Personal: Why I Haven’t Learnt To Drive

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.

 photo Learning to Drive_zpsdkcafikn.jpgAt 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.

 photo 1_zps0xkkqmv0.jpg photo 2_zpsmqinv09h.jpgConsequences 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.

 photo 4_zpsthjygukq.jpgAnd 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?


  • I learned to drive at 17, mainly just because my parents told me to and a few of my friends were doing so. I hadn’t given it a huge amount of thought if I’m honest! I didn’t really enjoy my driving lessons, they became a bit of a chore after school when all I wanted to do was go home. Although I’d always been a safe driver, being out on the roads alone sent my anxiety sky high and I’d get out of the car physically shaking and my heart racing. I’d also been in a minor accident in the past and I think that affected my mentality about driving too – I was also a nervous passenger! I decided to stop driving only a few months after having passed and it’s only now that I’m 23 that I’m even thinking about driving again (although still waiting to actually be able to afford it). In hindsight, I think I was just too young at 17. I’m hoping I’ll pick it up again alright, but I do sort of feel that I’m having to start again from scratch! I think waiting until after university isn’t a bad idea – while there are some excellent young drivers, it does require a degree of maturity.
    Jennifer x
    Ginevrella | Lifestyle Blog

    • ninegrandstudent

      I do wish I’d pushed myself earlier, but I am determined to learn in the next few years! x

  • Can completely understand your nerves after having been involved in car crash – I think driving is defo all about confidence (and practice!).

    I’m a rubbish driver (I won’t mentioned how many goes it took for me to pass my test :P) but I do regret not buying a car once I passed – think the extra practice would have helped my confidence. I know if/when I do eventually get a car, I may need a few refresher lessons. But similar to your experience, the cost and hassle of a car just hasn’t seemed worth it.

    – Lubna | The Digital Review

    • ninegrandstudent

      I definitely wasn’t confident enough to drive a few years ago, determined to give it a go though! x

  • Chloe salisbury

    I started learning at 20, which felt really, really late at the time but I’m glad I did. No way was I ready at 17 and honestly, it took me a long time to pluck up the courage to take my test even while I was learning, I took a few goes to pass but my instructor said this was because I over practised and was driving ‘like a driver, not a learner’, so if I can offer one piece of advice it’s not to try to be over confident in a test, I made so many avoidable little mistakes because I was almost too experienced behind the wheel!! I was a very nervous learner and am still not the most confident driver but I push myself to go to new places and on different roads all the time so I’m sure you’ll have no trouble doing the same! Good luck with everything!xx

    • ninegrandstudent

      That’s such a helpful comment, thank you! x

  • Tomi Kay

    I have now decided to start taking my lessons, wish I started earlier or while I was at uni because I am limited in where I can live. I have been offered a new job in a new city and in looking for apartments, I realise how easy it would have been to pick an apartment if I could drive. But I could never afford the lessons while I was at uni.