Tales From The Driver’s Seat: 7 Actual Experiences I Had While Learning To Drive at 25

I’ve been fucking around with the idea of learning to drive for a few years now, and GET READY WORLD, because as of this summer, I am a licensed driver! A bonafide vehicle operator! And whoa boy, was the process of getting here a wild ride. Here’s what went down.

1. A Five-Hour Trip to the DMV

I decided I wanted to learn how to drive when I decided I wanted to leave, and to prove to myself it was real I printed out the DC Driver’s Manual — which is no longer made available in print at any DMV office and is rife with formatting issues, as well as references to sections that don’t exist — and read it. Then I stopped reading it. Then I started reading it. Then I stopped reading it. Then I started reading it again, and things got really serious. I began highlighting, underlining, reading it before bed, reading it over coffee, reading it over and over and over again until the section on passing 18-wheeler trucks no longer gave me an anxiety attack. In fact, I studied the driving manual for such an extensive amount of time that I actually began regretting it, after I passed, because it meant I left myself with about a month to two months to master actual driving, and not driving in theory. But theory’s always been my bag, and leaving the house hasn’t, so.

Once I had read the book no less than five times, invented acronyms to help me remember all of the various processes and laws, and gotten a 100 on no less than 10 separate online practice exams, I decided it was time to take the written test. I grabbed my ID, went to the DMV, and waited in a line that snaked outside of the door for forty-five minutes, and then I had finally arrived. This was it! My golden moment! IT WAS ALL YELLOW BRICK ROADS FROM HERE.

Except that I then found out that because my DC ID was an older version of the DC IDs on the ID market, I needed the typical one zillion pieces of proof of identity and an extra limb to give to the DMV, none of which was on my person. I immediately got back in line after I found a tax form in my backpack by chance, though, and demanded that they let me have my live-in BFF Soph scan the other stuff over to me.

Over the course of this day at the DMV, I spoke with someone at three different stages of the written test taking process who checked my proof of identity documents. I possessed the following:

  1. A copy of my lease, accompanied by a photo of my landlord’s photo ID bearing the same address that is inscribed on my lease as well as a formal DC government document verifying that I was her tenant
  2. My passport
  3. My DC ID
  4. A federal tax form, like from the government, inscribed with my social security number
  5. A scan of a 1099 form from the most recent tax year, inscribed similarly with my social security number because those also come from the government, IDK if anyone knows this
  6. A Verizon account statement addressed to my landlord at the address I live at because that is where I live, do you get it yet
  7. A home insurance statement addressed to my landlord at the address I live at because, like I said, I live there
  8. A gas bill addressed to my landlord at the address I live at because, I swear to fucking god, I live there
  9. An electric bill addressed — I can’t even finish this sentence, it makes me too mad.

Every single person I spoke to at the DMV that day was unhappy with a different aspect of my really unreasonably believable stack of documents proving I was, in fact, who I claimed to be and had sufficient photo and legal proof of being, including but not limited to: not accepting scans despite having told me scanned documents were accepted, a statement about payment being different than a bill, a letter from a home insurance company about your policy not being enough to prove you live somewhere.

And then, I was finally waved through. I got into another line, in which I sat for about thirty minutes. Then, I got to take my test after a final documents check after the DMV had technically closed for the day. The test took me all of 15 minutes — it was multiple choice and utilized a touch screen, and besides one question which legitimately read like garbled rambling about a bicycle, it was pretty straightforward.

While I was politely taking my exam, one woman passed, stood up, and began yelling, shrieking, and cheering. She was given her permit without harm or foul.

While I waited for my test results to print, a 16-year-old girl failed her test and stormed out of the room after one of the DMV employees loudly announced that she had failed hard, missing almost twice as many questions as she was allowed to. At this point, her mother asked why they didn’t have anything for her to use as a study guide. She had never been made aware, apparently, of the Driver’s Manual the test is literally based on. This woman had a driver’s license of her own.

