How important IS a drivers' license? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 56 Old 02-19-2009, 08:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am a 22 yo sahapm to my 4.5 mo dd. I still do not have a drivers' license and really, I have never seemed to care about it. Two summers ago I got a permit, but it expired over the summer while I was still pregnant and I really never felt the need to renew it. (Plus I had moved from one state to another so I had to retake the test anyway) So I know how to drive, I just choose not to. Whenever I go places, I either have a friend pick me up or DP drives me. So really, how important is it? I could go it, although I would have to pay for it and deal with scheduling an exam, which requires me to know how to parallel park.
I dunno, I guess I'm just curious who else is out there is a sahp without a license or if it really is necessary. Any thoughts?

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#2 of 56 Old 02-19-2009, 08:49 PM
 
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Would you have access to a car during the day if you had your license? If so, it gives you a lot of freedom (and the ability to take your baby to the doctor fast if you need to). If you won't be able to drive when you're home on your own anyway, you probably don't need it. It's nice for your friends to not always have to do all the driving, would be the only thing.
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#3 of 56 Old 02-19-2009, 08:56 PM
 
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It depends on many factors. I didn't get a license until just before ds2 was born. DS1 was 12, and dd was 2. During most of my first marriage (ended when ds1 was 7), we didn't own a vehicle, although my ex had a license. DH moved in with me when ds2 was 8...but dh can't drive. So, nobody had a license, and we didn't have a vehicle, from the time ds1 was 7, until he was 12. It wasn't a big problem. It affected our ability to go on vacations, but that was about it.

However, I live/lived in an area where I could walk to the grocery store (when ds1 was a baby, it was 1.5 blocks away - later, the closest was about a kilometer away). We also have good transit in this area, so I could get to and from work or take ds1 to swimming lessons or whatever fairly easily. I just felt that trying to do everything on foot or by bus was going to become really difficult with three kids, whose ages were spread out over a 12 year gap, yk?

It really depends on your situation. I felt we needed it when I got mine...but I wish we didn't. I really don't like driving...

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#4 of 56 Old 02-19-2009, 09:15 PM
 
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I personally think it is important just in case something happens and you need to get somewhere really fast like the night my Ds stopped breathing and Ihad to rush him to the ER it would have been much much longer if I had to wait for the ambulance. or if your Dc needs to go to the doctor and cannot get anyone to take you or also when your babies go to school if they are not on the bus route how will the get there? for some who live in a big city and there are many ways for public transportation that is I guess okay. My Dp doesn't have his license he can drive but no license and I can say being the "taxi" is hard like today when his ride home from work could not do it and I had to take Ds out in the cold with a really bad cough because there was no bus route and we are not in walking distance of his work. I only got mine because I was pregnant and I was about7 months when I got a car I live in walking distance of most everything so I never needed one but with children I think it is impotant because someone may not be there when you need them the most just my 2 cents

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#5 of 56 Old 02-19-2009, 09:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We only have one car at the moment, but we are living with my parents and my mother never drives her car. Either way, I'm not on the insurance so I'm not sure if I would even be able to drive the car(s) anyhow. We aren't close enough to anything for walking, sadly, even though I would love it if we were.
My other reason for not bothering, if the DMV pisses me off But seriously, they always have some excuse as to why I can't get my permit. I think it's a conspiracy

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#6 of 56 Old 02-20-2009, 12:30 AM
 
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I see a lot of myself in your posts. *G*

I just got my license (I failed...twice! And I still have to take another test and then I'm done) last summer and it's been amazing for me. technically I can walk to grocery stores (25 minutes if I boot it), a mall (15 mins), I have a park right outside my door, libraries (20-30 minutes) and a public school down the street. We also have public transit, but it's a major drag with two and all the gear. But now I can take my kids to the zoo, museums, local farms, science centres, my son's preschool is a 15 minute drive away, it would take me an hour with transit. We can go to craft stores, nurseries, we can drive over to his friend's place, to the pool. I can take them to the doctors easily. It's just opened up my world completely. I've been able to get out on my own easily, I went on a small road trip with my mom and auntie to pick up a puppy. I can go get surprise gifts for my DH and kids without having to drag them all along. I can just go for a drive if I need some quiet. It's even boosted my confidence. It's turned a very frustrating experience living in an otherwise great community into wonderful. I just kick myself for having waited so long to get it.

