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Do You Drive?

Are you able to drive? If not, have you found that it's limited your career in any way?

Non Driver
Tuesday, May 13, 2003

how is this relevent?

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

I don't drive. Rather than say it's limited me, I prefor to think it's helped me see possibilities I would not have thought of otherwise.

X. J. Scott
Tuesday, May 13, 2003


I am assuming he is asking because he is facing the question 'Can I work as an engineer without driving'. The answer is yes.

X. J. Scott
Tuesday, May 13, 2003

You can do just about anything without having to drive in a big city....that's why I asked how this was really relevant...

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

It really depends on your "drive"
If you have the motivation to walk/bike/masstransit where you need to go, then driving is not needed.
I have a friend that up until a few years ago, did not drive and rode his bike all over town to get where he needed to go and this was in a town with HORRIBLE masstransit, so it's really all up to you...

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

I drive. I think its affect on you is largely related to where you're at and where you need to be. America doesn't have the greatest public transportation ;)

It seems to me that unless your real close to a good sized city (here at least), the public transit available will be spotty. Even back home in the suburbs of Chicago, the only real public transit you see in the suburbs is the train into the city: I haven't *ever* seen buses rolling around the residential areas I live in (although I must admit I've not paid much attention).

From what I hear, much of the rest of the world has good enough public transportation to make it feasible to not drive.

Mike Swieton
Tuesday, May 13, 2003

I got my licence at sixteen.

Now years later, I live in London. Do not own a car. Don't need to..

I get the tube to work. When I go out/drinking, I couldn't drive anyway, and so take a taxi.

All that and the fact that my flat only has on-street parking doesn't make owning a car a priority.

Oh yes, easyCar has really cheap rentals when one needs a runaround for a few days.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

I drive.  I have to.  In some areas of the U.S., it's unavoidable.

(I just hope this doesn't devolve into a "Everyone should use public transportation" thread; at the last place I lived, there was no public transportation available within ten miles of my house.)

Brent P. Newhall
Tuesday, May 13, 2003

I drive, but I use BART (train) and bus to commute. I like it. Instead of sitting frustrated behind the steering wheel, I can read, compute, or listen to music on the train. And I now spend so little on my car, putting on fewer miles, less wear and tear, and buying less gas. Plus my employer gives me a monthly $100 stipend to pay for my commute costs!

Unfortunately, my commute also takes 55 minutes each way. :-(

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

No, I do not drive.

Though oddly enough I own a car. (Bought a BMW as a wedding present for the wife)

It probably depends in what city you live. I have never had a job that I could not reach by transit in less time than by car. Often, weather permitting, faster still by bike.

Of course, I've not lived more than 500 meters from a subway station in more than 30 years. My current and previous houses are less than 50 meters from their stations.

In all that time I once, twenty years ago, declined a job interview because it was to difficult to reach, and have taken taxis to reach clients on no more than a dozen occaisions.

Great transit has been one of the joys of living in Toronto,  Moscow, and NYC.

Anonymous Coward
Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Oh do I drive.
Yes, and I like it a lot. Even though public transport is great in the city where I live, it still takes 45 minutes by subway versus 10 minutes by driving like a maniac (eh well...)
But that's not in any way job related. Most people that work here come by subway (and they also come 9-5 so if they took the car it would take them _much_ longer, due to congestion).

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

The obvious answer is that not being able to drive only restricts your career such that you must work some place you can get to without driving.  In big cities, it probably won't be a problem as long as you can afford to live close enough in to be able to access transit, or can bear with cheap apartment living.  Working in a big suburban office park would be difficult, suburbs often don't provide safe biking space, though you might be able to pull off a carpool type of arrangement.

Keith Wright
Tuesday, May 13, 2003

I can't see how not being able to drive in places like New York City or London would have any impact on your career. In large metropolitan areas with good public transit systems, how is not having a car a detriment?

On the other hand, if you live in an area that has less than quality public transit then might have some trouble.

I live in a suburb of Dallas. While Dallas has a mediocre transit system, it does not reach the far suburbs. So, having a car is an absolute necessity for me.

Mark Hoffman
Tuesday, May 13, 2003

I have had a driver's license for years.
I find it very hard to conveniently proof a lot of useful information (to companies I deal with) without my driver's license and passport close by.

