It may not seem like the most important thing to some people, however, as a 20-something in the modern world, it's tough not being able to drive. Having to rely on friends for a lift anywhere that's beyond a 10-mile radius (that's even if you're willing to bike that far) is slightly depressing and highly restricting.
However, the decision to venture out into the world of mirrors, signals and manoeuvres isn't one that should be taken lightly. Aside from the potential threats to your health, owning and driving a car is a costly business. Of course, like all good products, a car will give you back as much as you put into it. But when things go wrong (sometimes when they don't go wrong), it can cost you a lot of money to run a car on a daily basis.
The Cost vs. Mobility Debate
Don't get me wrong, if you want to be mobile it's going to cost you. But before you grab a set of keys it's important to take note of your average costs. According to The Daily Mail, running a petrol car in the UK costs, on average, £1,000 more than its equivalent in the US and Australia. Following a mass study into the cost of running a car in 2013, the British newspaper summarised the results garnered by WeBuyAnyCar.com.
Taking into account the cost of petrol, tax, insurance and MOTs across 21 countries, the UK came out on top as the most expensive place to drive a car. On average, the annual cost for running a car in the UK was £3,453.66. In contrast, the cost of doing the same in the US is £2,425.36 and in Australia it's £2,128.24. Sitting at the bottom of the cost table is Saudi Arabia with an average annual running cost of £237.22.
So, what's a 20-something to do if they want to become independent and drive? Save. If you're planning on taking your driving test and buying a car then make sure you set up a savings account and starting putting cash aside before you even contemplate getting behind the wheel.
The Safety Concerns
Aside from the cost, it's also important to think about your safety when you drive. Taking control of a one ton machine without having an understanding of driving theory or how to stay safe is a recipe for disaster. Cutting corners and trying to find the easiest way to pass your test should be the furthest thing from your mind if you're looking to become a proficient driver. Intensive courses are great for getting you through your test in a short amount of time, but they fail to give you the experience of driving on busy roads.
Just like everyone else, I yearned to be mobile, but before I took to the road I made sure that I'd done my homework. Planning for every eventuality isn't easy, but if you can run through the average costs, the main safety concerns and the best places to gain experience, you should be as safe as possible behind the wheel. The problem with being immobile is that it limits you in a variety of ways. However, if you don't take into account the full cost of driving then you could find that being mobile is more restrictive than you thought.