Noah became the first person in our grade to turn 16. Technically, he can get his driving learner’s permit, but it would be hard for him to pass the written test since we won’t be done with our driver’s education course until January. It’ll also affect lots of other people, like Mark, and is going to result in a lot of people trying to get appointments at the local driver’s school on the same day in January. At least we have a simulator available where we can practice driving without the risk of anyone getting injured. I’ve tried it a couple of times, getting better each time but I still feel I’m a long way from actually being in control of a vehicle. I’m still focusing on the written test at the moment.
Our course goes into all sorts of minute details and rules about driving. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to remember all of them, and my memory is better than most people with licenses. All of the different signs, what you need to do in a hundred different scenarios from hydroplaning to a broken tire, how many points you get for violating one of the many rules, and even a dozen hand signals. I’ve never actually seen someone do a hand signal from a car, but it’s something we have to learn just in case. Thankfully, despite the fact that I can’t get my permit until I turn 16 in April we all take the test at the end of the course. Otherwise, I don’t think I’d be able to remember enough to pass it. Then I have to figure out if I can actually drive a vehicle.
It used to be that almost everyone outside of cities had a driver’s license. But since members of this generation have sensory issues, attention problems, or coordination difficulties less people are able to pass the driving test. We’re lucky that public transportation is bit more viable out here now. Apparently, there was only one taxi service in our town, and it cost $20, in 1970s money, to go to a town less than a half hour away. That’s if you could even get an appointment for a pick-up. Now we have a couple of bus lines and more affordable taxis that can help us get around. But it’s still much better to be able to get a driver’s license of your own. Not having to depend on the buses being there when you need them, assuming they’re even on time, or whether there’s an available taxi makes life much easier. You have to pay for a car, insurance, and gasoline, but at least you don’t have to pay someone to drive anytime you want to go anywhere. And if you’re really good at driving, you can get a job at one of the taxi services. You don’t get as much money as you did per trip in the 70s, but the volume of customers more than makes up for it.