Learning to drive can feel like quite a big undertaking, and that’s because it is! We’ve said it before and we’re happy to repeat ourselves: earning a licence takes time, money and hard work. Having your very own driving licence is a big deal, so it makes sense that it ain’t all that easy to get your hands on one!
That being said, in this day and age, is it really necessary to learn to drive? As a company that provides driving lessons, we’re obviously slightly biased. Nevertheless, for the sake of balance and a desire to help individuals make the right decision for them, we’re going to look at the pros and the cons.
Not everyone needs to drive, and not everyone does. So, how are you going to get out and about if you decide not to go for that driving licence? Well, you’ll probably be relying on everything you’ve been using up to this point…
Now, we Brits love nothing more than a good moan about public transport, but where would we be without it?! Buses, trains, trams—there are plenty of options available to us and most come at a pretty reasonable price. If you can’t drive, it’s likely that this is your main means of getting around.
The downside to public transport is that you’re tied to someone else’s schedule. You need to show up at the right place at the right time and, depending on where you’re heading, it might take more than one mode of transport to reach your destination.
It’s also not even guaranteed that the bus, tram or train you select will adhere to the listed times. We’ve all found ourselves at the mercy of unexpected delays and cancellations! Oh, and there’s also the crowding, cost and potential lack of comfort to consider.
If you’re a laid-back city dweller, though, you’re probably happy to rely on public transport alone. For country folk, however, it’s not always that simple. We may reside on a fairly small island, but there are lots of rural areas in the UK that do not benefit from accessible public transport links. In these cases, you just cannot beat the convenience of having your own car.
If the journey you need to take doesn’t require you to travel that far and you fancy taking the healthy option, walking is the way to go! As long as it’s safe and the route is pedestrian-friendly, put one leg in front of the other and repeat. This will benefit both your body and the environment!
Catching a lift
Friends and family are great for many reasons. From a selfish perspective, though, the ones that can drive are particularly useful to have around. Plenty of non-drivers rely on those close to them to offer a lift here and there. Maybe you chip in petrol money, provide car snacks, or simply rely on your sparkling personality and great company to sweeten the deal. Whatever it is, you should always show some gratitude if you frequently make use of your nearest and dearest’s wheels.
The con to this approach is pretty obvious—no one likes a scrounger. Asking for the odd pick up or drop off is probably fine, but you can’t rely on others to chauffeur you everywhere. Unless, that is, you’re shelling out for an actual chauffeur.
There are also those you can pay to drive you from one place to another. We’re talking, of course, about taxis. In the age of Uber, organising and paying for taxis has never been more convenient. You don’t need to carry cash and you can track your driver via GPS both before and during the journey. Again, if you live in a major city and have the cash to splash, you can probably get by without a car by relying on taxi services such as this.
The thing is, though, that this option still costs money, is not eco-friendly and you’re basically continuing to rely on others. The money you’re spending is hardly an investment, either, whereas it could be if it was going towards your own vehicle. And speaking of money, it’s very easy to get carried away and waste a lot of funds on taxis—especially if you’ve had a tipple or you’re just feeling lazy! Then again, if you have consumed alcohol, a taxi (or any form of transport that doesn’t involve a potentially drunk person driving) is the correct choice, expensive or not.
The advantages of driving
As you can tell from our discussion up to now, it’s not exactly impossible to get by without a driving licence. That being said, let’s get to our favourite part: what’s so great about driving.
Freedom & Independence
This point is not to be underestimated. You just cannot beat the convenience of being able to drive yourself anywhere. Even the mere knowledge that you can do so is incredibly freeing, and explains why learning to drive has become a rite of passage. Being trusted to maintain and control your own car is a sure sign that you are truly adulting.
Having a driving licence also opens up more opportunities when it comes to your career. It is not uncommon for job listings to include the ability to drive as a requirement. You might not even need to have your own car. A lot of businesses will provide vehicles and the necessary insurance to staff who hold a valid licence.
Driving doesn’t have to be directly involved in a job role for you being a licence-holder to make a significant difference. Think about it—when job hunting, people who cannot drive are limited to locations that they can reach by public transport. If you have a car, it widens the job search and gives you the opportunity to take on roles that require visits to multiple sites.
In this sense, not having a driving licence can restrict your aspirations beyond the road.
Useful life skill
Whether you decide to put it to good use straight away or not, the ability to drive is an incredibly useful skill that can serve you for life. Not only does it make your living situation easier, but you can be a great help to others, too. Offer your friends lifts, help people move house and maybe even put your driving to use for a charity. The possibilities are almost endless!
Plus, the great thing is that once you have a licence, it’s yours to keep. Even when it comes time to renew it 10 years down the line, you don’t have to take another test (though we recommend taking a quick refresher course if you’re hopping back in the car after a few years’ break, for safety reasons). Having a licence is useful, then, even if you don’t plan on buying a car straight away.
We can’t discuss the pros and cons of driving without at least touching on the environmental implications. It’s undeniable that taking public transport or walking is more eco-friendly than travelling from one place to another by car.
The thing is, though, we’re a long way off driving becoming a thing of the past. The obvious advantages mean it remains many people’s first choice. As a result, you’ll find that getting around by car is easy and convenient, because a lot of towns and cities have been designed with this in mind.
This is not to say that you should ignore environmental considerations, by any means. Indeed, even if you do drive, you shouldn’t make use of your car all the time! Check out our eco-friendly driving tips to learn some small changes that can make a big difference, or step into the future and consider purchasing an eco-friendly car.
Do you need to know how to drive?
For many people, learning to drive is seen as a highly useful skill, rather than an absolute necessity. It certainly doesn’t come cheap and doing it properly takes quite a bit of time and determination. However, all that hard work really does pay off in spades.
If you’re in two minds about taking the plunge, consider how the ability to drive would impact your life. Keep in mind that earning a licence opens up your options—it doesn’t mean you have to take a car everywhere!
If you do decide to learn to drive, DRIVE Driving School can be a great help (if we do say so ourselves). Simply follow these steps to get started:
– Check out our courses!
– Find an instructor near you!
– Contact us at 0800 368 9215 or firstname.lastname@example.org