In a lot of cases, the love affair with cars starts in our childhood years. From the days of toy cars, flicking through magazines and showing off our knowledge with friends, it usually happens young. In most countries around the world, the legal age to start driving is 16 to 18 years old. When you’re 15, those days sure do drag on. Luckily for some, not everyone has to endure such hardships. Here are a few ways you can get a head start and get yourself behind the wheel!
One of the best and most entertaining ways to drive on 4 wheels the humble Go-Kart. There are no legal limits concerning the age of the driver and the small displacement models can even be driven by 7 or 8-year olds, while bigger and faster models can be driven by teenagers. Driving a Go-Kart on track is a fantastic experience, easily as good as driving a real car, mainly due to the slower speeds being enhanced by the sound, vibrations and the fact that your basically sitting on the ground.
It is also recommended for younger driving fans since it will provide them with the necessary understanding of driving dynamics, basic physics and feel of real life conditions. Obviously, it will not replace the experience of driving a proper car but it will tell you what to expect when you finally sit behind the wheel of a road legal vehicle. On the other hand, all Formula One champions started as Go-Kart racers when they were kids so, if you are competitive and talented, who knows you might become a professional driver and future world champion!
Everyone knows that if you own a piece of land and you build a road on it, it is exempt from public traffic laws. This means that it is your road, and you can do whatever you want on it and the police have no legal basis to intervene. Even if you are a kid, you can drive as much as you want but only on that road which is built on private land and closed for traffic.
Sounds fantastic? Well, it is and its every car persons dream to own a piece of land with a proper stretch of asphalt. This means that you can do all the fun things that are illegal on public highways, like burnouts, drifting or speeding. If your family owns land, even with a dirt road or you know somebody who does, jump in a car and learn how to drive without the fear of police or a ticket. The only requirement is that you can touch the pedals easily.
If you are a young car enthusiast you probably already discovered the fantastic world of car-themed video games. Luckily for us, we live at a time when computer graphics and animation have reached impressive levels which means that driving games are unbelievably realistic and fun. If you decide to go a step further and invest in a quality computer steering wheel, multiple screen setup and pedals, you will have an extremely engaging environment, which will provide you with a real-life driving and racing experience. The racing games genre is so good these days that professional drivers use the latest games to learn the tracks and to prepare themselves better for real races. Not only will computer games provide you with hours of fun, but they can also be an interesting opportunity into racing in real life. Back in 2008, Nissan established a racing program called the Nissan GT Academy which recruited future racing drivers amongst teenagers who played Sony`s popular racing game Gran Turismo.
Nissan and Sony were so confident that the game was realistic that they offered the first person to set the record in the game a go in a real racing car. Ten years later, more than 20 young drivers have been given a chance to replace their computers or consoles with real-life racing cars! Pretty crazy!
You’re probably thinking, what does Canada`s central province of Alberta have to do with teenage driving? Well, Alberta is a very interesting place on this list because bizarrely, you can legally drive as soon as you hit 14 years old! Unprecedented elsewhere in the world! As soon as you pass the driving test, you can get your driver`s license but sadly you must be in the company of another driver over the age of 18 in order to legally operate the motor vehicle.
In real life, this is not a problem since having an older friend or relative in a car with you is a small price to pay when you can legally drive at the age of just 14. If you are considering immigrating to Canada, we should remind you that Alberta has a harsh continental climate and most of the time you will be driving, it will be on snowy mountain roads. Not really a lot to crash into out there!
Driving a Quadracycle in France
If the snow blizzards of Alberta made you think twice about moving to Canada, we have a much better alternative – France. As always however, there is a catch. In France, you can drive at the age of 14 but only small, diminutive vehicles called Quadracycles or VSP in French, standing for “Voiture Sans Permis” (Vehicles without Permits). Quadracycles are small cars with tiny engines producing from 5 to 10 horsepower and capable of reaching speeds of around 40 to 50 km/h (25 to 30 mph). Basically, the Quadracycle is a scooter with four wheels and two seats and it is treated as such.
The French laws permit 14 year olds to drive it but without driving them on highways and open roads since the speed limitations will affect the other drivers. Quadracycles make perfect urban runabouts though and with the size of a Smart car but much slower, VSP vehicles are common in big cities and urban areas. Yes, we know it is not proper driving but when you are 14 or 15 this is the best you can get when it comes to participating in real-life traffic. The biggest manufacturer is AIXAM and their models are even exported around the world.