Is it worth learning to drive without having a car at the end? Watch

MathsNinja
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So I'm 22, I'm at med school and have another 3 years left, after which I will NEED to be able to drive for my training. I never learnt to drive when I was 17 because my brother was learning and my parents were too worried to have both of us doing it at once. Also he was going to have a job to commute to while I applied to unis in London, where you don't need one at all.

That was all fine at the time, but now I'm not in London and I'll need to drive soon. So is it worth learning while I have medical school going on, and not being able to drive after passing, or do I wait to learn later on when I can guarantee having a car once I've passed?
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It's not going to make a huge difference whether you do it now or later. Once you pass you wont forget how to drive, and you might end up using the skill now and then. If you have the time and it's affordable then do it now imo. Depends how much spare time you got. Just make sure you can drive by the time you need it.
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Acsel
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I learnt to drive, passed in June and didn't get a car until November when my brother finally sold me his. Generally I'd recommend that you try to get a car and start driving independently as soon after you pass your test as possible. Especially in the case of nervous drivers, the longer you leave it the more daunting it can become. And naturally it isn't until you pass and start driving independently that you actually learn to drive. So leaving a large gap between passing and getting a car isn't really in your interest.

If you don't need a car now, learning now doesn't do you any real favours. If you are going to need a car when you've passed, you'll want to try and start learning 6 months to a year before that, depending on how much you can commit. I appreciate that this may make your final year extra expensive and hectic so it may even be worth holding off until you've finished your degree. I'm not a fan of them, but you could always take an intensive driving course after you've finished your degree but before you've got a job. But I assume you won't have a job perfectly lined up when you finish your degree, so may have some wiggle room there to get some lessons in.
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MathsNinja
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I'm of exactly the same opinion; I think if you're going to learn to drive you should use that skill ASAP because treatment with an L plate is not the same as that without. Thus far I'm not nervous about driving; I would love the freedom of it, but there's almost no chance of getting a job here as I haven't come across any 0-hour contracts (which I kinda need because it's a graduate course so it's extra intense and busy).

A car would of course be helpful now as next year particularly I'll constantly be on placement and I'd rather not rely on other people to ferry me around. My parents are considering lessons as a Christmas present, but if again if there isn't a car at the end, I don't see the purpose.

Unfortunately with med, you graduate in July and start working in August as you have to apply right at the start of final year for jobs, of which a lot state you must hold a licence; a lot of training positions are linked for two years so you have to be able to commute to two different locations which vary in distance from each other.
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Kindred
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(Original post by MathsNinja)
So I'm 22, I'm at med school and have another 3 years left, after which I will NEED to be able to drive for my training. I never learnt to drive when I was 17 because my brother was learning and my parents were too worried to have both of us doing it at once. Also he was going to have a job to commute to while I applied to unis in London, where you don't need one at all.

That was all fine at the time, but now I'm not in London and I'll need to drive soon. So is it worth learning while I have medical school going on, and not being able to drive after passing, or do I wait to learn later on when I can guarantee having a car once I've passed?
It doesn't matter so much weather you'll have a car once you've passed. You can learn to drive in an instructors car and then by the time you need and get a car of your own you'll be all set. You might just like to do a couple of less intense drives to help you brush up on your skills if it's been a while since you passed.

What matters a bit more is when you are going to have the most time and energy to dedicate to driving. From what I know med school is pretty demanding so potentially learning to drive at the same time could add extra stress and make things harder for you. It could be better to wait until you have more time and energy to dedicate. That all depends on your situation though so there isn't a right or wrong answer- just something to consider.

I hope that helps
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Acsel
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(Original post by MathsNinja)
I'm of exactly the same opinion; I think if you're going to learn to drive you should use that skill ASAP because treatment with an L plate is not the same as that without. Thus far I'm not nervous about driving; I would love the freedom of it, but there's almost no chance of getting a job here as I haven't come across any 0-hour contracts (which I kinda need because it's a graduate course so it's extra intense and busy).

A car would of course be helpful now as next year particularly I'll constantly be on placement and I'd rather not rely on other people to ferry me around. My parents are considering lessons as a Christmas present, but if again if there isn't a car at the end, I don't see the purpose.

Unfortunately with med, you graduate in July and start working in August as you have to apply right at the start of final year for jobs, of which a lot state you must hold a licence; a lot of training positions are linked for two years so you have to be able to commute to two different locations which vary in distance from each other.
Ah that's a slightly different scenario then, I wasn't aware you'd be basically going straight into a job.

