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Teenagers -At what age best to learn to drive

33 replies

violetqueen · 17/06/2010 10:27

Was just about to set up driving lessons as 18 th birthday present for DS ,then panicked .
We live in London ,he'll be at home another year at least .
Thinking he might learn and pass ,but not drive /put it into practice for a while .
Expensive business , when is optimum time ?
What do people think - I just can't think straight myself at present .

OP posts:
AMumInScotland · 17/06/2010 10:31

I think it might be better to leave it till there's a prospect of him driving once he's passed, otherwise when he does start driving he'll be out of practice, so he'd be legal to drive but it might take a while to come back to him which would be dangerous (or expensive if you then end up paying for more lessons).

Ponders · 17/06/2010 10:37

Also, putting a teenager on your own insurance for extra practising is hideously expensive - much less if they're over 20.

Does he need to drive in London? Public transport is pretty good, isn't it, & traffic mostly horrendous.

Mine have waited until after university (then they can pay for it themselves )

Chatelaine · 17/06/2010 12:24

Is getting his licence important to him? If he is going off to university then in all probability he will not need a car as a Young Persons Railcard is so much cheaper. If, on the otherhand you think he should get this business, under his belt so to speak, then do it now. Our DD got her licence before going to University in London, without a car, graduated, now lives in London and rarely drives now, she does not own a car but ocassionally hires one. The fact is that she has got her licence, so that is all done, and will need to just(!) build up her confidence when she needs to. I think they have enough to do after uni/leaving home, so imo it is an asset you could give him now, so go ahead and buy the lessons for his 18th and see how he goes from there.

sowhatis · 17/06/2010 12:27

i done mine at 17, and had bought my own car (ready for after lessons!) at 16, so that was the best time for me.

eatyourveg · 17/06/2010 13:31

the way I look at it is this

if at 17/18 my ds1 is going out with his friends in the evenings and he needs a lift, if one of them has passed their test, everyone piles in that car and he is at the mercy of the driver who may well not be mature enough to avoid trying to impress his friends. Being the driver ds1 decides how the car is driven (hopefully without the need to impress anyone else)

We have decided to give ds1 lessons next year when he turns 17 and if he chooses to go to a university in the back and beyond we would consider going halves on buying him a small car for his 18th

mumeeee · 17/06/2010 17:42

DD1 (23) and her Husband Tom also 23 live in London. Tom can drive but DD1 can't. They've decidecd not to have a car whilre they are living in London as it's quite easy to get around on public transport or walk to places. They'll probably move out of London in a couple of years and will have a car then, So DD1 doesn't want to learn to drive until then. DD2 20 is at university in Kingston and it's difficult to have a car thier and once again it's easy to walk or get around on public transport. Also she couldn't have a car while at halls and a lot of universities actually discourage first year students from haveing cars.

msripley · 17/06/2010 18:50

Agree with eatyourveg - I'd prefer my child to be behind the wheel, knowing she's a sensible driver, than with some unknown teenager driving her.

So she started learning as soon as she was 17 and now I never see my car!

zerominuszero · 17/06/2010 19:54

I have never lived in London, BUT, here's my story:

I learned when I was 17 and passed within about eight months. I found it quite an easy thing to pick up, relatively. I didn't really need to drive when I was a student and so never really drove much between the ages of 18 and 25, when I bought my first proper car. I was a bit rusty at first, but after a couple of months I got back into it and am now a very confident driver. I am very pleased that I got it out of the way when I was 17.

OH recently learned to drive at the age of 25 and found it very, very tough to pick up and spent quite a lot of money on lessons. So, I advise 'getting it out of the way' at a young age because it's a bugger to pick up when you're older, and gets in the way of stuff like working. However, having said all this, I don't know how the fact that you live in London factors in.

ivykaty44 · 17/06/2010 23:43

I learnt to drive when I was 17 and had past within 6 months.

i didn't own my own car until I was 31

but in that time I had driven lots of differnet cars and hire cars aswell as my parents car.

