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Your Teen Doesn’t Want to Drive?

Do you know a teen who is not interested in driving? This was unheard of when I was a teenager (gulp! 35 years ago). But today seems to be remarkably different. I have talked to people who have teenage and even early 20 age children who have no interest in learning to drive, and most of them are boys! My own son had to be forced to get his license; I was determined to be through with chauffeuring. To me this is in the ‘twilight zone’ area, I don’t understand what is happening.

When I was young, getting your driver’s license was like receiving a ‘get-out-of jail’ card; Freedom beckoned. I would yell “I’ll be back in an hour” and I would hit the road. I did not have to have a destination; just driving was its own reward. I would drive down roads I had never been on. I would try to get lost and this was before cell phones and GPS so there was a good chance I might actually get lost! It was exciting. I lived south of Houston at the time and sometimes I would drive down to Galveston just to smell the salt water!

But nowadays, my son and apparently many others, don’t get that feeling of freedom or that sense of adventure.

A part of this may be attributed to gameboys, books and movies in the car. No one looks out the window anymore for entertainment. The child can’t find their way around their own neighborhood.

A year before he received his learner’s permit my husband and I would quiz our son about where we were when driving and he never had a clue. I was worried that my very smart son was going to get a license then never be able to figure out how to get anywhere! Then I was talking with a friend, Sue, and the subject got turned to our teens and she volunteered that she was frustrated with her daughter who wanted to drive herself to an event happening at a small town 100 miles away and the mother was saying ‘No Way!” She explained that “M… couldn’t find her way to the grocery store”! A year before getting her learner’s permit, Sue had a relative stay with her daughter while Sue and her husband were gone for a week. One morning the relative mentioned to Sue that she was going to take M… to visit a friend. Sue said ‘let me give you directions’ but the relative assured her that they could find the house. Well the relative had to call back because after they backed out of the drive, M… couldn’t even tell her which way to turn down her own street!

So do yourself a favor and ditch the kid’s gameboys, books, movies and even MP3 players and make them find entertainment out the window, maybe they will learn some local geography in the process.

However there may also be another part to this no interest, it may be a feeling of ‘been there, done that’. A hundred years ago, shoot, 75 years ago, driving was new, different, fascinating. Those who lived back then learned the new technology. If these same souls are coming back now, driving may be something to be taken for granted, it is a ‘yeah, so what, I’ve already done that’ in the experiences of life. And worse than that, there may be some residual dislike if the soul had been killed or involved in a bad car crash.

My husband thinks there may be a link to the driving aversion and indigo kids that were being born in mass in the 90’s. I have not investigated that possibility. If anyone else can shed some light on the topic your input would be appreciated.

What ever the cause there is a definite shift in the mentality of young drivers.

15 Responses to “Your Teen Doesn’t Want to Drive?”

  1. Jenny says:

    I am a teen who does not want to learn to drive, although my parents are forcing me to. It’s not that I don’t know where I’d be going, because I do look out the window when my parents drive and do know the way around. I just don’t think it is one bit safe! Look at the newspapers-look at internet articles! Driving is the number one cause of death in teens! To me, it sounds about as fun to drive as it would be to hold a gun to my head and hope it doesn’t go off when I pull the trigger!

  2. Ann says:

    Thanks for the comment. With your attitude, you will be a safe driver. You know the risk and the potential danger. It is the driver on the road (teen or otherwise) who does not take driving seriously that end up creating accidents. Just keep your eyes open for other drivers and you will develop an intuition about who to stay away from and what sudden moves to anticipate from another driver. Good luck and good driving.

  3. Joe says:


    I recently married and my 17 year old step son has moved in. He does not want a car either! I am literally dumbfounded by this. It feels like it will come down to forcing him as well. Like you, I had my permit when 16 and in line at the DMV on my 17 birthday. Everyone I grew up with was the same. You went on your 17 Bday. It was one of the greatest days in my young life. I simply do not get it.

  4. Kim says:

    My son is 20. He has a learner’s permit. He agrees with Jenny’s comment about the safety issue. Drivers in Las Vegas are totally wack. When we first moved here from California, I noticed two things: how many people smoked cigarettes, and how rude the drivers are in Las Vegas (for example, DO NOT expect another driver to “let you in” just because your blinker is flashing. I do see the logic in my son’s view, but it is also crazy to me since I could not wait to have my license as soon as I was 16. I think he knows he will have to pay for the insurance and the economy is so terrible nowadays that the kids just do not have the kind of hope they ought to have in a normal society. He would rather ride a bike, get the exercise, and save the money.

  5. Michael says:

    I am almost 18, and I have no interest in driving. My little sister couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel. I get made fun of for this frequently. What people don’t realize is that anxiety among my generation is very high. I have panic attacks when trying to drive. The idea that driving is fun sounds nutts to me. It’s no longer fun, it’s horrifying.

  6. Meme says:

    Thank you so much for this great article!! I’m a Mom at my wits end because my 17 1/2 year old daughter has ZERO interest in driving! She is just finishing her Junior year at a private girls school & I drive her to & from everyday (hour and a half round trip!) She completed drivers ed last summer, her instructors said she did great behind the wheel. She told me that she just prefers to be driven around. I really think she is just LAZY!! All of her friends drive to school! Any advice??

