The high cost of learning how to drive



Daughter one is learning to drive. She had her first lesson last week. She now considers herself a semi-professional. “I’ll drive us to the supermarket,” she volunteered the other day. Apparently she drove along an actual road on her lesson and round a roundabout. There is a roundabout en route to the local supermarket. I explained that when she was in the learner car it had dual controls. Daughter one had mentioned that the instructor slowed the car down somewhat and made some sort of passing reference to her keenness to go slightly faster than advisable on a first lesson. Daughter one, in her defence, said that she did not want to spend her whole life stuck behind slow-moving trucks – a passing reference to being in the passenger seat when I am driving and we are late for something or other [which, to be fair, is more due to the fact that we leave 10 minutes later than scheduled]. “The reason we sit behind the trucks is that there are several other cars in the other lane and we risk being mown down,” I stated.

The reason for getting daughter one to drive is so she can be more independent, but mainly so her parents can spend less time finding places at midnight on a Friday. An added bonus is that she could pick up her siblings in extremis. It is for this reason that daughter one feels slightly ambivalent about passing the test and registering for the theory exam.

I spoke to my sister at the weekend. She mentioned something about the price of full-time car insurance for young drivers. I went online. Surely there was something that explained it all in a simple way. Nuh-uh. It was all comparison sites where you had to give every single detail about your life before you even got a remotely ballpark figure on the cost. I rang the car insurance firm we have for our car. They seemed quite cagey. They could only give a quote for the next six weeks until our insurance is up for renewal. It was high. Eventually they muttered something about it costing around one thousand pounds to add daughter one to the insurance policy as an additional driver.

We have four children. I had up till now focused all financial attention on nursery and after school costs. Car insurance had not even been on the radar. I’d momentarily considered university fees, but decided they’d all have to do online courses supported by their earnings as tech whizzes. Unfortunately, the only one showing any interest in technology is only son who seems to know more than is necessary about people called things like DanTDM and Stampy [who sounds like a person, but is, I have been reliably informed, a cat].

Meanwhile, we’ve spent the whole weekend glued to the Catalan news and speaking to family and friends. News of Julian Cadman’s death came yesterday as I sat beside our own bubbly, “cheeky” seven year old. We could so easily have been there; it could so easily have been him.

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of

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