By on August 2, 2012

Note to readers: The apple may fall near the tree, but sometimes it rolls a bit before it comes to a stop. As a kid growing up in and around Detroit, I couldn’t wait to get my driver’s license when I turned 16. My twentysomething younger daughter Tova, on the other hand, only today got her first learner’s permit. When she jokingly suggested that I write about our trip to the Secretary of State’s office, it occurred to me that it fit right in with Derek Kreindler’s Generation Why series exploring the current crop of young adults who seem less likely to drive (or buy) cars than their parents and grandparents. I returned her jocular suggestion with a serious one of my own, asking her to share her thoughts on the experience with you.

My text message was half-serious. “Dad,” I typed with my thumbs, “You should write an article about this for TTAC.”

No rude thoughts, I'm her dad and I'll hunt you down.

“No,” he replied. “You’ll write the article and I’ll introduce it.” A few minutes later, Dad pulled into the driveway. I climbed into the Chrysler 300 he was testing and told him I was slightly nervous. We were en route to a Secretary of State branch office so I could obtain a driving permit.

This would have been an unremarkable trip for most teenagers. It seemed to me to be an extraordinary milestone for a person who will be 24 years old at the end of the summer, but my dad told me about a growing percentage of young people who don’t drive. I guess that includes, or now I should say included, me. This resident of Michigan – a state where kids can get behind the wheel as young as 14 years and 8 months – had never learned how to drive.

My dad lives, breathes, and dreams cars. His daughter (albeit an avid fan of the Woodward Dream Cruise and someone who gets incredibly tickled when hearing “A Door Is A Jar” out of a 1980s vintage Chrysler product) does not. I’m used to hearing from my dad about historical tidbits and mechanical theories all the time, but my lack of a driver’s license has meant I’ve had little ability to relate to these fun facts over the years. Money was tight when I was in high school, and I simply assumed I’d learn how to drive once I had reached an age where paid instruction was not required.

By the time I was eighteen, though, I’d developed an intense fear of driving. I liked to tell people that I wasn’t calling my own abilities into question; rather, I was worried about “the other morons on the road” who might end my life no matter how careful I was being.

That wasn’t completely true, though. I did – and still do – doubt myself. How, for example, will I merge onto a freeway if drivers don’t let me in? How do I avoid panicking when my vehicle reaches a slippery patch of ice? How do I drive a stick shift?

People told me to get over it. Boyfriends, relatives, and even casual acquaintances offered to help me conquer my terror. But I was afraid. I told myself over and over that I was content with getting rides from my friends and taking the bus. That is, if “content” may be defined as “enormously dissatisfied”.

Detroit’s public transit system is pathetic enough to be considered non-existent. Some bus lines run only once an hour, and they’re notoriously late and cover a series of routes that are sorely lacking. There are no subways or bullet trains. There are no taxis roaming the streets. Walking between bus routes has improved my health, certainly, and I’ve enjoyed (most of) the adventures I’ve had while using mass transit. But when schedules and personal freedom matter, public transportation around here is generally not a good choice. In cities like New York and D.C., people don’t really need cars. The Motor City, though, has such a nickname for a reason.

This reality, combined with the relentless pressure of a certain aunt of mine, had convinced me to reconsider my travel-challenged existence. I’m not Miss Daisy, and I don’t have a chauffeur to drive me around. If I want to go to my favorite place in the world, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, I must drive there. And if I want to be a truly independent adult, I must learn how to command the death machine on wheels known as a car.

The fear of driving, to my mind, is much like other fears. While it wouldn’t be wise to expect me to confront it “all at once”, the only cure for it is gradual exposure and study. It’s not a good idea to force a new driver, say, down a freeway on-ramp. A cemetery, though, might be a good place to practice at the beginning.

Fortunately, my two-hour visit to the Secretary of State was worth it, as my request for a Temporary Instruction Permit was approved. Out of the fifty exam questions I was asked, only one was answered incorrectly. Filled with pride, I texted dozens of people to tell them the good news. My first “official” lesson behind the wheel should happen within the next day or two. (Driving down country roads at five miles per hour when I was thirteen doesn’t count as “official”.)

The thought of merging onto I-75 still scares the hell out of me but I’ve decided to force myself to confront my nervousness. After all, what use will one of those cool “talking” K-cars be to me if I can’t drive one?