  7. Dawn says:

    I’m having the same problems with my nephew who just moved in and I’m kind of tired of having to chauffeur him around. I had to change my schedule at work to an earlier shift to get off early enough to take him to work, but then he works late so I have to stay up late so I get like 5.5 hours of sleep through the week, meanwhile he’s sleeping in until noon. So we’re taking him today for his license, we’ll see how it goes. If he does not take this seriously we’ll be forced to make him call a cab. I can’t continue riding him around everywhere. He works everyday and my life has come to a hault. I can’t make any plans..cause I have to be available for him. It’s unbelievable. Pathetic actually. We’re going to have a generation of kids that are already irresponsible and even more so cause mommy is going to have to drive them everywhere even their dates..un-effin-believable.

  8. Mark says:

    My son told people he doesn’t want to grow up. He has his own maid, chef and chauffeur. He is now 19 and he has not grown up, I am very upset over this lazy man. For graduation he wanted a foldable bike, which he has crashed 3 times and made a hospital visit once? I see more energy out of the 11year old? I just don’t get it!

  9. Cole says:

    I’m one of those teen who have any interest in driving. I do know my way around town and nighboorhood county (visually). My reason is well, techonogy. It’s ever so evolving. It makes it easy to connect to people without leaving bed (though I am physically active to a point) next is school is shoving down my throat with anti DUI, texting, and the a quote that stuck in my head from all these driving video at school is “remember, your driving a 2+ ton metal object and one wrong mistake will land you in a Morg or in jail, Have Fun!” And I’m not making that quote up, it actually says that. And the feeling of being tired in a motor vehicle. Dosnt matter if I have 1 hour or 24 hour of sleep. I’m always tried when I get in a motor vehicle and I tired other stuff to help me with that problem and their not working.

  10. Ann says:

    I agree that the schools could be a big part of the problem. They tend to be extreme in trying to make their point and in the process scare those who take them seriously and those who they are trying to scare straight still ignore them. I think each generation is different and needs to be taught differently. My generation may have needed the scare tactic but I think we need to be giving new drivers now days more confidence not scaring them out of driving.
    About the motor putting you to sleep, that may be my generation causing that to. When you guys were babies us extremely tired parents in the attempt to get the baby to sleep would drive them around in the car till they fell asleep. Now whenever my 20 year old son gets in a car or plane he is out before the trip starts. This does not give him much confidence about staying awake while driving himself.

  11. Diane says:

    Wow. I thought I was the only one dealing with this issue. My son doesn’t want to drive either and actually falls asleep every time he gets in the vehicle. It’s absolutely driving me insane. I feel like a chaffeur. Not to mention, I have to schedule my life around his.

  12. Ana says:

    I must say I feel relieved to know my son who is 17 is not the only one no wanting to learn to drive, I been so worried over this as I don’t get it just like others here I started driving at 16 and I looked forward to it, I told him that all I want is to know he can move a car what I’f there is an emergency and the only means to survive is to move a car and he doesn’t know?? He refuses he says he doesn’t have to learn to drive I should also mention that my 16 year old daughter is in no rush either I guess is the technology that your now able to even see each other trough a camera, I don’t get it but I feel much better knowing that many other teens feel this way I was already thinking about taking him to therapy!!!

  13. Meliza says:

    Thank you so much I have a 18yr old son and a 17 yr old daughter and neither one of them has any motivation of even learning how to drive in fact my 18yr who just graduated high school now says he wants to do on line courses so he doesn’t have to leave. Am I a bad parent for this? I do not know I know they both would rather be home but I can’t deal with it. I leave home at 7am and return at 7pm so even if I wanted to teach them I couldn’t. So as of today my husband is forcing them to learn. (We will see how that goes)

  14. Alex says:

    I took driver’s ed in the summer between 8th and 9th grade, and I passed. I registered to get a learner’s permit and I passed too. And I still have no idea how to drive.
    One of my biggest things was when I stopped in the middle of the highway to turn into the gravel road. I didn’t know if I was suppose to go first, or the people on the road turning into the highway. I waited for fifteen seconds before somebody illegally passed me and honked, so I turned.
    My parents force me to drive to school and back. My problem is I don’t know what to do at intersections (that highway incident should be enough proof that I don’t know jacksh@!!! about driving). At intersections, I have no clue when to go, who has the right of way, or how to turn right. I have no idea how I passed driver’s ed. And I have to drive to school tomorrow. My parents simply cannot understand and I risk my life. And I have ocd urges to get into wrecks.

  15. Matt says:

    Howdy! I’m a 16, almost 17 year old high schooler. I am one of the teenagers who does not like to drive and has no interest in it. Although everyone in the previous comments seems to be so annoyed and angry at their own children for this! I mean for crying out loud people these are your children! You should be supporting them and respecting their decisions, even if it includes not driving. My generation is not lazy! We are simply aware of and to some degree afraid of the dangers associated with driving. Personally, I hate driving. Plus, it’s dangerous and costs so much money, money I would much rather be putting towards college. I never want to drive. I would be much happier living in a big city and using public transportation for the rest of my life. So please people, look at this situation for your child’s point of view. It will give you a lot of insight!

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