For others it means peace of mind when looking after a loved one who requires regular care. Having a driving licence means a lot of things to different people in different walks of life.
At 17 I didn’t have the motivation to drive. I had a convenient bus that took me into town when I needed to, and my friends lived close by. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to afford the insurance or even the car so for me it was the best option to wait.
But after finishing university I realised how important it was for me to drive. Having a full, clean driving licence is often more attractive to employers, even if the job doesn’t require you to drive.
Public transport can be unreliable, through bad weather and poor driving conditions, industrial strikes or bank holidays. By driving you reduce the risk of encountering these issues. You’re more flexible, and there’s no need to worry about the imminent rail strike at 8am that will delay your morning commute.
By now I’d had the “end of education reality check” and I was on my own, wondering what on earth I was going to do for the rest of my life (excuse the drama, but I really thought like that when I finished uni).
I wanted to work part-time and try new things that would help me to work out what I wanted to do, and in the creative industries that meant taking part in a variety of things; I needed to be flexible. So I moved home, got a part-time job and used the money I earned to learn to drive.
And learning to drive was one of the best things I ever did.
When I passed my driving test I noticed that doors were opening; I could easily drive to out of the way areas to film, interview or even just help the producer to carry equipment. My confidence in my ability sky rocketed, and really I owe it to driving as I couldn’t do any of these things without having access to a car.
For anyone who has to look after a relative who needs care, having access to a vehicle is essential. My mother looks after my grandmother; there is a distance of 20 miles between them and no regular bus service.
With the car, Mum is able to visit my grandmother three times a week. She can help my gran with everyday tasks like cleaning and shopping, but most importantly, Mum has peace of mind. She can make sure Gran gets to her doctor’s appointments on time and get to Gran quickly if there was an emergency.
With the everyday tasks taken care of, Mum can take my gran out for some fresh air, or for a spot of lunch. Personally, I think these times are just as important as the everyday tasks. My mum can have quality time with my gran, and they can be mother and daughter again, talking about old times over fish and chips at the local pub, at which my gran is a regular!
Driving really does open the door to a lot of opportunities for young people. I only really realised that when I passed my test.
But when you think of others who have people that are dependent on them, the importance of having a driving licence is increased massively. Having a car means getting to the doctors on time and being able to rush out if something happened.
Even something as simple as going out somewhere for the day is made much easier by owning a car, people have a better quality of life and that’s really the most important thing.