P.S.: Before you make any weird commewnts regarding the author, hover with the mouse over the picture. You have been warned. Schreiber can be merciless

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44 Comments on “Generation Why: Queen of the Road, a Guest Post by Tova H. Schreiber...”

  • avatar

    so a red 2.0 turbo ATS 6 spd man. in sport trim is the 1st car?


    no worries about merging speeds in that

  • avatar

    Maybe the fact that your dad is such a driving and car enthusiasts have something to do with your fear of driving? Maybe someone won’t be so afraid of driving if their folks regard it as no big deal. But perhaps because your dad’s is a car enthusiast, he tend to describe driving as something that’s so special, so awesome, and regale you with so much stories about driving adventures, that it actually made you fearful about driving? It basically made you regard driving and learning to drive a bit too seriously?

    Maybe it’s not even about the driving at all. Maybe you’re afraid that you might not enjoy driving as much as your dad, or find the activity as interesting as he does, and that might disappoint him somehow?

    Oh well. Talk about armchair psychology…

    • 0 avatar

      I had the exact same experience with my son. He didnt want to drive ever, his mom basically had to force him to get his license at 18, because they live in a rural area and there is truly no public transportation. He told me once that because I was such a huge car enthusiast that he thought he could never keep up with me in interest or knowledge so he didnt want to try. Yes, weird, I know, but the mind works in mysterious ways. I learned to dial it back a bit when I talk to him about cars and he is slowly coming along in learning about his car, how to maintain it (or at least keep up with having someone else do the maintenance!), etc.

  • avatar

    I think this is a really great article which is seldom seen, dealing with the fear of driving. In my generation, it was there too, but easily trumped by the obsession over cars and driving. We just assumed it was just something to be dealt with amongst all the other learning required about cars, so that we could “get out there and drive – the ultimate experience”. Driving was also a sign of, and part of, “coming of age”, like puberty. So there was no “I’ll pass on doing that”, everybody did it. 100% social acceptance. I still don’t understand how that eroded.

    • 0 avatar

      I practically counted the days from when I was 13 till I could drive. My folks (well, mom, actually) wanted me to wait until I was 17, and I was devastated. My dad had an amazing number of health issues and when he passed out at the wheel and hit a power pole, knocking out the power to about 1/4 of town, I was kind of happy, as he lost his insurance and the next day, I got my license. He was OK, the car, a ’69 Caddy, was gone. How my dad came out of it with a broken nose and a loose tooth, not wearing a seat belt (Never!) was amazing in itself.
      A friend’s son talks to me all the time, as I am his tech guru, and he is about to turn 16, and has no real interest in driving. I don’t understand him at all. I love driving. Not driving or being able to drive is too horrible for me to imagine. No wonder my dad was so miserable having me take him to work every morning.

  • avatar

    nice article, well written, and yes it does fit the ‘generation why’ theme. plus the message associated with the picture is classic!

    i grew up near 6 and beech-daly many years ago (watched the jeffries being built) and yes merging onto a major hwy like i-75 can be intimidating. practice when it is not so busy then you can do it with more confidence at any time.

    my worst driving moment was driving to wayne state when i realized that all 4 lanes of traffic for a quarter mile were doing 65 and we were all 35 feet from each others bumper. i am not cut out for nascar.

    if you go out east watch out for rotarys (rotaries?). not bad at slow residential speeds but avoid the inner lane.

    have fun on the trips to da u.p. have a pasty for an ex-pat.

    • 0 avatar

      There actually are roundabouts in my neighborhood. I fear them. They’re supposedly “safer”, but I don’t think that’s the case if you’re used to intersections.

      With regard to your comment about “da UP”, I’ll be there next week with my boyfriend. He drives a police-edition Crown Vic, but it has nearly 300K miles on it (!), so we’re probably going to rent a Nissan. Maybe I’ll drive it through the forest?

      • 0 avatar

        The problem with traffic circles is when they’re inconsistent — usually because traffic patterns have changed and the local government tries to band-aid the problem rather than re-engineer the intersection.

        I grew up in rural Illinois and had encountered exactly one traffic circle before I started dating a girl who was from New Jersey. The US-202/NJ-12/NJ-31 circle in Flemington is prioritized so that through traffic on Route 202 maintains the right-of-way and traffic from Routes 12 & 31 inside the circle must yield.

        The first time I encountered this I nearly caused an accident. Unsurprisingly I spent the next 10 years thinking circles were evil. Then I experienced other, properly circles and came to understand that they aren’t actually evil.

