Discover my experience of learning to drive in the UK, passing my test and finding out what you need to do to get started, including tax , petrol costs and finding the cheapest car Insurance before you hit the open road.
My eldest son is approaching his 18th Birthday so as a parent, I offered to pay for driving lessons for him. I was shocked when he told me did not want to learn to drive as the cost of a car and its insurance was far too expensive. I must say I was pretty stunned, but secretly very happy because I am a bit of a worrier and the thought of my little boy (well, maybe not so little anymore) on the open road makes me feel like a nervous wreck. I do trust my son and I feel he would be a careful driver knowing what his nature is like, but that still doesn’t stop a mother worrying now does it?
Experience of my Driving Lessons
I know first hand like many other parents just how it feels to be a young inexperienced driver. I learnt to drive in 1996 (I was only 17 years old) but I was the opposite to my son literally having driving lessons as soon as it was humanly possible to do so. When my provisional arrived, I wasn’t thinking about tax, petrol and the cheapest car insurance I just wanted to drive. I booked my very first driving lesson only days after my 17th Birthday. I remember being extremely nervous on my very first driving lesson literally not having a clue what was in store for me (well I knew I had to drive). I survived the lesson, driving at about 5 miles per hour with my foot constantly hovering over the brake pedal and avoiding other vehicles like the plague. Thinking back, although I was eager, I was trembling throughout the whole experience. Once I had the first lesson out of the way I worked hard to keep having lessons at least twice a week. It was expensive spending nearly half of my weekly wage paying my instructor to hopefully become a fully competent driver (Hmm still hoping for that). I had around forty lessons altogether, which cost me a complete fortune. When I was finally put in for my test I remember being given the most miserable looking driving assessor (he must have been having a bad week) I told myself as I sat in the test vehicle I was going to fail (not really the positive attitude you need before your driving test).
I don’t recall much about the test It still feels a blur to me. I remember getting into the car and shaking whilst trying to adjust the mirrors and the next thing after that was a memory of me pulling the vehicle back into the test centre. Nothing but terrible thoughts was going through my head at this point, preparing myself for the dreaded words “I am sorry, but you have failed”. Driving assessors seriously know how to keep a straight face, because mine assessor showed no expression at all, apart from a few facial winches (I am assuming that was either because of my near misses or maybe he actually wanted to smile). So, to my surprise and I was surprised I got the speech we all long to hear “congratulations you have passed”. I had always imagined if I ever passed my test I would be jumping up and down with joy, instead I seemed a little flat I guess looking back I was still in shock (I bet he thought miserable so and so). Strangely, I also felt disappointed that I had nothing to plan and look forward to after passing, odd I know, but we all handle good news in different ways.
Finding Tax, Petrol & Cheapest Car Insurance!
So I was ready for the road, quite eager to get out and drive, however when I returned home my father brought me back down to earth quite quickly. He pointed out that first I would need a vehicle, then I would have to find the cheapest car insurance and pay for road tax (oh and pay for petrol, the most expensive part of driving may I add). I selected a budget car which only cost me £250, but it strangely lasted me years being extremely reliable. In 1996 we didn’t have such amazing ways of finding the best prices online, it was all done over the telephone. Imagine having to phone around ten different insurance companies, using a telephone book to find the numbers (It was a nightmare). Now you can find the cheapest petrol stations insurance, pay for your car tax and find the cheapest car insurance online. I was such a young mummy when I passed my test, but I want my son to start driving when he is ready and no sooner, because you can’t force your kids into situations they are just not comfortable with (hopefully, he will feel ready soon).
My name is Rachel Hirst learn a little about me! I am a stay at home mum & wife of two boys. If you like this post why not sign up to our weekly newsletter, blogging about lifestyle, parenting and beauty.
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