Confession time: I’m 22 and yet to have a single driving lesson. Five years after being able to do so, I still haven’t begun to learn how to drive and, with the way things are looking, I won’t be for a few years yet.
At the age of 17, the biggest driver behind my decision not to learn to drive was money. Whilst, yes, I’d been working for six months by the time my birthday came round and, yes, at least the first chunk of lessons would have been a birthday present, I still didn’t have the money to learn. I didn’t want to give up the freedom of having spare cash, and driving lessons are expensive. I also knew that, whilst I probably could afford the lessons, affording a car (or even insurance on a parents’ car) just wasn’t feasible. And I didn’t see the point in paying to learn how to drive, then not driving. So I didn’t.
As I got older and my savings grew, I still didn’t feel tempted to learn. I realised I still wasn’t 100% comfortable as a passenger in a car, I hated motorways, I still flinched if a vehicle got too close at a roundabout. I closed my eyes a lot of the time. Frankly, I knew deep down I wasn’t safe to learn how to drive. A flinch like that behind the wheel could have disastrous consequences.
Consequences I remember only too well. The reason for my nerves isn’t something I regularly talk about, mainly as I block it out from memory. Way back in 2002, on the way to see family for the weekend, only a mile from home, a large lorry drove into the back of our car. In retrospect, it wasn’t actually a ‘bad’ crash, we were very lucky given the size of the lorry involved. No-one was badly hurt, as far as I remember an ambulance didn’t even attend. But I still remember the violent jolt, flying forward until my seatbelt caught, bursting into tears.
It’s taken a good few years, but I’m now a lot more comfortable in a car, a lot calmer, a lot less panicked. And I am now tempted to learn how to drive. My plan for my final year of university was to get a graduate job, then learn to drive – but getting a graduate job took a little longer than expected, and exams got in the way. Summer would have been a perfect time, had I not decided to start planning the wedding, finding a new place to live, and then be ill.
And now I’m moving to London. And having seen W drive around London last year, I’m not convinced I want to start learning to drive in the city. So for me, I may well be a ‘mature’ learner driver when I eventually begin. And I’ll definitely be looking into booking with Book Learn Pass, a site which helps you learn the theory behind driving, practice for your theory test and book driving lessons in your local area.I will learn to drive. I don’t want to be forever dependent on lifts and public transport, I’d love to be able to get out and about in the countryside and, of course, I’d love my own (purple) Fiat 500.
*Post in collaboration with Book Learn Pass, however as always all opinions are my own. As are the thanks to my fiance, a.k.a my own personal taxi driver since passing his test five years ago!
How did you feel about learning to drive? Were you itching to get going, or a little more cautious?