I never saw myself driving a car. Ever. I mean, I’m not scared of vehicles that go fast… as long as I’m not the one who’s behind the steering wheel. That’s why driving a car – me?! – seemed impossible.
I don’t know how much you know about driving a car in Belgium, but we can learn to drive a car with a supervisor when we’re 17 but not before we have passed the theoretical test. Also, you can take driving lesson’s in a professional school when you’re 18. When you have completed 20 hours of driving lesson’s in such a school, you can keep on practicing yourself, i.e. without a supervisor. That’s what I did – at least, as soon as I had a car to practice with…
During my first months at the University, I took driving lesson’s and after 20 hours I didn’t see myself fit yet to start practicing – on the public road! – by myself. I mean, what if something happened and I had to solve everything by myself? Help! Luckily, a friend of the family offered to go with me. It wasn’t so much that I wasn’t able to drive a car by myself as that I was too insecure to do it.
I took the classes in September-October and got a car in January. Because of the snow, though, I didn’t start practicing until the snow melted away. By then February came around. Four months after I first started practicing by myself, I declared myself fit to take the exam – which I passed on the first try! How proud I was… Honestly though, one of the reasons I took the exam so early was that I felt challenged by a friend who had also practiced for no longer than four months. Another reason was that I’d promised my friends I would drive them to an attraction park at the end of the month. I wanted to show off my car you know…
One more thing: I don’t think it’s “smart” that those who haven’t taken the 20h-classes and haven’t practiced by themselves are allowed to start driving by themselves as soon as they get their license. I mean, the first time you drive somewhere by yourself is pretty nerve-wrecking! And it’s not because you now have a driver’s license that you are an expert driver all of the sudden.
Besides that, learning to drive a car en owning a car were both on my bucketlist. I combined them, because in my case one isn’t possible without the other. My close family had either automatic transmission or leasing cars. I couldn’t practice with those, so we had to buy a new car. And don’t I love my car!
What I was looking for in a car:
- It couldn’t be a Volkswagen Golf – I mean, everyone here has those. I wanted something different.
- It had to be either black, white or silver – in that order.
- It had to have a radio – and preferably a CD-player and AUX-gate (USB was optional).
- There had to be airconditioning.
- It has to drive economically – I am a student and everything above €20 is expensive. I don’t want to spend my entire budget on gas. That’s normal, right?
I still think that list is very achievable. I don’t need an integrated GPS or heated seats or whatever. Just the basic stuff.
Guess what I got?
- Chevrolet Spark – it’s new. It’s so new, in fact, that four years later still not everyone knows about its existence. How unique can you be? In my own city, only two other people drive this type of car.
- It’s white. And it’s cute.
- It has a radio, CD-player and AUX-gate. So much music to play!
- The airconditioning sucks – when you turn it on the car turns into a freezer immediately, there’s no in-between. But! I got what I wanted.
- Even though it’s a city car, it doesn’t really drive economically. The gas tank, too, doesn’t have a big capacity, which means that every 400km (if I’m lucky) I need to stop at a gas station.
PS. I have been driving this car for three years now and I am so proud to say I have never gotten a fine nor have I been in or caused an accident. Yes, I do think it is worth a quick mention!
When did you get you’re first car? What’s your dream car? Have you ever been in an accident?