So I finally passed my driving test! It was a couple of months ago now and it was such a relief. I will be completely honest and let you know that I didn't manage to do it first time. All the other non first-timers I know have said that it makes you a better driver and I am not arguing with them. I was actually quite nervous doing my test, not because I was a nervous driver but just because I get nervous when I am being examined/scrutinised. But I got there in the end.
However, what I quickly realised is that taking driving lessons only really helps you to pass your test, they don't really help you to be a driver. Driving a car everyday without an instructor next to you in the car is when you actually become a driver, and I was keen to become a fully fledged driver as quickly as possible.
With that in mind I bought my first car, second hand (actually I think it is 4th or 5th hand as it's about 11 years old) – and it's perfect. It is small with not too powerful an engine and I got it from a colleague at work, so it was easy. As I know absolutely nothing about cars and had no one to advise me I thought it best just to buy a car off someone I knew.
So then I had the car I had an awful thought: I HAVE TO DRIVE IT!! ON MY OWN! Well, I had enough to be thinking about with 'Mirror, Signal, Manouevre' as well as keeping an eye on other traffic I knew I was going to need some help. My saviour came in the shape of my TomTom Via 135. She (yes, SHE, because she has a woman’s voice – very reassuring) tells me which direction to go in when to turn left or right, what lane to get into even. You can customise your TomTom to give you as much or as little assistance as you would like.
Personally I wanted everything so mine tells me street names with early instructions like 'ahead, turn….' or 'in 300 yards take the 1st exit on the round about', which may seem like a small things but when you are driving and you know in advance what exit to take or what street name you are looking for as well as the fact that it is the third turn on the left it really does make thing easier. It is a joy.It means I can actually relax and focus on learning how to handle a car and drive in busy London streets without the added stress of trying to read road signs or checking lane positioning (something else TomTom tells). I don't even have to stress about speed cameras as it lets me know when those are coming up.
The TomTom took me minutes to set up and because it comes with an in-car charger I never need to worry about power supply. Actually as I write this I am only now beginning to realise how little I have to worry about when driving because the TomTom design is so complete it takes all the worry away. Perfect if you are a new driver like me or a nervous or apprehensive driver, or even just a driver who has to travel a lot. Make every journey stress free.
TomTom Via 135 allows you to store your home address as well as 'favourites' so you can plan your route really quickly and efficiently. Also, because it works on a GPS signal, I did wonder if there would ever be any issues with not picking up a signal or loss of signal, but not so far! Every journey has been smooth and hassle free. Every journey that is except for one time travelling to a new destination I got a bit lost, which was entirely my own fault, I thought I knew better than the TomTom! I won't be making that mistake again. So, in order to get me back on track I looked for POI (points of interest), found a major railway station that happened to be across the street from where I needed to be and it got me there quickly and easily while I calmed down about being lost!
Now, I never ever get in the car without my TomTom. I have had some people suggest that I am not a true driver if I use my TomTom to navigate my journeys. To that I can only say, if getting into my car feeling confident and reassured that i know exactly where I am going and knowing how I am getting there is not a true driver, then so be it. I have not had a signal journey where my TomTom was not there instructing me all the way and I believe I am a better, more relaxed and more confident driver for it!