        New Jersey is just doing it wrong.

    • 0 avatar

      Rotaries and roundabouts are two different things.

      Roundabouts are typically small diameter, one lane, and speeds are usually very slow. I prefer them to 4-way stops when traffic is fairly light.

      Rotaries (of which we have plenty of here in Massachusetts) are a completely different animal. Quite large, sometimes several hundred to, in the case of Bell Circle in Revere, over a 1/4 mile in diameter. Two lanes (either marked or because you can go through two wide) is common, Speeds are often in the 40’s to 50’s (although the speed limit is probably 25-30.)

      The law of the land is that those in the rotary have the right of way. Law of the street is ‘(s)he who hesitates is lost.’ Many accidents are from someone starting to enter, then changing their minds and getting rear ended.

      Caught on the inside – forget about the blinker – that’s just giving information to the enemy.

      • 0 avatar

        “Quite large, sometimes several hundred to, in the case of Bell Circle in Revere, over a 1/4 mile in diameter.”

        You’re thinking of Copeland Circle – Route 1 and Rt. 60. Bell Circle is a smaller Frankenstein mutant rotary at Rt. 60, Rt.1A, Rt 16, and Beach St. They tried to fix it by sort of superimposing a conventional light controlled intersection over the rotary and ended up with an evil mutant.

        Copeland Circle (the big one) isn’t so bad by itself. The real terror there is the ramp from the rotary onto Route 1 North. It’s really hard to describe this little section of hell. No visibility, a scary mixture of speeds, and most cars stop at the end of it – and sometimes they’ll stop a second time after launching from the end of the ramp if they think they’re not going to make it. That’s what seems to cause most of the accidents. Sometimes they sort of get “pinned” at the side of the road just beyond the end of the ramp by traffic merging around them.

    • 0 avatar

      The problem with roundabouts and rotaries in this country is that they require drivers to be paying attention to whats going on. A intersection required almost no thought, just go, go faster, stop. A roundabout requires the driver to make quick decisions, and commit fully to that decision.

  • avatar

    I agree – very nice article! Congrats to this young person conquering her fears! I was surprised to read that driving instruction there is paid..? I went to high school in the late 80’s early 90’s and driving instruction was part of “PE” and was required to pass PE. No permits were issued but you did get to watch all the awful road wreck videos, learn the rules of the road, etc. After completing the class you were (fairly) well prepared to get your permit. I went to a selective admissions high school and many of my friends lived 20+ miles away as they were from all over the city of Chicago. Public transport was what most people depended upon in their h.s. years, but cars were generally much faster (esp on weekends & outside of rush hour).

    With that being said my parents didn’t really let me drive much until I started college (18) and then I drove constantly as I went to a commuter school.

    14 years after driving I decided to get my M class. Riding a motorcycle for the first time on a high-way will REALLY scare the heck out of you.

    Instead of asking yourself “how do I merge if people won’t let me in?”, you will be asking yourself: “how do I hit the brakes without dumping the bike if someone stops quickly in a curved section of road” or …”It’s dark & raining, what do I do if my only real wheel loses traction in a turn?”

    • 0 avatar
      Off a Cliff

      (Full discloseure: I learned to drive in 2002)

      Where I lived in Ohio you had to go and sign-up for a driving course, which you (or rather, your parents) paid for. I believe it was 8 hours of classroom instruction, and 8 hours of driving time. Some schools might have had it in their PE, but mine was small-ish (graduating class of 170)

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        When I had driver’s ed in the early ’90s, the classroom part was a few weeks in 10th grade health class, and the school did the in-car part (1978 Volare! for the lose) whenever you signed up and paid (I think) an extra $75.

  • avatar

    My wife’s parents failed to teach her to drive before she left their care. They were divorced and neither of them took the responsibility to make sure she learned. That meant it was something I had to do while we were dating. We managed to get through it with our relationship intact.

    I will consider myself a failure as a parent if my kid leaves the house without knowing how to drive. I’ve already given a couple of clandestine lessons even though she’s not even a teenager yet. In flyover country it’s simply a necessary skill.

    • 0 avatar

      I feel your pain. My wife managed to skip drivers ed and her parents (who were terrible drivers) gave her a 5 minute lesson in a parking lot before taking her to the DMV to get her license. Somehow she got the drivers license; being young and good looking can be very useful.