I am glad I did leanr whilst I was still living at hoem - cos it is alway a money drainer whenever you learn and at leat living at hoem you don't have to worry to much about other bills

cat64 · 17/06/2010 23:54

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sewmoose · 18/06/2010 00:08

I can't see the point while he's living in London tbh. I didn't learn to drive until a couple of years after uni as didn't see the need and hasn't done me any harm.

It can be very expensive and is an enormous investment if it's not going to get used anytime soon. There's also gonna be little motivation for him to try hard and pass if he knows he's not gonna get a car for a while. He may end up doing a fair few lessons and giving up if he doesn't see the point. Which will ultimately be money wasted because by the time he decides he DOES want to learn to drive, he'll probs need to start from scratch again.

Has he expresssed any interest in learning to drive? Do his friends drive?

Tortington · 18/06/2010 00:11

i dunno - my twins are thnking about it at the mo - dshas not got the gumption to sort anything out - likehis provisional.... but i would quite like dd to have her license.

i think she would be ok and sensible - so i am gently encouraging her

and he would kill himself - so i am not gently encouraging him - i dont mention it

BitOfFun · 18/06/2010 01:19

I think that the earlier the better. It helps to have a full driving licence when applying for many jobs, so I would not leave it until after university. I passed at 17, but didn't drive or own a car for long periods- but I am still enormously glad that I got it under my belt young, as it gets harder to learn the older you get, not to mention more expensive and more difficult to prioritise as your financial and time responsibilities kick in.

violetqueen · 18/06/2010 20:18

Aah ,lots of different views...
Thanks for posting - anyone else ?

OP posts:
brimfull · 18/06/2010 20:21

get it over with young

violetqueen · 19/06/2010 19:00

Thanks everyone .

OP posts:
sunchild77 · 19/06/2010 19:04

I did my test at 19 and then didnt drive again until 27! As I lived in the middle of a big city with good transport links.. And could never afford my own car or insurance or parking etc.

BUT I am SO glad I learned to do it when I did (thanks to my mum and dad who paid for it!) Because it would be really awful having to learn now..

potoftea · 19/06/2010 19:06

Easier to learn while living at home and access to a car to practise at different times of day.

If you wait until after uni and then learn it can mean there are some jobs that you cannot apply for as a full-licence is needed, or even just handy if the job is a bit off the beaten track.

It's a life skill and will also look good on a cv, as shows initiavive and competence.

Mine learned at 17, can you tell

orienteerer · 19/06/2010 19:08

17, or younger if you have access to some private roads (eg farm drive etc).

MmeRedWhiteandBlueberry · 19/06/2010 19:15

My DS1 passed his test in January shortly after his 18th birthday. He is now driving a lot in order to get experience. He will be going to university in London and will not drive except on his trips home.

I have lots of friends who passed their tests and then went of to uni with no driving experience and then 4 years of no driving. They have no confidence now, in their mid-late forties. I have one friend who just doesn't drive (her DH does everything), even though she was the perfect learner at 17. I don't know why she didn't take more lessons when she had her first job.

It is a real concern, VQ. I think the timing for my DS is quite good - he has 9 months at home with his license. I imagine he will come home fairly frequently (eg once a month), so will be able to top up. What is the best and worst case scenario for timing for your DS?

sarah293 · 19/06/2010 19:25

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sarah293 · 19/06/2010 19:28

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JGBMum · 19/06/2010 19:47

Round here, (rural Wiltshire), DS and his friends all start learning when they each 17. So will hopefully have a year or more at home to hone up their skills before going off to college.

Lilymaid · 19/06/2010 19:51

Both my DSs learnt at 17 so they had passed their tests and had some driving experience before they went off to university. IME it is much more difficult to arrange to learn later on, when you've left home - especially getting the practice in between lessons.

sarah293 · 20/06/2010 05:57

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