For those still feeling afraid of driving, do not despair, it gets better with practice, I promise!. I am by no means a perfect driver, but I am a more relaxed one.
The last day with my Micra was on May 31st 2016, clocking around 34000 km. since October 31st 2012 when I took it from the shop. I exchanged it for a new, fully spec Renault Clio, more on that car later. So what has changed since then?
I am better at driving overall. See, driving involves many things, not only controlling the car, but looking at signs, being aware of traffic, anticipating and if not a known route, finding your way around. Back then, I was so tense, because it was very hard to multitask, specially to look at the traffic signs while driving, e.g. am I in the right lane for a left turn? or do I need to change lanes?, can I, or is there a car coming?, damn and if I miss this turn where can I go?. I must not miss the turn, or else I am going to get lost!!
I am not afraid of going to unknown routes. I remember back then, when going to a place I have not driven before, I used to look a the route and also at the street view many times because I wanted to know before hand how was the lane grouping in every turn, it was a very long process, and I was very nervous. Nowadays, I do check the route to get the overall directions, but I do not analyse every turn. I am relax, happy and confident I will sort it out when it happens :D, and if I miss a turn, there will be plenty of alternatives to take.
I experienced frightening situations and handled them calmly. On January 2015 my accelerator pedal got stuck when entering the highway on my way back home from work. The pedal was stuck somewhere in the middle, I down shifted in my attempt to slow down, then I managed to pull it upwards by sliding my left foot underneath the pedal, that solved the situation and I was relieved, but afraid of pushing the pedal again. I was lucky to have enough space to manouver and proud at myself for being calm when the problem arose. It was the carpet what caused this. I took my car for a wash and the carpet was not positioned correctly back to the micra. After the incident, I learned where the hook to keep the carpet in place was located. Should you be in that situation again, here is a wiki link that tells you what to do.
I am still not good at driving on tight spots. This is the thing that still makes me a bit nervous, so, for the time being I try to avoid those situations. Thankfully I live in Finland and not in Mexico city or in Italy so the probability of having to park or manouver the car in a very tight spot is low, and if I have to drive to Helsinki city center I found a great paid parking hall that have very good prices on late afternoons. I think I can accept that.
I could not have had a better first car than the Micra. Small, easy to drive, great visibility, cheap to run, good ergonomics and the best of all, it helped me to conquer my driving fears. Namaste Nissan Micra, hopefully the next owner will have as much fun as I had, driving you.
Below it is a picture of my ex-micra recently washed and ready for its new owner :)