      She wrecked a couple of cars in short order, then almost killed herself in a rollover. On our second date she passed another car going uphill on a two lane road with a double yellow line, and at the crest of the hill was an oncoming car heading toward us at 60+mph. She swerved back into the right lane and missed a head on crash by a couple of feet. I had to pry my fingers out of the dashboard; she was unfazed.

      20 years later she is a much better driver. I still can’t figure out what her parents were thinking.

  • avatar

    Congratulations! Best of luck on your driving adventures.

    Allow me to offer some quick advice.

    1. Wet leaves can be as slick as ice.

    2. Most times when merging on the freeway, the answer is MOAR THROTTLE. People will generally let you into the lane, but the key is to try to be AT freeway speed as soon as is safe while on the entrance ramp. When you demonstrate that you are not going to slow them down, people will tap the brakes to make space for you or speed up to let you in behind them.

    Drive confidently, and have fun.

    • 0 avatar

      This is a very well-written article and definitely reads as if a follow-up is warranted (maybe after you’re fully licensed).

      I agree with SexCpotatoes with regards to merging: more speed is more better. Fear is what’s dangerous to freeway merging because a panic stop at the end of the ramp leaves you will no room to merge and a maximum speed differential. If your fear is caused by a fear of being hit by another car, tell yourself that if you cannot (or have not yet) conquer that fear ameliorate it by making a potential crash the least bad. Crashes that occur with small differences is speed are less bad, even if you’re going 60 and the car that you hit (or hits you) is doing 65. Much better to speed up to traffic’s speed than to be sitting still and get plowed by a highway-speed car or truck.

      I haven’t spent much time in Michigan…my first trip was as a teenager before I could drive and my last was a quick interview trip 10-11 years ago, but isn’t the law in the state that on multi-lane highways the people traveling in the right-hand lane must move over or yield to entering traffic? I seem to recall seeing Yield signs in the right lane on I-75 between Ohio and Detriot. If people even only sometimes follow this (it’s good manners even if it isn’t the law) merging on should be a piece of cake relative to many of the areas in which I’ve had to drive.

    • 0 avatar

      My driving instructor had only one thing to say about merging to a freeway on an acceleration lane – “floor it”

  • avatar

    Great article, but as a Lincoln-Mercury fanboi I must say she looks adorable in a Mark VIII. If she was in a MKS, she’d be crying.

  • avatar

    Good luck, Tova. I’d love to hear your take on what it’s like to learn to drive as an adult.

    I often wonder about this kind of situation: most teenagers are have poor judgement and entrusting them with two-ton projectiles is, perhaps, unwise. On the other hand, their neurons are still soft & impressionable, so maybe it’s easier for driving to be come instinctual for them.

  • avatar

    Sadly, my best friend’s niece and her husband are a prime example of young adults who don’t drive. She never got or wanted the chance to learn, and now the thought of operating a motor vehicle on public streets terrifies her. As for her husband, he suffers from Asperger Syndrome, which makes learning ( including driving ) difficult. Complicating matters is the fact that they have an infant son.

    You’ll be just fine, Tova. Just keep at it, and whatever tips or advice your dad gives- LISTEN TO HIM.

    @Sajeev and the OP- the top pic made me chuckle. When I was attending auto shop classes at El Camino College, I knew a gal from off-campus whose ride was a ’72 Lincoln Mark IV. Seeing that tiny, petite young woman gliding that behemoth into a tight campus parking spot with little effort was something to behold.

  • avatar

    Congrats! I’ve been reading this blog for a few months but never bothered to comment before.

    I’m about your age, grew up in that other car city- LA, yet never learned to drive there. We also had to pay for driving instruction and couldn’t afford it. I’m not sure why I didn’t bother to get a permit, it just wasn’t on my mind. I rode LA public transit, which does exist! Ended up going to collage in Chicago where I didn’t need to drive and got rides from friends when I needed to. When I graduated I got a job that required driving, so I got my aunt to teach me in rural Illinois. Things changed once I actually had a car, I ended up loving driving, especially those big open Midwestern roads.

    And then I got accepted to graduate school… in Manhattan.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Very nice story, and congrats on making an impact here at TTAC.

    First two thoughts I had when looking at the picture.

    “Two pretty reds!” – The color of the car and of course, the lady standing next to it.

    “Red must run in that family.” – I have a feeling I’m right on that one too.