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#7 of 56 Old 02-20-2009, 12:49 AM
 
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To be honest, there is no way I could be a sahm without a car and a drivers license I would literally go insane. you might change your mind as your baby get older and you want to get out of the house more
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#8 of 56 Old 02-20-2009, 12:54 AM
 
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I think it is important, especially if you have a child.

I didn't get a DL myself until I was 30. I got it because my then-husband was in a bad car accident and ended up in a coma for a while... I had depended on my husband to drive me everywhere and suddenly needed to drive myself! I knew how to drive... but had never practiced and was afraid to actually go out on the road. I was stranded! So my sister came to stay with me and patiently helped me practice and get my license.
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#9 of 56 Old 02-20-2009, 01:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hmm I guess I didn't really think about the whole "if something happens" deal. I know how to drive so if an emergency ever came up (which is has once) I can just drive. I suppose I should get it soon. Well, unless they have some reason for why I can't get it next week, I'll do it then. At least have my permit. I think I need it for two weeks before I can get my license here, but I'm not sure.
Thanks for all the responses!!

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#10 of 56 Old 02-20-2009, 03:46 AM
 
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We don't even have a car & I've maintained my license (got it when I was 17). You never know when you might need to drive for some reason. I had to drive our moving van a few years ago. I've also driven my mom's car a couple times when she was in too much pain to keep driving while we were on the highway to/from her place.

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#11 of 56 Old 02-20-2009, 03:51 AM
 
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I got my license at age 15. I never renewed it after that.

However, I also drive. Not having a license has not stopped me from driving for the last 11 years. I'm just an anarchist, and try to stay away from as much government documentation as I can.

I think it's important to know how to drive, in case of an emergency, and also for independence. I don't think it's that important to have a license. As long as you don't speed, and your car lights are all working, no one will stop you. By law, a policeman can't request to see your license unless you do something wrong.

Car insurance, though, is important. However, we have the insurance that insures the car and whoever is driving in it. Versus insuring one specific person.

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#12 of 56 Old 02-20-2009, 04:57 AM
 
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Sailor...have you had a very specific discussion with your insurance agent about IF you would be reimbursed for things that might happen while an unlicensed driver is operating that car? I hope you've dotted is and crossed ts on that one...would be rotten to pay those premiums and have a lack of legality prevent you from collecting if you have a claim, especially if it's someone else making that claim!

As for when they can look at a license...yeah, I'm not going to bet the farm on that one. Nor am I going to make them scrutinize me more, during a routine traffic stop (like the one hubby had the other night, while taking care of me while I was VERY sick), and they want to check me out to see if I have any warrants, see if I"m a serial killer, and so on. I'm perfectly fine with them checking out my license, and so was hubby, which let him get on his way in 2 minutes, rather than being held up for an hour because he wasn't doing anything wrong and therefore didn't allow them to see his license.



OP, while reading your post, you mentioned that you have other people drive you. Therefore, having access to drivers is important. If you lived in an urban setting with lots of access to public transportation, I wouldn't think it's important, but it IS important that you have access to car and driver. Therefore, I would think it's important to have your own license, so that you can legally drive yourself places if other people are not available to you!

But if you really don't want to drive, as long as you have some sort of official identification, I can't see the dreadful harm in not having a license. But you want some way for people to identify you, should something happen.

(sorry I'm in a dreadfully morbid state of mind...the illness I just went through scared the crud out of me, and I'm seeing death around every corner...it's not like my usual self...but it's something I'm going through right now)
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#13 of 56 Old 02-20-2009, 05:11 AM
 
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As long as you have a way to get DC to the Dr./ER in case of emergency, I don't see why you would *have* to have a DL. If not, though, I would say you should probably try and get one...

That's just my .02

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#14 of 56 Old 02-20-2009, 08:37 AM
 
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In your shoes, I would want to have one just to minimize my dependence on other people. I'm not happy with the thought of being unable to get to the grocery store by myself.

If you lived somewhere with a good public transit system, I'd say you didn't need one, but it doesn't sound like you do.
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#15 of 56 Old 02-20-2009, 09:40 AM
 
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I got my licence "late", 21 but everyone I knew had their's at 16. I didn't get a car until I was 29. I think if you are used to living like that then you have an advantage in some ways. A lot of people think a car is necessary when it technically is not. (I know this is not true in some locations.) But they still need the car because they would go batty without it. That's because they never learned to navigate the world without it. Anyway, cars are so much more expensive than people realize. My used car takes $475 to own, maintain, insure, pay for parking and gas. My husband and I share it.