Here's a quick list of what it can do:

It tells people if you are telling the truth about who you are, how old you are.

It tells people if you are lying about where you live (usually most states and provinces will replace your card for a low charge or no charge at all to help reflect your most current permanent address)

It tells people if you are qualified to drive.

It tells people if you look the way you are suppose to.

It tells people if you sign the way the person in the driver's license sign.

And when dealing with policing agencies, it tells the police if there are anything they should know about your standing with the law.

I don't drive much in Toronto though I drive when I go on touring trips. It's nice to have.

Li-fan Chen
Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Do you at least have a driver's license? If not, get one ASAP even if you don't see having any use for it in the near future.  Because once you do start driving, your insurance rates will be largely based on the number of years which you've had a license. Getting that license now could save you hundreds of dollars per year in the future.

T. Norman
Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Yes. Through the beautiful redwood forests on Hwy 17 every day. I've always driven to work.  In California, it's tough to get public transporatation in many areas.

And it's peace-time. Just me and my jazz.

fool for python
Tuesday, May 13, 2003

I drive, and I LOVE to drive. German cars rule. :) (Audi A6 2.7 bi-turbo, 6-speed manual).

We live in the country. We love the peace and quiet and the fact that we don't have any neighbors breathing down on our neck. I wouldn't trade that for anything. Of course, at the moment, I'm working at home 4 days a week, so I hardly have much to complain about. :-D

Brad Wilson (
Tuesday, May 13, 2003

I'm in the absolute opposite camp than most of the others. I own and drive sports cars of all types, though mostly Porsches, I race formula cars and shifter karts, I ride my Ducati 748 and 916 superbikes, and I raced motocross when younger. So yeah, I drive. I drive because it is my favorite thing to do.

Although curiously enough, a few months after I started my software company I got married and we moved to Buenos Aires for a year, where we didn't buy a car because we didn't need one, and now that we've moved back I've been so busy developing projects that about the only time I've had to drive (although it has been winter here in Wisconsin) is to go to meetings with distributors or to get lunch. So maybe somehow software development negates driving... Of ourse all of the great cars I'd like to add to my collection are big inspirations towards to completion of various projects, so that can't be. :)

I was surprised by the majority of those on this board who don't drive. To me that's like asking " Do you walk?".


Tuesday, May 13, 2003

You moved from Buenos Aires to  Wisconsin?!?!

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Hey, don't dis Wisconsin! Its a great place to live, as long as you aren't deathly afraid of snow.

Steven C.
Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Plus, in Madison at least, there is pretty damn good public transportation, and most things are close enough to bike if you'd rather avoid the buses.

As for me -- I drive about 60% of the time and bike the rest of the time. I'm working on getting to 100% biking, but I'm just too lazy. :(

Steven C.
Tuesday, May 13, 2003

I think more people are afraid of the cold.  Having lived a few years now in Maryland, I'd say we get as much snow as Wisconsin or Michigan (unless you live on the Keewenaw).  Nearly 2 feet over the President's holiday weekend this past February.  But it just doesn't stay cold like it does in Madison.

When I lived in Madison and worked at the University, it was easy to live without a car.  I either walked or biked.  If I had gotten away from campus and gotten a real job, it might have been more difficult to do without a car.

In suburban Maryland, I can hardly imagine living without a car.  At one point I had a job I could walk to, but any job change would require a car or a new house.  I had to get a new job after the bubble burst and now have a 27 mile commute.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

I teach high-speed pursuit driving to police officers and am also a Defensive Driving Instructor and Remedial Driving Instructor. The moronic things I see drivers do, I sometimes wonder why our highway accident and death rate isn't much higher than it is.

Be safe out there.

Dan R
Tuesday, May 13, 2003

"You moved from Buenos Aires to  Wisconsin?!?!"

Yeah - tell me about it. Even worse, I moved back here in October, right when it gets worse here and better there. Killed my endless summer dead. Actually, I moved from the Milwaukee area to Bs.As. and then just returned. I've wanted to move to a warmer climate ever since I moved here when I was in 3rd grade.

