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Can I get a driver's license without a car?
May 9, 2006 7:38 PM   Subscribe

Is it possible to get a driver's license without a car?

I've never had a driver's license. I had a limited permit many years ago in another state when I was 14, which has long since expired. I don't anticipate owning a car in the forseeable future, but it would make my life easier if I had a license and were able to rent moving vans, join the local car-sharing service, etc.

Is anyone aware of a feasible way to rent or otherwise obtain the use of a car for the purpose of taking a driving test? I live in Chicago.
posted by IshmaelGraves to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
yes. Borrow a friend's car. You can't rent a car without a driver's license.
posted by muddgirl at 7:39 PM on May 9, 2006 [1 favorite]


At the driving school I went to, they would let you use their car for the driving test, at the usual hourly rate. If you call around, you should be able to find something similar.

I'm not sure if Illinois requires liability insurance; that could be a problem, because you need a car to get insurance. In NC, there's a provision for a limited fleet-only license, but I got into an argument with them and they wouldn't let me get it because it was for people who drove company cars, and not ordinary people who didn't own a car. I thought it was dumb, but I couldn't really argue. It might be easier in Chicago where the idea of people who don't own cars is not so totally foreign.
posted by Jeanne at 7:41 PM on May 9, 2006


Sure, driving schools do this all the time. You'll probably have to take a written test and get a learner's permit first, then get a friend with a car to give you a lesson and take you to the test. Or call up a driving school from the yellow pages, get them to give you a lesson and take you to the test. That's what they do, they'll be happy to help you-- for a fee, of course. Good luck!
posted by bonheur at 7:42 PM on May 9, 2006


There is also driving school. It's not cheap, but it may be a good idea if you have limited opportunity to practice.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 7:42 PM on May 9, 2006


A few years ago I got my driver's license without owning a car; I 'rented' the driving-instructor's car (can't remember how much money it cost, but it wasn't a big deal). You should be OK . . .
posted by oldtimey at 7:44 PM on May 9, 2006


I don't know anyone with a car here, and I'm aware I can't rent from a rental agency. I'm wondering if provision is made for this circumstance by, for example, driving schools.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 7:44 PM on May 9, 2006


Ahh, I posted too soon. Thanks for the answers regarding driving schools. (Jeanne, when I lived in NC I always wondered if I'd be able to use the fleet-license provision for this sort of thing.)
posted by IshmaelGraves at 7:47 PM on May 9, 2006


NC stinks re licenses. My son wound up finally getting his license in Colorado Springs, where he would not have to pay for insurance for a car he could not have until next school year.

Anyway, you need someone from Illinois to speak up as this is a state issue.
posted by konolia at 8:09 PM on May 9, 2006


Have you checked the areas around DMV offices for rental companies? In many working class towns here in California, there are companies that specialize in renting cars for driving tests and they are usually located next to or near DMV offices.
posted by buggzzee23 at 10:04 PM on May 9, 2006


I had this same question a few years ago. Oregon requires liability insurance, but all the OR DMV wants to see is that the car is insured by someone and the DMV took my word that the owners' insurance covers guest drivers.

I actually got rear-ended at a red light during my test. They're not supposed to pass you if there's an accident, regardless of fault, but they were nice and passed me anyway because there was no damage. I'm still not 100% sure whether that car was insured for me to drive.
posted by Skwirl at 12:32 AM on May 10, 2006


Oregon requires liability insurance, but all the OR DMV wants to see is that the car is insured by someone and the DMV took my word that the owners' insurance covers guest drivers.

That's the way California was and I think Texas is [but the cool part about getting a driver license in the US is once you take the test, you never have to take it again].

So you can buy your friend that has a car + insurance lunch to borrow their car, which would be cheaper than renting a car.
posted by birdherder at 6:24 AM on May 10, 2006


I took the Illinois driver's test in my sister's car (after having let my license lapse). The examiner hardly cared who owned the car. I think he did want proof of insurance, though.

Tip: don't go to the office on Elston. There's one way north (on Lake-Cook Rd?) where the lines are short and the staff is friendly. Or at least, that was the case back when I did it.
posted by adamrice at 8:13 AM on May 10, 2006


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