Why I got P-plates after I passed my driving test
By the time I finally passed my driving test I'd given up planning what would happen afterwards.
So I hadn't really given all that much thought to whether I would have P-plates or not. It seemed like something distant and unimportant - the very LEAST of my worries.
Then I passed - surprise! I called my insurer and got my policy updated - "That'll be £150 Miss Clement-Hayes" - so I could drive straight away. That same night, I took my car for its very first spin with me fully at the helm.
My first drive after I passed my test
While it went pretty OK, I was soooooo conscious of what people thought. When I was driving too slowly I was worried the people behind me just thought I was a 'typical woman driver' and I was giving my sisters a bad name.
On my way home, a 4x4 driver (obv) behind me decided they didn't want to wait as I pootled towards a junction. They shot up a little metre-long side road and tried to turn right fast to overtake me. As there were no cars approaching from the left on the main road, I pulled out ahead of them. And if I'd done it a wee bit slower, we would probably have crashed.
I like to think the driver wouldn't have risked that ridiculous move if I'd had P-plates but I'm probably kidding myself. However, I would have felt better about the situation as they would have had fair warning not to make any false moves near me.
Do yourself a favour
P-plates aren't for the benefit of other drivers. They aren't a warning for idiots to be less idiotic - you really can't expect that. You probably don't even want or need special treatment. P-plates just help you focus less on what other people are thinking of you.
That's very important as you do your first few drives alone, because it lets you keep your concentration 100% on the road, not on whether the driver behind is cursing your existance. Happily, a lot of your fellow road users aren't horrible, so making them aware you've just passed your test can't hurt.
No one ever said learning to drive would be easy but it can be easier!