I first got a learner’s permit when I was 17 years old. I had completed Driver’s Education the year before but hadn’t driven much until I moved in with my father who allowed me the use of a family car.
The next couple of years when I was away at school, I did not drive much except on holidays. After that, I owned several used cars one after the other in different levels of dilapidation until I purchased my first new car when I was 25 years old.
I have been involved in two accidents. One at the age of twenty when I attempted to drive home after work during an unusually heavy storm in Northern California and was blown off the road into a ditch. I was briefly knocked unconscious. The second was a fender bender with another driver when I was 21 again returning home from work.
From the age of 22, I lived in Southern California and got used to long traffic jams but also multiple routes to different places and large roads with many lanes.
When I was 36, I moved to Malaysia where I still live today. My wife to be had a car but I hardly drove as I lived in the capital city Kuala Lumpur and took the train everywhere. For the five and a half years I lived here, I drove only a handful of times on the freeway mostly long distance back to the family home in the city of Ipoh a couple of hours away.
In addition, I did not get a Malaysian drivers license as the procedure was too complicated and would require me going for a mandated driver’s course something I had done as a teenager and had no wish to revisit as a middle aged man getting closer to 40.
But then I moved to Ipoh a city with no public transportation and found that there was no way to escape driving. I found a back channel way of getting a driver’s license and have recently started driving again.
Driving is something you take for granted as you never really forget what to do. Ipoh drivers are among the worst in Malaysia which puts them in the running for the worst in the world. There are no multiple routes and big well maintained roads like Southern California here. One takes their life in their hands and is in pure survivalist mode when driving in Ipoh working your way through the narrow streets with few dividing lines and other road markings.
Personally, while one cannot get away from the utility of driving, I would be happy to never have to do it again. I don’t enjoy it and it stresses me out but I could say that about so many other things in life (at least the enjoy part).