I'll never forget the time when I heard the words "and I'm pleased to tell you that you've passed": words that signal permission to unleash a torrent of emphatic joy into your being. Never have I felt more accomplished than when I heard those magical words, as they are spoken to tell you that you are officially safe to be let out into the big wide world. And happily, I haven't had a chlamydia scare since.
On the other hand, you may also hear those words when passing your driving test. For car enthusiasts, this is an achievement up there with marriage and the birth of your first child. It is the key to unlocking your own freedom: a reason to exploit a new found independence. Sadly however, passing your driving test opens up a humungous and unavoidable can of worms.
Immediately after cutting your L plates off, you may begin the exciting search for a car of your own. It's at this point that you'll suddenly realise how even the cheapest cars don't just simply put one hole in your wallet – they attack it with a machine gun.
You won't just have the car to afford – you'll have to be able to afford to run it. The fuel, the servicing, the tyres, any unforeseen repair work, and let's not forget the young driver's biggest and most dreaded fear, insurance.
All these expenses may result in someone realistically deciding that they cannot afford a car. But when people hear that you've passed your driving test, and that you're not going to be buying a car, they look at your with a contorted expression of utter disgust that signifies that their tiny minds can't disassociate a licensed driver from a car owner.
People will talk to you as though they've got a gun to your head, demanding that you buy yourself a car. They will talk to you like you're a mental patient that's suffering from something medical science has yet to discover and acknowledge. They will talk to you in a way that reflects their own arrogance and lack of an ability to think freely.
If you do decide that you're not in the financial position to purchase your first car – which is nobody's business but yours – you may decide to get yourself insured on your parent's car. But again, in order to do this, we must encounter the greatest enemy of the new driver: insurance.
When I first passed my test, I looked into getting myself insured on my Dad's car. It's not a diamond-encrusted Rolls Royce – despite the insurance quote. It's a modest 2003 Vauxhall Astra Diesel Estate with 135,000 miles on the clock. Would you like to hazard a guess at what I got quoted?
Reach down into the very depths of your soul, and aim your guesstimate well beyond the bounds of what you consider to be outrageous, let alone reasonable.
Well, whatever your answer, I doubt you'd be obscene enough to reach your guess up to these heights. Because when I first passed my test – as a 19 year old – the absolute cheapest anyone would insure me for was £8,300!!
Suffice it to say, I couldn't justify paying this ridiculous fee out for one year's car insurance. So I waited a year, hoping it would come down.
A year later, I had another quote - but this time the cheapest was £8,600!!
It took 4 years after passing my test for insurance to dip into the regions of justification. Fair dos, my case is an extreme example – but it just goes to show that just because you pass your test, it doesn't necessarily mean that you'll be able to immediately jump into a car and roar away into a horizon of infinite possibilities. Many financial hurdles will manifest themselves, with some taking the form of impenetrable barricades.
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Written by: Angelo Uccello
Tribe: Speed Machines
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