And then, I arrived, beaming. THIS WAS IT! My actual golden moment! I handed my now twice-as-thick stack of social security numbers, shitty photos, and awkwardly bolded salary information over to the first woman who had “helped” me that day at the front desk and held my hand out, excited for a small plastic card bearing my name and likeness but which would apparently not count at all as a form of identification years later in life if I needed to return to the DMV and prove literally anything about my identity.

The woman looked at every single paper, then paused at the scan of my tax forms. “We don’t accept scans of 1099 forms,” she said bluntly.

“Look,” I said, staring her dead in the eye with extreme purpose. “It has my social on it, which matches my social on, like, five other forms of ID I have here.”

“Doesn’t count,” she replied. She printed out proof of my test score and handed me my stack of papers. “Come back Tuesday.”

It was 6 PM on a Saturday.

2. Baby’s First Acceleration

I went home to New Jersey when I first got my permit, excited to drive around in a parking lot as New Jersey drivers are wont to do. I was also particularly jazzed about the idea of reversing my mom’s car out of her parking spot near her building and driving it down the hill to where the long driveway met a main road, at which point I assumed we would seamlessly teleport into one another’s bodies a la Freaky Friday so she could drive the car around the streets I was so afraid of. She relented after I begged her for an hour straight, and I clamored into the driver’s seat for the first time.

At this point, my mom got very intense. “Put your right foot on the brake. Don’t let go.”

“Where is it?”

“It’s on the left.”

“Why can’t I use my left foot?”

“That’s not how you drive.”

“But wait, where’s the gas pedal?”

“It’s the little one on the right.”

“Why is it so small?”

“That’s how cars are.”

“But why?”

Eventually, my mom got me to stop questioning the ages-old practices of my driving brethren and I shifted the car into reverse with my foot heavy on the brake. “When you let go, you need to immediately press the gas because we’re on a slope,” my mom told me. “OKAY?!” Suddenly it seemed like everything involved in driving would be urgent, and pushing the gas pedal was going to be my first test at accomplishing things smoothly and quickly.

“HIT THE GAS!” And I did. I slammed on that gas pedal so hard that NASCAR would have hired me on the spot, and we careened out of her spot and spun around while my mom was screaming at me to hit the brake. I did that, too — but I had to look down first to figure out where it was.

3. I Thought I Was Gonna Drive Around in a Parking Lot But Instead I Drove My Friend to a Coffee Shop

My BFF Libby offered to teach me how to drive, which I figured was an excellent idea because she was a very confident and also assertive driver who got places fast, parallel parked like a pro, and could eat a sandwich with one hand and drive with the other. She drove me to a parking lot for our first lesson, then switched out with me and let me drive around it. I went around and around, trying to discern whether I would be killing people and hitting cars in a world where the parking lot was full. She instructed me to drive around to the entrance and point the vehicle towards it, so I put my foot on the brake and looked at her, deadpan and sweating.

“You want me to leave?”


“But I—”

“Carmen, go.”

“No, I don’t feel —”


I went. 10 MPH, I mean. I went 10 MPH down a street that was two lanes but had no lane markings because cities hate the people who live in them, and the whole time I clutched the wheel like death and screamed “AM I IN MY LANE?!” It was the first time I’d ever driven on a road, and when cars came I basically was imbued with a sense of fear that made me brake, veer sideways, and literally scream primally from my seat. Libby directed me the whole way, down roads I’d walked millions of times but had suddenly blacked out all memory of, and then parallel parked the car from the passenger’s seat in front of her favorite coffee shop.

I ordered an espresso when I meant a cappuccino, which was the worst.

4. The Hangover: Driving Lessons Edition

My first driving lesson was a tumultuous affair in and of itself. I was very nervous because I realized the day of my lesson that I hadn’t requested a woman instructor, and I realized simultaneously that that meant I was going to be trapped in a car with a dude who could make said car stop at any point, anywhere. Also, twenty minutes before my lesson was scheduled to begin, our toilet totally stopped flushing and I was the unfortunate soul who discovered this by, well, using the fucking toilet twenty minutes before my goddamn driving lesson.

Then, my instructor called to say he would be late. I used this time to shake nervously, put on lounge pants, and pet my dog.

