At the ripe ‘ol age of 33, I can officially now say that I have a driver’s licence. So what took me 17 years you ask? Well it’s a long story, really it is. To sum it up, I just never lived in an area where I really needed it, until now. And honestly, you don’t miss what you never had. For instance, it would be nice to live like a millionaire but I’ve never had a mansion or a Ferrari, therefore I don’t miss it. Wait. That was a bad example. But you catch my drift, right?
There are definitely a few pros and cons to going this long without a driver’s licence:
- You never have to be the designated driver, ever, so drink up!
- You can spend hours on your phone playing Candy Crush Saga, texting, Facebooking, while the driver – drives.
- You get to eat with both hands.
- You get to sleep. Although part of being a good co-pilot means keeping the driver company with your boring chit chat and navigating the GPS.
- You’re usually the designated DJ.
- You don’t have to pay for parking, gas, maintenance, parking tickets, etc.
- You never have to stand out in the freezing cold pumping gas.
- You get more exercise WALKING.
- It’s better for the environment.
- Lack of freedom.
- Taking local transit sucks, at least where I live it does. It usually smells like rotting corpses and is often full of “questionable” people.
- Planning your day around a not so frequent bus schedule on your days off really sucks.
- The gasps you get when you tell people you don’t have a licence, then the second gasp when they find out how old you are.
- Waiting until your husband comes home to get more egg whites for your latest batch of protein bars really sucks.
- Constantly asking your friends to pick you up makes you somewhat feel inadequate and really sucks.
- Having you husband drive you around like Ms. Daisy is…well, maybe that’s actually more of a “pro”.
Although, I had my learner’s licence four times over the years, I hadn’t really had much driving experience. There was the time I tried to learn in a Leon’s parking lot in a 1987 Toyota 4-Runner with a standard transmission – in a snow storm. That didn’t go over so well. Then a few times with my best friend who ever so patiently tried teaching me in her Sunfire – standard again. That didn’t go over so well. And now, with my husband; I practiced on his Mustang, his Silverado truck and our current car (notice I said “our”, yeah we’re married, so what’s his is mine, right?!) While I love my husband with all my heart, having your spouse teach you to drive usually ends up like this…So, we opted for private driving lessons where I couldn’t tell the trainer to eff off (at least not out loud). He was great, so patient and pretty much threw me out there – sink or swim, right? It had been a while though and getting back on the road kind of felt like this…But I made it through the lessons and now, fresh from the road test I thought I’d share a few tips for those 16 year olds itching to get their licence or those mature ones finally taking the plunge…figuratively, not literally…1. Practice, practice, practice! Practice makes perfect. Actually that’s not entirely true. I must have parallel parked 50 times and I still royally screwed it up on my road test. Thankfully, that was the only major thing I messed up on.
2. Obey the speed limit at all times. No ifs, ands, or buts. There was at least a handful of times when my trainer reminded me that I was going 40+km in a 30km school/playground zone. AUTOMATIC FAIL! Sheesh. I didn’t realize how easy it was to speed. Or maybe I just have a lead foot. Either way, I definitely made a mental note to obey those giant black and white signs.
3. Scan all intersections and crosswalks. Pay attention to that little old lady crossing the road, hitting one would be dreadful, not to mention an AUTOMATIC FAIL! And “Do not encourage jay walking” – words of my trainer. Don’t wave them through, they might then wave you on and there’s this confusing dance thing happening that could result in a messy collision.
4. Come to a complete stop. Not a rolling stop, not a tap-the-break-lightly-while-I-ease-into-the-intersection stop. A full on stop. Yup, those giant red octagons really do mean STOP.
5. Shoulder check! Now do it while keeping the wheel straight. I discovered it’s not all that easy, but refer to #1 and you’ll get it!
6. Do not text while driving. That’s just common sense. I mean, you were one of the 400 some odd thousand people that signed Oprah’s No Phone Zone Pledge, weren’t you? No. Well let this be a lesson for you…So, to all you young kids, middle-aged folk, and grannies (mine got hers at 50!) getting their licences, stay safe, keep your eyes on the road and if you see me cruising around out there, give me a honk and a wave…I mean, keep both hands on the wheel!