Get on the road to empty pockets and stress

Eoin Harte

Hhaving a driver’s licence is a lot like having a passport to your own freedom. 

Being able to drive opens up a world of possibilities that simply can’t be appreciated until you are able to get behind that wheel and go where the wind takes you.

However, there is a tedious process that everyone has to go through before being able to drive without the constant critical gaze of a parent or instructor in the passenger seat next to you that costs a pretty penny also.

While it is quite understandable that the government don’t want just anybody to be allowed drive on a whim and go through the front wall of a house, as the Southside People reported in January, the stress of the whole process can put many people off earning our license.

What’s probably more daunting to potential learners is the sheer amount of money that they will have to cough up to get out on the road.

Under current legislation, learner drivers must complete 12 lessons with a qualified instructor, with the Irish School of Motoring offering these for the hefty price of €399. This is only after passing the driver theory test, which will set you back €45 each time you take it. Unfortunately, many of us fail this repeatedly before being successful.

After 12 lessons most would be unlikely to pass the full driving test. So learners have two options; pay for more lessons which cost €30- €40 a pop, or buy insurance for a car themselves or be put onto the insurance for someone else’s car. As most of us are aware, neither option is cheap. 

Doing a pre-test is recommended by most instructors before taking the actual test, with Airport Driving School offering a two-hour lesson for €100. This could save you money if it succeeds in preventing you from failing the test multiple times, which costs €80 a go, but it still hurts to know you could spend that much money and fail the test.

With an average pass rate across the country of 53 per cent, most of us can expect to do the test twice, with some unlucky people having to take it several times.

While it can be expensive, Sean Connolly, a Third Year Business Studies student who is currently doing an INTRA with Volkswagen, believes that having a licence and owning a car yourself is a worthy investment.

“[It provides] Freedom, you don’t have to be asking your parents for lifts and all that craic.”

Connolly has had second thoughts about owning a car, but for him, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives.

“Sometimes I wonder… I’ve to put about 40 quid in the car a week and then you’ve got your NTC… but I think the freedom outweighs the cost.”

Owning a car is undoubtedly too expensive for most students, so it would only be feasible until after college. However, if you can afford the lessons and the test, it might not be the worst idea to set yourself up for the future.

Eoin Harte

Image credit: Alison Clair