No, I don’t have my driver’s license

Cards up close in city traffic at night

Photo by Nabeel Syed, via Unsplash

“It’s a necessary life skill.”

“What are you going to do when you have kids?”

“What if there’s an emergency?”

I’ve heard it all. Sure, these are valid reasons for a person to get a driver’s license, but there are ways around them. There are many people who do just fine without a driver’s license, ask any big city dweller.

Truth be told I’m tired. I’m tired of always justifying my personal “choice” to my family, my friends and even some of my coworkers. It’s nobody’s business but mine whether I have my driver’s license or not. With that said, if you don’t get it and your curiosity must be satisfied, read on.

Asking me why I don’t drive or have my license is similar to asking someone why they don’t have kids or why they aren’t married.

What if I was in a traumatic car accident? What if I lost a loved one to a car accident? What if I have a health condition that prevents me from being able to drive? What if I had my license taken away from me because I killed someone in a car accident? Do you really want to have those awkward conversations? I don’t. None of those situations apply to me, but I’m making a point.

I don’t have my full driver’s license. I have my learner’s permit, or ‘G1’ because I need a piece of government-issued ID with my address on it.

I don’t have my full ‘G’ driver’s license because:

  • I’ve been living in a large city with a decent transit system for the last ten years.
  • Owning a car and paying for parking in a big city is insanely expensive.
  • The main reason I don’t have my license is because driving scares me.

Since taking lessons when I was 17 years old, I’ve identified myself as a “white-knuckle” driver. My parents made me take lessons. I would’ve skipped that torture if I had a choice in the matter.

I’m afraid of having very little control of a large, powerful machine that has the potential to kill another living thing.

I’m afraid of other drivers hitting me. I’m afraid of driving into a large body of water and drowning. I’m afraid of driving off a cliff and plunging to my death. The list goes on. I can’t tell you why these scenarios play over and over in my head when I get behind the wheel, but they do and no, I’ve never been in a serious car accident.

Now you know. I don’t care if it doesn’t make sense to you or if you think I’m being ridiculous. This isn’t about you.

I like to think I’ve been pretty good about finding ways to get around without asking too many favours or being too much of an inconvenience. Of course there are times when I feel badly about not being able to drive, but that’s my problem. I also know that I’m not the only one who feels this way. I have several friends who share my fear of driving.

This fear weighs heavily on me at times. Unsolicited advice and offers to let me drive another person’s car for practice are not helpful. I feel guilty, I feel behind. Driving is a life skill I hope to acquire someday, but I want to do so at my own pace and with an qualified, empathetic instructor to guide me along. I need to feel safe and confident. The process will take time and the last thing I need is to feel rushed or pressured. I get that enough from myself.

On behalf of non-drivers everywhere, I ask that you be sensitive to our circumstances. I ask that you consider there might be more to the story than what we choose to share with you.