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Do you have your driver's license?
Yes 71%  71%  [ 17 ]
No 29%  29%  [ 7 ]
Total votes : 24

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Toucan
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14 Jul 2019, 6:49 pm

Driving can be very difficult to learn for someone on the spectrum, but where public transportation is limited, such as in most of the United States, it is an extremely useful, if not necessary, skill. I got my permit at 18 and license at 20 years old. I knew I wasn't ready yet at 16 (the earliest you can get your license in the USA). I am lucky enough to have a father who was willing to teach me how to drive, and having him as a teacher was much less anxiety-inducing than my mandatory hours with a professional instructor. Another thing that probably helped me is that here in the states, we almost exclusively drive automatic. How many here on WP have your license, and at what age did you get it? What is everyone's opinion on driving as autistics in general? Sorry if this topic has been done to death (which I suspect it has), I haven't seen any threads on this topic since I became a WP member)


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Joe90
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14 Jul 2019, 7:27 pm

I took driving lessons when I was 17, but it took me 3 years until I was considered confident enough to take my practical test. But I think my ADHD made things awkward because of my short attention span and difficulty remembering small details. Ironically faster and wider roads were easier for me to drive than slow roads in towns with more hazards. On an open, fast road I could see all around me and there weren't many hazards, only to look out for cars braking in front or overtaking by the side of you. But I still felt more relaxed. But I used to panic more in busy towns, because I felt like I had to spot all the little hazards, and had to change gears more. I especially hated driving past parked cars on the side of a road because I had to temporarily drive on the other side, and I kept imaging a car zooming round the next bend and colliding right into me, because of me being on the "wrong" side of the road (but for the right reason).
Anyway, I passed my practical test when I was 20 and got my driving licence, but I haven't drove since. I don't own a car, because I can't really afford to, and because I work in an engineering department at a bus depot I have got a free bus pass, so I take advantage of that.

In most big towns and cities in the UK there are accessible bus services, so I am not particularly stranded anywhere. The buses are only sometimes unreliable because of the amount of traffic that causes so much congestion. The UK is a lot busier than what most Americans think.


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IsabellaLinton
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14 Jul 2019, 7:31 pm

Yes I have a driver's licence and I've been driving for over 30 years, minus a four year break when I suffered a stroke.

I couldn't live without driving because it's my safety bubble when I leave the house.



Magna
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14 Jul 2019, 7:31 pm

I got my permit at 15 and license at 16. I've been driving for over thirty years. I've never received a citation (e.g. speeding ticket, etc). When I travel on highways or the freeway I set my cruise control at the speed limit or a few miles per hour under. I learned how to operate a manual transmission vehicle as a teenager and loved that more than an automatic. There are a limited number of newer cars in the U.S. that are available with manual transmission in the kind of vehicle I'd prefer to own so for about five years now I've driven an automatic.

Even though I have a clean driving record, I think it is more of a challenge for me to focus in certain ways than it is for NTs. NTs can certainly allow themselves to be distracted while driving (texting, etc) but for me I must often keep my self focused and on task rather than zone out in deep thought about something. I'm a very analytical and contemplative thinker and can be prone to deep thought which isn't compatible with attentive driving. I force myself therefore to "snap out" of situations where my mind wants to wander.

Although I never had any issues in the past with night driving, I don't like to drive at night if I can help it now. Only seeing the small bit of illuminated road in front of me and no reference of the larger surroundings stresses me out.


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IsabellaLinton
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14 Jul 2019, 7:36 pm

Magna wrote:
Although I never had any issues in the past with night driving, I don't like to drive at night if I can help it now. Only seeing the small bit of illuminated road in front of me and no reference of the larger surroundings stresses me out.


I don't like driving in bright sunlight. In the past few years all the cars seem to be coated in chrome, which makes blinding glare and hurts my eyes even with polarised sunglasses. I try to avoid late afternoon driving as much as possible because the light is like daggers to me.



kraftiekortie
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14 Jul 2019, 7:37 pm

I got my drivers license in January, 1998, at age 37.

