Beating myself up over driving mistakes

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Joined: 5 Feb 2016
Age: 28
Gender: Female
Posts: 123

02 Nov 2019, 4:34 pm

I know that some people on this site drive, and others don't. I have always considered it a pretty major accomplishment that I'm able to drive, since I am quite sure I have dyspraxia and also anxiety. I guess I must be an ok driver, since in the 10 years that I've had my license, I've only ever been in one accident, and even that one was the other driver's fault. I am normally very cautious, and I certainly never speed, or try to do anything highly distracting while driving, like using my phone, because I'm terrified of both killing someone else and getting myself killed. I think my biggest issues are the fact that I have poor spatial awareness (for this reason, I avoid driving on any road where I'd be required to merge into traffic a lot. I never trust my judgment on how much space I really have). I also am pretty sensitive to bright light, so for this reason, I don't like driving at night. The headlights on the other cars (even when the driver doesn't actually have it in the brightest setting) kind of blind me. It's mainly if I'm trying to merge or pull out into traffic...I have an even more difficult time telling how much space I really have because the lights throw me off. And, I pretty much go through life daydreaming and being in my own world. I have enough control over it to where I don't completely zone out, and I'm aware of what's going on around me. But I still worry that one day, I'll just be lost in my own thoughts while driving and do something stupid.

Again, I haven't gotten in any major accident, but any time I make a mistake when driving, I just feel so stupid and beat myself up, and wonder if I should just give up my license. I feel bad about something that happened today. I was leaving a store and starting to back out of the parking space. Again, I'm cautious, and I always look both ways before I start backing out, and I back out slowly just in case. Well, I was going pretty slow, and I am pretty sure I looked both ways (but I'm second guessing myself...looking before I back out is just one of those things that I do automatically, and it doesn't really even register in my brain "hey, I'm looking both ways". Kind of like flipping a light switch on/off, shutting a door, etc. What if I was doing my stupid daydreaming and forgot to look one way?) And then all of a sudden, this woman and her young daughter seemed to appear in my rearview mirror out of nowhere. I was at least going slow, so it's not like I came super close to hitting them, but I did still have to stop pretty suddenly. They had also both suddenly halted because they saw me coming. I stayed stopped and let them pass behind me. Turned out they were getting in the car parked right next to me, so that was awkward. They started putting their stuff in the car, and the mom gave me a dirty look as I left, so obviously that made me feel even worse. And the fact that her kid was with her made it worse. I obviously don't want to harm anyone, but especially not a child. Now I can't stop thinking about it, and thinking I must be such an incompetent driver and that I shouldn't have a license. There was also a time a few years ago that I panicked because it was raining pretty hard, and it was dark out, and I ended up on this road that basically had no lighting (no streetlights or anything). I couldn't see, and I just panicked and ended up running off the road. Thank goodness no one else was on that road, and there wasn't a ditch at the side of the road or anything. So I regained my composure, pulled back out on the road, and turned on my bright lights (which is what I should have done initially, instead of just panicking like an idiot).

Does anyone else who drives go through this? Has anyone decided to quit driving even after passing the test and getting their license?


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Joined: 14 Jul 2019
Gender: Female
Posts: 703

02 Nov 2019, 5:30 pm

I am sure NTs make errors all the time --- and don't worry much, in advance. That said, know thyself. There was a study link posted on here that ASDs are safer in generally and then make more errors in panic situations, and that overall it was just as safe overall. Although isn't there one country that bans ASDs from driving?

My Aspie-like mom and I have both drive safely (good space cushion, no texting, etc.) and have made errors when overwhelmed (her with a spider and when grieving, me two times grieving). Thankfully all were minor fender benders (although the car damage was significant) and nobody was hurt. I see myself as just as fit overall to drive, but ask others to drive when I can, and will need to consider if I am near emotional (or physical) overwhelm.

jimmy m

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Joined: 30 Jun 2018
Age: 71
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,759
Location: Indiana

02 Nov 2019, 9:52 pm

I am an Aspie and have been driving for 65 years. I have driven over a million miles. I am a fairly good driver, not perfect but a good driver. I recommend that you continue to drive and take precautions when circumstances dictate.

Some of the latest cars have additional safety features. These include sensors that tell you when hazards come close to your cars for example someone walking behind your car. They also have rear cameras built in that show you what is behind your car. You might find these interesting features.


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Joined: 22 Mar 2014
Gender: Female
Posts: 6,910
Location: Meandering

03 Nov 2019, 4:12 am

Negative self talk could be your enemy here. Yes these things happened, put them in the right context though.
You have more evidence of safe driving than making mistakes. :)

I hate shopping and supermarkets, the parking bit causes me to be very aware of my surroundings. Who in their right mind walks behind parked cars if they could walk in front of them on a footpath instead, car parks are often stupidly designed.

I learned to drive early so perhaps that has helped me, but the same thing has happened to me too, enough times for me to get sick of people behaving irresponsibly about safety and towards their guardianship of children.

Thing is though, humans make errors and what I'm watching out for is errors other roadusers make.

As for the evil eye, I give a right one back ...also people who arrive and start unloading their trolley right beside you after you started your manoeuvre are quite rude and deserving of being looked at through the stupid lense.

I see it as an attempt to place all responsibility for their safety on me and on everyone else in the world for that matter.

Keep doing what you do, reversing out of the space slowly. You wont hurt anyone that way. Remember you have a decade of safe driving, because of the hard work and energy you have invested in being a safe driver, and yes there is a degree of random luck there too, but that variable exists for everyone.


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Joined: 15 Jan 2008
Gender: Male
Posts: 7,013
Location: SLC, Utah

08 Nov 2019, 7:35 pm

I've pulled out in front of cars, twice that I remember, even though I swore up and down to myself I looked both ways. I wasn't in an accident and have never been at fault in 13 years of driving (8 professionally) so I think I'm doing something right. The reality of it is, when you do something so much, you're bound to make a mistake here and there. I've made a few egregious ones and I definitely hold them against myself, and in the moment I just want to rush home and get out of my truck for the rest of the week.. but after the fact, I just recognize it's going to happen no matter how perfect I try to be.

If you're 27 and have no at fault accidents, you're doing something right for sure.

If Jesus died for my sins, then I should sin as much as possible, so he didn't die for nothing.