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Agemaki
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14 Oct 2011, 2:59 am

I recall being rather traumatized in driver's ed as a teenager. I was usually in tears after every class. It didn't really come as a surprise that driving was extemely difficult for me given my history of poor motor coordination. (I did not learn to ride a bike until age ten and had difficulty making contact between ball and stick in various sports.) However, I didn't understand the cause of my troubles and the general attitude toward driving was that it was simply something that everyone needed to do, almost as a sort of coming-of-age rite. I remember I had more than a few misgivings about it and thus put off driver's ed until the summer after my junior year (at least it wouldn't detract from precious homework time that way).

Once behind the wheel it seemed like I lacked a sense for the physical dimensions of the vehicle. One of the teachers said encouragingly that eventually the vehicle would feel just like an extension of our own bodies. But as person who not unfrequently misjudges the breadth of her own shoulders when passing through doorways, this was not a source of great comfort.

It also seemed as though, compared to the other students, I did not learn as quickly, if at all. Being nervous didn't help things either. My instructor frequently told me that I needed to "pay attention to the big picture." I'm not sure if I made any progress in this area though I do recall being more interested in a bird I spotted in the rearview mirror than in the fine details of parallel parking--much to the chagrin of my instructor. She's just lucky it wasn't a squirrel.

I once ran over a curb during one of the sessions; I'd been entreated to not slow down so much while making turns so I made a conscious effort to refrain from decelerating but with an unfortunate outcome. One of the other students told me that he knew we were going to hit the curb. I wished he'd spoken up sooner. I'd just been focusing on the speed aspect and didn't have a clue about the curb. I was rather shaken up by the event, especially by the way the instructor went on about it in class to the other students. It was like I was a bad person for what I had done, driving skills being framed in a moral context. I felt a lot of guilt and self-loathing over the event and was mortified at how the instructor talked about me to the other students (at least he didn't mention my name). I'd started engaging in self-harm a year or so earlier; I took out my frustrations with driving upon myself.

I made an attempt to continue learning how to drive once the class had finished (Ironically, I was the top in the class in terms of memorizing the various rules pertaining to driving.) but found the endeavor far too stressful. My parents kept encouraging me to learn, saying that I just had to do it in order to survive. It seemed like there was no way out; I'd hit a wall that I seemingly couldn't cross. Still haunted by nightmares of driver's ed, I was considering the option of suicide.

I managed to survive. I still feel a bit embarassed when asked if I drive but I'm getting over it. It's been difficult having jobs and all that and I'm far less independent than I would be otherwise (having lived with my parents through college) but there are cetainly worse fates. In another year I'll be off to grad school in a larger city with public transportation. As an adult I've also grown more willing to question the idea of automated vehicles as a necessary part of life. There are things I can do and things I can't (or shouldn't for fear of killing myself or someone else). Superior motor skills really wouldn't contribute to my effectiveness as a student of Japanese history. And cars tend to be costly and smelly. Definitely something I can live without.



straightfairy
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14 Oct 2011, 11:29 am

I'm fine with driving, always have been since I passed my test. I even took both of the UK's advanced tests (about 20 years ago, mind).

One thing that may need pointing to many on the forum is the UK/US difference.
In the UK, virtually everyone learns to drive and passes their test in a manual (stick shift) car, unless they have mobility or co-ordination problems.
Unless I'm mistaken, virtually everyone in the US passes their test in an automatic (self shift) and only enthusiasts tend to drive manuals, as some sports cars are only available with a manual gearbox


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hanyo
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14 Oct 2011, 11:47 am

Agemaki wrote:
It didn't really come as a surprise that driving was extemely difficult for me given my history of poor motor coordination. (I did not learn to ride a bike until age ten and had difficulty making contact between ball and stick in various sports.) However, I didn't understand the cause of my troubles and the general attitude toward driving was that it was simply something that everyone needed to do, almost as a sort of coming-of-age rite. I remember I had more than a few misgivings about it and thus put off driver's ed until the summer after my junior year (at least it wouldn't detract from precious homework time that way).

Once behind the wheel it seemed like I lacked a sense for the physical dimensions of the vehicle. One of the teachers said encouragingly that eventually the vehicle would feel just like an extension of our own bodies. But as person who not unfrequently misjudges the breadth of her own shoulders when passing through doorways, this was not a source of great comfort.


I never learned to ride a bike. I also never learned to drive. With driving I had no one to teach me. My mother never had a car or a license. None of my relatives had any interest in teaching me. I never had driver's ed in school. The last year I was in normal classes in a normal school was sixth grade and I quit when I was 16.

I am uncoordinated, have poor balance, get motion sickness easily and can't do so many things at once. Having to operate a car at faster than a slow crawl amongst other moving cars and various obstacles seems like it wouldn't end well for me. The few times I practiced in parking lots with friends it really bothered me that my vision around me was so obstructed by the car and I can't judge where the car is or how fast it's going.

I don't expect to ever get a license.

On the forums for the mmorpg I play there was a topic about a certain boss that some people can't do because they have slow reflexes and can't do a lot of things at once. One poster said something along the lines of if you can drive a car you can do this boss. I could honestly say that I can't drive a car.



mglosenger
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14 Oct 2011, 12:54 pm

I'm a good enough driver but I can be easily distracted if I let myself.

The thing is that driving is really rather easy, but you still have to pay attention to a bunch of stuff, which makes it not so easy.. but, except for the fact that you could slam into something at high speed inside a giant metal box, driving is quite easy.



