I Was Really Struggling To Learn To Drive. Here’s What Helped

Learn the tips that helped my finally get my driver’s license.


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Are you having a hard time with driving lessons? This post is all about what you can do if you’re really struggling to learn how to drive.

really struggling to learn how to drive

No one is born knowing how to drive.

Just like most other skills, it must be learned through hours of practice and dedication.

The first step to learning how to drive is to start taking lessons of some sort — but what happens when you struggle with the actual learning process?

Giving up might seem like the best option, but I promise it isn’t.

In this post, I’ll show you lots of tricks you can use to help you finally get your driver’s license.

They’re the exact tips I used to help me pass my driving exam after ‘struggling’ for almost 9 long months.

Let’s get started!

Is it normal to struggle with driving?

The first thing we need to establish is that it’s totally normal to struggle with driving.

You’re picking up a new skill for the first time and it naturally will take some time to get used to.

Of course, there are some people who seem to get it faster than others, but that happens in every area of life.

The most important thing to know is that struggling to learn to drive doesn’t mean you’re ‘not cut out for it’.

It doesn’t mean you have to spend the rest of your life being a passenger princess.

It doesn’t mean you have to watch everyone around you get their driver’s license while you stand and watch.

Rather, it only means that you need to give it more time and/or change the strategies you use.

I know this because I’ve been there. 

I spent longer than necessary in driving school, making the same mistakes over and over.

Meanwhile, people who started their lessons at the same time as I did got their licenses in half the time. 

I’ve had that awful feeling of defeat after my driving lessons and I’ve felt the financial strain of having to pay for driving lessons week after week.

For me, learning to drive SUCKED. 

At first.

I remember deciding to take a long ‘break’ after being so frustrated that I couldn’t get a reversing concept after trying over and over.

Back then I seriously considered the idea of remaining license-less for the rest of my life. 

But to give up on learning to drive meant to give up on all the benefits driving came with – and I didn’t want that.

Related: 5 Really Good Reasons You Should Learn How To Drive

I resumed lessons almost 6 weeks later and I made a lot of progress in a short space of time.

As of writing, I’m one week away from doing my driving exam! 

I am now licensed! (And I passed on my first try XD)

Keep reading to learn how I did it.

Struggling With Driving – 7 Tips That’ll Actually Help

1. Know your weaknesses

When it comes to difficulty when driving, knowing your weaknesses involves asking two important questions: 

1. Why am I struggling to learn how to drive?

The first question helps you figure out why you struggle to learn how to drive.

Is it anxiety or pride? Is it your driving instructor? Or is it something else?

Related: Is It Time To Get a New Driving Instructor? Or Are You The Problem?

Identifying what it is that’s holding you back will help you decide how to change. 

For instance, if you know that your pride keeps you from accepting constructive criticism from your driving instructor or asking for help, then you can take the relevant steps to be more humble about learning to drive.

How do I overcome anxiety to learn how to drive?

If your issue is anxiety, saying affirmations, prayer, or meditation are all great ways to calm yourself down. 

Click here to read a really helpful post for overcoming anxiety when learning to drive.

Related: 7 Tips For Getting Over The Fear of Learning How To Drive

2. What are my problem areas?

If you’re already in a driving school and have driven a couple of times, it’s unlikely that you’re completely clueless about driving. 

In reality, there are probably just a few areas that you can’t seem to get right. 

Question number two helps you spot exactly what those are.

According to PassMeFast.co.uk driving students typically struggle in one or more of the following areas:

  • Maneuvers like parallel parking
  • Roundabouts and junctions
  • Hill starts
  • Confidence and nerves
  • Using mirrors
  • Bad habits
  • Lane discipline
  • Clutch control (for manual cars)

Which are your problem areas?

Take time to sit and think about it seriously.

You’ll find that you’re probably not a horrible driver after all – you’re just really bad at reversing, for example. This makes improving your driving seem like a much more manageable task.

Think about it like this:

Imagine your driving struggles were the boss-level monster in a video game. It’s big and scary when you look at it, and you probably feel like you could never fight it.

But the monster is not strong all over.

There’s only one way to beat it – by finding its weaknesses. Once you know that its weak spot is its shin, you can go right ahead and give it your best kick.

2. Know your weakness like the back of your hand

Although this is heavily related to tip #1, I felt it needed a section of its own – it’s that important.

The truth is it’s not enough to just know your driving weaknesses – your driving instructor knows these! 

Almost anyone watching you drive will know these!

You need to go a step further and know your driving weakness very well, like the back of your hand. 

So it’s not that you’re just bad at reversing, you’re bad at reversing because you go too fast and you don’t use your mirrors. 

So what do you do next time? You go slower and you use your mirrors.


When you do your next driving lesson, you’re probably going to make a mistake or two – or a couple.

That’s okay!

Instead of feeling afraid about making mistakes, I want you to feel excited about it. You made a mistake and now you’ve identified another weakness to tackle.

As soon as your driving lesson is over, write that weakness down in as much detail as possible.

You can write this on your phone or keep a handy notebook with you for writing.

