I passed my driving test in the summer of my first year at University, I was 20. I took it at 0830 on a Saturday when there was nobody else on the road, I’m convinced that’s the only reason I passed first time. Most driving test faults are for inconveniencing other drivers, if there aren’t any other drivers, you’re pretty safe. The next summer I borrowed my my dad’s car for six weeks while I was doing some geological mapping in the Lake District with then boyfriend. On the last day I had it, I reversed it into a pillar and smashed one of the back lights. He wasn’t best impressed.

Nevertheless, a few years later when my mum upgraded her car, I inherited the old one. When my mum first bought this car, I’d laughed. It was a bright orange (what the manufacturers optimistically called bronze) P reg Nissan Micra, I wouldn’t have been seen dead in it. However, once it was mine, I quickly grew to love it. It was quirky and full of personality. No power steering, manual windows and a tendency to pull to the right. The radio worked, just, and most importantly it was my very own. I even once got out of a parking ticket because they’d called the car ‘dark’ and I argued there was no way anyone would call my car anything other than orange.

It granted my independence, enabled me to work freelance, granted me space and freedom when my relationship broke down. I adored it. When I started nursing at university, I took it with me. It got me to and from placement and enabled me to help out friends. It led to me learning how to change a tire, at midnight during a party while more than a little bit merry.

Unfortunately, as my health deteriorated, my ability to take responsibility for a car stopped. When it failed it’s MOT, my incredible friends rallied round, phoning garages and gluing the steering wheel in order to get it fixed up. The killer blow came when it came to renewing the insurance. Unfortunately I forgot to send the new insurer proof of no claims as I’d lent it to bastard ex and he hadn’t bothered to return it (git) and ultimately the insurance was canceled. It sat unloved in the car park for several months and when I was forced to move, I came to the difficult decision to sell it. I wasn’t well enough to cope with the responsibility and it was getting to the stage that it cost more to maintain than it was possibly worth.
I miss it. It was my baby and I loved it.

Now I am without a car. Boyfriend has one and put me on the insurance for it but it’s too big and powerful and the visibility is crap so I don’t feel safe to drive it. However, with starting to do craft fairs and starting a course a fair way from home it’s getting to the stage when I could maybe do with my own set of wheels. I don’t know if I can though. All my drugs state on the pharmacy label

May cause drowsiness. If affected don’t drive or operate heavy machinery.

I don’t know if I’m affected or not. My drugs do make me sleepy but I take them in the evening so the worst effects are while I sleep. I would hate to have an accident and find my insurance invalid because I was driving under the influence of crazy pills.

The obvious solution would be to ask my psychiatrist. I’m scared though. I don’t want them to take my license away. Rationally a license is no use if I don’t drive but it’s mine and I don’t see why they should be able to take it away from me. Also I know if it’s taken off me, the odds on me ever getting it back are slim and that makes me incredibly sad.

I’ve also massively lost my driving confidence because I haven’t driven in so long. I could never park, even when I took my test and any slight ability I did have has evaporated with time. I suppose it would be possible to take some reminder lessons but again I’m scared they’ll tell me I’m dangerous and take my license again.

I just don’t know what to do. I want the independence but I don’t want to do wrong.


2 Responses to Driving

  1. willfindhope says:

    Im 20 and still don’t have my lisence, failed three times 😦

    Being on sedating medication doesn’t automatically preclude you from driving. It depends on how it affects you. I know people on antipsychotics who still do drive. I take Seroquel at night and it knocks me out so I know if I’ve taken Seroquel I’d definitely not drive in the hours afterwards, but during the day it’d be fine. You can probably judge how awake you are and to be on the safe side, ask your doctor too. x

  2. Lucida says:

    Asking for a professional opinion shoulnd’t endanger your liscence. A doc can only advise you if s/he thinks you should report your condition or med side effects to the DVLA after which the decision’s in their hands. Having a condition or taking meds isn’t relevent. It’s the effect either or both might have on your ability to drive competently and given you have plenty of insight, you can judge that for yourself. My doc said as much to me after I had a diagnosis. You can also check out the quick guide to medical conditions on the DVLA website which might reassure you. It doesn’t take long to loose confidence in your driving capabilities but then neither does it take long to reaquiare them. Start with short journeys in quiet places, preferrably with someone with you for support. Not sure what to suggest about the car however. Boyfriend’s doesn’t sound ideal although you’d be surpised how you quickly adapt to different vehicles. Why not go out somewhere remote and test it out?
    Take care.

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