Do you think that learning to drive is a rite of passage?

Well I was wondering if you think learning to drive a car is a rite of passage similar to an 18th birthday party or a 21st birthday party or getting married. And if you think someone doesn’t have disabilities people have the absolute right to learn to drive a car. And do you feel everyone should have the advantage of driving a car in various areas around? What do you actually think about all this?

It was considered a bit as such when I was growing up, and, judging by talking with friends who have teenagers, it does seem to be a right of passage still where I am (Chicago). It is not the case universally, though, at all.

It even varies within the same family. One of my kids couldn’t wait to drive as soon as legally possible. The other was perfectly happy to get around to it at 20, when it could no longer be avoided.

Why are you ruling out disabilities? People with disabilities can and do drive, often with specialized controls in their vehicles.


Unless the “various areas” include my front lawn, living room etc.

It was a big rite of passage for me because of our family rule - no license till you could afford your insurance and gas. I was 17 before I’d saved enough to pay for driver’s ed and cover my expenses. Even then, I was the 3rd driver in a 1-car family, so my time behind the wheel was limited.

Didn’t get my first car till I was 21, living in my first apartment.

I do feel it is a right of passage, but also it’s a important skill to possess even if they don’t plan on owning a car or are planning a city life of public transit. Learning to drive as a right of passage is something one teaches to a (older) child, not a adult (yet). It is a child learning a adult skill that they can chose to use or not when they obtain adulthood. It opens the door if that person chooses to drive.

I’m wondering why the OP has an obsession about learning to drive, given that he started a similar thread here a couple of weeks ago:

To my experience, some adults who’ve never learned to drive a car have hang-ups and resentment about the role of driving in society. It probably has a lot in common with learning to swim (which I have never done, now pushing 50).

No, not everyone should have the advantage of driving a car in various areas around.

In my opinion a driver’s licence should not be granted unless the driver passes one or more tests and should be revocable by due process of law.

In my culture, obtaining the right to drive was an important gateway to adulthood, even if you didn’t drive, and didn’t own a car. Particularly if you didn’t drive, and didn’t own a car. Because for those people who had to drive, and had to own a car, the symbolic significance was relatively much smaller.

I think that parents shouldn’t prevent their kids from learning to drive, or from getting a job. Apart from that, I don’t see any constitutional or international right-to-drive. If your parents think you shouldn’t drive at night, or while drunk, or into the CBD, then I think you’ve just got to suck it up, get a job and move out.

I do not feel “everyone should have the advantage of driving a car in various areas around”, which is why various urban areas are experimenting with congestion charges, not to screw people but to the extent they actually succeed in reducing congestion/pollution and getting people to avoid unnecessary trips.

I grew up in the suburbs of NJ so driving was essential and I took my driving test on my 17th birthday. It was a big deal. I didn’t know anybody that didn’t have a license when they were old enough. My wife grew up in Brooklyn and didn’t get her license until she was in her late ‘30s.

My girls are 17 now and we live in the city and they’re like ‘oh yeah, we should get on that’ but there’s zero urgency. It doesn’t seem to be a big deal with their friends either. The big deal was 16th birthday parties.

Even in 1999, when I turned 16 and got my license, there were kids who didn’t seem as keen on it. California had recently implemented a tiered system with additional restrictions on young drivers. To get your license at 16, you had to take driver’s ed (which was no longer offered at my high school; I think my parents paid two grand for my private course), you had to have gotten your permit 6 months before, and you had to have logged 50 hours of supervised driving with a parent. Then, upon getting your license, you couldn’t drive with anyone under 18 for 6 months, and IIRC you couldn’t drive after midnight for a year, though there were some limited exceptions for transporting siblings or coming home from work (but you needed a note from your parents). If you just waited till you were 18, you could skip all that and just walk in, take the test, and get a license with no restrictions. Some of my friends did that. I couldn’t understand it. Getting my license was my proudest moment, and while I recognize that things I’ve done since are intrinsically bigger accomplishments, nothing has recaptured that feeling.

It’s a rite of passage, but an optional one. You don’t have to get married, either.

Yes, it is a rite of passage, for many teenagers. (Note the spelling. It’s not the same thing as a right.)

It’s something that adults do, and children don’t. So learning to drive is one sign that “now I am an adult.”

As that earlier thread noted, a lot depends on where you live. Being able to drive is significantly more important (and, not being able to drive is significantly more of a disadvantage) in some localities than in others.

God dammit. Auto fingers. Yes, “rite of passage.” :smack:

There must be a bit of a class thing, since in many cases driving a personal vehicle is seen as an important middle-class milestone or even essential to be able to get and keep a job, while the upper crust can employ a chauffeur to drive them around, sport driving enthusiasts notwithstanding (they drive for their own pleasure, not because they have to).

No, learning to drive a car is too easy to be a rite of passage.

There’s nothing to say a rite of passage needs to be difficult. For many of us growing up, getting a driver’s license incurred certain rights and responsibilities that signify their in a different stage of their life. Once I turned 16 I had a degree of independence I didn’t have before making it easier to get a job and to date.