Being a new driver is one of the most exciting and potentially daunting times in life, especially if you’re young. There is nothing quite like the thrill of passing your test and realising that you’re suddenly free to go where you like, whenever you like. Of course, this is only the case if you’ve actually gone through the obstacles of finding a car and getting it insured; something which is getting to be almost prohibitively expensive.

Getting the Car

Three years ago, when I passed my test, it was much the same and I had to pay out more in a year’s insurance than I did on my first car. It was a ten year old 1.6 Volvo, which might not sound like much, but I felt like the king of the road because it had a more powerful engine than any of my friends’ cars, and was about a metre longer too. Now this might seem like an odd choice for an 18 year old, especially in the UK, where insurance is extremely expensive, but things turned out pretty well, as the trusty Volvo was reliable. I still go by this method of looking at cars today. You should always take into account all costs associated with a car – don’t assume anything, and don’t be unwilling to spend a little more on insurance if you have to.

Whatever happens, you’ll love your first car. The Volvo is still my favourite, and I’m on number three.

Driving the Car

They do say that you don’t start learning to drive until you’ve passed your test, and I think this is true, as your lessons won’t teach you what it’s like to be in certain situations. Your learner plates give you a kind of force field, and things are very different when you don’t have them. People will cut you up, not indicate, tailgate you and generally make things difficult. Drive safely and try not to get aggravated by them.

Aside from this, driving is great, and the freedom it gives you is worth every penny.

Not Crashing the Car

Ignore the people who tell you you’ll definitely have an accident and that it’s inevitable – it’s not. Being safe is up to you, and while there are dangerous people out on the roads, drive well and you’re very unlikely to be in so much as a bump.

I’d only been driving for about 4 months when I first encountered snow and ice, and having done this, if you live somewhere upon which snow is likely to fall, I’d recommend you get some skidpan experience. It can be quite alarming when the car doesn’t respond as you’d expect, so it’s a good idea to be prepared.

Overall, being a new driver is usually quite daunting, but both exciting and fun at the same time. It’s the best thing you’ll ever learn to do.

Adam Hart-Davies writes on behalf of, where you can quickly get a time and date to take your theory test.