Should I sell my car and stop driving?

I just moved to a large city from a small town, where I lived for ten years, and am really intimidated by driving here. I am thinking of selling my car (a 2008 Corolla LE), and using the proceeds to pay off my daughter’s car in exchange for her driving me everywhere. She and I are thinking about whether or not this is a good idea. I am a 61 year old woman.

Whether or not this is a good idea depends on how close you and your daughter are and whether she has enough time to drive you everywhere you want to go. Is it possible for you to use public transportation as well?

I don’t know how large a city it is. Is there enough public transportation around to meet your daily needs? Do you have to pay for parking and increased insurance premiums? Decide if keeping and maintaining the car is an expense that is unreasonable? If you have those few trips where you need a car would giving up the expenses and renting one work out better in the long run? I imagine she has a busy life and 61 is not that old. My advice is to try and work things out where you only rely on her on a special situation helper, but not a regular taxi.

Before you actually sell the car, take a trail run. For a period of time, month or week, live as if you car was gone. Have your daughter drive you or take public transportation. If it works out then you can sell the car. If it doesn’t then you can find way to be more comfortable driving in the city.

There are driving schools where you can get some confidence building instructions and tips on city driving from an experienced instructor. It takes time to adjust to city driving but it isn’t that difficult once you spend some time on city streets.

How about you take the proceeds and the insurance/gas/maintenance money, put it in a transportation savings account, and use it for taxi/bus/subway/train/plane costs? Also test that this works before you do it. It’s important for you to be able to travel independently if you need to.

New York City – yes
Los Angles – no


That’s your call. My mom knows all the “chicken routes” to get around town without running into traffic and she does just fine, but she doesn’t live in a city. You will be giving up your freedom and end up needing to depend on someone else unless you have a good public transportation system. You may just not be used to the amount of traffic in the city. I would suggest giving it a few months and then making a decision.

Driving doesn’t bother me, walking does. I fall in the middle of the street a lot.

If you can trot a little you will be OK. If the city is NY or SF, cabs are quick and inexpensive. Sometimes, not so quick so avoid the rush hours. Don’t stop driving in L.A., there is so much parking and it’s impossible to get lost. The main roads run forever and they are laid out on a grid, which helps. Everybody walks in Westwood.

I think that texases has a good idea. One problem with you and your daughters proposed arrangement is that you fulfill your end of the bargain right away by paying off her car, then she has to drive you around for an unknown number of years. What happens if she gets tired of transporting you around?

Try driving for a while and see if you can get used to the traffic. Don’t let anyone push you around and drive defensively. You could also pick the time of day you travel so that you aren’t stuck in rush hour traffic.

If you decide to give up your car, why not just give it to your daughter? Let her decide what to do with it. If I were her, I think that I’d keep it unlesss she has more than 3 children.

What city are you in now? Maybe some of us live nearby and can tell you whether a car is a must or not.

If this hasn’t all ready been suggested, I would live a year with the car in my new residence and then decide. You’ll have a chance to establish a lifestyle and comfort level with your surroundings. After a year, let us know if you still feel the same.
Best of luck.

“If the city is NY or SF, cabs are quick and inexpensive”

Can you help me find those cabs in NY?
So far, inexpensive cabs have eluded me in NY.

I am in Saint Paul, MN. My daughter has no children; I did suggest giving it to her, but she likes her Honda Fit, because it is more zippy.

Thanks for the encouragement and for the wisdom.

My Dad was 60 years old when he was accepted on a summer fellowship at the University of Minnesota. Our home is in a small midwestern community. When I finished my summer courses, I took the train up to be with the rest of the family. They had rented a cabin on a lake west of Minneapolis/St. Paul. My dad came to pick me up the the train station and he handled the traffic as if he had been driving the city all his life. You’ll probably do as well after a week or so.

I’ve noticed in big cities that drivers seem to have a better traffic sense than in smaller communities. I’m seven years older than you are. I’m not retired and still have to drive to large cities for conferences. I just get in the flow of traffic and all works out.

Well, now I’d say keep the car and do as Triedaq and dagosa recommend. Now’s the time to make a go of driving, you don’t want to quit now and then in five or ten years have to pick it back up.

My son had a car…once upon a time.
Now lives in San Francisco.
Doesn’t want one , doesn’t need one.

We’ve visited him & his boyfriend many times. We fly in from New Mexico and rented a car…once.
Geez, what a pain in the neck it is to deal with with a vehicle there. We take the b.a.r.t. and buses now and see his point clearly.

Experiment for yourself. Compare costs of both short trips and long, parking ( at your place & destinations ), Public transportation access points, weather, carrying packages & belongings, insurance, etc.

Oh yah, if you sell the car, Keep your driver’s license current for I.D. and for those times you may want to rent a car for long trips.

Every cab in NYC is inexpensive (relative to buying a car, parking, insurance, fuel, taxes, depreciation, etc.).


Thanks, I already thought about the ID.