To drive, or not to drive…


When I was 16, the pressure was immediately there to start getting my license and driving because it’s what everyone does at that age. I was excited about it too- I had my first job, I was slowly making money, and I could afford the 12 hours of lessons and all the other fees included in a learners permit.

And I got my learners on the first try, I studied super hard and I was really excited about it. But when the time came to learn to drive, I waited a few months. Actually, I’m pretty sure I waited from fall to summer before I even sat behind the wheel for the first time. A friend of mine brought me to a parking lot and I had so much fun for that half hour that I booked my lessons that same week.

During that summer (when I was 16 turning 17) I did all of my driving hours, but I think my instructor was kind of easy on me. At the time I thought I was really good, but whenever I practiced parking for example, he always set me up to drive into the spot instead of just letting me do it myself. I realized a bit too late that I was missing a few important things to pass my final exam.

Anyway, when fall came back around, I booked my appointment for the final exam, and I was nervous as all hell. The night before my exam, I practiced for 2 hours with my mom but I was SO nervous and she was driving me nuts and it didn’t go well at all. The next day, things happened, it was nerve-racking, and I failed. It sucked pretty bad, and I did something that I’m not really proud of… I kind of gave up.

I was 18 and I had a million things I wanted to do. I live in an area where driving isn’t a necessity- I have so many buses around me that get me to wherever it is I want to go and I just didn’t have money for a car anyway. My mom had already told me that there was no way I could use hers until SHE trusted me with it, whether I had my license or not.

So, yeah, I stopped practicing my driving. Every once in a while I’d get back behind the wheel and practice, but the really important skills that you learn with an instructor… Those kind of got lost on me.

Today, I’m almost turning 22, and a lot of people are asking me why I don’t yet have my license. The truth? I never took the time to try a second time. I went through a period in life where my priorities weren’t the right ones and I didn’t really care all that much about driving. I still don’t think that’s a big deal, but apparently it’s like a rite of passage to becoming an adult. Get a license, get a car, boom you’re in the circle of adult-ness.

So, summer is just around the corner, my mom has a new (manual) car that I need to learn, all I need to do is book some appointments and ask for her help. But we’ve had crappy experiences in that car together. My mom is a gutsy driver, me not-so-much. I do want to learn, I just always seem to put it on the back burner in life.

I think this summer is the summer I get my license though. I mean, at least try again. It’s on my 101 in 1,001 because I’ve put it off for so many years. I might as well just do it, right? Do people have a good reason to constantly bug me about it? I feel like it’s a question I get all the time… Why don’t you have your license yet?

What are your license-getting experiences? Thoughts on getting one?


10 responses »

  1. My license getting routine was fairly normal. Permit at 15 (about 3 months after I turned 15) and then took Driver’s Ed during my freshman year which meant I didn’t have to take a test, just show up with proof and get my “real” license at 16. But I’m 23 and don’t yet have a car in a town with a crappy bus system. I really need one, which is one of the first big purchases I’ll make once I’m employed! 🙂

    Honestly, if you have a way of getting around that’s convenient and dependable, I wouldn’t worry about it so much. I mean, it does help a lot just to have it so I say set up some appointments to get it taken care of so you don’t have to worry about it anymore. If you’re not worried about it, though, then just let it go.

    • I think I’m going to try and get it this summer- it’s better to have it, like you said, for appointments and convenience etc. I guess I’ve just been really lazy, because I’ve had other ways of getting to where I need to go up until now!

  2. I think if you have the time/opportunity to get your license, I would go for it. My reasoning is this: I knew someone who lived in a public transit-abundant city and never got hers. Then she moved somewhere that had a complete lack of transit options. So she was stuck bumming rides and taking cabs everywhere because she didn’t have time to go through the learning and testing process.

    But if you don’t feel comfortable learning to drive with your mom, there’s nothing wrong with taking lessons again from someone who’ll (theoretically) be a bit less gutsy in their approach.

    • Yeah you’re right. I considered taking lessons again, but I think I’ll at least give my mom a try & see if we don’t kill each other… If we get too close I’ll think about dishing out the cash though. I do need to find the time to go and get it!

  3. I’ve had getting a licence on my to-do list for years and never have. It would be convenient, but I think I’m just too nervous a driver to ever be able to enjoy it, and might actually cause myself more anxiety by doing so – we’ll see though; it WAS on my 26 for 26, and I only have another 6 weeks!

    • I’m so relieved that I’m not the only one! I CAN be a bit of a nervous driver, but I’m usually pretty good. Practice really does help, the longer you spend behind the wheel, the easier it gets 🙂

  4. When I was 16, I lived in a town that had 2 stoplights. So if I wanted to do anything (like leave my little town, which is what I really wanted) I had to learn to drive. I always associated driving a car with freedom, and without it I don’t know if I would have one day packed up that car and moved 2,000 miles away. Good luck!

    • You’re right of course, I think that having my license would open up a lot of doors for me too in terms of traveling more and maybe moving away for a little and getting some more experience or getting my life started! It’s definitely something on my to-do list in the near future… Officially! No more backing down from it or pretending like I don’t need to get it.

  5. Yeah, I’m with Miranda. Without public transportation, if you needed to get somewhere, you better learn to drive or else rely on your parents to drive you everywhere. I got my learners after my 15th birthday which was later than all of my friends and my mother REALLY didn’t like me driving with her in the car so I never practiced until about a month before my test. I actually failed my first test but went back and got it the next week. In my town you parents would come and take you out of school on your 16th birthday to go get your license and I was so embarassed that I didn’t get my license the first try.

    • A lot of people fail and I (nor you) should feel bad or embarassed about it, but I guess we can’t help the way we feel right? Failing definitely turned me off from the whole situation, the woman who did my exam was really mean and really put me down about it, I was SOSOSO nervous. I really need to try harder this summer though, I’m getting more and more determined to get it, especially with all these comments about how useful it is to have a license!

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