But I'd still say you want to be getting out and driving as soon as possible after you pass. I used P plates for a little bit until I was happy driving but generally found it best to avoid using them as a crutch for too long. Experience trumps all here.

As someone on placement, I can say having my car is the only way I'm able to do my placement at all. I was fortunate to have learned before I started uni though, and as you say there isn't a ton of point if you can't get a car to use. I wouldn't be a huge fan of learning now, then not being able to drive until you graduate in 3 years.

If you want to be able to drive for your placement, then you probably need to start learning soon. But that's somewhat reliant on you being able to afford lessons, a car, insurance, etc. It's not exactly cheap. If your degree doesn't leave you a ton of free time, then taking fewer lessons over a longer period may be better for you and would be my preference over taking an intensive course right before you need to drive. Personally I think it makes you a better drive if you have time for it to sink in, even if it costs more and takes longer.

If that's not a financially viable option though, then you may have to look at learning closer to when you graduate. If you aren't financially able to support learning to drive and getting a car until after your placement, then I'd probably want to hold onto the money in case I needed it for commuting.

If nothing else, talk with your parents. Work out what each option means for you financially and see what sort of support they're willing to give.
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MathsNinja
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(Original post by Kindred)
It doesn't matter so much weather you'll have a car once you've passed. You can learn to drive in an instructors car and then by the time you need and get a car of your own you'll be all set. You might just like to do a couple of less intense drives to help you brush up on your skills if it's been a while since you passed.

What matters a bit more is when you are going to have the most time and energy to dedicate to driving. From what I know med school is pretty demanding so potentially learning to drive at the same time could add extra stress and make things harder for you. It could be better to wait until you have more time and energy to dedicate. That all depends on your situation though so there isn't a right or wrong answer- just something to consider.

I hope that helps
Ideally you'd be right, but it's kind of either med school or when working as a junior doctor, but even then I kind of need to be able to drive by then, just to makes things difficult.
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MathsNinja
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(Original post by Acsel)
Ah that's a slightly different scenario then, I wasn't aware you'd be basically going straight into a job.

But I'd still say you want to be getting out and driving as soon as possible after you pass. I used P plates for a little bit until I was happy driving but generally found it best to avoid using them as a crutch for too long. Experience trumps all here.

As someone on placement, I can say having my car is the only way I'm able to do my placement at all. I was fortunate to have learned before I started uni though, and as you say there isn't a ton of point if you can't get a car to use. I wouldn't be a huge fan of learning now, then not being able to drive until you graduate in 3 years.

If you want to be able to drive for your placement, then you probably need to start learning soon. But that's somewhat reliant on you being able to afford lessons, a car, insurance, etc. It's not exactly cheap. If your degree doesn't leave you a ton of free time, then taking fewer lessons over a longer period may be better for you and would be my preference over taking an intensive course right before you need to drive. Personally I think it makes you a better drive if you have time for it to sink in, even if it costs more and takes longer.

If that's not a financially viable option though, then you may have to look at learning closer to when you graduate. If you aren't financially able to support learning to drive and getting a car until after your placement, then I'd probably want to hold onto the money in case I needed it for commuting.

If nothing else, talk with your parents. Work out what each option means for you financially and see what sort of support they're willing to give.
I think talking to my parents has to be the way forward, even if I only need to drive once I've graduated, we're really talking 2 and a half years so it could be the case of next year, but then again that could be risky to leave all the learning to then just in case something goes wrong.

Truly I wish I had just learnt at 17....
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Kindred
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(Original post by MathsNinja)
Ideally you'd be right, but it's kind of either med school or when working as a junior doctor, but even then I kind of need to be able to drive by then, just to makes things difficult.
Yeah I thought that might be the case. Perhaps in breaks between terms or just a time in your course with less pressure. It all depends on when you think you're most likely to have the free time for it.
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jameswhughes
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(Original post by MathsNinja)
So I'm 22, I'm at med school and have another 3 years left, after which I will NEED to be able to drive for my training. I never learnt to drive when I was 17 because my brother was learning and my parents were too worried to have both of us doing it at once. Also he was going to have a job to commute to while I applied to unis in London, where you don't need one at all.

