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To think it's not vital for DC to learn to drive as soon as they are 17?

(188 Posts)
dollybird Mon 28-Nov-16 14:48:34

DC are 13 and 14 so it's a little way off yet, but I think we should wait and see how much they want to learn to drive and also bear in mind that they may go to uni and not have use of a car for a few years. As its so expensive to learn to drive and then to get insurance etc, I think there are more important things to help DC with money wise.

This came up again in conversation the other day and DH said 'you can't get on in life if you can't drive' which I think is utter rubbish. I said what if they decided to move to London where public transport is good and having a car could be a waste of time? And he came back with 'do you want that'? To which I replied obviously I'd be upset if they moved away but if they want to move to London or anywhere else then I would support that. I certainly wouldn't stop them. He decided to put a halt to the conversation as we were supposed to be having a 'nice evening' but I still think he's wrong. AIBU?

Oysterbabe Mon 28-Nov-16 14:51:31

Isn't it up to them?

NathanBarleyrocks Mon 28-Nov-16 14:51:43

Where I grew up, public transport was excellent so I didn't bother learning until I moved away and passed when I was in my late 20's. So YANBU.

mediumdeadwood Mon 28-Nov-16 14:52:36

I think it's better to learn and get a licence out of the way when you're young and don't have many outgoings. Unless you live in a place with good public transport, it's an invaluable life skill.

FlyingElbows Mon 28-Nov-16 14:53:04

You'll probably think differently when they're 17 and you're a taxi! Imo it's a very good idea for them to learn. I can send mine on errands now, it's very useful.

TwentyCups Mon 28-Nov-16 14:53:10

I think YABU. I learned at 17. At the time I worked part time round my a levels. I didn't pay rent or bills at that point in my life, and between college for 20 hours a week and working 16-20 ish I had a fair bit of flexibility in when I could learn.

My friends who learned later had it much harder. I would struggle to afford lessons now that I have rent and bills and council tax and food shopping to budget for! My insurance is cheaper now for learning earlier as well.

Katy07 Mon 28-Nov-16 14:53:14

It's generally easier to learn when you're younger. But as you've still got time why not start putting aside a tenner a month now in a fund for them so that you can afford driving lessons if they decide they want them smile

IHaveBrilloHair Mon 28-Nov-16 14:53:51

I learned at that age, then never had a car or opportunity to drive again until I was 34, I had to take more lessons though at least didn't have to pass my test again.
I'm not sure it's worth it unless they will be able to drive regularly once they've passed

Rosae Mon 28-Nov-16 14:54:23

I didn't learn to drive till 24. I ' got on' did a degree and masters and a professional job. Just didn't need to drive. I also took a big break in learning to drive. Was ready to take the test but took a break for a year due to an injury and I struggled to get back into it when I started again. I was awfully out of practice.

mumblechum0 Mon 28-Nov-16 14:54:28

It depends entirely on where you live at the time.

Most 17 year olds around here, DS included, learned as soon as possible because there is no public transport around here whatsoever.

The insurance was eyewateringly expensive but I'm glad DS did pass early on, and got a couple of years' no claims bonus before he went to Uni (and now lives in London). It means that whenever he and his girlfriend (they're 22) can easily hire a car and escape to the country when they feel like it.

someonestolemynick Mon 28-Nov-16 14:54:55

I'm 28 and I don't drive and never learnt to drive.
My mum had saved money for me for driving lessons, but agreed I could spend it on an academic year in London.
I still live in London and happy to report that I don't drive, have no need to and can move around the city independently on public transport.

EdmundCleverClogs Mon 28-Nov-16 14:55:06

As someone who is 30 and unable to drive, I think you're unreasonable. Even if a job is accessible by public transportation, most employers would rather chose someone who can drive/has a car (bitter experience from many job interviews). If you have the means to support your children in learning to drive, I would let them learn sooner rather than later. It will certainly give them more opportunities later on.

Rattusn Mon 28-Nov-16 14:55:59

It totally depends where you live. If it's rural they will probably be dying to learn to drive asap. If you live in London or another big city with good transport it's not necessary. I'm from London and didn't learn till my mid twenties.

