Getting back on the road after a period of not driving can feel a little daunting. Sarah Alexander-Georgeson, a disability and lifestyle blogger, shares her experience of getting back on the road after 11 months of not driving.
I can’t quite believe it has almost been a year since I have sat behind the wheel of my beloved vehicle. ‘Beloved vehicle’ might sound like an exaggeration but the freedom and independence my car gives me are massive and I have missed it so much. Driving not only does the obvious – gets me places – but I like to go on a drive to clear my head and destress. Being unable to do that has really affected my mental health. I’d go on a drive and sing my favourite songs, returning home half an hour later more chilled and in a better mood. I don’t know why but singing has always been a form of therapy for me.
I have had a driving licence for fifteen years and over that time have gone weeks without driving due to poor health. Eleven months is the longest time I have been off the road, and it has been awful. Due to the decline in my health, I didn’t feel capable of being behind the wheel, I am unable to concentrate, and my eyesight sometimes becomes cloudy. I also become tired quite quickly.
Since beginning new treatment I have ventured out in the car but only on very short journeys – I have driven no more than ten minutes in either direction from my house.
I spoke to my boyfriend and my neurologist about driving again and they both encouraged me but told me to only take short trips. I couldn’t plan which day I was going to drive because with my health, I can’t plan a lot of things, so I got up one morning, felt okay and decided today was the day that I was getting back in my car.
Sarah is a Motability Scheme customer who had to take time off the road due to her health
I thought I would be anxious, I thought I’d feel like I did on the day of my driving test. I also worried I may have forgotten how to drive. Other than that, my anxiety levels were low, which was surprising because I’m an anxious person. I got in the car, adjusted my mirrors and seats from when my father-in-law had been driving me, and sat waiting for my boyfriend. I kept waiting for the wave of nerves to hit me and force me out of the car, but it never came. My boyfriend got in the car, asked me how I was, double-checked I actually was okay, and off we went.
I drove the eight-minute drive to Rushden Lakes, didn’t forget what I was doing, remembered how to signal, how to manoeuvre, what to do on roundabouts and dual carriageways – and all was well. I felt amazing. I felt relieved and empowered. I got my freedom and independence back, and it was wonderful. We stayed out for an hour before heading home and didn’t go out again for another week.
I am still only travelling within a ten-minute radius of the house as my health is still poor. I haven’t been out in two weeks and only go when I’m feeling able to, but I need to go out on my good days, or I never will.
I’m so happy I’m driving again, even though it’s not often and not far!
About the Motability Scheme
The Motability Scheme makes leasing a car an easy, hassle-free experience. With the Scheme, you can exchange part or all of your mobility allowance to lease a car for three years and, once the three years are over, if you decide to remain on the Scheme, you can choose another vehicle.
Insurance for up to three named drivers, maintenance and breakdown cover is already included in the price you pay. The Motability Scheme specialist at your choice of dealership will take care of any paperwork and place the order for you, and you’re supported by the Scheme throughout the lease.