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just-lou
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17 Mar 2012, 10:01 pm

This might be a weird little topic but I know many autistic peoples have trouble with driving, so I thought I'd ask. I never had problems with driving - I drive everywhere and have for years, had no trouble learning, and so on. But I have a scheme to change my career and one part of that required a heavy vehicle license. And I ran into both trouble driving, and a very hostile reaction from the trainer. So I'm going to try again - but go and talk to the training school first - letting them know I'm autistic up front, that driving can be harder for people like me than neuro-typical people, how stressing me in that situation will only cause shut-down and make things worse, how I will not pay a thousand bucks for the training only to be bullied.
Any aspie truckers out there? Think it's possible for autistic people to handle big machinery of that kind when driving can sometimes be a problem for us?



CanisMajor
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17 Mar 2012, 11:37 pm

I'm not sure how happily they will respond to hearing that stress causes trouble for you. Driving for days, cross-country, with other drivers on the road can all be very stressful. I'd be cautious before saying it to them, since there really isn't anything they can do to accommodate you anyway- once you're on the road, you're out there. :?

Although for me, personally, I'd love the idea. I love driving. It's one of the few activities I can do for a long time without complaint. So if you're like that also and take joy out of it already, maybe it won't be as bad?



invisibubble
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17 Mar 2012, 11:55 pm

I can drive but mostly prefer not to. Sometimes I might feel like I'm enjoying it if its late at night, barely anyone else on the road and I'm singing along to CDs. Most of the time though everyone else's unpredictable behaviour makes me highly stressed. All in all though - if I need to get from A to B I'll suck it up and drive and mostly its okay.

The absolute hardest part to driving for me was learning to drive. I really, really got stressed during that process. Luckily for me after several dismal attempts of my parents trying to teach me I started lessons with an amazingly lovely and patient teacher. On a particular day where things had been very trying for both of us he got pretty edgy and short with me and gave me a complete dressing down that pretty much resulted in me being unable to function and just about crashing the car whilst all I had to do was spot a car park and drive into it. I think on that day he suddenly understood that I couldn't cope with his stress on top of my stress - he just intuitively seemed to know he had to be more gentle with me. He always was after that and the rest of my lessons went fine.

With that experience in mind I'd say talking to a driving school or teacher about how having aspergers affects your learning experience could be a huge help if they are receptive to it. I think the main thing is to make sure they understand it doesn't make you unable to drive it just means its going to be a bit harder for you to learn and you need them to cut you a bit more slack.



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18 Mar 2012, 12:21 am

just-lou wrote:
This might be a weird little topic but I know many autistic peoples have trouble with driving, so I thought I'd ask. I never had problems with driving - I drive everywhere and have for years, had no trouble learning, and so on. But I have a scheme to change my career and one part of that required a heavy vehicle license. And I ran into both trouble driving, and a very hostile reaction from the trainer. So I'm going to try again - but go and talk to the training school first - letting them know I'm autistic up front, that driving can be harder for people like me than neuro-typical people, how stressing me in that situation will only cause shut-down and make things worse, how I will not pay a thousand bucks for the training only to be bullied.
Any aspie truckers out there? Think it's possible for autistic people to handle big machinery of that kind when driving can sometimes be a problem for us?


I've driven a front loader tractor before (large, about the size of a hummer), in a neighborhood street lined on both sides with vehicles (weaving in and out, driving back and forth every which way) in a small confined area. Basically I'd slam the throttle and hit concrete while moving. I had no issues with this. Nor have I had issues with driving. But I once let off the brake slightly while my boss was in front of the tractor (it rolled slightly). He picked up rocks and threw them at me yelled/stomped and was really mad. He thought I had moved the tractor and almost crushed him (not the case).

I say this because your mentioning an angry reaction. But a lot of the time truckers aren't the most calm people, they yell and get angry, curse and things. My best advise would be to act very interested - tell them that your autistic (if you want), but I'd just tell them you want to learn and are very nervous, they enjoy cockiness a lot of the time (in my opinion).. I had to deal with a trucker the other day, he was dropping off a load of rock for me at a private property. I simply listened to him, shook my head, shook his hand... told him he did an awesome job - treated him more like a child. They don't want to hear statistics or interesting information, and they more than likely would enjoy talking about tools, grease, and trucks.

