To Drive Or Not To Drive, That Is The Question

Illustration by Elena Torrens.

I’m 19 years old. I don’t know how to drive, and I’m in no rush to learn either. So, people need to stop pressuring me to do so. 

When I turned 15, I wanted nothing more than to get my learner’s permit like everyone else had, but my mom wouldn’t let me. She had a transportation company that dropped off students at my high school and she didn’t see the need for two cars to go to the same location—not to mention the fact that I didn’t have a job at the time, and she would be paying for the gas. 

I tried again on my 16th birthday, to no avail. After a while I figured, “oh well, I kind of like being driven around.” I could sleep more, do my homework if I didn’t finish it the night before or use my phone without having to worry about crashing.

If I had to go somewhere, my parents would take me or my friends could pick me up. I’m a homebody and barely go out unless it’s with my parents or my friends who are visiting from college. For the most part, I only need a car to go from home to school or to work.

My parents are okay with me not driving and, most importantly, I am okay with not driving. Why do other family members or friends feel the need to constantly pressure me to learn? 

By not using a car, I help stop the emission of pollutants like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon, lead, nitrogen oxide, and sulfur oxides from contaminating the air. These chemicals affect the ozone layer and possibly disrupt global weather patterns and ecosystems. 

Some of these chemicals can contribute to acid rain, which leads to tree damage, making soil, lakes, and streams more acidic. These pollutants are also contributing factors to heart, respiratory, and nervous system conditions. 

Electric and environmentally friendly cars can certainly help. However, so can fewer cars on the road.

In today’s world, the mere act of doing nothing is highly underrated. If I’m in an Uber or on the metro and am not feeling very social, I can just chill out, disconnect from everything, and do nothing. In fact, it might be the only chance I get all day to do nothing. Although I am a homebody I still live a pretty busy life.

Hundreds of thousands of thoughts go through our heads each day. Having the privilege to relax and do nothing during a serene car ride gives your mind a much-needed break and a chance to recharge. On the other hand, having to stay alert and focused on the road will not give you this opportunity to simply do nothing. Not driving can even improve your mental health and boost your productivity throughout the day by giving you one less thing to worry about.

Doing nothing also allows me to get in touch with myself—something many of us don’t do nearly enough of.

I consider myself lucky to not be dependent on a car. If someday I find myself in a city where that is not the case, then perhaps I will need to adapt. But for now, don’t pressure me to start driving.

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