Question For Those Who Don't Know How to Drive

As being discussed on another thread in this forum, there are apparently many people who do not know how to drive. I can almost understand this if you lived in downtown London or in other areas with robust public transportation.

How do you feel this limits you? Do you ever want to do something that is not easily in reach? Examples could be anything (going to see relatives, going see some sight far away, going to a music festival, etc.).

I am not try to disparage you, I am just trying to figure out how you weigh your options of what are you willing to give up in order to not drive.

I don’t feel that it limits me in my private life at all. I don’t travel much as I live in a city with lots to do, and there are buses and trains for things that happen elsewhere.

I cheat by having a girlfriend with a car, though :smiley:

I sometimes worry that if I continue in my career as a sales and marketing type person, all the best jobs will require me to go to meetings and thus expect me to drive, but I know other salespeople who use public transport to get everywhere and they’re doing fine.

I’d probably have found the time to take driving lessons again (I took a driving test 41 years ago back when I was able-bodied, ran into a fencepost before I got out of the parking lot, failed, and never bothered again) if I was still able-bodied, but I haven’t bothered. Yes, I know paraplegics can drive; just seems too much of a nuisance.

It’s limiting but not a great deal. I live in a reasonably sized city (Edmonton), and get around on my own using my wheelchair or electric scooter for short distances. If the LRT (like a subway) goes where I want I go on it. Our disabled transit service will get me where I want in the city, although it can be frustrating waiting for it and allowing lots of extra time. One of these days I’ll have to get up the nerve to try our city buses; they all are wheelchair accessible (they “kneel” and a little ramp pops out) although being a coward I’ve never tried them.

I’ve had medical issues (a very bad, very chronic pressure sore) that have made me unwilling to do transfers into normal cars and taxis for the past few years, but I will get back to that one of these days.

All in all, I don’t need my own vehicle.

As an additional data point, my sister and her husband are able-bodied and live in Ottawa. She hasn’t had a driver’s license for at least a couple of decades and he hasn’t had one even longer. They have no problem walking, taking the bus, taking a taxi or (in his case) bicycling all over Hell’s half-acre.

I took a couple of driving lessons when I was young, but decided that 1) There were better ways that I could use my money and 2) Living in a country with good public transport I didn’t really need one. You could say there are limitations to not driving but as they are self-imposed they don’t really matter.

I live with an area with good bus service, and I think nothing of walking 4 or 5 miles. When I had the cast on my arm, I got a bus pass entitling me to free service in my town. I think I used it maybe 3 or 4 times in 10 weeks.

It’s really interesting how people put not knowing how to drive on par with not knowing how to breathe or something. Even this OP says, “I am not try to disparage you, I am just trying to figure out …” which shows the idea is so foreign as to be incomprehensible.

I’ll answer because I DO drive, but didn’t follow the Typical American Path.

I didn’t learn to drive as a teenager because my parents declared they did not have the money to add me to car insurance, much less get a car, and I could not get a job to earn my own because school was my job. In any event, living in the burbs, getting a job without having a car first was impossible.

When I went to college, didn’t really need one most of the time as 90% of what I did was on campus or within walking distance. I had friends with cars for those other times, plus the occasional cab or public transportation.

After college I lived in a cities with decent public transportation to get to/from work, and again friends with cars for other times. Finally, at 23, I decided I wanted to learn and took lessons. I would rent a car occasionally, but couldn’t afford to buy one. In my late 20’s I finally bought a 20-yr-old beater.

The upshot is I had other things to spend money on besides insurance and a vehicle and gas and upkeep, and I could get along just fine without as long as I needed to. I didn’t abuse my friends’ willingness to cart me around, I walked a lot, I used public transportation (NOT terrific PT, just acceptable for many things), and the occasional cab when PT wasn’t an option. I admit it would be difficult to go back where I live now, but … eh. I don’t see driving as central to Living a Decent Life. It’s a little offensive that so many people think it so jarringly, unbelievably strange that one doesn’t.

Well, unless you are in a couple major metropolitan area, it is pretty uncommon. So, I would say it is strange as in strange=not usual.

I think you would just have to have the right setup in life, or give up certain freedoms. Not long ago I went to a friend’s party at their house 50 miles away in the country. There is no public transportation there. How else would I get there? There were no other friends going there that lived around me.

I am going to see my parents soon, they are 5 states away and live in a small town. How would I get there? I guess I could ride a greyhound bus and have them pick me up at some nearby station, but that is definitely undesirable, especially if I want to bring much with me.

It just seems like there are going to be a decent amount of inconveniences for a lot of people, but evidently there are some people that have arranged their lives in such a way that it is not necessary.

I know how to drive, but I don’t like to and having a car in my situation would be pretty foolish.

I don’t feel very restricted at all. I can go all of the places I want to.

And then there’s this. I only date women with cars.