Unfortunately business opportunities have always kept me here, but I'm working hard right now to get things set up so that we can move. I've been all over the country and my favorite area has always been the L.A. area. Wisconsin is nice in the summer, but I just hate the cold, the snow, and especially the 5 months of grey skies in the winter.


Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Regarding having a drivers license: I haven't had one since 1994 I think.

Regarding the license proving anything: Not so. In many states, if you state that you are an illegal alien, you can get a drivers license without having to provide any documentation. If you state you are here legally or are a citizen, you have to provide documentation. Locally, high school kids tell the DOS (department of safety) they are aliens in order to get the documentation they need to buy booze and cigarettes.

Regarding big cities: I live several miles outside the nearest town and about a hundred miles from the nearest large city. I have a horse and saddle bags for going in to town but have though about getting a buckboard; I found a place that will build me one for a reasonable cost. I am a little concened about traffic though -- with the horse I can get out of the way of idiot drivers, but with the buckboard I would not be as agile. Of course I grow my own food so I don't need to go into town often. If I need books or computer parts or office equipement, I just order them on the internet and get them faster and cheaper than I would by driving somewhere. When I do on site visits of a client, I typically fly; for this I get a ride to the airport from whoever is willing to drive me for a small fee. Once I arrive at my destination, the client is responsible for my travel whether it's paying for taxis or hiring a driver.

X. J. Scott
Tuesday, May 13, 2003

X.J. - A horse is your main transportation?  You are my hero.  Where do you live?
I assume you are considering a buckboard so that you can haul more stuff than you can in your saddle bags, right?  I agree that the buckboard is more of a problem with other cars, and largely negates the advantages of horseback travel.  I suggest a pack mule or possibly a burro.  Both would be less easiy spooked than your horse.

Ethan Herdrick
Tuesday, May 13, 2003

X.J. - What do the town authorities think about the occasional manure you leave on the street? 

Ethan Herdrick
Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Hi Ethan,

"A horse is your main transportation?"

Yes, basically. I have a 1953 8N tractor celebrating its 50th birthday this year that I use for plowing and the like and I do 'drive' the tractor but I don't travel by it of course.

"Where do you live?"

I live in the backwoods of East Tennessee, in the Appalachian mountains.

"I assume you are considering a buckboard so that you can haul more stuff than you can in your saddle bags, right?"

100% correct. More than one 50 lb sack of feed or such is a problem. A buckboard would be the same for me as having a pickup truck, capacity wise. You can actually get a brand spanking new one around these parts for only $1500.

"I agree that the buckboard is more of a problem with other cars, and largely negates the advantages of horseback travel."

Right, the roads around here aren't really set up to accomodate horse-drawn travel so much like I like to imagine they might be in rural Pennslyvania. People do drive rather fast. I am concerned that I wouldn't be able to actually get much use out of the buckboard because it would be too dangerous. Also, I can take certain big shortcuts on the horse (Daisy) that are not available with the buckboard. For example - there is one fence that we can jump over when unladen.

"I suggest a pack mule or possibly a burro.  Both would be less easily spooked than your horse."

Do you mean for drawing the buckboard? Or do you mean to bring them alongside Daisy with a rope, like you see in the old movies...


"X.J. - What do the town authorities think about the occasional manure you leave on the street?"

It's never been even mentioned! The hard part is really finding a place to tie Daisy up where she won't be bothered. I do have canvas sacks for oats and water since public troughs are on the decline, although one of my elderly cousin's has put a trough out in front of her house by means of ercouraging me to visit.

X. J. Scott
Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Awesome XJ!

Prakash S
Wednesday, May 14, 2003

X.J.  - Sure, why not learn the old pioneer skill of loading a pack saddle?  Then tell me how to do it!  Back in the day an expert would load a pack train of ten or more horses and lead 'em through some pretty hairy country.  Not that I'm downplaying the difficulty of learning, especially with few of such experts still alive to teach.   

I was just wondering this week how easily I could use a horse for occasional transportation, and the main hitch was that I didn't know who would clean up the manure within city limits.  I guess I could bag it, like when you walk a dog in town.

Ethan Herdrick
Wednesday, May 14, 2003

I have a car and love driving it.

