When you have been driving for years, suddenly finding yourself unable to can be distressing. For a start, there goes your freedom. Public transport becomes something that you have to contest with again – had it always been this bad? This unreliable? This full of people blasting their terrible music choices at ear-splitting volumes? Why do they bother with earphones if we can all still hear it?
The other alternatives aren’t much better. Cycling is fine until the heavens open, which they always do at the least inconvenient times imaginable. Walking restricts you to a small radius, so unless you live right in a city center, it’s a nightmare.
There are a variety of reasons you might find yourself unable to drive. If you had an injury to a limb that makes controlling a vehicle difficult, it’s a few months on the passenger side for you. A ban, such as those for speeding or drink driving convictions, has a similar impact. You’ve become accustomed to life behind the wheel. It’s only natural that there is going to have to be an adjustment phase.
Cars make it so easy. You want to go somewhere, so you go. Maybe you have to program a satnav and get gas, but that aside, the open road is waiting for you.
When you can’t drive, planning becomes a military operation. You have to consult public transport or cajole your friends into offering a ride in exchange for gas money.
You have to learn how to think strategically. If you’re going shopping, what’s the shortest journey? Are you reasonably going to be able to carry back everything you need? If you need things from different stores, try and cluster them all together with a minimal need for walking.
You may need to do fewer, smaller shops. Alternatively, stick with the big weekly shop, but acknowledge you might need to shell out for a taxi to get everything home.
You may not have driven more than 50 miles outside of your hometown in a decade, but as soon as you can’t, you want to. If you find yourself desperate for a change of scene, investigate rail and bus offers. These can offer affordable day trips that will help settle you back down. It may even be preferable for some major cities not to be able to drive, as you’ll avoid traffic congestion.
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If you own a vehicle, it’s not a great idea to leave it sitting open to the elements for six months or more. While it’s not going to disintegrate into a rust-factory, you still need to do basic maintenance.
Also, look at this as an opportunity to get small niggles fixed, that you otherwise might have avoided. Investigate that knocking sound when you slip into reverse, or buff up some old scratches. That way when you do get the keys back, you’ll have a nice shiny car to do it in.
It’s undeniable that being without a car for whatever reason can be a difficult adjustment. Follow the steps above and keep reminding yourself it’s only temporary. Hopefully, you’ll be back on the road in no time.
Featured Image Source: Nicholas T