To think not being able to drive puts you at a disadvantage?

(285 Posts)

Just been chatting to a friend. Her daughter is 17 and although they can afford for her to have lessons, and she is able to she isn't going to bother learning to drive.

I was thinking about all the things I wouldn't have been able to do if I couldn't drive. For a start DS1 wouldn't be at the school he is, and the jobs I had I couldn't have got to by public transport.

I know she could learn in the future but surely it's easier to do it when young and a bit fearless?

I know it's none of my business too, but I hope my two DSs will be able to learn when the time comes.

ThinkIveBeenHacked Fri 06-Jun-14 12:09:42

I love the fact I learned to drive young. I would love for dd to learn too when the time comes, however DH cant drive and he isnt disadvantaged at all. He gets himself everywhere he needs or wants to be, never asks for lifts to and from anywhere, and if I dont fancy driving (if I want to have a drink etc) then we taxi home.

Actually I'd advise learning at 21. That way you're not the taxi to drunk (or just) mates during college or university.

Agree learning to drive is a form of liberation. Don't see why have to be 17 though.

And mine get bikes over my dead body....

AlpacaLypse Fri 06-Jun-14 12:09:53

It may be easier to learn when one is 'young and a bit fearless' but it's also much easier to kill or maim yourself and others. There's a reason why insurance for young drivers is sky high.

Summerbreezing Fri 06-Jun-14 12:10:37

I agree. When my sister was buying a house she was severely limited in choice by the fact that she couldn't drive. A lovely place had to be turned down because the train station was down a fairly lonely road that wouldn't be safe at night; somewhere else because the bus service was dreadful etc etc.

AElfgifu Fri 06-Jun-14 12:11:01

Well, petrol prices are only going to go up, petrol is only going to become scarcer, environmental damage is only going to increase with every driver on the road, this generation need to learn to live without it. I have never driven. I can't, because I am dyspraxic, but you can live perfectly well without it.

Summerbreezing Fri 06-Jun-14 12:12:56

Sorry meant to add that I wouldn't see 17 as necessarily being the age to start driving, but definitely when you're in your twenties I think its useful for adults to be able to drive.

Oh yes, the insurance thing is a real obstacle. I quite like the sound of those boxes they put in the cars, some have a curfew.

I think because I learnt at 17 I put that age, but meant when relatively young IYKWIM. I passed at 17 having had 17 lessons, one for every year of your age as they say.

I guess if I hadn't learnt to drive I would have had a completely different life. Probably not with DH either. shock

passmethewineplease Fri 06-Jun-14 12:13:12

I think it depends where you live.

In places with excellent transport links I don't think it's essential. If however you live in a semi rural area with rubbish transport links then yes I'd say it's essential.

I'm currently learning after the council cut the bus services, there's no trains, I need to pass before September to be able to take DD to school.

Coffeethrowtrampbitch Fri 06-Jun-14 12:14:03

I'm 33 and have never needed to drive, I have always lived somewhere with good transport links.

I dont feel it is a disadvantage at all, and not having to run a car means we have more money.

I think it can be an advantage to drive but it is a huge disadvantage to be dependent on a car. I remember being horrified at toddler group when one woman said she couldnt go out for the next two days as her car was in the garage. She was quite upset at being trapped in the house but couldnt manage to get a bus anywhere as she wouldnt know how to. I can't imagine being too helpless to use a bus!

I use the bus and train alongside being able to drive, and the DSs are always going places on public transport.

But I believe that if they can drive it will open more doors for them work wise.

Summerbreezing Fri 06-Jun-14 12:16:32

Also, while many adults who don't drive are perfectly happy getting around under their own steam, I have also met plenty who overly rely on family and friends to bring them places, collect them from places, base arrangements to meet up around areas that suit them all the time etc etc
And in my sister's case it would be very handy to have someone else who could sometimes take my mum around, or collect her from places.

EBearhug Fri 06-Jun-14 12:17:36

My father (who was a governor) had an argument with the HT about 6th formers being allowed to take driving lessons during free lessons in the school day - he argued that in a rural area, being able to drive was as important as any academic qualifications, and by 17, if they're doing A-levels, they should be capable of managing their own time, so can do the hour's study at a later point in the day.

Can't remember the outcome, to be honest. I think where you live does make a difference - if you're in London or another large city where there's lots of public transport, then it's less important, but if you don't live in a town with good public transport, then yes, I do agree that you're at a disadvantage. Although I used to cycle quite a few miles a day to various holiday jobs, it did limit the geographical radius in which I could look for work; OTOH, I wasn't forking out for petrol, insurance and so on. A relative of mine didn't learn to drive till her 50s - when she moved out of London. I've another friend who still doesn't drive, and doesn't intend to. She does spend a lot of time on trains, though - which isn't so bad, as she just works on her laptop, but I do find having a car gives me more flexibility than she has about where I can go.

Couldn't afford to run a car till I was in my later 20s, even though I'd passed when I was 19.

AElfgifu Fri 06-Jun-14 12:18:35

I don't rely on lifts myself, however i would say it is morally better to rely on lifts than own put another unnecessary car on the road, and poison the world further

My Nan learned to drive at the age of 62 when my Grandad died. She was quite fearless TBF, but realised that if she didn't she would be marooned. sad

Summerbreezing Fri 06-Jun-14 12:23:13

Well AElf I think that depends on how much you put upon other people; or how much looking after and transporting of elderly parents you leave to siblings.

lljkk Fri 06-Jun-14 12:23:39

We live in semi-rural area & don't expect to help DC get driving licences until age 21 or so. They can cycle-train-bus-walkin meantime.

parallax80 Fri 06-Jun-14 12:23:41

It might be morally better to rely on lifts, but only if you're not annoying about it.

AElfgifu Fri 06-Jun-14 12:25:08

That's true, of course, summerbreezing, circumstances are all different, however my generation just took it for granted that they could probably learn to drive and buy a car if they wanted to, and that stage of human history is passing. Economically and ecologically not a viable outlook.

I don't see that if DS1 learns to drive in 2 years time and uses a car to get to work or even for work that that would be an 'unnecessary' car on the road. confused

AElfgifu Fri 06-Jun-14 12:27:36

Well, sparklingbrook, it depends on the circumstances, maybe it would be a necessary car, but if there is a public transport alternative, or if she could car share or walk, it would be an unnecessary car, and contributing to ecological damage for purely selfish reasons.

Cereal0ffender Fri 06-Jun-14 12:28:44

It does restrict you. It restricts the jobs you can take. The places you can live, the activities your kids can do, the holidays you can take. I don't drive everyday but I am glad I can drive. Dd will be learning as soon as possible

Chippednailvarnish Fri 06-Jun-14 12:30:01

I'm donning my hard hat...

I will push my DD to learn as soon as she turns 17. The amount of threads where women who are being to subjected to DV or FA find it harder to leave because they can't drive astonishes me.

Not to mention limiting your choice of work.

Summerbreezing Fri 06-Jun-14 12:30:21

TBH I think a lot of newer towns and suburbs have been designed very badly and don't take non drivers into consideration. An awful lot of people, if they want to live in an affordable area, have no choice except to drive. Where I live there is no proper supermarket within walking distance, or amenities such as a library or sports facilities or a park. The nearest school is about half an hour's walk which means a non driving parent of a small child would spend two hours a day walking their child to and from school.
If you didn't have a car you would really feel quite isolated in my area.

It depends what job he chooses-but why restrict him to jobs only accessible by PT/walking/involving another driver.

I would like the DSs to be able to consider all jobs IYKWIM. Not have to rule them out because they can't drive. Especially the way the employment market is at present.

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