Then he arrived, and it was pouring rain. I got in the car, soaking myself in the process as I wielded a large plastic see-through umbrella into the backseat because I didn’t know how to really exist in the driver’s seat, because I mean, this was a driving lesson. And then! Then! THEN! Then, this man who was my driving instructor told me to head to the motherfucking highway. 

It was at that point that I, gripping the wheel like a bonafide stress ball, took a car onto the highway for the first time. And it was shortly after I got onto that highway that my instructor informed me he was hungover, which led us into a conversation about drinking and the ounce of weed he’d stashed in his car when he was wasted and which hallucinogenic drugs we’d tried or wanted to try and, ultimately, the time he smoked fake weed.

At the tail end of the lesson, he asked if I would mind pulling into a Wendy’s drive-thru, where he bought me a Frosty and offered me a Newport. At the end of the lesson, he assured me I was ready for my driver’s test.

5. Coming Out to Someone While Not Riding Shotgun, Because Karma

My third (and final) driving lesson was with the same man as the aforementioned hungover driving lesson, which brought me great relief because my second driving lesson was with a man who showed me photos of his dog at a stoplight and that was a little nerve-wracking, albeit adorable. My instructor, who at this point had already been elevated to bro status in my heart, called and asked if he could use my “restroom” before we got started, so I said yes, blissfully unaware that my house was a mess, my girlfriend was wearing her sleeping clothes on the daybed downstairs, and my live-in BFF Soph was working at the table.

He came in, and then we left together when we were both all sorted out. And it was then, in those first few moments, that my driving instructor told me he liked how I smelled. That was fine, because, I mean, I fucking love my perfume, too. But then he started muttering to himself that it was “erotic,” and I turned up the radio and idled outside of an ATM as he got his money for the day and we got going.

Towards the end of the lesson, my instructor asked me if it was okay that he was hitting on me, and I laughed and told him I was taken and stared super straight ahead and then I stopped at a stop sign and he turned toward me and he said:

“Do we like the same things?”

At this point I had no idea what he was talking about, and in my head I kept thinking, you and Geneva? Yeah! You both like me! But wait, that’s a weird question. What’s going on. Don’t say anything. Why aren’t you looking at the road. DON’T BE A VIRGIN WHO CAN’T DRIVE. And so I just told him, look, I have no idea what you’re talking about, and then he clarified.

“Do you like women?”

I asked him how he figured it out. My hair? My clothes? My general disregard for men’s lives?

“Nah,” he told me. “It was your roommates.”

6. The DMV Dude Who Ruined My Life For Like a Week

My first road test went horrifically wrong. I can’t even tell the story because it deeply upsets me. But suffice it to say that the man who failed me worked at the DMV, the DMV to which I had to return to in order to continue trying to pass the road test, and he went to all sorts of lengths to make me miserable.

When I failed, he made me pull over, told me, “Don’t apologize, don’t explain yourself, just get out,” and drove me back to the DMV while I cried pathetically in the backseat. I got out, went to work, cried to my mom on the phone, and eventually emotionally healed.

Then, I returned to the DMV on the day I got my license only to see his terrible, no-good face staring me down in the parking lot. I drove around it once more to get rid of him, parked, and went inside to meet up with my instructor.

Once my test was over, and I’d passed, I came back in to celebrate and saw that same terrible, no-good face watching over me, looking disappointed and also like he regretted pretty much every decision he’d ever made in his life in a shallow attempt to feel powerful in comparison to other people while administering their road tests. He made a rude remark as I filled out my survey, but then I put my metaphorical shades on because haters can’t see me and this dude needs to get a life.

7. My Driver’s License Photo Sucks Because I’m Just Like You

The day I passed my road test and took my driver’s license photo was A FUCKING DAY, let me tell you. Firstly, I left a bit late and was generally stressed out and on the verge of tears. Secondly, I had to maneuver my vehicle no less than six times in the Hess Station lot in order to get their short-ass gas hoses within reach of my friend’s beastly station wagon. Thirdly, I hit traffic, and at that point began full-bore sobbing behind the wheel.