    • 0 avatar

      That particular shade is from a bottle, her natural shade is light brown with a hint of red but yes her mom is a redhead, as I am. Of my three kids, one is a natural redhead (though she plays with the color too). My son is blond but with a red beard, like my dad, a’h’, was. None of them had problems with acne and they all grew up going swimming wearing a tshirt to avoid sunburn.

      You know how guys will joke on the job. I once mentioned that I had three kids and a coworker asked me if I was sure that they were mine. I just showed him a group photo and he shut up.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Great article. I was stationed at Great Lakes and I’m from Indiana. The first few times I drove through Chicago I was scared spitless. After a few months I’d take a drag off my cigarette and think traffic sure sucks today. Talk to your dad about learning to drive a stick. Since you’re getting your license talk to dad about what kind of car you want.

  • avatar

    The timing of this article is amusingly coincidental for me. I am in the process of trying to motivate my 19 year-old daughter to try to get her driver’s license yet again. She’s done the classroom driver’s training and has done the required (by state law) seat time driving, but has never gone to the Secretary of State (Michigan DMV) to GET THE STUPID LICENSE!

    Now that she has moved out of the house (but only five blocks away) the process has gotten complicated by her work schedule and other obligations.

    It’s not like she didn’t grow up in the motorhead culture or some other environment where cars are alien machines… But all of her friends and activities were within walking or an easy bicycle ride away while growing up. Some of her friends who did have licenses and access to cars always drove. There was no need, and we didn’t mind that she didn’t necessarily need us to chauffeur her somewhere. Of course, I was her soccer coach for quite a while, so that helped…

    But lately, we’ve had to help her out getting her to work at odd hours when she can’t ride a bike, hitch/bum a ride or take the bus (due to the late schedule she works). She’s got to get her license…

  • avatar

    Congratulations Tova for taking the plunge. There was a book in the 60’s written by a surgeon who said that surgery was a learned skill. I couldnt believe it at the time. But driving is a learned skill too, just like all the other things you are good at, you will get good at driving with practice. Those things that scare you now will become less scary and you will have the confidence to deal with them. Honest. You dont have to love driving, or even like it. But it is a very useful skill to have and I acknowledge you for your willingness to take it on, especially in such a public way. It shows me that you are a person who has the courage and heart to do anything you want in life. Good luck.

  • avatar

    Its pretty simple

    Kids who learned to drive even 10 years ago associated car ownership with freedom

    Kids these days (rightfully) associate it with responsibility and added expenses… hence the collective reluctance

    I have a younger brother and sister… I couldn’t wait to get my license and move out, and I did both as soon as physically possible. My little brother got his license around age 20-21 and still lives at home at age 24. My little sister is 20, also still lives at home and doesn’t have her license. I think its a combo of the economy making the world look a lot scarier, and a higher tolerance for laziness

  • avatar

    I grew up on a farm so I was “driving” on the highway at 9 or 10, yes it was a Farmall Super A tractor pulling a trailer of tobacco and it was only 1/8 mile from the field down to the barn – but still!
    I passed Drivers Ed easily and thought, “all I have to do is be cool for a year and I’ll get my license” well, my dad, the ex-marine sargent, made me so damn nervous I couldn’t drive with him. My mom was a little better, so for a year I didn’t drive much. I got my license on my 16 birthday (8-8-1975) and put over 300 miles on my first car (1972 Z-28) the first day. I know, I had to stop a few times to get gas, as it managed to get about 9 mpg.

    Fast forward to 2009, my 15 year old daughter has her permit, and I (remembering Dad) kept my mouth shut unless we hit DEFCON Level 5.
    She’s a good driver today and all, but, like a lot of young folks, they don’t drive much. OK by me with the price of gas these days.

    Now, here’s a thought to consider, we have young people that drive less, are in MUCH safer cars than the crap I had in the 70’s and yet insurance (1 year) costs more that my first car.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Tova, great piece! If you drive like you write, you’ll be just fine.

    I have a niece in her 20s (also in the Motor City), terrified of driving. She’s managed to get sibs, friends and Mom to take her places, but she simply has to get behind the wheel. Now. No more putting it off.

    Wish I could help her get over the mental block. She’s smart. She’s capable. She’s a good athlete, with quick reflexes and above-average hand-eye coordination. Absolutely no reason why she shouldn’t be able to drive well. Yet she resists it like a cat avoids a bathtub full of water.

    I’d have her take a few lessons from Baruth, but she’s too cute. And like you, off limits!

