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Driving alone vs driving with friends

Emilia Smith profile

Emilia Smith

August 9, 2018

Driving advice Young driver stories 4 min read

And just like that, all the hard work and theory test question practice was worth it, because you’ve passed your test! But hold up – you have now lost that security of that qualified driving instructor with their nice dual controls and their extra set of eyes. It’s now down to you, and you alone! I passed and all of a sudden my friends had all of these road trips planned, that I didn’t know if I was ready for. They would have had me up and down the country but it’s kind of scary. I decided to really think about my life as a new driver, and which type of road trip I prefer. It is one with the wind in my hair, music playing and not a car in the world? Or – is it with the hustle and bustle of my nearest and dearest in the passenger seats?

Driving alone

My first drive alone was a big deal for me, and something I never thought I’d get to. The L plates have gone and this is all on my shoulders now. Needless to say, that first drive was a total mixture of emotions. Excitement at the prospect of having my freedom. Nerves of blokes in their BMWs who have no hesitancy of cutting up a 13-year-old KA. It was down to me to make those calls at junctions and those snap decisions. For me, the biggest plus was my choice of music – Shawn Mendes on full blast!


It all sounds great (minus the part where I get cut up a lot) but on that first drive, I got lost and it shook me up! The signs come at you so quick all of a sudden all these lanes with roads that I had no idea existed! I ended up going via a lot of places and adding 30 minutes on to a journey that should have taken 15. For me, navigation has been the only downside of driving solo. I don’t have a friend in the passenger seat to be that second pair of eyes on the sat nav or road signs – it’s just me!

Driving with the girls!

My friends are a fab bunch I’m not going to lie, and being one of the first to pass their test within my friendship group meant they were more than happy to start hitting the road! I was excited about this! Road trips with my best friends? What more could you ask for!

Of course, it’s never that easy, is it? Before they even get in my car, they have the discussion of who gets the front seat! (does no one call shotgun anymore?) After this debate, the second was not far behind. What music shall we listen to? Becky liked different from what Holly likes who wanted different from Katie. Who knew choosing some music would be such a nightmare!? After a somewhat heated negotiation, we concluded we’d scrap Spotify playlists all together and listen to the good ol’ radio!


Road trip or driving solo?

Overall I love having people in the car with me, despite the occasional bit of backseat driving and debate over music choice. For me, there is nothing better than hitting the road with your friends. It’s fun on the journey, and wherever we decide to go! I felt quite happy with people in the car and it was great having the extra support with directions.

With that being said, I love driving solo too! Yes sometimes I struggle with where to go, and I have no one else to rely on – but I can listen to what I want and go where I want without having to please anyone else. I’m in my own little bubble when I hit the roads alone!

Emilia Smith profile

By Emilia Smith

'My name's Emilia and I'm 20 years old. I have been learning to drive for about 2 years and failed my test 3 times, with my 4th test booked in soon. Once I have my freedom I would love to work in animal welfare. I spend most of my time looking after my Cocker Spaniel, Buzz.'  See more posts by Emilia

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