I also once came onto a job and the trucker told me "I don't think your going to be able to handle this job." and I told him "I can handle any job you put me on, but after today... I quit.". They hired me to be a driver, but put me on a jackhammer style ground compactor (lol). At the end of the day he was begging me to stay, but I told him bye.

But its that beginning confidence they enjoy. They don't want to hear hesitation, and they are not flexible.

But I am a very calm driver, so it probably helps.



351Boss
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18 Mar 2012, 7:18 am

I have my own truck, I need it for my job, I love to drive and I love anything with wheels and have driven tractors, cherry pickers, four wheelers and bobcats, and horse drawn carriages 8O (I also have a restored muscle car which is awesome but now I'm just showing off)
I don't find my Aspie-ness interferes at all, it is a very solitary thing to do if you choose (it's not like you can carry a crowd around in a truck unless you have a dual cab and it's not like I'd be likely to invite more then one person to join me in any case), but I get a lot of reaction when I drive because I'm a girl... that sort of attention is far more unnerving then the responsibility on the road.

I do get grumpy with other road users as do a lot of truckies and I don't blame them, there are so many ignoramus small vehicle drivers always cutting in front or just having to squeeze into my damn stopping distance. :roll:

Learning to drive was no problem either, I guess I was what you call a natural, but I was lucky too in that I learned to drive in a remote outback town, doing circle work (Aussie slang for cutting up a paddock with the farm truck or 'ute' as we call it here) and driving with the family in turns the 2000km south to our capital city sharing the road with 'road trains' (Three trailers on a B Double).

Once in the city though I freaked out.... they had traffic lights! And lots of other road users! And pedestrians! But I pushed myself and driving became my obsession, and here I am, I drive almost fifteen metres of truck.

I smile just thinking about driving :D *sigh*



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18 Mar 2012, 12:50 pm

I'm a 22 year old aspie trucker.

I really never understood where the autistic folk can't drive stereotype came from really. I understand there's alot of multi-tasking involved, but like anything it just takes practice and patience, perhaps a bit more. I drive in washington, mountains, snow, ice, chains, 53 footers, doubles (not triples, hopefully one day.. they're illegal in WA) It's really a nice job. Pays well, very very limited social interaction.


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CanisMajor
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18 Mar 2012, 1:31 pm

351Boss wrote:
I have my own truck, I need it for my job, I love to drive and I love anything with wheels and have driven tractors, cherry pickers, four wheelers and bobcats, and horse drawn carriages 8O (I also have a restored muscle car which is awesome but now I'm just showing off)
I don't find my Aspie-ness interferes at all, it is a very solitary thing to do if you choose (it's not like you can carry a crowd around in a truck unless you have a dual cab and it's not like I'd be likely to invite more then one person to join me in any case), but I get a lot of reaction when I drive because I'm a girl... that sort of attention is far more unnerving then the responsibility on the road.

I do get grumpy with other road users as do a lot of truckies and I don't blame them, there are so many ignoramus small vehicle drivers always cutting in front or just having to squeeze into my damn stopping distance. :roll:

Learning to drive was no problem either, I guess I was what you call a natural, but I was lucky too in that I learned to drive in a remote outback town, doing circle work (Aussie slang for cutting up a paddock with the farm truck or 'ute' as we call it here) and driving with the family in turns the 2000km south to our capital city sharing the road with 'road trains' (Three trailers on a B Double).

Once in the city though I freaked out.... they had traffic lights! And lots of other road users! And pedestrians! But I pushed myself and driving became my obsession, and here I am, I drive almost fifteen metres of truck.

I smile just thinking about driving :D *sigh*


Wow, you're like my hero. 8O I usually find truck drivers admirable, but when they're female, they just get 10x cooler. :D

Although it's a bit off-topic, I'd also like to say "Thank you" to all of you who are/have been truck drivers. I've heard it's an intense job, but it's also so important to all of us no matter where we live. I wish I could do it (and I was seriously considering it before I found my long-term boyfriend.) So, kudos! :D



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18 Mar 2012, 1:55 pm

I would do it if my back did not prohibit it.
I have worked at the Fuel Desks of three of the large truck stops ( Flying J, Petro, Love's) over the years.
Trucker's are not the calmest people anyway. My polite manners actually got laughs at first.
Personally, I enjoy long drives by car, alone. Just some music & the open road..