SammichEater
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14 Oct 2011, 1:57 pm

I like driving, but most of the driving I do is rather easy. I only have to go through two major intersections on my 8 mile trip to school, and none on the way back because I take a different route. Listening to the radio while I'm driving around with the air conditioning on is one of the best and most relaxing parts of my day.


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Marcia
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14 Oct 2011, 2:11 pm

LostUndergrad9090 wrote:
Does anybody else have trouble driving? Not only do I suck at driving but I never use turn signals and usually don't look both ways and can't usually think a head. I need something to blame this on, my life is in turmoil right now. its such bullshit.


Never mind looking for something to blame.

If you are such a poor driver, then you are a danger to others and yourself. Do the right thing and stop driving before someone gets hurt or killed.



Catamount
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14 Oct 2011, 3:15 pm

I actually find the experience of the open highway to be quite soothing. It is a very mechanical activity with a clear set of rules of the road. I have never much enjoyed city driving but have learned to be able to handle it. I'm very big into "routes" however when travelling in unfamiliar territory. I will map out a route, study it, print it out and have it on my lap. Not real thrilled when I'm thrown off the route but I bought a GPS about a year ago that I've learned to trust even though I was very resistant to the idea at first.



Last edited by Catamount on 14 Oct 2011, 5:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.

LostUndergrad9090
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14 Oct 2011, 4:49 pm

Marcia wrote:
LostUndergrad9090 wrote:
Does anybody else have trouble driving? Not only do I suck at driving but I never use turn signals and usually don't look both ways and can't usually think a head. I need something to blame this on, my life is in turmoil right now. its such bullshit.


Never mind looking for something to blame.

If you are such a poor driver, then you are a danger to others and yourself. Do the right thing and stop driving before someone gets hurt or killed.


Its just not possible, and its really not that bad.



reddreadred
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14 Oct 2011, 5:44 pm

I have been driving for eight years with no external incidents, but I get so overwhelmed in a sensory way sometimes that I get panic attacks. Hyperventilation usually brings it on and then my hands tingle and I have to pull over for a while. Driving forty five miles each way to university one year was taking so much out of me. I couldn't really cope with it. Sometimes I get nervous just knowing I have to drive home from work, and that usually brings on a panic attack when I get into the car. It's ridiculous.



Halligeninseln
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14 Oct 2011, 6:11 pm

I hate driving. My mind resents having to focus on something as flat and dull as a road, so it drifts off into a dream and when I daydream I need to walk about, which you can't do in a car.



Washi
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14 Oct 2011, 6:52 pm

I failed the written test a few times because I found the booklet too boring to study. I passed the on the road test the first try but I had to hire an instructor to teach me how to drive, the few times my Mom tried were terrifying because she was a little dyslexic and would tell me to do the exact opposite of what she meant ... like screaming at me to turn right where other vehicles were, or into a ditch. I had a car for a few years but could never drive it more than a couple blocks from my house and couldn't get my own gas. The whole experience was just a waste of a lot of my money and unnecessary anxiety put onto me. When I moved out of my Mom's house I had to get rid of the car because I could no longer drive it to work. I never got used to it, had no sense of the area around me, no sense of direction, had to fight not to day dream and am completely night blind (it's a contrast issue when headlights are in front of me) so driving home at night was awful. Giving up on ever driving again was one of the best things I ever did, I was bullied into having a car I never wanted and never should have been driving in the first place by people who don't understand me.



AspiringCyborg
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14 Oct 2011, 7:42 pm

I love driving and am wonderful at it. I especially love driving manual, and I think a big part of it is the physical feedback from the car. It does bother me overly much when people drive like idiots around me so I get a bit of road rage (and fantasies of running them off the road). I've also gotten a lot of anxiety since I was in a fairly serious wreck about five years ago, but then again, everything else gives me anxiety so it's not much of a change.

I actually learned how to drive by playing video games. :D
Gran Turismo for the physics and Driver for the rules of the road.



LostUndergrad9090
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14 Oct 2011, 8:22 pm

I think I am fine, I need to learn myself better before I say stuff. I change everyday.



DialAForAwesome
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14 Oct 2011, 9:29 pm

I hated driving at first. My dad had a 2006 Ford Taurus and the thing was just so big and hard to turn/park.

When I first took my driving test last year, I passed the parallel parking test but failed the road test. I scheduled a retest for the next week and ended up passing it. A month before I took the driving test my dad helped me get a Plymouth Neon. The Neon just sat there because it had some things wrong with it at the time. It turned out that the Neon was his goodbye present to me (he had liver cancer and didn't tell us; we found out when he was in the hospital for a broken shoulder :cry: ). He died two weeks after I passed my driving test. I kept driving the Taurus and never really got the hang of it. Then some stuff happened and we had to get rid of the Taurus, which meant that I was stuck driving the Neon around. The Neon actually proved to be a much easier car to drive and park. Sure, it's a piece of crap in certain regards (guzzles gas, leaks oil, and I keep having to put money that I don't have into it) but it controls really well.

It does mess with my senses sometimes though. Like if I'm driving when the sun is setting, the sun dang near blinds me. Even sunglasses don't help. Also, it's sometimes hard to tell just how far behind me other cars are. And something that really angers me is that when I'm trying to get into the next lane and have the space to, the person in the lane I'm trying to get into speeds up enough to keep me from getting over. This happens at least once a day. :x

About the sense of direction thing, I have a very good sense of direction. I'm usually having to tell people how to get to certain places. It helps that both my parents have good senses of direction.


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btbnnyr
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14 Oct 2011, 10:19 pm

I don't drive on the freeways in Southern California. Too much too fast. If I space out for five seconds, something bad my way (or your way) comes.