I think fuzzy dice are actually kind of cute
October 15, 2009 8:50 AM   Subscribe

What's a good present to buy a 25 year old newly licensed driver?

My female coworker is (maybe) getting her driver's license this weekend, after 25 years of begging rides from her friends. I thought it would be nice for my department to give her a little congratulations present, since we have done nothing but listen to her stories about her driving lessons progress for the past 6 months. But I have no ideas.

One hitch is that she actually doesn't have a car, nor does she have plans to get one anytime soon - she'll be relying on Zipcar when she needs to go somewhere outside of the city (DC). So we can't buy her the normal fuzzy dice/carmats-type present.

Anything Prime-eligible from Amazon preferred, or things I can get locally (NoVa/DC area).
posted by kerning to Travel & Transportation (24 answers total)
A pair of cool driving sunglasses.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:52 AM on October 15, 2009

CD visor?
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 8:54 AM on October 15, 2009

It's not very glamorous, but a more advanced driving course (like a skid pan course) would be a good idea - while she's keen is a perfect time to develop better driving skills quickly.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:54 AM on October 15, 2009 [2 favorites]

Sunglasses or driving gloves might be nice, but I would tend to stay away from articles of clothing since you may not know her particular taste in style.

Something functional maybe - AAA membership for a year?
posted by seppyk at 8:55 AM on October 15, 2009

Does Zipcar give gift certificates?
A good road atlas for the DC area?
posted by sciencegeek at 8:56 AM on October 15, 2009

A compact GPS navigation system?
posted by jaimev at 8:57 AM on October 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

Do Zipcars have cigarette lighters/power outlets? If she's got an iPod, you might consider a car kit. Or maybe a tire gauge?
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 9:00 AM on October 15, 2009

I don't think you can say she's been been "begging" for rides for the past 25 years if she's 25 years old. 9 at the most.

Anyway, perhaps one of those radio adapters for MP3 players (if she has an MP3 player), the kind that you can plug into the lighter ports. That way she can listen to her music in any car.
posted by alligatorman at 9:02 AM on October 15, 2009

Response by poster: I just did a bit of research on the zipcar gift certificate - thanks sciencegeek! - and unfortunately, she won't be eligible to use zipcar until she's been licensed for one year. So actually, she probably won't be doing any driving for a year, which severely limits my options now. Grumble.
posted by kerning at 9:04 AM on October 15, 2009

Yeah, AAA plus membership. 100 miles of free towing, $100/year. If she's mostly driving locally, the standard membership is cheaper, at $60/year.

There's another roadside service type company for those who don't like AAA's policies, but I don't recall the name at the moment.
posted by electroboy at 9:06 AM on October 15, 2009

No car access for a year? How about a gag gift, then?
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 9:07 AM on October 15, 2009

Roll of quarters for meter parking! Suction-cupped plush animal! Vanishing Point DVD!
posted by cowbellemoo at 9:07 AM on October 15, 2009

I'm going to come off as being stodgy, I know, but I suggest various safety/help items. They sell cheap plastic boxes with some road flares, a flightlight, spare fuses, and so forth. I have probably too many of that sort of thing, but it might soothe the nerves of a new driver to know that they were present.
posted by adipocere at 9:16 AM on October 15, 2009

A good car emergency kit - like this one.
posted by watercarrier at 9:16 AM on October 15, 2009

nthing Advanced Driving courses. In the US, for the most part, passing your test is not very difficult, and is only the start of your education, even if you've been taking lessons. Learning some defensive driving, along with how to handle skids, aquaplaning, ice and other situations in a controlled environment, is a gift that should keep giving.

(It might also help reduce her insurance premiums if/when she decides to get a car.)
posted by holgate at 9:17 AM on October 15, 2009

A car emergency kit may not be a great idea; since she'll be using zipcar, will she really want to bring along her emergency kit every time she rents a car? Great idea if she gets her own though.
posted by craven_morhead at 9:21 AM on October 15, 2009

nthing map. And maybe also a guide(book) to roadtrippable destinations around the DC/ VA area?

As a fairly new driver myself, I would LOVE for someone to give me a hands-on Car 101 lesson ie. looking under the hood of an actual car pointing out and explaining the parts, mechanics and basic maintenance like "this is what oil does and this is how/why you check and change it".
posted by kitkatcathy at 10:32 AM on October 15, 2009

A breathalyzer?
posted by hamsterdam at 10:32 AM on October 15, 2009

A wireless headset for her cell phone.

And also tell her not to text while driving. My 65 year old mom did this a month ago and got into an accident. Thankfully she is ok. Apparently, it's not common sense and some people need to be told this.
posted by spec80 at 10:48 AM on October 15, 2009

You could do what my parents did for my 16th birthday. Buy her a Hot Wheels toy and enclose a note reading "Never say we didn't buy you a car."
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:56 AM on October 15, 2009

Fast and the Furious dvd.
posted by bravowhiskey at 12:50 PM on October 15, 2009

Portable GPS unit. They're getting much cheaper now, and I think it would especially appropriate for an occasional driver, who hence would be less familiar with the local roadways from an automotive POV.
posted by Billegible at 4:53 PM on October 15, 2009

I learned to drive older (I was only 20, but I'm from Los Angeles, where if you're not licensed by 17 people begin to suspect funny things about you) and buying my first Thomas Bros for myself was huge. I hadn't really wanted to learn to drive, so this wasn't a personal aspiration, but I'd at some point internalized that you weren't really a whole adult until you had a car with a Thomas Bros tucked into the door pocket on the passenger side. Tucking that Thomas Bros into my door pocket is one of those moments I took a mental snapshot of.

I guess Thomas guides might be regional? I don't know. But if there's something that everyone has in their car in your region, get her that. She might not realize how much it means to her until later.

Orrr maybe this is an LA thing. Beats me...I turned out to be one of those people who looks down on places that don't have a lot of freeways.
posted by crinklebat at 10:09 PM on October 15, 2009

Book maps are awesome! Thomas Guides are great but I think crinklebat is right about them not being all over the US...which is too bad because the Rand McNally one that I have right now is not great. I have given a few book maps as gifts. I even personalized them by marking "home," "work," and other special places.
posted by radioamy at 9:38 PM on October 16, 2009

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