Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Young Face in the Mirror

First of all, thank you for your supportive comments on my previous post about The Farmer going into hospital. He goes in on Wednesday and we're hoping he'll be home by Monday. Your comments have helped me to accept it better than I was doing which has confirmed to me that I needed to at least write about it. Talking about illness has never come easy to me and whether it ever will do I honestly don't know. To him, it's an inconvenience. To me, it's a worry. But a part of me isn't scared anymore and that can only be a good thing. Between here, my Facebook page and Twitter, I've been overwhelmed with your wonderful support. Thanks for being there for me (and The Farmer of course) x

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My lovely hairdresser made me feel old this week when he told me he's taking the theory part of his driving test. He's 25 this year and I was giving him one of those "back in my day" speeches about how driving tests didn't involve written theory exams but concentrated on the practical side of driving. He asked me how long I've been driving and I suddenly realised it's longer than he's been on the planet! "Err, twenty-odd years," I replied. I looked in the mirror and didn't feel as though I'd been driving for almost 25 years. I passed my test in May 1987 when I was 17. Where did those years go? I asked him if he thinks doing a theory as well as a practical test has improved the way new drivers handle the road. Personally, I don't think it has. I got asked three questions while doing my test, one of which I got wrong - yet he still passed me. Have they made the test harder now, are they trying to clamp down on idiot drivers, or are we just being stung for more money in view of paying out for lessons and tests?

A while ago I wrote a post about young drivers being charged a painful amount on their insurance and how I thought it was unfair. But if a much harder test has been introduced, shouldn't this mean that our younger drivers are getting a better education behind the wheel and have more knowledge of the Highway Code? In my opinion, I don't think anyone really learns how to drive until they've passed their test and are driving the car completely on their own, with no back-seat drivers, no instructors and no one reminding them to indicate, check their mirror, slow down etc. It isn't surprising that insurance companies are charging so much though, because if a new driver doesn't have the experience then surely they have more chance of causing an accident. On the other hand, if I were to take my test again I couldn't be sure I'd pass, and I reckon that goes for many others.

13 comments:

  1. I've been driving almost as long as you too, I passed in 1989...seems like forever! I'm not sure the test is harder. I recently took my motorbike test and the theory wasn't hard at all, multiple choice questions that pretty much need common sense to answer! Daughter just failed her practical on one point, parallel park uphill...I can't park easily reversing uphill! I thought that was rather unfair as her instructor's never had her parallel park uphill. However it's the insurance that gets on my nerves...I see drivers out there of all ages who are a risk on the roads, and they don't have to pay through the nose to enjoy the privilege of driving! It hits parents too as we try to help our offspring get on the roads. we live in a rural area and our children need to drive to be able to hold down jobs and to travel further afield to get jobs!
    Best wishes to your hubby too, my dad's just had several surgeries so I get how you feel, my Mum hates him being away.

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  2. Unfortunately the insurance is determined by two horrible facts. Those that don't have insurance, and those that are careless and irresponsible on the road. Again, unfortunately this is largely effected by the younger age group. Hence the insurance hike.
    It's so unfair I know.
    My son turns 17 this year and I would love him to learnt to drive, but I wouldn't be able to afford the insurance for him. We don't even have a car just now.
    I learnt to drive in 1996 and passed in 1997. The theory test had just started, and I sailed through it. It was very very easy, because I had been learning about the stuff that was in it.
    I do think that the tests should be harder and more difficult to determine "safer" drivers, but, I look about me and wonder how on earth some of the drivers on the road now (of all age ranges) actually passed. Sometimes putting someone behind a wheel, and an engine capable of scary speeds and weight changes them so much that a kitten loving hippy can become an enraged devil worshipping yob!

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  3. Hi, I am 28 and only passed my driving test 4 months ago. I only started learning after I got over my silly fear of being in control of a car. I took the theory and although it was easy in some parts, some were not. I passed with flying colours purely from the fact that I studied, practised with online tests, used DVD's of hazard perception and worked hard. I guess most others just memorise the answers and pass that way. Being a new driver I can honestly say that no part of learning to drive is ever easy. The DVLA have just introduced new tests which mean learner drivers can no longer just memorise the answers - they must learn the theory behind the questions. This can only be a good thing and definitely seems harder to me. I cherish my license because I have worked so damn hard for it. I don't intend on making silly mistakes or bad judgements for someone to snatch it away from me. If only other people did the same!

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  4. the only ones that can affect the insurance of young drivers is young drivers....and you are not helping me here because i only passed mine 2 years later than you did...smiles.....

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  5. Insurance seems to have gone up so much recently - and I drive a van which is higher. Like you, I'm not sure I'd pass if I had t take my test again though in fact I'm a better driver than I used to be....!

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  6. All the best to the Farmer. I am sure he'll be fine. It'll be a nice rest for him away from the pressures of the farm, even if it is a tad painful!

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  7. Me and OH took advanced driving lessons recently, he passed his test, I failed lol but I really enjoyed taking lessons again, it was good for me. I don't think the test is any harder nor are new drivers any better or worse than they used to be back in our day. I think it's just lucky that cars are safer so less kids die whilst they learn to drive for real post-test.

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  8. Best widhes to the farmer for a speedy recovery. And I've also been driving for 25 years now you mention it. I hate it that I left school 30 years ago, especially as i'm still young inside.

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  9. I take my hat off to anyone who learns to drive a car- I never had either the urge or the chance to do so. I can see it has advantages, but I never forget the downsides, either - like road tax: new tyres: MOT's, etc. :) Best of wishes to The Farmer today, to! ♥

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  10. Oops - make that too - or even, the two of you! LOL

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  11. Thinking of you and the farmer today, hope it all goes well. xx

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  12. I've been driving for 26 years (didn't start driving lessons until I was 33 but passed first time), and I wouldn't like to take my driving test again thankyou.

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  13. My test (back in about 1980) was really hard. Apart from all the driving bits and pieces (hill starts, reversing round corners, parallel parking etc) I had to sit in the car for ages while he flipped through a book of road signs and then asked loads and loads of questions. Easily the most stressful exam I've ever taken and I used to do the Royal Academy ballet exams in a huge room on my own with an examiner.
    The US tests are ridiculously easy. You can take the multiple choice theory test in a foreign language, and you're allowed to get quite a few wrong and still pass. The driven part lasts about 5-10 minutes; most people don't even have to park, and there's no three point turning or anything like that. It's no wonder they're all crap drivers round here!

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