After almost nine years of driving, I feel like a brand new driver again, thanks to this fifteen year old Vauxhall Zafira:
I passed my driving test a couple of weeks before my 21st birthday. My first car was an old ‘M’ reg Rover 214, which my mum and dad bought me. I moaned about it all the time, but it was a brilliant car, and it lasted me almost four years. During that time I loved driving – any excuse to go out in the car. After an initial few weeks of being a brand new nervous driver, I gained my confidence, even driving to Isle of Wight. I didn’t do much motorway driving, but felt absolutely fine the few times that I did.
Not long after I started my first full time teaching job we were involved in a ‘crash for cash’ incident. We were coming home from a friends in the early hours of the morning. It was dark and wet but Graham, who was driving, was a safe distance from the car in front. Suddenly, we smashed into the back of it. No warning or brake lights – it just suddenly stopped in the middle of the road. My poor Rover was a write off. To cut a very long story short, it turns out the car we smashed into was uninsured, and was trying to sue us for whiplash. After an investigation, they found out that the brake lights had purposely been disconnected so that we wouldn’t see that they had stopped. We just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Because I was earning, I decided to purchase a car on finance – a little Corsa. I was so excited about it but the day we picked it up I knew I had made a huge mistake. I hated driving it. I began to let Graham drive it more and more, and only drove it if I had no choice. I drove it on the motorway once and was absolutely terrified of it. I don’t know whether it was the accident or the car, but suddenly I lost all my driving confidence.
Last year, we began to struggle with the cost of the payments on the car, and we realised that with baby number three on the way, it was going to be far too small. We decided to end the agreement with the finance company and save up to buy another car, one that was much more practical.
Saving up to buy one took us more than sixteen months, and at the beginning of June we bought ‘Zaffy’. It’s fifteen years old, currently has no working stereo and has a few little marks to show it’s age, but I absolutely LOVE it! The first time I drove it, I felt like a brand new driver, full of confidence, with just a tiny bit of nervousness. It feels big and safe, and is perfect for our family. Graham has taken a bit of a back seat (literally!) to help me to continue building my confidence. I’ve driven several times on the motorway, and even feel like I could drive on it by myself now.
I know I am a good driver, and other than an incident when I *may* have bumped into a lamp post when parking by our house, I’ve not had any bumps or points. I’m careful, I pretty much stick to speed limits and brake in plenty of time. I don’t quite qualify as a ‘young driver’ anymore (boo!) but I would have loved the MORE TH>N SM>RT wheels insurance to have been around when I did – they would have came and fitted a black box to my car to get a picture of my driving style. If I had got a good score on it by sticking to speed limits and not braking excessively, I could get up to 10% of my premium back in the first year. When young drivers are portrayed so negatively in the press for their driving, this is a way to prove that they aren’t all so bad!