Someone critiqued a story of mine a long time ago, and stated they were sick of seeing dragons used as fantasy genre cars. I concede the point, especially when I see vampires being used as ubiquitously.
Dragons do deserve better than to be just vehicles. They're intelligent, proud creatures, with an interesting culture and long history. They should be main characters, not props.
But let me tell you a little secret; when dragons go to war, they do best if they have riders.
It has nothing to do with fighting prowess; dragons are hatched warriors. Nor is it they're rampant passions; they never lose so much control that they attack their own side. Even their navigation isn't doubted; all dragons have a great sense of where they are and how to get elsewhere.
Dragons, unfortunately, have no sense of distance.
They're depth perception is great, meaning they target their flames well. But once a place is more than a few wingspans away, it is merely "over there". And if they can see it, it's "right over there".
Even if right over there is sixty miles.