Let’s face it, owning a car is brilliant. They open up the world and present us with an unrivalled sense of freedom and possibility. Getting our first car is a milestone and a rite of passage. However, there are a few downsides too. Here’s the top ten best and worst things about owning a car…
1) Freedom And Independence
Owning a car broadens your horizons and opens up the world. Many of those places you’ve wanted to visit and never got around to are now a few hours away. You no longer need to rely on anyone or anything to get from ‘a’ to ‘b’, it’s all on you, your driving style and timetable. Just get in, turn the ignition and you’re own your way. Nothing compares.
All of those times you’ve taken a train or plane, you’ve missed seeing some of the most beautiful sights and landscapes in the world. With a car you can travel at your own pace and leisure, taking in what you want to and when you want to. Get off the tourist trail and see some real culture and history for a change.
3) Employment Opportunities
The job market is hardly healthy at the moment and hasn’t been for some time. Competition is fierce. Having a car already singles you out as being flexible and gives you much more scope in seeking employment. In this sense, having a driving license and a car is a major asset and makes you much more appealing to prospective employers.
4) Housing Opportunities
As with employment opportunities, the scope of finding somewhere to settle down is far broader for car-owners. Why? Because you can realistically look for something much further afield from where you’re working. You don’t have to worry about poor public transport or whether there’s a job in town, you’ve got a car! The workable distance, then, between your work and home is far larger.
5) Something For Everyone
What’s most wonderful about cars is that there are so many and in such a broad variety of shapes and sizes. Everyone’s different and wants something particular from their vehicle. With a vast and diverse automotive industry dotting the globe, there’s bound to be a car that suits your lifestyle and personality. And with different trim levels and options, you can customise most to your liking.
Cars are becoming more sophisticated all of the time. It’s no longer just a question of having somewhere to charge your phone or play a CD. More and more cars are getting packed full of autonomous driving features, safety applications and entertainment systems. Cars aren’t just a means of transportation, they’re tools.
Is anyone out there willing to make the case that public transport is more comfortable than a car? No? We didn’t think so. Cars have become increasingly spacious and comfortable. New features from heated seats and advanced air conditioning means you’re going to feel just fine on those lengthy journeys.
Thanks to the hundreds of miles of motorway that stretches across the UK, driving is swift business. You’ll blow buses and coaches out of the water and give trains a run for their money; especially if you factor in the time spent waiting around for them. For short and mid-tier journeys, the car always comes out on top.
9) Road Trips
Road trips are some of the most fun you can have with a car. They’re the embodiment of the freedom and independence we wrote about earlier. Take a car to the open road with some friends and you’re bound to come back with memories you’ll cherish for the rest of your life.
Whether it’s waiting around for bus in the winter chill or having your train delayed, public transport is far from reliable. This is especially the case in the UK where most analysts suggest public transport is woefully underfunded. With a car it’s just a question of opening the door, setting up your sat nav and setting off. Remove the stress and tedium of relying on someone or something else’s timetable.
1) The Cost
After a house, the second largest purchase you ever make is likely to be a car. The price of them has skyrocketed over recent decades. Combine this with tax, fuel, maintenance and fuel and you’ll soon be saying goodbye to all that lose change you’ve become accustomed to.
2) Keeping It Clean
Cars are bulky things and spend a lot of time contending with the elements; whether it’s rain, snow or dirt and grime. They need cleaning and frequently. This is easier said than done and requires real tender love and care. In addition, the interior is bound to quickly get caught up with rubbish, food and difficult to reach dust in all of those nooks and crannies.
To be fair, if you’ve ever taken the bus or a taxi you’ll have had the experience of being in traffic. But being at the wheel whilst stuck in congestion is so much worse. Moving at a snails pace and feeling your foot go numb on the clutch is one of the most tedious features of the modern routine.
So you’ve just forked out a small fortune on a shiny new motor? What a shame it is that it starts losing value as soon as you drive it away from the dealership. Cars depreciate at a shockingly fast rate and for fairly thoughtless reasons. People like to own new cars and are utterly convinced that a car that’s had a different pair of hands at the wheel is somehow less reliable. Go figure.
5) Other Drivers
It was once said that ‘hell is other people.’ This isn’t so, hell is other drivers. Being a driver offers thorough and comprehensive insights into human nature and conduct. They’re far from pretty. Whether it’s kamikaze-like antics or antagonistic road rage, you’re going to come across some terrible and downright selfish people on the roads.
6) Taxi Service
Now that you can drive everyone is going to be asking for a lift or for you to pick up the milk. All of your dreams of cruising across the country on liberating road-trips will ultimately give way to taking partners to work and friends to the pub. It’s a good job you put so much effort into passing your theory and practical, right?
Arguably one of the worst things about being a driver is the great challenge of constantly finding places to park. Whilst there are tens of millions of vehicles on Britain’s roads there are nowhere near as many suitable parking spaces. Plus, once you actually find one you’ve got the tedium of working out how to pay and then cursing by how much!
The least-trusted profession in Britain is the humble (or not so humble) mechanic. And with good reason. Study after study, research after research, has demonstrated that motorists are being overcharged for basic repairs. Plus they’ll always, without fail, attempt to up-sell to you. The worst of it is you haven’t got a clue as to what they’re talking about, so it’s not like you can debate with them coherently.
Whilst accidents are fairly common, it’s unlikely you’ll find yourself in one statistically. That said, over the course of a person’s driving ‘career’ they’re bound to have a scrape or two. They can be frightening, messy to deal with and are sure to ruin your day; drive safely.
10) Getting Lost
Getting lost in general is never a pleasant experience. But getting lost in a car seems to be inherently more problematic. It’s a sure way to fall out with passengers. Plus, you’ll have to multitask coming up with directions whilst avoiding crashing into the car in front. Great fun.