We dont' technically need it. I think it's most important uses are bringing kids to and from daycare and doing grocery shopping. I actually could get my kids to daycare on the bus. Both my DH and I could take the bus to work, only one of us does now. And we could take cabs to the grocery store (4 to 6 cab rides per month is way less than $475). Basically, the car car saves us time, I'd say about 8 hours per week. And it is reassuring for emergencies. And nice for vacations. Anyway, everyone thinks we are crazy for not having a second car because we have kids.

As I said, taking cabs a few times per month and renting cars for a few vacations a year is nowhere near as much money as owning a car.

I just realized that my post is about owning a car, not getting a licence. I'd say it was nice to have a licence even during the years that I rarely used it. But you don't really need it. If it's relatively easy for you to get it and not to expensive, I would say do it.

Editing:
I saw this post on the main page and I didn't realize this was the SAHM board. Sorry for butting in . Anyway, even I, as a mom who works outside the home, think I could get by without a car.
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#16 of 56 Old 02-20-2009, 10:41 AM
 
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i dunno about the you need a license in case of an emergency line of thought. i don't even KNOW anyone who lives near me with a car, so by that line of reckoning we are all doomed should anything go wrong.
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#17 of 56 Old 02-20-2009, 02:42 PM
 
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It really depends on where you live. We live just outside NYC, and here I am absolutely fine without a license, since the public transportation is so good. The trek to the train station is pretty long, but I like to walk, and we deliberately purchased a very good (expensive) stroller because there is absolutely no way I can manage with an umbrella stroller or those strollers with small plastic wheels that most people use (ie.travel system type strollers). We needed something smaller than, but more like a jogger, with a large shopping basket and a comfortable napping space for DS. Something well insulated, and with all-weather tires that can handle the snow. We ended up with a Mountain Buggy, but there are other good choices out there too. The bus goes right by our house, but since it becomes difficult with strollers, I only use that if I wear him.

The other MUST if you don't have a car, is quality seasonal clothing for both you and the child. We have a ton of winter gear, and DS has a nice down-filled sleeping bag and sheepskin in his stroller, which makes it suited to naps even on cold days. A wind protector on the stroller is also nice.

I don't have a license right now (complicated story--has to do with license expiring and visa issues), and am a SAHM. Besides, hubby has the car all day, so it wouldn't make a difference even if I did.

The grocery store is a 15 minute walk, which is fine...but we're trying to get into the habit of a weekly shopping trip (DH goes shopping one evening a week--I do a list) because all the little trips to the grocery store were getting expensive.

If something were to happen, I guess I'd have to call an ambulance. DH has his cell phone with him at work, and is only a 20 minute drive away if it is something less serious. I could ask a neighbor, but the car seat is in the car--so that wouldn't really work.

Last year, we were in Europe for a year, and did not have a car at all. We managed just fine. But again--the public transportation was amazing, taxi services were quick, and many things were within walking distance.

So anyway, to sum up...like others have said, I think it comes down to where you live...and if you'll do a lot of walking (we're out for a few hours every day...pretty much whatever the weather is like), you need a quality stroller and suitable gear. I look forward to being able to drive again, but it's not a must in our situation.
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#18 of 56 Old 02-20-2009, 03:04 PM
 
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i'm a SAHM with 2 kids and it's never been an issue. sometimes it would be easier if i could drive but i just don't like to. it's never seemed to bother my husband (or my mom--she's the other person who drives me places) and i've been with him about 13 years. it bothers other people more than it bothers us.

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#19 of 56 Old 02-20-2009, 03:17 PM
 
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My cousin is in her upper 20s, has 4 kids, and just recently got her license, so I guess it can be done. The reason she got her license, though, was because her mom finally got fed up with having to transport her to the grocery store, doctor visits, etc., and told her she had 3 months to either get her license or figure out the best bus routes to all her desired destinations.

So I'd say if you're going to live without a license, figure out how to live your life using public transportation, because it can become a burden on other people if you're constantly asking for rides.

Driving might not be a necessity, but being self-sufficient is, IMO.

