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Why you should get your driver’s licence

By Alexandra Lawrence, 21 May 2019 Car Advice

Driver training

Haven't gone for your driving licence yet? Here are a few reasons why it's worth learning to drive a car.

Young adults don’t really care about getting their licence.   

That’s according to recent data which shows that teens across Australia, Sweden, Canada, the UK and US are increasingly less likely to learn to drive, for a variety of reasons.

Advancements in technology and a general shift towards a more online lifestyle over recent years means that owning a car is no longer a priority for many people, particularly the young ones with better things to spend their money on.

And why should it be?

The fact that even moving out of home is a far-away notion for millennials these days is a likely contributor, meaning that the traditional 'Mum and Dad's Taxi Service' still gets a solid workout.

Failing that, it’s likely a few Ubers are already circling your area and can be at the bottom of your driveway within five minutes.

It's often said that if buying a house is the largest investment most of us will make in our lives, purchasing a motor vehicle is second (and weekly brunch dates are third). Learning to operate a car is, then, a pretty important skill, even if it's not for yourself.

It's always handy if someone in your circle of mates has a licence, especially if you're all out for a night on the town and there's a need for a designated driver.

Of course, if you live away from the big cities, or public transport can't help you, chances are you've already gone through the pain of getting a licence.

But if you haven't needed to own or even drive a car thus far, it begs the question: why should you have to deal with the stress of traffic and parking when someone else can simply do it for you?

Whatever the reason you've avoided it thus far, earning your licence is a life skill that we should all have a crack at.  

Here are our top tips on how to nail getting your licence/Ps/gateway to freedom.

 

Don’t listen to your parents*

Parent's yelling at learner driver

Unless one of your parents is a driving instructor*, it might actually be best to take on board most of what your parentals say... just not all of it.

Even with the advent of logbooks to record learner hours, it doesn't change the fact that an impressionable teen is getting their instructions from someone who isn't actually trained to teach them how to drive a motor vehicle.

You're only ever going to be as good as the person teaching you, and if your mum or dad isn't the best driver, then it's not much good to you to have them pass on their bad habits to you.

As well, relationships between parents and kids can sometimes be... strained? This doesn't bode well if you're both thrown together in a stressful situation... just like learning to drive.

A good compromise is getting your parents to go through the basics with you - which pedals do what, how the family car's wipers work and so on - before graduating to some carpark lessons on a quiet Sunday before tackling the mean streets.

MORE Teaching your teens to drive

 

Find a good driving instructor

Driving instructor

Driving with an instructor as soon as you get your Ls is the best way to make sure you pick up the correct driving techniques from the get-go. They’ll keep you calm AF when it feels like everything’s spinning out of control, too.

An instructor's vehicle will also be fitted with dual controls to override any wayward accelerating, which can be reassuring.

They’ll also give you measured and balanced criticism, and you’ll need to take it on board, 'cause they’re not your parents and you can’t tell them to get out.

And, they’ll make sure you learn to drive the easiest and safest way. There are plenty of instructors around, too, so don't be scared of ditching one to try another if the personality fit doesn't work.

 MORE Why you should use a driving instructor

 

Practice driving a manual

Manual gearknob

Even if there’s nothing more terrifying than the thought of three pedals beneath your fancy vegan slip-ons, it’s worth a try. Once you master it (and you will), it’ll be second nature and a skill for life.

Manual gearbox-equipped cars are generally cheaper and less popular to buy in the secondhand market, which means you'll get more car for your money. It also makes you an invaluable addition to a party roster if you can drive everyone home from a party in the only available manual car.

Even if you’ve done your Ps test in a manual, you‘re good to either stick with it or venture back to the laz... I mean... easy option of automatic.

But do your test in an automatic, and you’ll be locked into that for at least another year (depending on which Aussie state you live in). C'mon guys - stretch your talents and learn to drive manual.

 

Do a driver training course

Driver training course for learner driver

Practice instils confidence, and taking a defensive driver training course will do just that. It will teach you how to control your car in both wet and dry conditions, you'll perform an emergency stop before you really need to actually do one, and you'll become a better driver in general.

Beginner courses for learner drivers are often subsidised by councils, governments or even insurance companies so the cost can drop to as low as $150 for a full day course.

They are available for all levels of experience – so mum and dad can polish up on their skills, too.

MORE Audi's Driving Experience program

 

It's a great form of identification

If you’ve got a licence, you’ve got identification. And with ID you can apply for a rental property (cause who can afford a house deposit these days?), you can get into clubs and buy alcohol (when you’re 18) and above all, you can just feel more adult-y.

Holding a valid form of ID also helps when you're applying for bank accounts, passports, utility services and other stuff, as well.

Do you have any tips for getting your licence? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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