After that, the next step is to review your weaknesses before every driving lesson

This was a tip given to me by someone I consider a really, really good driver and it was life-changing.

Give it a go and watch as you start to improve.

Fun Fact: That person I mentioned earlier –  my friend I consider a really, really, good driver – actually failed their driving exam more than twice! This goes to show you that even if you make mistakes when driving, you’re not a hopeless case. You might go on to be the best driver you know!

3. Take notes

Tip number 3 for people really struggling to learn to drive is to take notes. 

Lots of them, in lots of detail.

As mentioned in tip #2, you can take these notes on your phone or write them in a notebook you carry. 

Your phone is a great choice because you can write your notes immediately, sync them with all your devices and even share them with others. 

On the other hand, a notebook allows you draw diagrams – which can be super helpful – and is great for people who learn better by writing.

Personally, I created a Google Doc on my phone from my very first driving lesson. It holds driving notes on everything from adjusting the mirrors to finding a safe place to park.

As great an idea as this was, there was an issue.

After I wrote those notes, they just sat there on my phone, gathering digital dust until my next lesson.

Please don’t make this mistake.

It’s not enough simply to take notes, but to read them as often as possible until it sticks.

It is particularly helpful to review your notes before your lesson, so you can remember what to do without your instructor’s prompting.

4. Filter your thoughts

Here’s another thing I did wrong. 

While driving, I allowed my mind to wander and I thought about everything from my crush to what I wanted to have for dinner.

While this is something that you will definitely do as you get more comfortable behind the wheel, I consider it a big no-no for student drivers.

Here’s why:

Learning to drive is a bit like when you first learned how to write. Back then, you had to focus and shape every letter carefully.

You needed to look at what you were writing because you weren’t confident enough to possibly write the letter ‘k’ without looking. 

But as time went on, writing became easy.

Now, you can scribble a grocery list in a few seconds, while talking on the phone, while looking at the ads on TV.

I’m (partially) joking, but you get the point. 

Right now, as a student driver, driving isn’t second nature to you yet, so you need to focus.

Instead of letting your mind wander, think about the route you’re driving. 

What lies ahead? Is it a roundabout? A junction?

And what are you supposed to do when you encounter those?

Thinking like this will give you enough time to make good driving decisions and avoid panicking.

Related: Improve Your Driving Skills By Practicing These 5 Life Skills Daily

Trust me – there was a significant difference in my driving on the days I filtered my thoughts versus the days I didn’t.

5. Slow down

If you think it’s okay to drive quickly as a learner, we have a big problem.

Driving fast as a learner is like trying to run before you can walk or a toddler trying to operate a forklift.

In other words, it’s a recipe for disaster.

Unfortunately, this was a mistake I made lesson after lesson and it seriously kept me back.

Ironically, slowing down helps you make progress much faster.

Let’s go back to our writing analogy from tip #4.

When you were just learning to write, you needed to take your time to shape every letter. Trying to write too quickly would just result in gibberish on paper.

Driving is the same but with more serious consequences.

Not only is going too fast unsafe, but it also robs you of the time you need to think about what to do next.

For example, instead of having one minute to think about what you need to do at the next turn, you give yourself 30 seconds.

If you’re guilty of going too fast I recommend you learn how to apply slight pressure to the gas pedal.

Good control of the gas pedal is actually a sign of good driving skills.

Learning this will help keep you at a consistent speed without being too fast or too slow.

6. Be consistent

Tip #6 for people who are really struggling to learn to drive is to be consistent.

You should be practicing at least once a week, every week.

Even if it isn’t obvious, you’re getting better with every practice – never worse. This means that the more often you practice, the faster you’ll improve.

Of course, struggles will come. But giving up isn’t the solution.

Consistency is 🙂

Giving Up vs Taking a Break 

I do want to say that taking a break isn’t the same as giving up.

Sometimes taking a break is completely necessary. You might have a lot going on with school, work, or just life in general.

Taking a break until you’re in a better state of mind can actually help you a lot! Just be sure that you don’t take a break for so long, you forget what you’ve learned.

Remember that it should be a pause in your driving journey, not a stop.

Here are some clichés and quotes that might inspire you to stay consistent:

7. Be optimistic

Finally, be optimistic.

Don’t just practice consistently – practice consistently and tell yourself you’re going to do your best.

Even if you’re struggling to learn to drive thinking negatively definitely won’t help.

In fact, it will only ruin your confidence. 

Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, or feeling like something’s wrong with you, do the opposite. 

Tell yourself you can do it, and you will do it, even if it takes some time. 

Because that’s the truth!

Here are some other ways to stay optimistic:

  1. Remind yourself that driving is a skill that must be learned – no one is born knowing how to drive!
  1. Refuse to compare yourself and your progress to that of any friend, family member, or stranger. Your journey is unique to you.
  1. Say affirmations to boost your confidence. You can find some helpful ones here.
  1. Imagine yourself driving, buying a car, picking up friends and family, living your best life. Thinking about the benefits of driving will inspire you to keep at it no matter what.

Related: 5 Really Good Reasons Why You Should Learn To Drive