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#20 of 56 Old 02-20-2009, 09:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by milkybean View Post
Sailor...have you had a very specific discussion with your insurance agent about IF you would be reimbursed for things that might happen while an unlicensed driver is operating that car? I hope you've dotted is and crossed ts on that one...would be rotten to pay those premiums and have a lack of legality prevent you from collecting if you have a claim, especially if it's someone else making that claim!'
Yea, we've been thorough on this. We've asked questions like "well, what if we let someone borrow the car, and they don't have a license, are we still good?" So, we're OK in that insurance area. But, thanks. It is really important to be 100% sure. As even a small accident can cost A LOT out of pocket.

Otherwise, in 11 years, I haven't had any issues.

But, of course, if you (the OP) have no issues with government identification - go get it. I think it's important to know how to drive and be able to drive. I learned how to drive stick even when my car was an automatic. Just in case I was stuck somewhere and an emergency came up, and the stick was the only option.

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#21 of 56 Old 02-20-2009, 11:29 PM
 
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So I'd say if you're going to live without a license, figure out how to live your life using public transportation, because it can become a burden on other people if you're constantly asking for rides.
Yeah - if we didn't have good public transportation here, I wouldn't have been okay without my license. I didn't mind occasionally asking someone for a ride (say when the grocery store had a caselot sale, and it was too much to carry back, or to be dropped off at a campsite), but it would have bothered me to be doing it all the time.

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#22 of 56 Old 02-21-2009, 12:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You are definitely right about the location. I wish we lived someone where like the city where taxis were a regularity or something like that. I really do. As far as Gov ID, that is part of my issue with the license. I went to the DMV to get my permit the other day and they had this whole thing about "photos are until 430, but everything else closes at 415" ... it was 420. (and everytime I've been there with other people, they have always been so rude) I also have a huge problem with the idea that if I get stopped, I HAVE to take a breathalizer test if asked, which I think is bull and a complete violation of my 4th amendment rights. But I do have a passport because I went to Europe in the 10th grade for a class trip. I use that for all my ID purposes.
When I lived in Wisconsin, I drove around all the time without a license. We lived in a small town where everyone knew everyone, so for the most part, all I had to do was just pretend like I had one and everyone just assumed I did. Of course, I didn't even need it there since I could walk everywhere, unless I went to the city.
Anyhow, I think I said this earlier, but I am going to go the DMV sometime next week, whenever DP works early or has off, and see if I pass the permit test here. I can't imagine it would be much harder than it was in Wisconsin.

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#23 of 56 Old 02-21-2009, 03:00 PM
 
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When I lived in Wisconsin, I drove around all the time without a license.
Hm, well I would never consider that as an option except in an extreme emergency, so I'm not sure I can relate to you enough to give any useful advice.

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#24 of 56 Old 02-21-2009, 03:24 PM
 
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I didn't get my license until ds1 was born (5 days after!), and I very rarely drive - maybe every few months. I HATE driving. But it's a good idea to have a license, just in case. Getting it isn't a big deal, and I'd hate to get pulled over without one - who needs the hassle, especially if your kids are with you.

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#25 of 56 Old 02-21-2009, 03:27 PM
 
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Yeah - if we didn't have good public transportation here, I wouldn't have been okay without my license. I didn't mind occasionally asking someone for a ride (say when the grocery store had a caselot sale, and it was too much to carry back, or to be dropped off at a campsite), but it would have bothered me to be doing it all the time.
what about DH? i e-mail mine a list and he gets all the groceries. i don't like grocery shopping anyway so it's nice. then, once every couple weeks, he takes me shopping for necessities and stuff. and my mom enjoys spending time with me so if i go do stuff with her, it's no prob.

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#26 of 56 Old 02-21-2009, 03:29 PM
 
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I really like being able to drive. I have lived without a vehicle, and with sharing a vehicle, and my life is so much easier when I have my own. I have a few friends who don't drive, and even if they like it that way, they do feel limited.