I got to the DMV thirty minutes late, with no bra on, wearing shoes that didn’t match my outfit because they were the most comfortable to drive in. My instructor had been waiting for me, so I put a smile on and greeted him, then headed to the bathroom while he checked me in. I then full-bore sobbed again, wiped my tears and blotted my eyes with some cold water, and went to the car with him, full of trepidation and feelings of doom and dismay.

And then the test happened, and it was going fine, really good actually. And then he asked me to change lanes three times in one block so I could get to the furthermost left lane on a main drag at 9:45 AM on a weekday and make a massive left turn. And I missed it! I just missed it. I blew it! But the test went on, and he gave me my license because he gave me “the benefit of the doubt” that traffic was indeed too rough to allow me, a braless 25-year-old nervously driving a station wagon, to shift over three lanes at a high speed.

I screamed like a girl (but really) when he told me I passed, shook his hand enthusiastically about thirty times and thanked him profusely, and went inside to take my license photo. I decided to go with “smug smile” because I was, well, the shit, and waited excitedly for it to arrive in the mail.

And then it did.

And you guys, it’s just godawful.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Carmen spent six years at Autostraddle, ultimately serving as Straddleverse Director, Feminism Editor and Social Media Co-Director. She is now the Consulting Digital Editor at Ms. and writes regularly for DAME, the Women’s Media Center, the National Women’s History Museum and other prominent feminist platforms; her work has also been published in print and online by outlets like BuzzFeed, Bitch, Bust, CityLab, ElixHER, Feministing, Feminist Formations, GirlBoss, GrokNation, MEL, Mic and SIGNS, and she is a co-founder of Argot Magazine. You can find Carmen on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr or in the drive-thru line at the nearest In-N-Out.

Carmen has written 919 articles for us.


  1. Aaah, what an awesome story! I know exactly what you are talking about. I am working on my DL at age 28. Just the differences in process in USA and my country surprised me!

  2. Reading this was equal parts stressful and entertaining.
    The DMV sounds awful. When I went to get my theory test, I just showed up with my provisional licence and that was it!

  3. When I went for my Canadian license, I was totally unprepared for them to ask me my weight. I said “About 10 stone?”. They looked blankly at me, and asked what that was in kilos. I looked blankly back, and said “I have no idea, you’ll have to guess.” The guy started sweating and stuttering “I can’t guess your weight”. I said ” Well you’re going to have to, as I have literally no frame of reference whatsoever. 5 kilos? 50?? 500??”.
    He randomly put down 53, & now everyone laughs hysterically when they see my license, especially my wife.

    • The weight and physical description thing confuses the hell out of me. I’m an Australian, and on my license it just has my date of birth, sex, address and a photo and that’s it. Oh and a license number – but nothing about height, weight or hair/eye colour. There’s a photo right there! Also, people’s weight can fluctuate. The hell?

  4. I asked him how he figured it out. My hair? My clothes? My general disregard for men’s lives?

  5. This story had me cracking up! Loved it, thanks for sharing!

    The DMV is the worst place in America. Every single office is tied for the #1 spot.

    Congrats on having your license!

  6. This makes me feel oddly comfortable about eventually having to take my own driver’s test (I am 27 and have driven for a collective 3 hour in my whole life, at least 30 minutes of which was just crying in the fetal position in the front seat). Whenever I hear people talk about their learning to drive experiences they tell me, “Oh, it’s not so bad!” and “It’s easier than you think!”

    Apparently, what I needed to hear was, “It’s hell on earth, but survivable.”

  7. I tell this story all the time, but once more onto the breach, dear friends!

    I was 19 when I foolishly moved to PHX with no drivers license, no permit, no actual driving knowledge at all. All my friends want to teach me to drive, but I don’t want them to get in trouble, so I go to apply for a permit.