I did find not having one was a real problem when I started my own business so I learned and bought a starter car. Basically getting to client's sites was so annoying I just had to start driving.

My other half doesn't drive, and neither does a friend who lives nearby. They're both rather limited in job opportunities, because of this. I'll work up to an hours drive away, which covers about 8 counties and about 5 million people's area of residence. Without a car an hour's travelling limits you to about 1/2 million people's area in the midlands, because the train system simply doesn't do the things you'd need it to do: it doesn't start early enough to get you to work, it doesn't run late enough to get you home.

This means one is rather limited in where one can work, and therefore in the current market, in getting work.

I looked at commuting to a job 17 miles away by train, but the journey times exceeded 2 hours each way, and the trip in the morning involved 3 changes (each of which carries the risk of missing the "one train an hour" connection). And that's assuming the trains work at all: the latest figures are that 20% of trains are late or cancelled in the UK.

When my other half goes to his office in the next town, he has options of getting a taxi at 15 quid each way or a walk, a train, another train and a then a half hour walk and frankly they're not very reliable (4 trains a day and there's a 1 in 5 chance of any of them being broken) and he often leaves the office at 5pm and doesn't get home until 7pm.

It takes 20 minutes to drive there in rush-hour traffic.

There are no other really practical methods of commuting in the UK outside London. We just don't have the infrastructure or the possibility of the investment to build the infrastructure: all the money gets spent on keeping the tube running and packing more and more stuff into London.

Any consideration of doing anything else is rejected: there's no investment in other transport because everything's in london because there's no investment in transport anywhere else to put stuff there... At the same time people are less and less able to afford to live near London.

Inside London most of the people I know don't have cars. It's impractical to do so. Outside London it's impractical not to have a car.

Katie Lucas
Wednesday, May 14, 2003

I got rid of my car last September and have found managing without quite easy even though we live in a rural area in the UK. The public transport isn't fantastic but good enough.

Of course its easy for me being independent to make my work match my travelling capabilities. I guess what it comes down to is if you really want to do it you'll find a way, if you don't care then you'll drive everywhere.

Occasionally I will hire a car but really not very often, I certainly walk and use my bike a lot more frquently so there are health benefits and a significant impact on my outgoings.

Tony E
Wednesday, May 14, 2003

What Katie said.

When I first started working, I lived at home and commuted to London. It cost me 45% of my income, and that was assuming I had the moral fibre to make the 23-minute walk to the station. Doesn't sound like much, but an extra 15 minutes in bed seems so important when you've only had four hours' sleep.

Gradually, over time, my income increased, and now it would only cost me 25% of my income to travel to London were I to start working there again (again, assuming no taxis).

Meanwhile, I work in just about the only place of employment available to programmers in my town. But I'm finding that I no longer like to make the 45-minute walk home in the dark. And since there are effectively no buses after dark, I end up spending 13% of my income on taxis.

That's assuming I don't fall asleep over my books and have to take a cab in the morning (buses would also take 45 minutes).

So finally, I have capitulated and am learning to drive!

Fernanda Stickpot
Wednesday, May 14, 2003

I realy tried for a long time to stick to public transport.
I hate cars. Mind you, I do not hate driving and can find it even at times, but I hate what the car has done to our world. Mass car ownership has not only polluted the air we breathe, but even worse it has destroyed our communities, our traquility and our safety.
So why do I have  a car? It saves me almost two hours each day. Even though I life quite close to my workplace (< 30 Km), the unbelievable inadequacy of public transport  mean that in the best case I was spending 2.5 hours every day on trains and busses. Mind you 3 out of 5 days a week this would be even much more, since most of the time the busses and trains involved would miss their schedule.
So call me a "whish I did not have to" car owner.

Just me (Sir to you)
Wednesday, May 14, 2003

> Are you able to drive?

I'm able to drive but I don't, for the same kind of reason as Just me.

> If not, have you found that it's limited your career in any way?

It has affected my life more than it has my career. The one time I can remember it *limiting* my career was that I didn't go for one interview, for a job in some industrial estate which didn't have local housing or public transport. Instead I landed a job in a nice suburb of Rome, where I could walk to work. For 6 years I did contracting in various cities, renting appartments which were close enough that I could walk or bus to work. Now in Toronto there's good public transport, so for the last 15 years or so I have been bussing or bicycling or walking. Bringing home weekly groceries was a bigger problem: I used to carry them; later, I used a taxi once per week; later, there was shopping by internet where they'd deliver to my home; now I have invested in a shopping cart with wheels, so I can walk them home.

