Driving is the controlled operation and movement of a vehicle, including cars, motorcycles, trucks, and buses. Permission to drive on public highways is granted based on a set of conditions being met and drivers are required to follow the established road and traffic laws in the location they are driving. The word driving, has etymology dating back to the 15th century and has developed as what driving has encompassed has changed from working animals in the 15th to automobiles in the 1800s. Driving skills have also developed since the 15th century with physical, mental and safety skills being required to drive. This evolution of the skills required to drive have been accompanied by the introduction of driving laws which relate to not only the driver but the driveability of a car.
The term "driver" originated in the 15th century, referring to the occupation of driving working animals like pack or draft horses. It later applied to electric railway drivers in 1889 and motor-car drivers in 1896. The world's first long-distance road trip by automobile occurred in 1888 when Bertha Benz drove a Benz Patent-Motorwagen from Mannheim to Pforzheim, Germany. Driving requires both physical and mental skills, as well as an understanding of the rules of the road.
In many countries, drivers must pass practical and theoretical driving tests to obtain a driving license. Physical skills required for driving include proper hand placement, gear shifting, pedal operation, steering, braking, and operation of ancillary devices. Mental skills involve hazard awareness, decision-making, evasive maneuvering, and understanding vehicle dynamics. Distractions, altered states of consciousness, and certain medical conditions can impair a driver's mental skills.
Safety concerns in driving include poor road conditions, low visibility, texting while driving, speeding, impaired driving, sleep-deprived driving, and reckless driving. Laws regarding driving, driver licensing, and vehicle registration vary between jurisdictions. Most countries have laws against driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Some countries impose annual renewals or point systems for driver's licenses to maintain road safety.
The World Health Organization estimates that 1.35 million people are killed each year in road traffic; it is the leading cause of death for people age 5 to 29.