Sincerely,
Matthew



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18 Mar 2012, 3:19 pm

Graduating from being able to drive a car pretty well, to being a professional driver of a large a potentially dangerous truck, is a big step for anyone

I rode an 11foot surfboard on the weekend, and even though I never fell once the previous day, on my usually 7foot board, the 11 footer is dangerous for other surfers.... and takes a lot of practise to handle safely. Any mistake is potentially hazardous to surfers near my mistakes

It takes a certain person to be a good professional driver, definitely in the top percentile for drivers.

Generally starting slow is a good way, with a 6 wheeler, then 10 wheeler. then 18 wheeler....



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18 Mar 2012, 5:44 pm

[Disclaimer: I am not diagnosed]

I worked about 4 years driving for different companies and did over the road across the country. Some of it enjoyed very much and some of it seemed completely absurd. Such as some of the tiny docks old companies have. Docking in Walmart is easy with all the room but they have annoying policies.

I also did a stint driving one of those Cargo Vans cross country. Those are cramped to live it but so much more real freedom of the open road. You can pass all those weigh stations and you don't have to struggle to find parking.

These jobs don't pay well IMO but what does anymore. If you can live cheap you can get by as a commercial driver. Honestly though I preferred the Cargo Van job. For now though I'm trying college again to retrain.



WildMan
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19 Mar 2012, 5:54 pm

886 wrote:
I really never understood where the autistic folk can't drive stereotype came from really.


It came from people like me. I'm 33 and I cannot drive at all. All my attempts have ended in failure and near death. I am a textbook case of an Aspie that can't drive.



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19 Mar 2012, 5:58 pm

My mom is getting that type of license. She runs a daycare and if she wants to drive the kids places then she has to get that type of license. She has ADHD, obviously not the same but similar in some ways. It really frustrates her since she gets asked a bunch of questions that don't mean anything to her that she needs the answer to.


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just-lou
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20 Mar 2012, 3:00 am

Quote:
(I also have a restored muscle car which is awesome but now I'm just showing off)


That's awesome - I love cars as well, am in the process of doing up a little bomb I bought ironically enough, after a crash took out mine a ew years ago) street-rod style. I love being on the road and that's one of the reasons I'm looking into getting my licence upgraded - so I can get into a job spent on the road.

Quote:
It's really a nice job. Pays well, very very limited social interaction.

That's the other reason. I currently work in a VERY people-focused job and I hate it.



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20 Mar 2012, 3:24 am

I love the road too, its a kind of stim, driving.

I think a lot of commercial drivers are schizoid, I've been considering doing some paid short haul (2-4hour journeys) driving just to see more of the countryside, and get out of town more often



Last edited by Surfman on 20 Mar 2012, 7:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

351Boss
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20 Mar 2012, 4:46 am

Cm. Awww that's a nice thing to say, I've never been a hero before :oops:




Hey Lou! Notice your an Aussie too, then you'll appreciate my car, maybe... hope your not a Holden fan. Oh well a nice car is a nice car,
Anywho, '79 Ford LTD, lowered, Clevo '51, Edelbrock manifold, FMX, and an 8 3/4 inch diff. Only 3000 made between 1979 and 1984, number five off the rank, all original log books.

My personal number plate? NOT HIS :wink:
I'm such a rev head :lol:



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20 Mar 2012, 6:55 am

i would LOVE to be a trucker, at least after seeing the romanticised version of trucking in the old NBC tv series "movin' on." but i like the thought of travelling all over the US and canada, of seeing all these new places, of the limited social interaction. but i realize that driving truck can be stressful due to the multitudes of idiots behind the wheels of the universe of small cars and trucks at lower altitudes who duck in and out in front of the trucker regardless of his/her ability to brake in time. that part of it would have me in a padded cell in no time.