Saturday, July 15, 2006

Why I Didn't Drive

I've got my driving test in a few weeks, only a decade or so later than most people my age did it. So here's why I delayed for 10 years, and why I changed my mind.

Reason 1: The Environment

Driving cars is bad for the environment and stuff. Loads of carbon dioxide, a fair bit of nitrous oxides, complex hydrocarbons, etc. I really don't get on well with traffic fumes, so thought it would be hypocritical to moan about cars and drive one.

However, I now don't think the problem is cars per se. I think part of the problem is the way that the tax system is structured - petrol isn't expensive enough and clean alternatives aren't cheap enough. Part of it also is the way society and cities, etc are constructed - it's actually really difficult to cope without a car. What really brought this home to me was buying furniture. Unless you get it from the kind of expensive place that delivers it, you need a way of carting it around. And there's not much you can carry in a rucksack....

Reason 2: Social Responsibility

10 years ago, I didn't think I was ready to be in control of a tonne of metal moving at 30mph next to small children who would be killed if I swerved slightly. I think I've got more reliable since then; I think there are also a lot of drivers who don't even consider this.

Reason 3: Laziness

If I had a car, chance are I'd drive it everywhere. Then I wouldn't get any exercise and would get fat. Possibly true round here, especially with school dinners. But less true in Oxford - there's a lot of places you can't drive to / it would be slower to drive to. Oh, and I can't help myself to lunches any more.

Reason 4: Being Awkward

Still true, but it's now more awkward for me not to drive than it is for society that I don't.

Other reasons to drive:
  • It's inconvenient for other people giving me lifts
  • It means I can go shopping more easily when shops are further away
  • More flexibility in visiting people who don't live near public transport routes
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