Christopher Wells
Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Hell yeah!

I love driving.  Sometimes on lunch I'll just take a nice 30 -40 minute drive.

I don't drive anything spectacular (99 Pont Grand AM) but someday I'd like to get an BMW M5.

It's a great release.  I don't concider myself an offensive driver and actually most time I'm fairly defensive, but on my lunch drives I like to have fun....


Wednesday, May 14, 2003

"I don't concider myself an offensive driver "

Wel, no-one does, and 95% of drivers think they are above average drivers also.

Just me (Sir to you)
Wednesday, May 14, 2003

On drivers thinking they are above average drivers, sure.

Just keep in mind that just because most drivers think they are better than they are does not necessarily mean that the others are better than most drivers think 8-}

Mike Swieton
Wednesday, May 14, 2003

"Wel, no-one does, and 95% of drivers think they are above average drivers also. "

Is this the same 95% that thinks they are above average developers? :-)

Prakash S
Wednesday, May 14, 2003

"Outside London it's impractical not to have a car. "

I disagree. In large parts of Scotland, it's perfectly practical to not have a car & still be able to commute/get around on the train/bus system.

A PS2 Programmer
Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Driving is one of those things you have to do to appreciate - and then you can't have enough - and as for it being linked to my work - it has always been an asset and never otherwise !!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

[Sometimes on lunch I'll just take a nice 30 -40 minute drive]

Me too! Except I only go about 3 blocks. Traffic in the Washington DC area is horrendous. Since I live in the "country" (That's what most people say but it's actually the suburbs) I sit in my Jeep for 3 hours+ per day commuting. Not fun but worth it. I used to live in the city but it's just too damn expensive and I realized that I hate being around so many people.

Ian Stallings
Wednesday, May 14, 2003

This is a hot topic among the people here.

I've been driving as long as I've been old enough to. I like driving around the countryside on a sunny day for fun. I'm less keen on using it for commuting into work (though my current route is quite a nice drive in the morning).

I used to go into work via cycle and foot ferry (over Southampton Water) and it was great. Took the same time as taking the "long way round" by car (which I did when it was pouring with rain), and I felt much more productive in the mornings. Only snag is I had to get up 20 minutes earlier in order to catch the ferry and get into work 20 minutes earlier. Which I think is what puts most people off, especially developers, who don't tend to be responsive to mornings.

I'd love to take public transport into my current job, but there just isn't the service or infastructure to do so. Taking the train would take over an hour extra and have a 60 mile detour. In fact, recently I decided to drive into outer London rather than take the train because it was quicker and cheaper to do so. Hmmm.

It would be nice if companies encouraged people to get into work without jamming the roads up eg : cycling in, getting the train, lift sharing - but most don't seem to care how you get in as long as you turn up.

Better than being unemployed...
Thursday, May 15, 2003

"Just keep in mind that just because most drivers think they are better than they are does not necessarily mean that the others are better than most drivers think 8-} "

now that's a strange phrase. I think I know what you want to say, even if it's not what you say. But anyway.

I can see how good drivers people are. Small details, how much they are aware of the traffic around, when they become alert, this kind of thing. I'm quite ok, in my opinion. I wouldn't like to have to drive really fast because I have no experience of that. I think that driving fast is in many ways different than driving normal (even if your normal is other's fast) so I would hate to have to do it, specially in a stressfull situation. Otoh, I have some firends who'se hobby is to stick cameras to their cars, drive like idiots until they get a cop to follow, and then make a nice little movie about getting away. But of course I would never do that.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

I can drive, learned as soon as I could. Seemed like a useful skill and so it has proved. My ability to park a Land Rover 110 Defender into small gaps draws gasps...

I don't own a car, never felt the need, living in large towns/cities in the UK and Europe. I commute on foot, by public transport and, at best, by bike. For me, cycling is pure joy.

Adam in Poland
Thursday, May 15, 2003

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