I was not happy. 

Every day, we would have a lesson and take a quiz over it at the end. The content felt easy and common sense based, so the quizzes took little to no effort. After we could talk with friends until our rides got there.

The last day became bittersweet. We had a final exam to determine if we could get our learners’ permits. I was prepared for that but not prepared for the absence of my new group of friends. After everyone had finished the exam, we could leave. We said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. Though I would miss them, I became excited to finally start driving practice.

Right after I got into the car, my mom told me we would go to the DMV right away to apply for my permit. I became shocked but ready to take the step. We got in and out quickly. We then went to my grandparents to see them and “celebrate.” I felt good and wanted to go for a drive, ready as I would ever be.

I knew how to start a car and everything, but I had never really paid attention to the mechanics of it. I put the key in the ignition, turned it and froze. My mom had to tell me every little thing just to get out of the driveway. 

I slowly but surely pulled out and went on the road in my grandparents’ neighborhood. I did good for a while; in the lane with constant speed, but at this point in my life I didn’t know the actual functionality of the wheel.

When I took my first turn, I shook and wasn’t very confident. I thought the way the wheel turned was the way it went, but I did not know about the one and a half rotations it can do. So instead of turning the wheel back to go straight, I kept it and went off the road pretty violently. I am lucky that it wasn’t a major road, but the event still shook me.

After, I switched seats with my mom and could not even speak; lost for words. I began to think of what could’ve happened if I drove for real; on a major road or something. That reality scared me, and I did not end up driving for a whole year.

I went the whole sophomore year without driving. Friends would tease me about it, but it did not bother me that much, that was until junior year.

Beginning of the junior year I would always get comments like “why don’t you drive yet?” and I did not know how to answer, I didn’t want to spill how I got so shaken up. That’s when I knew I had to try again.

In October, I drove for the first time since the incident. I took it slow and finally got somewhat comfortable. After hours of personal practice, I finally signed up for drive times. I waited so long because I wanted to make sure I could keep myself and everyone else in the car safe.

The drive times went by smoothly. I did very well and finally became mentally-ready to take my test. I waited until winter break to take my test and passed with a 95. It wasn’t a 100, but it was a long-time coming and I couldn’t be happier. 

I became more confident in myself and the new-found freedom my license provided.