One of the most incredible experiences in life is driving a car for the first time. Finally, the law trusts you to be healthy psychically and physically. Anyhow, everywhere this seems to vary broadly. While being allowed to drive at the age of 16 in the US, nearly everywhere in Europe adolescents have to be 18 if you want to drive a car. Austria has a special rule for adolescents, aged 15. As soon as they are 15,5 years old, they are allowed to drive. Still, there has to sit an adult in the passenger seat and the car has to be signed with a blue rectangle with white letters “L17”. You may wonder why there is the number 17 and not 15. Actually, this is about the age you are finally allowed to drive on your own in Austria. Of course you have to fulfil a series of tests and you have to prove that you drove 3000 kilometres with an adult passenger on your side. Neither you nor your passenger are allowed to be drunk or in weak conditions. If you may think, this is an occasion for many, many, many discussions in Austria. The majority of the Austrians consider it a bad idea to let seventeen-year-old drive on their own. What do you think about this legislature? Of course they are not allowed to drink any alcohol when they drive!
Driving seems to be heaven on earth. At least that’s how it always felt to me. Still I love the feeling of being the total ruler of the car. Although I jerk every time I hear my tires squeak. I drove already a few tens of thousands kilometres, however I remember perfectly my first driving lesson. You have to know that I am a totally nervous person, I am literally afraid of everything. Especially of hight and speed. The first one didn’t cause much problems as for I didn’t sit in a lorry. Though the latter one made me mad. Driving teachers tried to encourage my right foot to step on the accelerator, my hands sweated and I permanently felt the hard surface of the armature pressing against my knee. After a few minutes he succeeded and I drove at heart-stopping speed. Maybe 10 km/h? I had no idea. It wasn’t even fast enough to change gear. Suddenly I realized that I had to turn left, otherwise I would get acquainted with the wall of a nearby house. I remembered an article about trains – in the beginnings of trains they were afraid of the high speed (about 15 km/h), and doctors warned of heart diseases, illness and even the death after driving at that high velocity. Back then I laughed while reading, but now I totally understood. After turning the car left (which was no problem, by the way) my teacher thought it would be great to drive on the streets. Remember I told you I was afraid of anything? All I wanted was to get that f***ing driving licence – not to drive on a high-frequented road! There are lorries! And cars! And Bicycles! And pedestrians! And animals! And children!!! Children are the worst of all. They do not look left or right, they just run across the road as soon as they want to.
After a few months I thought about taking lorry-lessons. Now there was speed and hight. Despite my expectations, I enjoyed driving the lorry even more. I felt like the king of the road. You overlook the whole street. This is pure excitement.
My first driving lesson was a mix of feelings. Fear, curiosity and anger (because the car didn’t drive as I wanted it to drive) played the main part. By now driving still is a mix of feelings: freedom, fun and action. How was your first driving lesson and what do you think of driving?