    “I need to apply for a driver’s license?” (that’s not what you’re supposed to say when you need a permit, and are noticeably an adult)

    “Are you from out of state?” (I said yes, cause this is true, but what she was asking was IF I ALREADY HAD A LICENSE IN ANOTHER STATE)

    I got a look at the paperwork, noticed it was filled out wrong, finished it as best I could(key note here, put my ID in the License number space) explained to the tester what happened like a little boi scout.

    Failed written permit test, because numbers.

    Came back the next day, different tester still has my paperwork, I think about saying something, but don’t want to admit to this stranger that I’m such a disaster. Take test again, pass test, get pic taken.

    Notice the card they give me exp in 2055, say nothing in disbelief.

    Double check with would-be driving instructor friend. I have, in fact, been issued a valid driver’s license.

    Oddly, no one wants to teach me to drive now.

    I take a motorcycle class and get my M endorsement instead.

  8. Driving instructors, man. I can’t believe he hit on you. I mean, I can.

    My first driving instructor had me tooling around a residential area when she screamed “STOPPPP!” and I stopped with my effing heart in my throat and she screamed “BACK UP!” and I did and I was pretty sure I had run over a small child but then she just pointed to one of the yards and said “look at that hot guy mowing the lawn with his shirt off!”

  9. A story I tell very few people in my life but will share with strangers on the internet: I was sixteen and a half and had my learners permit for almost a year. My parents were both pretty busy people so I probably didn’t have as much driving experience as I should. My dad, rather than say, “well, we better wait to get you your license until we can make sure you are better behind the wheel!” decided to fudge the numbers. It also needs to be noted that I suffer from severe anxiety and that makes me make a lot of careless mistakes. While I was parking the car in the DMV parking lot, my dad kept telling me to park straighter. I got nervous and instead of hitting the brake…hit the gas. Right into the wall of the DMV. Needless to say, I did not pass that test. I was mortified beyond all description, not too mentioned devastated and filled with self loathing. My dad, feeling bad, made sure the car was okay and took me to the next down over that SAME day(oh, in case anyone is worried, we did speak to the DMV and insurance companies and all that stuff) to take the test. Somehow, despite being a terrible wreck of a person, I managed to pass with flying colors and have, since then, never been in an accident and had only one speeding ticket in my life. Now that it’s been over a decade, I can laugh at the situation but at the time and for several years after, the thought of it would send me into a panic attack.

  10. Oddly enough, this inspired me to get my driver’s license at last. Also the fact that it’s not raining yet and I live in Vancouver, BC, so that has to be a sign.

  11. I did not get my drivers license until I was 23 and my mother was driving me to work and school every day. I would have put it off longer if I could have. I got my temporary permit when I was 15 and re-took and passed with flying colors the written test every year until I was 23. I failed the driving portion twice. I still have no fucking clue how to parallel park.

    This entire thing was so similar to my own learning to drive as a grown up experience and I laughed out loud at the entire thing. I’m going to share this with everyone I know.

  12. I got my driver’s license at 28 in Virginina. It was a misery. I’m so glad I got it and now, 6 years later, I finally feel like I can drive. Except not on the highway. And don’t make me parallel park.

  13. my first car / the car i learned to drive in was a manual transmission (stick shift), a 1967 VW beetle with a very spongy gear box. A successful gear shift felt like you’re breaking the damn thing.
    The most heart-stopping moment of my learning-to-drive adventure was missing a gear while trying to merge and accelerate at the same time. I glanced in my rear-view mirror to see the enormous grill of a semi truck rapidly zoom in while i helplessly mashed the gear shift forward to try and get out of neutral so i could accelerate out of the way in the second or so i had before being violently rear-ended. i definitely screamed in terror.

    it was like that scene from jurassic park, where i was the golf cart and the semi was the t-rex.

    i haven’t had a car or driven regularly since ’99 and i am definitely rusty and would be scared to drive esp on the highway, so i could relate to how scary it must have been to go on the highway during your first driving lesson! dang! that took guts. congrats on your license and awesome car / road trip / freeeeeedommmmmm!

  14. I made a commitment to myself that I would get my license before I turned 40, and I got it this summer at the age of 39.

