When I reached the age of sixteen, I started a countdown to the day I would be allowed to learn to drive – my 17th Birthday. For me, it was a rite of passage, like your first drink at the pub!
Allow it wasn’t until Id reached my 19th Birthday (and my third attempt at my driving test!) that I was able to enjoy the freedom and independence Id craved at 16, it was still very sweet!
Somehow that no longer seems to be true for the majority of young people these days. I come across apathy and indifference to the subject for the most part.
Im sure there are a number of contributing factors to this change in attitude
My Dad taught me to drive. Most parents these days would not be willing to risk their own mental health or their vehicles to teach their child to drive. Most young people have to pay for lessons.
Even with kind Grandparents, parents and Uncle Tom Cobbley chipping in, the cost of driving lessons is very much greater than it would have been back 30 or so years ago.
Add into the equation the cost of the Theory Test and driving test (and the extra stress of possibly not passing first time!)
And where is the incentive to pass at all when you may not be able to afford to drive until you reach your mid-twenties. Most insurance companies make it prohibitively expensive to get insurance for anyone under the age of 25.
And owning a car? For most young people that is a pipe dream.
My Grandad bought me an old car for £100 and I was added on cheaply to my Parents’ car insurance!
And lets not even talk about the cost of Fuel……Tax…….and MOT!
My parents were too busy to drive me to clubs, after school events, parties, etc etc. So there was a greater incentive to learn to drive. We lived in a village with a limited bus service. We walked or cycled if we wanted to go somewhere.
Volume and Speed of Traffic
When I look back at photos of our street 40 years ago I am shocked by not only the old-fashioned look of the vehicles but how few vehicles are parked on the streets and in the driveways.
If I were 17 again Im sure I would be intimidated by the number of vehicles on the roads and the speed they are travelling at!
So I do understand that all these factors may make learning to drive a less obvious priority for young people. But it does remain a very important life skill which continues to be valued by employers. Also for young parents – being able to visit Grandparents and go food shopping in the car are things I cannot imagine surviving early parenthood without!