I grew up in a small town, we did have public transit but it was one bus that did a loop of the downtown core once per hour. Needless to say I had my drivers license the day I turned 16. Then it was incomprehensible to me that you could survive as an adult without a drivers license.

Now I live in the suburb of a large city with decent public transportation and I frequently go a week or more without driving. We downsized to a single car several years ago and although I probably won’t I can see how it would be possible to live without a car in the city.

I have the opposite problem. A wife and several friends who don’t know how to drive (and my wife refuses to learn). Relegates me to the role of “taxi driver” far too much. It can be quite frustrating.

I didn’t learn to drive until I was 21.

I was a very sheltered and timid kid, and didn’t have any ambition to learn how to drive as a teen. My mom didn’t push me to learn, and I got around well enough bumming rides from friends. There were a few occasions when I took rides from people who were impaired, or guys with ulterior motives, but I somehow made it through unscathed.

When I was 18, I moved in with my boyfriend, who lived out in the middle of nowhere, and discovered that having no job, no money, and no transportation was crap. I was totally dependent on this guy, which sucked for both of us. Eventually, I got knocked up and called my mommy for a ride home. After having the kid, I took lessons and learned to drive, which improved my prospects a lot.

I was cursed with a kid just like me, but when she was old enough to drive, I stayed on her ass until she learned how and got her license. She still isn’t crazy about it, but she’s never had an accident and gets herself where she needs to go. (Now if I can just get her to find work!)

What’s offensive is that there is always a taint of “What is WRONG with you??” in these discussions. As if it’s not a choice based on perfectly valid, practical reasons with which the person is perfectly content. Was it inconvenient sometimes that I didn’t drive / didn’t have a car? Sure. Was it a major angst in my life? No, until it was, and then I changed it.

It may not be common, but it’s not something to be harangued about, either.

I used to know a guy who was absolutely gobsmacked that I owned neither a car nor a house. He couldn’t even comprehend it.

I think part of the “harangued” attitude comes from being a person who/living in a place where driving = freedom.

There are many places in this world, and in America, where you’d really be stuck without a vehicle. I have lived in a place like that all my life and I can’t fathom being without a car here.

In a place like this, if you don’t have a car, you’re a burden to those around you. Almost everyone out here has had that friend who was without a ride because they had a DUI or weren’t old enough to drive yet or their car was in the shop.

I used to have to drive a half hour out of my way to take my best friend home after school. I used to have to get up at 7 AM to take my roommate to work. Heck when I was 16 and got my car taken away as punishment, I deliberately scheduled myself at 6 AM so my folks would get pissed about driving me around and give me my car back.

Even my cousin, who is 18 and doesn’t drive, and neither do his friends, they live in the city with busses and everything and they STILL need rides from my aunt and other cousins. It’s ridiculous.

So yeah, obviously there are plenty of places one can live comfortably without a car and/or without a license. The people who live in those places are not shocked when others near them don’t have a car. But those sorts of places are not what immediately comes to mind when you have lived your whole life in a car-important place. What comes to mind is “oh you’re one of those people that always needs a ride.”

It’s just a disconnect in life experience. Don’t take it personally. Feel sorry for us people who have never lived in a place where we didn’t have to rely on cars.

What can be a little aggravating about it is that when I meet someone who lives in the suburbs, they automatically assume that I have a DUI.

When I was in my 20’s, I didn’t drive for about 3 years. I was living in Burbank and lemme tell you, it sucked. I remember public transit to my job took about 3 hours each way. As soon as I could I got a car.

I think this is part of the assumption too. Most people will eventually need rides somewhere. And they assume the non-driver must then bum it off of their friends and family. Many people feel is a little tacky for adults who earn a decent living.

I didn’t get my driving licence until I was 26. I’d been driving for a couple of years before that, supervised of course, but for getting to work or getting around I just used to take the bus. Even when I lived out in the country, there was a pretty good bus service (one an hour) to the nearest town, from where I could take a train or coach to places further afield. My parents were very good about giving me rides if the bus was no good. I still use public transport a lot, or walk. It’s not necessary to life in London to have a car; in fact a lot of the time it’s a bloody nuisance.

I never really felt the motivation to learn how. I live in New York City and we have the best public transportation system in the country. Sure, when I visit family out on Long Island I’d need to get rides from people, but as I live in Manhattan even if I did know how to drive I wouldn’t own a car, so I’d still have to get rides from people.

I probably will learn how eventually, but not knowing has rarely ever been a problem.

I have a license but I hate driving. I haven’t been behind a steering wheel for years.

We live in a city with a very extensive public transportation system and terrible traffic, so the only time I wish we had a car is when we go shopping at Costco. And even then not really - the line to get into the parking lot is ridiculous. Sometimes you have to wait half an hour just to get into the garage.

My boyfriend has a motorcycle so we can get out of the city if we want to. We’ve rented a car a few times but my boyfriend always drives. I don’t think he trusts me to operate any kind of machinery.