KANGAROO! This is what my brother shouted from the back of the car the first time I went for a drive. It was the day of my 17th birthday and I was keen to go for a drive for the first time. I’d just had my first lesson and was feeling confident for a spin round the block.

However, three minutes later I had caused a jam on the main road, stalling every two seconds and trying my hardest to turn into Charles Street. “Kangaroo! Kangaroo!” Alisdair shouted, because I was stalling so much that the car resembled a hopping kangaroo. After five minutes, the traffic was no doubt queued down to Hasties and I finally managed to get the car going. However, I must have forgotten to turn because I just went straight on. This has haunted me ever since.

I decided to have a chat with my driving instructor Maggie Smith about learning to drive to see what tips she had for learners and new drivers.

She said, ‘If you’re lucky enough to have the means to learn to drive young you are at such an advantage. It gives you another level of independence and it can also open many doors to job opportunities that just wouldn’t be possible without a licence. Try to forget about the "test". Instead focus on watching other road users and making safe decisions.’

When asking her if I was a nightmare to teach she was very kind and said that I was not. However, she did say that the ‘biggest problem was teaching you and your friend Katy at the same time and trying not to get in the middle of your competitive nature together’.

I think people get caught up in how long it takes to learn to drive. In school I remember everyone comparing how long it took them to pass their test as if it was some kind of competition. It took me just under six months to learn and I think that is a great amount of time. I wanted to pass my test knowing that I was confident to take the wheel on my own. It’s not a race, it is about finding your confidence, practising and learning to be a safe driver. Although some people do pass their test after an intensive course, this should not put people off of taking their time and finding their confidence at their own pace.

After five years of driving I bought my first car two months ago. I had been driving my mum’s car but I have had so much more freedom and have been able to accept a new job up in Stirling. Who knows maybe my brother will get me a new kangaroo toy for my car!

Hope you all have a lovely Christmas! Drive safe!