Bear in mind that learning gets harder as you get older though.

isthatpoisontoo Mon 28-Nov-16 14:56:22

I think it's an important life skill. It gives you independence and means you don't have to rely on others for transport to out of the way places (as a young woman, I think that's a safety issue, so many lifts come with strings attached). My dh didn't learn to drive until this year when he got a job which required it. It's been quite stressful, tbh, doing it when our income relied on him passing his test. I think that he ought to have done it years ago.

5OBalesofHay Mon 28-Nov-16 14:56:55

I've done lessons and test for 17th birthday, car and insurance for 18th for ours and am pleased we did. At some point they will need to learn to drive and they might as well while still in education and in learning mode. It has been expensive through

TheProblemOfSusan Mon 28-Nov-16 14:57:33

I would. Even if they don't get a car themselves, once they're past 25 they'll pay for themselves anyway: use them as named drivers to make your insurance cheaper 😊

JellyWitch Mon 28-Nov-16 14:58:01

It depends where you live! With no public transport it was essential
and everyone I know learned at 17. My husband on the other hand never needed to and had to learn as a 40 year old. If we lived in a city then I wouldn't bother encouraging my kids to but as I will be the teen taxi service, I really hope we can get them both driving as soon as they are old enough.

MaxPepsi Mon 28-Nov-16 15:00:36

I learnt at 17, because it was the done thing. Couldn't pass my test so gave up.
Took up driving again in my 30s when DH got fed up of chauffering me around and passed straight away.
I never should have learnt at 17, I wasn't ready, and wasted years.
Leave it up to them.

gillybeanz Mon 28-Nov-16 15:01:53


It certainly isn't vital and the insurance is really expensive.
They probably don't even need a car yet grin

Manumission Mon 28-Nov-16 15:04:29


It has to be their choice if and when they learn.

The "essential life skill" thing confuses me. It's certainly useful but essential? (It also smacks of privilege given the cost of the whole endeavour- it's a lot of money to drop on a reluctant learner who might stick their licence in a drawer for years.)

I didn't bother until I left London in my 20s and felt the need to drive.

We have taken the approach with ours that we will cover the cost of tests and theory materials and co-fund lessons at whatever point they choose to learn but they have to chip in too.

gillybeanz Mon 28-Nov-16 15:04:34

sorry, YANBU it isn't vital and I totally agree with you.
Some people like to control adult children rather than letting them do things for themselves.
Then they wonder why they can't cope at uni away from Mummy and Daddy who funded everything for them grin
Have a look at how many mamby pamby 17 year olds there are compared to the ones who are making it on their own and saving until they can afford it themselves.

Littledrummergirl Mon 28-Nov-16 15:05:00

It will be cheaper for us to pay for lessons for ds1 and insure a car than pay his bus fare for the last year of sixth form. He will be learning to drive.

Oblomov16 Mon 28-Nov-16 15:05:53

Depends if they want to I guess. I couldn't wait. Gave me so much freedom: driving off to see concerts,later moving house easily at uni.

officerhinrika Mon 28-Nov-16 15:06:40

It's a convenient time to learn, it's much harder to fit in once you've started work. It's useful for getting to part time jobs before they leave school and it gives them independence. You may still have to be a taxi service from the odd club but will generally be on call a lot less. In fact they can pick you up after an evening out! It's a useful skill and passing the test can be a useful boost to the self esteem in the middle of A level angst too.

WannaBe Mon 28-Nov-16 15:06:46

IMO it's not so much the cost of the lessons but the cost of car/insurance which is the issue.

We live in the London area with excellent transport, and the reality is that most people use public transport and have cars sitting on their driveways or in station carparks during the day. The average lowest insurance for a seventeen year old is now around the £1400 mark for a year, which is eyewateringly expensive if the child isn't going to be driving but using public transport anyway.

I don't personally drive so for me if DS were to learn I would have to pay for lessons, a car, insurance, and that is money I simply don't have, so if he genuinely wants to learn then he will have to put some effort into learning/passing his test if he thinks that I'll be buying him a car.

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