A Sussex woman who took seven driving tests before she passed has produced a booklet to provide positive motivation for discouraged student motorists.
Sarah Diallo, 23, said she wrote Take the L because she never found any positive or encouraging advice that did not come across as patronising when she was learning to drive.
Having started when she was 18, just before she went to university, she finally passed her driving test on her seventh attempt, on December 28, 2017.
Sarah, a fashion, lifestyle and beauty blogger who lives in Worthing, said: “I told myself when I finally pass, I will tell my story and hope that will encourage others.
“I got an overwhelming response on my video when I finally did pass. It made me forget about the struggle and just feel pleased to be able to turn a negative situation into a positive and help others.”
She studied English and American Studies at the University of Leicester and admitted her degree eventually took priority over driving.
But in January 2016, as the course was coming to an end, she started taking her driving lessons seriously again.
“I thought I can’t keep going round in circles with this,” said Sarah.
But every time she failed, it felt like a slap in the face.
Sarah said: “I was disappointed the first time I failed but not particularly upset because I know a lot of people don’t pass time. However, with every failure, it got worse and I felt like I was never going to be able to pass.
“I think it was the anxiety of the tests. I’d overthink simple things and in one of the ones I failed, my leg started shaking so badly that I couldn’t operate the pedals and had to ask the examiner if I could pull over.”
On her second test, she shifted into first gear instead of third and a truck behind had to brake rapidly when the car started jumping.
In the third test, she drifted in to the wrong side of the road at one point and on the fourth, she missed the signs for a give way junction and just kept going. She also made a mistake on a roundabout and failed the next two tests on roundabouts, too.
When it came to the point of moving back to Sussex, Sarah felt she could not rely on public transport and finally, she passed with only one minor.
She recommends young people ask to be insured on the family car, if possible, so they can brush up on their skills once they are getting to the point where they can drive.
“This is what I did and I think it’s what got me through in the end,” Sarah explained.
“I’ve gone through many emotions each time, nerves, anxiety, stress, confidence and even no emotion whatsoever.
“Something I learned was to just not put pressure on myself and knowing when I was actually potentially ready to pass.”
Sarah, gives some good advice for after you pass, too, and hopes her story will ‘help anyone who is feeling low or sad about their driving’.
She said: “I want people to know it’s important not to give up, and that you don’t need to put pressure on yourself. Everyone wants to pass quickly but no one thinks about the negative effects that unsafe driving can have.
“Now I’ve passed, I’m thankful because I’m a much safer driver because of the setbacks and in the end they taught me the value of having a licence.”
The booklet was produced with the help of Fixers, a charity that provides young people with professional resources to help them campaign on issues they feel strongly about.