It used to be that learning to drive was a right of passage. Even before turning 16, parents would routinely start the process of teaching their adolescent how to drive as a practical life skill. Quite apart from moving cars on freeways at 80mph, young children would gain access to dirt bikes, riding mowers, tractors, and ATVs. It was just assumed that everyone was in the process of learning how to drive at some level or other.
That assumption has been turned on its head. These days, more and more adults in their late 20s and 30s are without a driver’s license. They have never had one, never learned to drive, and have no interest in ever doing so. This is a dramatic departure from years not that long past.
What happened? How did the allure of driving lose its luster? The call of the open road is falling on deaf ears. The drive for independence is being replaced by the bus to conformity. It is not necessarily a bad thing. But it is a thing worth exploring. Here are a few reasons why Millennials are steering away from driving, and why you might consider it as well?
Vehicles Are a Major Expense
There was a time when a person could buy a reasonably good new car for under $15,000 from are reputable auto maker. That same car would go for more than twice that amount today. Do you have $35,000 in the bank right now? Millennials certainly don’t. Nor do they have the income to comfortably make the payments on such an investment.
There is also the matter of routine maintenance. Driving the Oregon trail will require you to find a good Oregon collision repair shop for body and windshield work. There are plenty of rocks and debris that wreak havoc on a vehicle. Thanks to auto insurance and competitive prices, expense for external maintenance is not a big deal. The “check engine” light is another issue entirely.
There is also the matter of gas. That is a major expense. Steep hills and stop and go driving can be contributors to increased fuel usage. Speaking of fuel, more people are finding the excess of fossil fuels to be distasteful. Unfortunately, electric cars are even more expensive and have their own set of drawbacks. Driving may not be the worst part of car ownership. For many, it’s the car, itself.
Cloudy with a Chance of Vehicular Death
The car is only one part of the equation. There is also the road. When you hit the road, sometimes the road hits back. Some roads are so bad, they are called death roads. They are so dangerous, tourists flock to them and try their luck driving them as an extreme activity. Some of these roads claim hundreds of lives every year.
You don’t have to travel far to find roads that are inherently more dangerous. Some are so narrow that cars cannot pass in some places. There are hairpin turns with steep drops and no guard rails. Such roads also have no visibility due to the extreme curves. Add a little fog and you are driving on a wing and a prayer, minus the wings. Let’s not forget slick, muddy roads hugging steep cliffs that occasionally rain debris on passing vehicles. Deer crossing, anyone? To such challenges, many are saying, “no thanks.”
The Numbers Are Too Big to Ignore
There are all kinds of reasons why younger people are shunning cars. One cannot overlook the fact hat at the end of the day, the facts are easier to access than at any other time in history. We are done with the right of passage. Everyone knows someone who died young, or whose life was dramatically changed for the worst due to an auto accident.
Young drivers are twice as likely to be in a fatal accident if they have even one passenger in the car. That is shocking. Driving is a little like smoking. Unlike in the 50s, we can’t ignore the facts anymore. When there are alternatives, they are preferable. People are happy to live in cities and communities where driving isn’t necessary. They can just hail an Uber if they need a ride.
Just a generation ago, people thought it would be disastrous not to own a car or be able to drive. But we cannot ignore the truth we see with our own eyes everyday. More and more people are doing just that. They are living their very full and free lives without ever having sat behind the wheel of a car. Be it for the expense and upkeep, or the unpredictable roads and conditions, or the added danger for no good reason, more people in more places are coming to the decision that driving is something better left to the experts.