I had my first driving lesson yesterday, in Spanish. Firstly, there is no option for learning with an automatic vehicle. That’s fair enough because this place has no flat roads and autos just don’t cut it here. Secondly, you’re not licensed to drive without an instructor until you’ve passed the practical exam. NaturallyÂ I was a nervous wreck, despite taking half a gram of trankimazen beforehand. Inside the car, he started off by explaining all the instruments and their functions.Â I showed the instructor my clammy palms, and he rather kindly handed me a serviette.
Although he spent a fair while talking about the electric windows, indicatorsÂ and lights, he then seemed to spend little time explaining the gearbox and handbrake, finishing off by skipping straight over the use of the clutch, foot brake and accelerator. Before I knew it, he was asking me to reverse out of the parking space, and straight up a 15% slope!
From there it was around a tight bend, along a narrow street, and backÂ down a 20% slope (where he gratefully assisted me with the pedals). We travelled from La Orotava through the old windy narrowÂ road to Santa Ursula as far as El Sauzal. I thought we’d be heading straight over the bridge to the quiet zone of El Sauzal, but there was no such luck. Instead, at the last second, without any fore-warning, he made me turn right and incorporate straight onto the TF5 freeway.
Driving on a busy Spanish freeway on my very first lesson didn’t exactly reduce my anxiety level, and after 5 minutes or so, we had to stop for some dieselÂ fuel. He went inside to pay, so lucky for me this was my little 5 minute break. Meanwhile, that sweat-drenched serviette quickly became a soggy ball of paper mush.Â It was at that point thatÂ I considered taking another trankimazen -Â but I thought I better not because the full gram is enough to knock most people out cold. I still hadn’t managed to get accustomed to using 3 pedals, and we were doing 100km/hr by the end of the lesson.Â But after having thrown me in the deep end so to speak, confronting my fears directly, head on,Â I’m sure IÂ won’t be as nervous in future.