That was all fine at the time, but now I'm not in London and I'll need to drive soon. So is it worth learning while I have medical school going on, and not being able to drive after passing, or do I wait to learn later on when I can guarantee having a car once I've passed?
I passed in 2012 and haven't driven since. :lol:

It's good to get a licence as soon as possible, regardless of whether you use it any time soon. Even if learning to drive goes smoothly, you can sometimes end up waiting weeks or months to find a time to do your test, which could hold you back.
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MathsNinja
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(Original post by jameswhughes)
I passed in 2012 and haven't driven since. :lol:

It's good to get a licence as soon as possible, regardless of whether you use it any time soon. Even if learning to drive goes smoothly, you can sometimes end up waiting weeks or months to find a time to do your test, which could hold you back.
That's a very valid point, and on that note, I'm thinking of starting to drive next year around this time so that should give me just over a year and a half. My question would be, do you think that would be long enough to account for any poor timings?
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ohhello92x
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In my opinion, I’d say start learning ASAP. Even if you haven’t got a car until you graduate, at least you’ve got your licence and that you don’t have to worry. Plus with booking your practical, the waiting lists can be long.

I’ve been driving since 2016 after my 3rd attempt of passing my practical and currently on a break from driving due to having to scrap my car (won’t go into detail there :lol: ). But I’m planning on getting a new car sometime after Christmas.
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jameswhughes
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(Original post by MathsNinja)
That's a very valid point, and on that note, I'm thinking of starting to drive next year around this time so that should give me just over a year and a half. My question would be, do you think that would be long enough to account for any poor timings?
18 months is definitely sufficient time to learn to drive, but it depends how often you can do lessons and practice etc. Different people pick it up at different rates too, some can pass after a few weeks whereas others need a bit longer.

It was almost two years from my first lesson to passing my test, but that included massive breaks while doing exams and being away at university.
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(Original post by jameswhughes)
18 months is definitely sufficient time to learn to drive, but it depends how often you can do lessons and practice etc. Different people pick it up at different rates too, some can pass after a few weeks whereas others need a bit longer.

It was almost two years from my first lesson to passing my test, but that included massive breaks while doing exams and being away at university.
That is so true!

I started learning in 2014, the instructor I had wasn’t very nice, and my confidence dropped and took a year off from lessons, then realised how much I hate relying on public transport and started doing lessons again with a new instructor in 2015, had 1hr lessons a week with no practice outside of lessons, there were a few times where I never had lessons due to various reasons, but managed to pass in that year
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MathsNinja
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So the other advantage of waiting a year would be that in my third year I have fewer sets of exams and almost no lectures at all; it's just placements all within the local area. I'm thinking arguably while I won't be at the uni, I'll still live in the same place barring weekend visits home so I may have more time and mental space for learning?
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ohhello92x
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(Original post by MathsNinja)
So the other advantage of waiting a year would be that in my third year I have fewer sets of exams and almost no lectures at all; it's just placements all within the local area. I'm thinking arguably while I won't be at the uni, I'll still live in the same place barring weekend visits home so I may have more time and mental space for learning?
Honestly it’s up to you tbh just depends how much free time, etc you have to do lessons, etc....
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jameswhughes
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(Original post by ohhello92x)
That is so true!

I started learning in 2014, the instructor I had wasn’t very nice, and my confidence dropped and took a year off from lessons, then realised how much I hate relying on public transport and started doing lessons again with a new instructor in 2015, had 1hr lessons a week with no practice outside of lessons, there were a few times where I never had lessons due to various reasons, but managed to pass in that year
I passed third time as well in fact, after failing my second test I didn't drive a car at all for over six months being away from home (though I was pretty fed up with driving at that stage too :lol:). Was lucky finding a test slot when I got back for Easter, quickly squeezed in a couple of lessons and finally passed that time!
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(Original post by jameswhughes)
I passed third time as well in fact, after failing my second test I didn't drive a car at all for over six months being away from home (though I was pretty fed up with driving at that stage too :lol:). Was lucky finding a test slot when I got back for Easter, quickly squeezed in a couple of lessons and finally passed that time!
Fair enough, it was so frustrating getting a slot for the practical, remember looking literally everyday to move it forward :lol:. I made silly mistakes in the first 2 attempts although could’ve passed 2nd time if I hadn’t have had the examiner that was being observed :lol: but oh well what’s done is done, at least we can drive :woo:.

I haven’t driven since August, had to have my car scrapped unfortunately so currently on a break from driving hoping to get a new car sometime after Christmas
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