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#27 of 56 Old 02-21-2009, 03:29 PM
 
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I am a 22 yo sahapm to my 4.5 mo dd. I still do not have a drivers' license and really, I have never seemed to care about it. Two summers ago I got a permit, but it expired over the summer while I was still pregnant and I really never felt the need to renew it. (Plus I had moved from one state to another so I had to retake the test anyway) So I know how to drive, I just choose not to. Whenever I go places, I either have a friend pick me up or DP drives me. So really, how important is it? I could go it, although I would have to pay for it and deal with scheduling an exam, which requires me to know how to parallel park.
I dunno, I guess I'm just curious who else is out there is a sahp without a license or if it really is necessary. Any thoughts?
I have no idea why you're still required to parallel park to get your license. The only times I've ever had to parallel park are when I was practicing for my road test, and during my road test. That was 3.5 years ago and I highly doubt I could do it now! Just practice so you can do a decent job on your road test, and then forget about it.

A, wife to R, mom to 3 boys
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#28 of 56 Old 02-21-2009, 04:04 PM
 
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shall I list?

1. allows independence

2. inables you to be able to better manage time not having to rely on public transportation

3. allows you to create your own schedule

4. perhaps the best back up plan for emergency that requires travel

5. gives your friends and family a break from having to drive you (yes, it's HUGELY annoying to have to cart people all over when they are perfectly capable of obtaining a licence

6. helps you to get over any unfounded fears you may have about driving or doing things on your own (I have an idea that adults who do not get their licence when they are legally able to do so may also have some unresolved issues with confidence in one's self or lack of empowerment... not true in all cases of course).

7. allows a person and their possible partner or spouse to do things apart from one another without the guilt of leaving someone behind with no way to get done what they would like at that moment.

8. the world is beautiful and meant to be explored and admired. I can say from personal experience that a car is one of the easiest and most wonderful ways to explore where you cannot so easily go on foot.

9. Driving is a simple way to get out and about on thosse dreary days when you feel cooped up at home.

10. you often take a sense of ownership in a car (even if it is not legally your's) when you drive it. Silly as it may sound, taking care of and opperating a car can be very rewarding, empowering, and builds a new facet to your character.

11. provides more opportunity for your children and subtracts the stress children (and adults) can find in relying on others for transportation. It's a big load off your shoulders when you can drop all the prep and planning it takes just to hitch a ride.

I obtained my licence the day after I turned 16 and would NEVER, NEVER give it up, do anything to get it taken away, or allow it to expire. Even if you don't have your own personal car all to yourself, your licence is there, ready, and waiting for car to arrive. The licence is the easy part, get that out of the way! Honestly, 80% of my life events since getting my licence would have been completely different had I not had a licence. That sounds crazy until I realize that so many things I did and decisions I made were based around the ability to transport myself to an opportunity. Driving is a huge confidence, responsibility, and character builder.

If scheduling an exam or learning how to park is what you think is holding you up you're fooling yourself. Whats really holding you back? Claiming hassel doesn't really work when life without a licence is perhaps the biggest hassle in itself! You may be used to that lifestyle by now but, you're missing out. And I must once again say that yes, people will grow to hate driving a licenceless adult around... trust me on this... because I've been that driver far too often. That "quick trip" to the store you need to make doesn't seem so quick and easy to the person driving you after some time.

~TRACY, wife to loving dh, mommy to dd (10/05), ds(12/08), 3 kitties, & 2 pups.
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#29 of 56 Old 02-21-2009, 04:16 PM
 
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I have 2 thoughts on this.

1) I would be find in a relationship where neither person drove. But I would never want to be in the kind of power inequality situation where my partner drove but I couldn't.

2) As someone with a car and a licence - it gets really old quite quickly when the same person asks me for a ride over and over and over. I have 1 friend who doesn't have a car and we do some of the same things - and she's always asking me for a ride.
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#30 of 56 Old 02-21-2009, 05:12 PM
 
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I have a mil that does not drive, and my grandmother never drove. In my observation, it keeps a person very dependent on their partner, and can be a particularly big hardship if the partner suddenly can not drive (or, in the case of my grandfather, dies).

IMO, getting a driver's license is a small challenge with large benefits over the course of a lifetime.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dantesmama View Post
I have no idea why you're still required to parallel park to get your license. The only times I've ever had to parallel park are when I was practicing for my road test, and during my road test.

I think it depends on where you live. In my suburb, I rarely need to parallel park (parking lots at the playgrounds, driveways at the houses, etc), but in my mom's suburb, there are a few driveways in the alleyway, but most everyone parallel parks on the street every day! One nice benefit is that the sidewalks are safer for kids to play and ride bikes (no cars pulling into driveways). Cities, ime, require a LOT of parallel parking.
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