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Eleanor Richards profile

Eleanor Richards

January 12, 2018

News Young driver stories 6 min read

As another year passes everyone is starting to look back at what they accomplished in 2017. For some there will be big milestones: passing exams, getting into university, finding your first job or, in the world of driving: passing your test or buying your first car!

For me, 2017 included two of those things: I passed my master’s degree and got my first proper job. Throughout the year I have also completed a lot of drives. Whether it was heading back up to university for my final term, or travelling to a new city to find a home and a job. Therefore I thought I’d join in with the reflective hype, looking back at my year and in particular, how my driving as evolved as it went on.

Borrowing a car

A lot of you might be wondering how I can reflect on a year of driving without actually having my own car. Well thankfully I’m insured on my mum’s car, and that meant when I travelled back up to Sheffield for my final term of uni I was able to drive myself there (and then leave mum alone to drive herself back).


One thing that’s always haunted me about the drive to Sheffield is the big hill that leads up to an extremely busy roundabout. Hill starts and pulling out onto a roundabout are both tricky things when you’re not an everyday driver and with someone else in the car, there’s always added pressure. Plus it always seems to be the case that when you desperately don’t want to stall, you do.

The horror of stalling

Thankfully though the thing you can take away from stalling at a busy intersection on a hill (which I did), is that it happens to everyone. And in fact, when I did stall – as I tried to set off after the traffic lights on the hill – I made the driver behind me stall too. He probably didn’t appreciate it, but at least I wasn’t alone in my mistake!

Finishing uni

After I did eventually get the car parked outside my university house I was then in for a long, hard term of work. Looking back on it now I can honestly say those last months at uni were some of the best of my life. Yes, there was a lot of hard work, but there were also a lot of nights out, lazy Sunday brunches, early morning hockey sessions, and memories that will stick with me forever.

Sadly this is all behind me now, although I am still very partial to a lazy Sunday brunch! But leaving university also meant moving to new places, meeting new people and taking a big step forward in my life as an adult. I’ll never forget the moment that my mum helped me pack up the car with all the weird and wonderful things I’d accumulated after four years of uni and head off in the direction of Leeds: where my new home and new job awaited…

New city, new job

My mum had just driven all the way over to Sheffield to help me with the move, so I very kindly offered to do the drive to Leeds. Let me tell you that was not fun! With all my stuff crammed into the back I could barely see out of the back windscreen, I was driving on a route I’d never really travelled before, and the rain was absolutely hammering down.


Truth be told I made it about halfway before I shamefully asked my mum to take over. For someone who doesn’t drive that often all those unfortunate variables were just a bit overwhelming and even I am responsible enough to admit that safety comes first when driving a car.

This is a bit of boring advice I would offer to anyone: yes you might want to drive yourself, but there’s nothing wrong with admitting when you’re struggling.

“Which direction is home…?”

Now fully moved into the new city, I was left once more without my own car – however, my flatmate did have one. Through her, I experienced what it’s like to have to find your way around a new place and man – we sure made a lot of wrong turnings. That’s something you take for granted I think when you know where you’re going – but in a new city, it’s alright to laugh when you turn the wrong way out of the supermarket and end up several miles away from where your home actually is!

I’ve been in Leeds now for half of the year. I’ve settled into my job, joined a hockey club and made a bunch of new friends. But it hasn’t always been easy. Living with someone I’d never lived with before led to a few arguments, some heated discussions, and a few slammed bedroom doors. Finding my feet in my new job has probably taken longer than I care to admit, but I’m proud to say I’ve held myself together and only come close to a breakdown once.


Welcome to 2018!

As 2017 now takes its place in the rearview mirror, it’s time to turn the corner for the next twelve months. I can honestly say I haven’t got a clue what will happen this year and yes that makes me nervous, but I’m also okay with it.

In terms of driving, I’m hoping this year to save up enough money to finally buy my own car. With the job slowly filling up my bank account it may take a while, but it’s definitely something I want to aim for. Adulthood is a lot of things: paying your own bills, getting up early five days a week and slowly becoming dependant on coffee, but it also means freedom.

And freedom comes a lot easier when you know you can just drive away at the turn of a key.

We love this story from Eleanor! It really shows how much she has achieved in 2017 – and inspires us to do the same! I wonder what car Eleanor will get, New or Second Hand

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Eleanor Richards profile

By Eleanor Richards

'I've been driving since I was 17, luckily passing my test first time and I really enjoy the freedom driving gives me. I don't currently have my own car but I am looking to buy one within the next year!'  See more posts by Eleanor

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