It took me a long time to learn to drive. My mother didn’t think I would ever learn to drive.



Borromeo
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14 Jul 2019, 8:35 pm

I got a license around 17. I love driving and cars--especially ordinary little sedans and stock pre-war vehicles. Wish I had an early Ford or Dodge Brothers. But until then my 7th-gen Toyota Corolla automatic is a lot of fun and very practical.

Long live the inline engine! (and may we come up with alternative fuels, too. Gas is nice but alcohol would be really cool.)



Grammar Geek
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14 Jul 2019, 9:00 pm

I got a license at 20. It was delayed because of the seizures I used to have. I’m not a very good driver, and the biggest issue is that I have absolutely no sense of direction because of my hippocampus that was removed. I need a GPS to get anywhere, but even that doesn’t always help because sometimes I don’t know what lane I should be in before a turn. What if it turns into another lane that I don’t want to be in? I’ve worked at my new job since early April, but I still require a GPS to get to the bus stop; otherwise, I’ll get lost. I can’t retain the information, so any new destination or route is not good, and I don’t know how I’ll be able to drive to many places when I’m on my own.



BTDT
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14 Jul 2019, 9:08 pm

In the last year I've gotten much better at interacting with other drivers on the road.



League_Girl
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14 Jul 2019, 9:26 pm

I got mine when I was almost 17. I lived in a rural area so there wasn't a lot of cars. I had been driving since I was 15 as a learner.

I don't really like driving because of car insurance and crazy drivers on the road and it's hard to pay attention to detail while watching traffic and pedestrians at the same time and trying to find where you are going because you don't know the area well and I can't listen and focus at the same time. I think there is no such thing as a perfect driver and everyone makes mistakes on the road. Only thing to remember is be predictable, don't try to make the exit or make the turn just because you are about to miss it, miss that turn and go back to it. Take your time getting to places, don't rush because that is how accidents happen. Never assume other drivers are good drivers and that they will follow the rules.

I avoid driving downtown because of too many one way streets and straight only lanes and bus lanes only and too many people and cars. I see many driving mistakes down there. So I commute down there instead if I have to be down there.

In the US, you pretty much have to drive because lot of cities here don't have reliable transportation and lot of our cities are not meant for commuting. If you don't have your license, that means you have to be a burden to your partner and family and friends and that also means you can't just go out and do what you want because you have to go on peoples schedules and when you make an appointment, you have to be sure someone is available to take you or you don't go. It is very limiting. So that is why I drive so I am not a burden to my parents. And it allows my kids to go to a good school. I can also go to places I wouldn't be able to by bus or train. I don't mind driving if there are very little cars and I didn't mind driving when I lived in Montana. I started to hate driving when I moved out to Portland.

I have a harder time driving at night so I go slower. I have had cars on my ass so I pull over to let them by. I can't use high beam where I live. You can't use it on the freeway either when there are other cars.

I have driven a manual and I had to learn how to drive one because my old car was a stick shift. Now I drive an automatic. A couple times I had stopped fast on the road thinking I was driving a stick shift so I thought the break was the clutch. Luckily there was no one behind me each time. That is always very scary. Same as when you put your car in the wrong gear and you accidentally back up instead of going forward because you got D and R mixed up. I always double check first before I go anywhere so I won't hit any cars in front or behind me parked.


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Mona Pereth
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14 Jul 2019, 9:35 pm

I don't drive. Luckily I live in a city with good public transportation.

In my twenties, I came to realize that I'm very bad at multi-tasking and hence probably could never become a safe driver.


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MrMacPhisto
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15 Jul 2019, 12:11 am

I don’t drive I wish I could. I took lessons and I did ok but I stress very easily which was the big concern.



Fireblossom
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15 Jul 2019, 1:14 am

I don't drive 'cause I can't get a license, but that's not an autism thing. I have a disability that prevents me from getting a license. Kinda troublesome since I originally come from a farm. I had to move out of there after I graduated 'cause there was no public transportation there and had I not moved I wouldn't have been able to work since there wouldn't have been any way for me to get to the workplace.