Opinion

When Did You Learn How To Drive?

Illustration for article titled When Did You Learn How To Drive?

Photo: JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP (Getty Images)

Learning to drive is a rite of passage for most teenagers here in America, but not everyone follows the same path to get there. I want to hear about when you learned to drive. Were you behind the wheel of the farm truck as soon as you could reach the pedals? Did you live in the city and forgo learning to drive until you finally had to move out to the suburbs? I want to know.

Personally, the concept of driving scared the hell out of me when I was younger, possibly because I always got a quick lesson under stressful circumstances. Whether it was almost crashing into the garage because I was taught to park at age seven or practicing braking maneuvers on ice on my third lesson ever, it always seemed like driving was a dangerous thing that I would never, ever be good at.

So, I postponed taking driver’s training in Michigan at 15 and waited until I was 16 instead. That meant I didn’t end up getting my license until I was 17, which wasn’t terrible but certainly left a lot to be desired because by that point I was realizing it was awesome to not have to wake up at 5 a.m. to catch the school bus.

A few of my other high school friends just chose not to learn, ever. One of them basically just counted on my friend to drive her around. My great grandma didn’t learn until she was in her 70s, after her husband died. My cousin just couldn’t get the hang of driving, no matter how much he practiced, so while he has a license, he hasn’t driven in years. And that’s not even taking into consideration the other countries in the world where driving isn’t quite the necessity it is here in America, since there’s adequate public transportation.

I’ve been having some conversations with folks recently, and whether they’re car fans or not, there’s this big shock that someone didn’t get their license or learn to drive as soon as they possibly could. I get it — it’s nice to have the freedom, but there are so many factors that come into play when it comes to learning to drive. It’s not always the easy decision some people make it out to be. 


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