    Keep us informed how you do — and any tips other non-drivers may take away from your experience to help overcome their fears of driving. Good luck! Have fun!

  • avatar

    Abba’s kvelling. Thanks to the B&B for your kind remarks and encouragement.

  • avatar

    This is the total opposite of what happened in my family. We used to live in a suburb of Boston called Brookline where cars were discouraged by the town and overnight parking on the street is prohibited so everyone must have their own space.

    I was dreaming of owning and driving a car since I was about 7-8 years old. Once I got my permit at 16 or so my dad would try to avoid his teaching duties anyway he could. It wasn’t until I was teaching my ex-gf that I started to understand him well. Driving with a new driver is pretty scary.

    I did get my license at 17 and then we had daily battles over the old station wagon with dad. About a month after I turned 18 my dad finally had enough. He threw the keys to the Buick at me and bought himself a minivan.

  • avatar

    There is a good reason why people start driving at age 16- it’s because at that age, we are too dumb to be hindered by silly things like the fear of death. If you wait around till you are 24- then you get the kind of trepidation like Tova is expressing.

    • 0 avatar


      If all the well-meaning but misguided save-the-children types and the vote-hungry politicians who pander to them have their way, driving at that age may soon be a thing of the past :( .

      I myself didn’t start driving until age 19- a combination of my mom’s overprotectiveness and my dad’s cheapness ( long story ).

  • avatar

    Please post updates of your continuing adventures.

  • avatar

    Driving will not be an issue for my daughter – she’s 8 and has 5 or 6 autocross events under her belt in a Junior Kart (which she has topped out 35 MPH.) She enjoys coming to events even when she doesn’t race.

  • avatar

    Great article, thanks for sharing.

    (And a father who turns a half-serious suggestion into an assignment is doing something right. Be grateful for it.)

  • avatar

    I can relate. I live in NYC right now and a only rent a car a few times a year. Driving around the city or boroughs is quite miserable..

    It’s so much nicer when you get out into the burbs. Cars are really made for the suburbs. I still get over the pull out and block traffic to take left turns theory..

  • avatar

    There wasn’t much in the article that was very surprising IMO. Whether it’s cars, sports, arts, music, foods etc, kids very rarely pick up the same hobbies or interests with the same passion as their parents. Ditto for jobs. I know very few children who followed the same career choices as their parents. My parents actually encouraged us to try different hobbies than the “usual” ones my parents did. They encouraged us to have interests as varied from them as possible.

    This seems to be the case for Tova, at least in regards to cars.

  • avatar

    My daughter is 12 and can’t wait to drive a car. Part of our bonding is through my cars. She’s not much into wanting to work on them, but she loves riding in my vintage tin with me.

    Just the other day she asked about when I wouild teach her. It came up becasue of a carting experience she recently had at CJ Barrymore’s. I plan to let her drive my Jeep sometime in the U.P. down the same private dirt road I first piloted a car around the same age as she is now. When she turns 16, I plan to take her to the SCCA weekend SOLO racing class and do it with her. I would recommend the same for you as it will really give you a feel for what a car is capable of and will give you a better sense of control in any kind of emergency scenario.

    Good luck kiddo. I’ll tell you same thing I tell my daughter. There is one single rule to driving that encompasses it all. That rule is to always pay attention and focus only on driving when you’re behind the wheel. Pay attention to what you’re doing and what everyone else is doing too. That’s the best you can do :)

  • avatar

    I’m in the gap between generation X and Y (born in 1985, grew up with computers, didn’t have a cell phone until college) and I had zero interest in cars or driving as a teenager. Driving seemed like a frustrating, fruitless activity. When I was 15 my parents tried to teach me how to drive in a 1995 Ford Windstar minivan. I tried once, hated it, and didn’t want to again.

    When I was 17, my parents essentially made me get a learner’s permit. They used some saved up money to buy a car specifically for me to learn how to drive in – a 1995 Buick Regal coupe. I would drive to school in the morning with my mom in the car then she would take the car to work, come back when school was out, I’d drive us home, then she’d head back to work.

    My interest in cars grew very slowly over time. Doing regular 300 mile road trips. Learning every little quirk of that car. Learning how to drive it efficiently if I wanted to and quickly when the opportunity presented itself. Not an exciting or attractive car, but I absolutely loved it. Lots of experiences and opportunities that wouldn’t have been possible without a car.

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