Bailey Gent
September 23, 2015 12:00 pm

A person’s first time driving is something that they will never ever forget. Remember the handful of crazy (and, you know, potentially dangerous) things that you did when you were first driving, like panicking and, for a moment, thinking that you could turn left at an intersection on red?

But learning to drive isn’t all scary, of course. It’s also one of the greatest times in your teenage life, and one that brings with it a kind of freedom you’ve never experienced before. Remember the thrill of leaving your house late at night to hang out with friends, just because you could?

But along with all the butterfly-giving, scary excitement and amazing rush of freedom and fun, there’s new driving also comes with new responsibilities. Starting to drive is one of the most amazing and terrifying experiences you’ll go through and everyone who’s gone through it can recognize the #NewDriverProblems that come with this exciting new stage in life. Here are some I’ve noticed since I started driving.

You can finally go out late — but everything’s closed

You know that feeling of asking your parents if you can go out late and being shot down because, “I have to get up early for work tomorrow?” The second the license hits your hand, that feeling is gone. No more going out only when it’s convenient to those who can drive you. There’s something amazing about being able to leave your house and be out late with your friends, driving around and generally living your best life — until you realize you’re all starving and decide you want to stop and get some food. If you live in a small town, by the insanely early hour of 9 p.m., everything is closed. Also, you are a teenager — so you’re broke — so you end up in the Taco Bell drive through with a selection of dollar Mexican food to choose from.

You’re finally allowed to go where you want, until you realize you don’t have money to put gas in the car

After a few hours on the open road, you realize that your gas tank isn’t bottomless. You need to fill up, but remember how you barely had money for Taco Bell? You now begin to fear that little red ticker pointing towards E. Once that light starts flashing yellow, you have only a couple of options. You could coast down the hills home, get inside, and convince your mom that she used more gas yesterday than she remembers. Or, you could scrape together the little bit of cash that you have and search for coins in the cushions of the backseat. Great.

Your ability to drive now makes you the family assistant

When you first learn to drive, you jump at every opportunity to go somewhere. If mom needs something from the grocery store, you run for the keys to go pick it up. This seems like a really good idea and you even enjoy it — until you start getting daily calls asking for you to pick up your sibling from practice. Finally, all hope is lost. You are in charge of picking up groceries, running to the bank, etc. Your freedom has now landed you captive to the family errands.

Your new freedom leads to spending too much money

Along with this new freedom to go out on your own comes the freedom to spend however much money you want (up to what you have, of course). There’s no “responsible adult” there to save you from yourself, and it might end badly. You know that being able to drive also means unlimited access to Starbucks because now, for the first time ever, you don’t have to talk anyone into stopping. Your love of the Starbucks drive-through, and its array of icy, blended, summery goodness later takes a big toll on your bank account — but for a while there, it’s awesome. You might be thinking, “How did you not have money for gas but you had money for Starbucks?” To that I’ll have to just say #NewDriverProbs and maybe also #StarbucksAddictProbs

You might not know how to turn on the car lights

The first time I got on the interstate in the dark in a big city was after the Katy Perry concert that I had gone to with my friend. That’s right, I was driving a big, black, SUV down a big city interstate, in the middle of the night. I had no idea how to turn on the lights. We pulled over and eventually figured it out, but for a few minutes there that was some scary stuff.

The extra 20 minutes

You know, the extra twenty minutes it takes you to get anywhere when you first started driving because I’d be cool to go a “new way.” I’ll let you in on a little secret: those “new ways” rarely ended up existing and really only ended up burning more gas. What can I say? Sometimes driving is more trouble than it’s worth.

(Image via iStock.)

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