Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Ditching those L plates- memories of learning to drive & a look at black box discounts

I am very glad I am not learning to drive in this day and age. My friend is - she has a clever "theory test app" on her smartphone which I had a go at and failed miserably!

Peugeot 206cc steering wheel in red and black leather

 To be fair there seemed to be an awful lot of questions about obscure road signs, some of which I have never actually encountered in almost three decades of driving!

I remember my first lesson - like many people I booked one for my 17th birthday and the instructor picked me up from school. I was so excited! I bunny hopped down the road so proudly!

I had just ten actual lessons - I remember they cost £10 each- and the rest of my training came from my very calm and very brave step-dad Dave who helped me conquer my fear of roundabouts and curbed my innate need for speed.

I drove a Nissan Micra with my official instructor and a variety of vehicles with Dave including a very snazzy and incredibly powerful Ford Capri which was one of the must-have cars for youngsters at the time.

Dave was by far the better teacher when it came to understanding the car. My official instructor talked about rules and regs and Dave taught me to listen to the car, understand the noise the engine made to help decide about gear choice, and to drive smoothly and confidently.

So many of my friends are nervous drivers, even now, but Dave gave me the ability to jump into any vehicle and not to be afraid of traffic. I am happy to drive in cities, abroad, in unfamiliar areas and round as many roundabouts as necessary - including the bonkers "magic roundabout" in Hemel Hempstead where you can turn left or right!

I have driven all types of car, automatic, manual, Citroens with barmy gear sticks, a long wheel base VW transporter, a steam engine......you name it, I'll have a go at it!

Butlins Bognor car ride
starting young!
I have had very few accidents, the worst being when I was 18, cocky and driving a very trendy (at the time) Ford Fiesta Ghia. I went into the back of someone at traffic lights, driving too fast. Luckily nothing was hurt but my pride.  Oh, and the car.

The car was a write-off. Thank goodness for car insurance! Luckily my parents had always urged me to pay for fully comprehensive insurance and so I was not left without wheels for long.

Talking to other friends with teenagers who are shopping for car insurance now made me realise that although the test might be more challenging than it was when I was young, the variety of insurance options is much greater.

I am particularly impressed by the insurance companies who offer the black box option - basically you can choose to have a telematic box fitted to the vehicle which tracks when and how the vehicle is being driven. Good driving is rewarded with insurance premium discounts or cash-back schemes!

It proved useful for one friend whose 18-year-old son was involved in an accident. It was totally not his fault. The other (older) driver decided to try the "your word against mine" trick and said my friend's son was speeding and had braked suddenly. The black box fitted to my friend's car proved the other man a liar.

As a bonus my friend (who shared her car with her son) said knowing the black box was there made her drive more carefully too.

I love driving which is a good job really because with my "baby birds" starting to fly the nest I can see many miles passing under my wheels over the next few years! Not a chore with my beloved Peugeot 206CC- just give me a dry day to take the roof down and some good music to sing along to and I am a happy girl!

madmumof7 in Peugeot 206cc


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All views & opinions remain honest and my own.








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