    Before the test I:

    -had two sobbing spells
    -had to pull over to wait out a panic attack
    -almost fainted in front of the Ministry office (Canadian version of DMV)

    During the test I:

    -totally blanked out on the words “emergency brake” and flailed around pointing at everything until my examiner finally showed me where it was
    -tried to drive through an intersection in neutral
    -Yelled “OH SHIT” at one point because I thought I had done something wrong (I didn’t)

    But I passed anyway.

  15. God I couldn’t even finish reading this because my anxiety got so bad.

    <– 33, never had a driver's license, currently on my fourth learner's permit

    • I can sympathize. I went through three learner’s permits. The first two expired, and I didn’t try for the third one for another 13 years.

      I don’t know what your situation is like or how motivated you are, but for me what made all the difference was a) living in a smaller town with less traffic, b) having a calm friend to help teach me, and c) finally getting to the point where my disappointment at not getting to do things I wanted to do outweighed my terror of driving. All I can say is that if and when you feel ready to try, do it for yourself, not because other people put pressure on you.

      • I live in Sydney, which is a nightmare city to drive in even for seasoned drivers (or so my wife tells me). So that doesn’t help.

        Someone should do like weekend packages where a bunch of nervous drivers go to some nice B&B in the country and then get driving lessons from a very patient instructor.

  16. DUUUUUUUDE. The DMV sucks!!!! It’s one of the worst places to get in line at. No kidding. Getting your shit done at the DMV takes FOREVER its the worst.

    Your driving stories are hilarious!! Mine are so uninteresting! LOL. My dad taught me and I think I had a lot of confidence because I saw him teach my mom, sister, several of my sister’s bffs and his siblings. We’re lucky to live next to a small square that has a CVS and Ralphs and they have a huge lot in the back. Then when I got comfortable on the main streets he made drive around for like 30 miles at a time on surface streets. LOL I never got on the highway until I actually had my license and it totally caught me off guard. He laughed at me because when we finally made the exit I had beads of sweat on my forehead.

    Also I still wish I could drive a manual. Anyone have a car they are willing to let me use and also teach me? ANYONE? *echoes

  17. I got my license at 22 and have not driven a single minute since and GOOD RIDDANCE. I collapsed into uncontrollable sobbing after every single driving lesson.

  18. This is a motivating story, for a 24 year old who still does not have a drivers license.

    I learned to drive at 16, but unfortunately we’re a one car family and that car is a manual (stick). I’m uncoordinated at the best of times and using both feet and changing gears plus actually navigating traffic was too much for me. I was an absolutely terrible driver.

    I haven’t driven since I was 18 or 19, and keep thinking I should give it another go. Maybe like wine, I’ll be better (or at least less nervous) with age?

  19. I also learned to drive at 25, after a few aborted attempts as a teen with me also screaming and careening around oncoming traffic going approximately 5 miles an hour (can you careen slowly?). I didn’t want my significant other to teach me to drive and my parents now lived six hours away so one of my best friends put me in his car as well as his three month old baby!! and we crawled around a parking lot until both the baby and I stopped crying.

    Driving is so terrible, until suddenly, it’s not.

  20. I had my first driving lesson in a large paddock at the far end of my parents street with the driving instructor, who lived next door to us and was a friend of my parents. I think I was 16. The paddock was the home of a rather large billy goat and that was it.
    Needless to say, I got into the car miles away from the goat and then proceeded to nearly flatten the poor thing by flooring the accelerator and then being too scared to lift my foot off. Then collapsing into floods of tears.
    “You did alright”. The man said. “I’ll see you tomorrow”. The next day he had me drive over a mid sized mountain range with switchback turns,in an open car during a torrential thunderstorm, in the dark, with one headlight out while driving a manual car for the first time.
    “You did alright.” The man said. ” I’ll book you in for your test on Monday”. I threw up for the rest of the week, didn’t sleep and had the trots.
    I was so paralysed with fear on Monday that I could hardly walk.
    He had me drive to the Motor Registry, six suburbs away in peak hour traffic, handed me over to the testing inspector, who put me into another, different car then put me through, what was then the oral part of the test then had me drive off for the practical.
    By this stage I think I’d gone beyond scared stiff into some sort of parallel universe.
    “You did alright”. The man said.
    To this day I nearly throw up if a bloke gets in the car with me. That was around 47 years ago.

