How to Learn to Drive When You Don’t Own a Car

Photo by Robert Couse-Baker

Almost a third of Americans now exit their teen years though a driver’s license, and assent tenure is down over a past decade among all age groups. More of us are training to expostulate as an adult—a time in a lives when we can’t simply steal Mom and Dad’s automobile or take a high-school class. Many of us don’t wish to own a automobile during all; we’d usually like to lease one on weekends or for a occasional selling trip. We’re stranded in a Catch-22: How do we use adequate to take a exam that lets us practice? It feels intimidating, though it’s totally doable—and it even has advantages.

Because cars were invented after federalism, any partial of a assent routine varies widely state to state, so check your DMV or DOT’s website. The unaccepted guides during are also helpful.

Get your learner’s permit

Photo by Gabriel White

Almost all states need new drivers to get a learner’s assent several months before they request for a full license. Typically you’ll get your learner’s assent by going to a DMV or DOT and holding a created test. Study your motorist handbook, take any prep exam that’s offering on a bureaucratic site (here’s California’s), and equivocate profitable for third-party prep tests. When we took a exam for my assent in NYC, we was ecstatic to commend any doubt from a prep tests.


At some indicate in a focus process, we competence have to pass a prophesy or conference test, so move whichever glasses, contacts, or conference aids we devise to use while driving.

Practice with an instructor

Photo by Greg Wagoner

After we get your permit, we need to practice. If you’ve never driven before, you’re best off with a veteran instructor for your initial few rides. They’re improved prepared to learn we than a crony or relative, and they have their possess stop pedal. They know a disproportion between “good driving” and a some-more severe manners of a pushing test. And distinct family and friends, if things go poorly, we never have to see them again.

Research your pushing propagandize on Google and Yelp. You don’t need to collect a comprehensive best—just equivocate any place with a route of complaints. Get a feel for a vibe of a place, and if we trust it enough, deposit in a package deal: a classroom course, lessons, and a float to a exam site.


Unlike your pushing exam examiner, who’s paid to keep dangerous drivers off a road, your instructor is paid to assistance we pass a test. They win when we win. Be honest about your feelings so they can residence them. You never wish to demeanour wavering or confused in front of a examiner, so work that out with your instructor. And ask them where a exam takes place. Some states don’t concede learners to range out a exam location, though given a exam happens on open roads, it’s tough to enforce. Again, your instructor will know what we can safely get divided with.

Brooklyn, NY’s Drive Rite Academy, where we re-learned how to expostulate after 10 years off a road, suggested me over email:

For adult learners, generally those who have never driven, don’t be fearful to be wrong. You are learning. It’s a process. Be peaceful to listen to instruction and criticisms and we will surpass in your pushing preparation experience.

Adults who are entrance here from another nation are during a disadvantage, as they not usually need to learn a new authorised requirements, though also a amicable standards of pushing in this country. They mostly have habits or techniques that were excusable or normal in their home country, though that are not excusable or even vulnerable here.

Adults who are training for a initial time, however, have a slight advantage of typically being some-more means to sense since an movement is or isn’t dangerous, that helps them learn how to equivocate vulnerable antics really quickly. But in ubiquitous everybody new behind a circle is during a same starting indicate — a tiny nervous, a tiny overwhelmed, and in really unknown territory.

In further to tangible pushing practice, we competence have to take a driver’s preparation course. In Texas, new drivers underneath 25 need to take a six-hour march online or in a classroom, while everybody else needs to watch a one-hour video. In New York, all new drivers need to take a five-hour classroom course, that varies widely by pushing propagandize though will substantially embody during slightest one hideous video of collision footage from dipsomaniac drivers.

Practice with a friend

Photo by Timo Newton-Syms

After a few lessons, it’s time to do some longer-term practice. You could usually buy adequate use with a school, though it’s cheaper to use with a friend. Drive Rite recommends this additional use for training to hoop a accumulation of locations, passengers, and cars that hoop differently.



You don’t indeed need a crony with a car. What we need is a crony with a assent who’s peaceful to take on a risk of pushing around a let with you. A daily let is still cheaper than several hours of lessons, though vouchsafing an unlawful motorist behind a circle is opposite a terms of any vital automobile let or automobile pity service, and if we get in an collision you’ll be in large trouble. Zipcar, for example, doesn’t compensate indemnification for accidents from any non-member, protected or not—plus they’ll devaluate your friend’s membership. So usually try this if we and your crony are assured in your abilities, and stay as distant as probable from complicated trade or any accident-prone location.

If nothing of your friends are game, post on Craigslist or TaskRabbit and compensate someone to let we use in their car. Let them know you’ve already used with an instructor.

While you’re pushing around, stop by a exam plcae and get informed with a road. See if there are scarcely slight streets, tough turns, or feeble noted roads. You wish to feel as gentle pushing here as we are anywhere.


In any state (and certain municipalities) a learner’s assent will shorten opposite variables like where and when we drive, either we can use a hands-free mobile device, or who else can float along. Some are important, others reduction so. In New York City, learners are technically usually ostensible to expostulate in cars with an instructor’s brake, though we won’t hear about that order unless we puncture into a PDF related from a sidebar on a DMV site, and it’s flattering most zodiacally ignored.

Take your test

Photo by Simon

In any state, you’ll finish by indeed pushing a automobile with an investigator in a newcomer seat. In some states you’ll use a examiner’s car; in others you’ll need to steal one from your crony or pushing school.

If we have a option, report your exam for a best continue possible. Most examiners aren’t some-more kindly usually since it’s raining or icy, so there’s no indicate in starting your pushing career on tough mode.



Project certainty via your test. Again, a examiner’s pursuit is to keep bad drivers off a road, so they’re looking for any reason to trust we don’t know what you’re doing. Don’t trigger tiny talk, and don’t try to win them over; usually be deferential and straightforward. You’ve got dual advantages over teen drivers: You’re not as intimidated by (or knee-jerk rebel toward) management figures, and we usually look some-more experienced.

Only take your exam when you’re pretty certain we can pass. It’s common to destroy a initial time, so don’t highlight it. But some states make we compensate a tiny price to re-take a test. If we destroy 3 times in California, you’ll have to restart a whole focus process. If we fail, ask a investigator for all a feedback we can get, and use again. Consider shopping another instructor doctrine so they can residence a specific feedback.


Photo by Susan Sermoneta

You upheld your test! You can expostulate a car! Now we can go behind to walking and roving a sight until your subsequent highway trip. Celebrate a approach that those car-bound genuine drivers can’t: Walk to a bar and buy yourself a drink. Congratulate yourself on fasten a final era of people who know how to expostulate a car.

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Posted by on Jun 5 2017. Filed under Gadgets. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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