Max Israelite, Newsweek
I CELEBRATED MY 75TH BIRTHDAY RECENTLY. Sometime soon, I plan to put my car up for sale, tear up my driver’s license and never get behind the wheel of a car again. It will not be easy to give up the automobile, and I take this step reluctantly. I enjoy driving. It permits a mobility impossible with any other mode of transportation. The sense of omnipotence one experiences when wheeling down the highway at 70 miles per hour is irreplaceable. Having been a motorist for so long, I’ll find it difficult to become a pedestrian again.
Beyond being an ingrained habit, the automobile is a necessity, especially for those of us who live in suburbia. There is little or no public transportation, the corner grocery has become extinct and people must get to a shopping center or mall — usually several miles away — to replenish the family larder. I recognize that I am not a first-rate driver. I was not a great driver when I was a young man, and the aging process has not enhanced my driving skills. While it is true that in more than half a century of driving, I have had only two accidents for which I was to blame — both fender bend ers that caused minimal damage and no injuries — I attribute this to good luck rather than good driving. In a case of rare unanimity, my children concur with this opinion, adding the observation, “It’s not only good luck; it’s that everyone else is a good driver.”