The Struggles of a One Car Family

Dagnija Tomsons

Article Photo
Sophomore Abby Dantes is getting into her mother’s car after going for a run. Her mother often picks her up after school to take her home. Photo Credit / Erik Dantes

Abby Dantes, a 15 year old sophomore at Loy Norrix, is a regular teenager trying to get through the everyday struggles of her one car family. The daily schedule is a buzz of activity as each member of the family gets ready in the morning to go to work or school. Dantes has two other siblings, one is 13 years old and the other is 10 years old. They are in grades 8 and 5.
The two adults of the family both hold jobs, each between ten and thirty minutes away from home depending on the traffic around their neighborhood. According the the website Fast Slides, the average American spends about 38 hours a year stuck in traffic. Having only one car can be hard at times when a family member wishes they could be able to go wherever they please, but they cannot because of that one car.
“It sucks. I hate it. I’m not able to do the stuff I want to do,” said Dantes.
It’s a daily struggle for Dantes as she is not able to hang out with friends much or go out to places that she deems fun when her parents are in charge of the car. It would be easier for her if she were able to drive, but that won’t be for another month or so.
“It’s kinda hard. Trying to have a social life and trying to do my own thing,” said Dantes.
Scheduling is a big part of the one-car deal. Everything must be written down and planned ahead in order for everyone to be able to go where they need to. It’s much of a hassle when plans get canceled or added, but Dantes and her family try their best to work around these problems.
It’s easier on the family as a whole when the things they need are within walking or biking distance. It doesn’t seem like Dantes is able to do either of those things, staying near her house for safety reasons. Both of her siblings are into soccer and have frequent games, which means the family must go and cheer them on.
“I usually stay home from soccer games, and I don’t go to a friends’ unless they come to pick me up,” said Dantes.
Dantes doesn’t always have her parents drive her everywhere, taking the school bus to school in the mornings. According to the website Wise Bread, carpooling helps save money on parking, tolls and other expenditures.
During cross country season, as she is a junior varsity member, her mother would pick her up after getting a text. There would always be a young child’s head hanging out the window, yelling “hi” to the sophomore.
“Sure it can be a lot of fun sometimes, and you get more family time. You can get deeper bonds with them,” said Dantes.
According to the website Frugal Rules, just over 30 percent of families identify with being a one-car family. Meaning that there are less car payments to pay off and the money earned from jobs is easier to save away. Also, the family gets more time to spend together, and it’s likely easier to share the workload between four or five members.