What to Do if You're a Single Parent and Can't Drive

In the wake of divorce, many aspects of your life will change. If you become a single parent and cannot drive, transportation may pose a new challenge. You may not have a car anymore, or you may be a person who does not drive and previously relied on your spouse for transportation.

In your new situation, you may worry about how you will get your kids to school, how you will get yourself to work, and how you will get out to run errands and complete the other activities necessary to be a functioning parent and person in society.

Transportation challenges for single parents

Driving is a fundamental part of many people's daily lives. It's how we get to work, take our children to school, and run errands. But what happens when that ability is taken away?

What if, because of circumstances beyond your control, you find yourself as a single parent who can't drive?

The reasons for not being able to drive are as varied as the individuals affected. Maybe it's a result of a DUI or a revoked license. Perhaps the financial burden of owning and maintaining a vehicle is too great. Or maybe a physical disability prevents you from getting behind the wheel.

Whatever the reason, you're not alone, and there are solutions.

Getting the kids to school

As a single parent unable to drive, one of your biggest concerns may be how to get your kids safely to and from school. This logistical challenge requires creativity, flexibility, and a dash of resourcefulness.


Carpooling isn’t just for drivers. You might be unable to drive, but that doesn't mean you can’t take part in a carpool system. Offer to contribute in other ways, such as providing after-school care for the driver's children on certain days or offering your babysitting services for occasional weekends. This way, you still contribute to the group effort, and your child gets a reliable ride to school.

Public transportation

If carpooling isn't an option, public transportation might be a solution. Many cities have buses that service school routes. This could be a practical choice for older children who can navigate the system independently. 

Research your local transit system's safety measures, routes, and schedules. Knowledge empowers you to make informed decisions for your family.

Bike or skateboard

For those living within a reasonable distance from school, biking or skateboarding can be an effective solution. Not only does it resolve the transportation issue, but it also promotes physical activity and independence in your children. 

Of course, you’ll want to make sure your child has a safe route to school and that they understand traffic laws. Safety is always the top priority.

Read: Protecting Kids’ Mental Health in Divorce

Getting yourself to work

When you're a single parent who can't drive, the daily commute to work presents its own unique set of challenges. But where there's a will, there's a way.

Public transportation

Public transportation is often viewed as a last resort, but it can be a lifesaver for those without personal vehicles. Buses, trams, subways, and trains serve many urban and suburban areas. You may be able to use such a system as a reliable means of transportation to work.

Relying on a public system may require you to make adjustments to your routine. For example, it may require a bit more travel time, so you’d have to get up and about earlier in the day. But in many cases, it’s a viable solution. 


If public transportation isn't feasible, consider carpooling. Joining or creating a carpool group in your workplace or neighborhood can be a great way to share travel costs and responsibilities. Although you might not contribute to the driving part, you can offer to cover more of the fuel costs, bring breakfast once a week, or find other creative ways to contribute to the group.

Remote work

In today's digital age, remote work has become increasingly popular and accepted. If your job allows it, you could negotiate with your employer to work from home either full-time or a few days a week. Not only would this eliminate the need to commute, but it could also provide you with more flexibility to manage your parental responsibilities.

If you're co-parenting, your ex-spouse may be able to help with your transportation issues. If you need financial support from your ex, know that it's harder to get alimony after the divorce is already complete, but it's not always impossible. Speak with a legal coach, or consider scheduling a free 15-minute phone call with Hello Divorce to discuss your situation.

Running errands

When you're a single parent without driving capabilities, running errands can seem like an uphill task. But with the right approach and a little imaginative thinking, even this hurdle can be overcome.

Online shopping

You can get almost anything online: groceries, clothes, household items, you name it. Many businesses offer home delivery services, sometimes even on the same day. It might require a bit more planning, but it can save you the hassle of transportation. Plus, shopping online allows you to easily compare prices, and online shoppers often get deals and discounts not available in stores.

Local services

Many local businesses understand the importance of community and offer delivery services. From the local grocer to the neighborhood pharmacy, these services can be a lifeline for people who can't drive. 

Also, consider reaching out to community groups or neighbors. You'd be surprised how often people are willing to lend a helping hand, especially when they understand your situation.

Hire help

If your budget allows, consider hiring help for larger tasks such as monthly grocery shopping and picking up prescriptions. Many service providers specialize in such tasks and can provide valuable help. While this adds an extra expense, it can free up your time for other important tasks and reduce the stress associated with managing errands without a car.

Suggested: Single-Parent Strategies for Easier Mornings

Divorce Content Specialist & Lawyer
Divorce Strategy, Divorce Process, Legal Insights

Bryan is a non-practicing lawyer, HR consultant, and legal content writer. With nearly 20 years of experience in the legal field, he has a deep understanding of family and employment laws. His goal is to provide readers with clear and accessible information about the law, and to help people succeed by providing them with the knowledge and tools they need to navigate the legal landscape. Bryan lives in Orlando, Florida.