  21. My partner’s mother is teaching me to drive. I think this is because she feels pity for me having been raised by well-meaning but clueless wolves. I’m 23. I’ve gone driving with her 3 or 4 times so far and it’s a fucking nightmare, I just CAN’T shut up and immediately forget everything from the previous lesson as soon as I sit down. She’s very kind and patient but hello, she’s my mother-sin-law and I can’t handle the pressure.

    I also cried after passing the learner’s permit exam, which in my province fourteen-year olds are allowed to take. I cried in public, after doing an exam that 14 year olds routinely pass. Fuck my life.

    I don’t know if I’ll ever be a good driver, it’s been a very disheartening six weeks. Thanks for writing this, for realsies I feel a little better.

  22. I love driving! I’m sorry it was such an anxiety-inducing experience for you. I think that is one of the benefits of learning how to drive before you are 16. You still think that nothing bad will ever happen to you.
    Recently I got to teach a friend of mine (23) how to drive and it was also super fun. Hopefully you’ll get more comfortable and learn to love driving.

  23. I am 25 and I am learning to drive too!

    I got my 1st learner’s permit at 18, didn’t take the driver’s ed course until 21, didn’t take my road test until 22, automatically failed when I hit (very gently! no damage!) the bumper of the car I was supposed to be parallel parking behind, got my 2nd learner’s permit at 23, and barely drove until this year. It was so hard when I wasn’t living with my parents and didn’t have regular access to a car.

    Driving terrified me, especially in Toronto where all my out-of-town friends who’d had their licenses since their teens talk about how much THEY hate driving in the city. But, I finally got sick of having to rely on people for rides and the lack of independence, so I bit the bullet. Lots of early-morning weekend practice sessions helped (there is NO ONE on the roads at 7am on a Saturday) and actually, so did this article, confidence-wise. I have my road test in 6 weeks (they book very far in advance) and I’m hopeful that it’ll turn out much better than the first one!

  24. Loving all these other late license stories!

    I got my license at 27, drove for six months, and then moved back to Seattle and have not driven since. It’s been almost ten years. I still renew the damn thing, though, so I can have ID, & online they asked if I could see but not if I’d actually driven since Bush was in office. So we should all feel pretty safe about that.

    The thing is, during my brief sojourn in Spokane, driving was kind of great. But in Seattle? God no why would anyone do that if they didn’t have to? And I do not have to. So I have my grumpy-faced license that goes mostly unused except for when I got carded at the movie theater last month, and that is FINE.

  25. I spent three days in a car with a man who tried to convert me while also teaching me how to drive. He told me about all the terrible, miserable things he had done in his youth, and then tried to get me to come to his son’s church.
    Also, the DMV is either a decent experience or absolutely terrible. There are no inbetweens.

  26. I am almost 23, managed to get through high school and college relying on transportation from my mom, the university bus, my ex-boyfriend, and my friends, and now it is time for me to learn to drive so I can get a job. I started learning to drive in high school but I was terrified of it and I just never stick to practicing. I actually did the three driver’s training classes and took and failed the behind the wheel test when I was 17. Now I am on permit #5 and god, I still really don’t wanna drive. But this story made me feel better and not quite so alone.

  27. I totally loved this story about your driving. I myself learned to fly a Tiger Moth aircraft ( you know with teo wings, in the air) before I got my driving licence and I highly recommend having a trial introductory pilot flight….You are so scared and then afterwards you can KNOW you accomplish anything so that is a very good thing. I love driving!

    Here is my money making idea for you for free.

    You will be helping young women navigate all of life’s highways metaphorical and actual. You will not believe the amount of strength you will find in yourself when you know you can drive a f’ing u-haul yourself at a moments notice. And you can go on road trips, drive to that gig detroit rock city and make out in the back seat later if you want to!

Comments are closed.