Magazine topic: 
Life around the world
Total votes: 95

Behind the wheel

22
by : 
JohnM

I've been learning to drive since September. So far, I've had 19 lessons and it's going well. But it's not easy. When you're on the road, there are many things to consider – safety is a top priority. In the UK, you can learn to drive at the age of 17 with a provisional licence. So, at 21, I'm already a late starter. But I'm enjoying it! And in my opinion, being able to drive has many advantages.

First of all, driving lets you get from A to B pretty much whenever you want. Having a car gives you a quick and easy way of getting around without the expected waiting of public transport, which is usually much slower than driving. Normally, you have to wait for a bus to arrive...then you need to stop at various places before you finally reach your destination. But a car takes you there directly.

Similarly, driving serves as a very reliable means of transport, whatever the weather. You can get from A to B despite heavy rain and snow; furthermore, you are kept well protected. In contrast, public transport is often delayed or even cancelled due to poor weather conditions. In Scotland, our trains are often cancelled due to snow covering the tracks. So, driving would be a very useful skill for me.

Another benefit of being able to drive is that with a car you're able to take things with you easily. You can use the boot (or 'trunk' in American English) of your car for your shopping, for example, or anything too big or heavy to carry yourself. This makes driving very practical for everyday life.

However, driving also has its drawbacks – and the main one for me is the cost. Having a car is expensive. Learning to drive is expensive. Maintaining a car is expensive. Once you've passed your test, you need to consider so many costs, such as petrol (or 'gas'), car insurance and any necessary repairs. And all these costs add up. But there are some cheaper alternatives, like public transport. While the bus, for example, isn’t as quick as driving, it’s certainly cheaper. You could also cycle, which is not only a great way to stay fit but is environmentally friendly too. Or you could walk. Maybe we depend too much on cars nowadays – even for short journeys. Are we getting lazy?

Even so, I want to be a driver.

Did you know that in the UK the driver’s seat is on the right side of the car? And that we drive on the left side of the road? In most countries, people drive on the right side of the road; in fact, around just 34% of the world population live in left-hand traffic countries. I guess we like to be different.

Driving is fun and a very useful and practical skill to have. But when you’re behind the wheel, you need to be careful. As a driver, you share the road with other drivers and with nearby pedestrians. Therefore, safety, caution and concentration are essential. Remember to always drive sensibly.

Discussion

At what age can you learn to drive in your country? Will you learn to drive as soon as you're allowed to? 

Comments

hadia's picture
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hadia 12 April, 2015 - 14:37

In our country usually people of the age 18 or above drive but there are some who drive below this age. Well! we can learn driving at any age above 15. I think this is enough age for driving!

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28 users have voted.
justcricketforme's picture
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justcricketforme 17 September, 2013 - 14:20

In my country you can drive at the age of 18 but still my Dad's teaching me how to drive one so that I'll be abe to pass tath test without ant difficulty. I wished we could drive at the ahe of 16 but all the same I agree with my parents that 16 year olds aren't that mature.

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30 users have voted.
AHMED_K's picture
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AHMED_K 16 July, 2013 - 19:46

we can drive at the age of 16 but with difficult requirements. you have to get alot of lesson and that cost alot but even if you succeed you have to drive with an adult beside you and you can not drive after midnight. now i am 17 years old but i do not think of license because i do not realy need it.

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34 users have voted.
hayaalhams's picture
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hayaalhams 18 June, 2013 - 09:35

i think we can learn at the age of 18 .. when i can to learn it ... i will really learn it .. because as you said the car is very important in our life .. ^^

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23 users have voted.
Margarita's picture
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Margarita 3 June, 2013 - 17:15

In my country we can learn to drive at the age of 18. I'm scared of cars, aeroplanes and almost all kind of transport (yeah i know there's nothing to be afraid of but i just can't help thinking about all these accidents) but I'm going to learn to drive as soon as I'm 18 + 1 day old because I want to be able to go wherever I want without having my parents to take me there. ;)

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25 users have voted.
Jerry's picture
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Jerry 27 May, 2013 - 15:51

What a smart idea! Instead of giving a 9 year old boy/girl a chocolate cake, a teddy bear (or Barbie collection) for their birthdays we should provide them with a car key hoping they are not going to kill us or anybody in the neighbourhood. The most important thing is to make them happy!
The only problem is that to be a car owner you should be 18 or older except the car is your matchbox.

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25 users have voted.
Lavender's picture
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Lavender 14 May, 2013 - 09:12

I agree with you that driving to our destinations is definitely convenient and quick. Everyone wants to travel this way. Me too (but in my country just the rich can can afford to buy a car, so we often use motorbikes, which are also convenient). But I think if people have to travel somewhere alone and it's not urgent we can choose public transports. Because just one person with a car take a lot of space on the road. And we all know we have to face with traffic jams everyday. So if you want to go out alone, you can invite some friends who have the same need to share the car. Or take a bus, a train ....

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31 users have voted.
JohnM's picture
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JohnM 14 May, 2013 - 19:09

Sharing the car with others (also known as 'carpooling') also produces less pollution and is therefore much better for the environment :) John

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27 users have voted.
Lavender's picture
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Lavender 15 May, 2013 - 17:37

Yeah, thank you for "carpooling'. Carpooling is not the best way to reduce environmental impact of transport but it still can help us get from A to B directly. ThereforeI think it is necessary to encourage people to carpool.

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28 users have voted.
MALINE's picture
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MALINE 11 May, 2013 - 21:59

Hi John why do you drive on the left side? why that difference? I´ve always questioned that.
What car do you like?
Do you know what to do if the car break down?

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31 users have voted.
JohnM's picture
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JohnM 12 May, 2013 - 21:54

Good question, MALINE.
According to Wikipedia, "The left-hand drive rule first became compulsory in 1722, to combat increasing traffic congestion on the narrow London Bridge".
As for car models, I don't really have a preference (but colour wise I'd go with black).
And if the car breaks down...well, I've still got lots to learn :)
Thanks for your questions!

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24 users have voted.
MALINE's picture
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MALINE 11 May, 2013 - 21:52

We can legally drive at 16 with a permission but you need to be 18 to get the license but some irresponsible parents teach driving thier sons at 12! and even on motorcycles,some of them can´t ride a bike but they already know how to drive. I think all has its moment you have to learn how to walk before start running.
Honestly I don´t look forward to get my license there are a lot of traffic here, you can spend hours in traffic in order to get some place even when it´s near.

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28 users have voted.
ellen's picture
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ellen 3 May, 2013 - 18:04

We learn at an early age in the country drive 17.
After all, 17 years is more appropriate.
But in some countries, for example, in U.S. state of California 13-year-old children have their own car.
It is very nice~
They are very Happy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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27 users have voted.
JohnM's picture
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JohnM 12 May, 2013 - 21:46

I agree with you, ellen.
17 years is an appropriate age to learn to drive. (More appropriate than 13 for sure.)
Thanks for commenting :)

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25 users have voted.