8 February 2016

Bye Bye Beautiful, Hello Gorgeous and Papa don't Teach!

Last week saw the end of an era - I had to get rid of my beautiful car.

She's been ace for as long as I've been given her, which indeed I really was, because she was a trade for some building work my ex-husband did for some friends.

They'd had her since new and passed her on to me when they were upgrading.

This time, it was my turn to do just that, but not before she's given me long good service of around nine years!

Ford Focus
'Bye Bye Beautiful!
I've loved her. She's never let me down, but she was getting old and a bit crunchy and not worth what it was going to take to get her through her MOT and even though this has been the case for the last couple, things felt different this time, so I bit the bullet and traded her up for a gorgeous little Yaris.

Toyota Yaris,
Hello Gorgeous!
I started off with two tiny Minis after receiving driving lessons from my step-dad on Sundays in a local supermarket car park.  They were never allowed to open then in those days so it would empty with plenty of room to roam around and learn how to change gear!

And over a period spanning *crikey* thirty-three years, I gradually progressed to a Ford Fiesta, a VW Golf, a company convertible BMW and a Toyota MR2 sports car before the inevitable decline in engine capacity and status to another VW Golf, my beloved Ford Focus and now, my tiny Toyota.

It's funny how things come full circle and we've ended up with another small car, but it's perfect for my small family.  It feels a bit like we're flying because it's light and it's an automatic and it comes with a built in sat nav so we won't get lost next time we go to France!

And that's what swung it for me.  She was so ancient that my RAC cover wouldn't stretch to looking after us should she break down abroad and travelling overseas by ferry is something we want to do more of.

Nowadays, people can't learn to drive in car parks and the cost of driving lessons has risen so steeply that some parents feel forced to take the stressful option of trying to teach their kids how to drive on the streets!

I can't imagine what this must be like in today's busy world and it didn't occur to me that it might actually be more stressful for the Learner than the qualified driver but some research commissioned by carfused.com has revealed this to be the case. 

They've released a video featuring Sandra Dodson, from Sky TV’s Driving School of Mum and Dad, in which they monitor the heart rate of a 17-year-old learner as she was taken out to practise driving with her father and then compared it with when she's learning with her.  Sandra is a former deputy chief driving examiner at DSA, Driving Standards Agency. 

Evidently, the stress levels monitored were higher with Dad in the passenger seat - shouting and grabbing the wheel - but they stayed high too vs. with an experienced instructor where they rose and fell depending on the challenges presented.  Their point is that stressed and distracted drivers are more dangerous!

The research about the rising cost of learning to drive had a lot of pick up across national media channels such as BBC radio and the Daily Mail and it makes fascinating reading - especially the bit where the youngsters become the designated drivers over Christmas!

I certainly couldn't have survived just on those lessons from my step-dad because families need to stay on speaking terms (!) but I still hear the advice of my Driving Instructor whenever I am reverse parking.  The cameras in my new car are completely disconcerting and the annoying helpful lady who advises when we're over the speed limit is going to take some getting used to.  She feels like a parent beside me anyhow!

Here's the video below.  How do you feel about your experiences of learning to drive and your various cars over the years?