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chromanebula
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12 Jun 2014, 4:50 pm

So, I just turned fifteen, which means I can get my learner's permit now. But the problem is, my mom doesn't want to give it to me. :( She claims to be too busy to take me up to the license office, but I know the real reason is that she doesn't want me to get my permit--especially since she originally promised to take me within two weeks of my birthday (probably just to get me to stop asking for it), but then she went back on her word. She says she's worried that someone will hit me. But even for teenage drivers, accidents aren't common, especially if you're careful. She says Asperger's makes it harder to drive safely. Any thoughts?



DrHouseHasAspergers
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12 Jun 2014, 7:31 pm

Driving is hard. You have to be able to focus on a lot of things at once, be able to anticipate what other people will do, and know how to compensate for unexpected changes (like construction detours). You also have to be good enough with directions to know how to reach your destination and it helps to have alternate routes planned out in case of a detour or something. Even though I've had my license for a while now, I use Google Maps every time I go someplace new to make sure I know the way - I like to use satellite view to see what the area is like (where I can park and easily/safely get out again). Plus, you have to watch for speed limit changes until you know the roads in your area. Then you still have to check roads that you don't normally take and won't learn because no one can memorize every speed limit of every road. If you are ever unsure, residential areas are usually 25-30mph. I err on the side of caution and go 25 in residential areas until I see a speed limit sign telling me otherwise. Highways are generally 60-70mph but they have easier to spot speed limit signs than residential areas if it is different.

I did get my permit at 15 but I did not pass my road test until I was 19. I first tried (and failed) the road test when I was 17 and decided to wait a while before trying again. I got it right on the second go around 2 years later.

My mom was the opposite of your mom about driving. She pressed me to get into a drivers' education class as soon as legally allowed (14 years 8 months) so I could begin to practice driving with her. But that put a lot of pressure on me too soon and I had a lot of difficulty driving with her because I could never do it well enough to get her to stop criticizing everything I did behind the wheel. Eventually, I flat out refused to drive with her. That really made her mad and significantly increased the not-so-nice comments she made about how I should be driving already, I need to practice more, etc... She expected me to get my license right at 16 like my brothers had. It was bad enough that I didn't even attempt the test until I was 17 so she got really angry when I failed it the first time.

I feel like AS does affect my driving. I have to work hard not to go into "tunnel-vision mode" which seems quite common amongst Aspies and I have a lot of trouble anticipating what other people are going to do. Driving requires a fair amount of social intuition, which is another thing that I struggle with due to Asperger's. It's like a giant, confusing social situation except everyone is in cars going at speeds that can kill or at least injure you if you get hit. You have to be able to understand what other drivers will do at any given time and be able to respond appropriately to their moves within seconds or risk causing an accident.


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MakaylaTheAspie
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18 Jun 2014, 5:21 pm

Agh. Driving. Just shoot me in the head already.

I got my license a couple of years ago, but I refuse to drive. It stresses the f*ck out of me, and moving vehicles in general give me so much anxiety because I was in a lot of really bad car accidents as a child (dad is a complete moron who doesn't know how to check his mirrors).

Seriously. If you're going to drive, do it as a necessity. And actually, car accidents are the lead cause of teen deaths in the US, so it's not as simple as you think getting on the road. Consider if you're actually ready for a huge responsibility like driving, and consider alternatives (like public transportation, it's a LOT cheaper, and I'm speaking from experience).


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dontmesswithtexas
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29 Jun 2014, 6:24 pm

[quote="MakaylaTheAspie"]Agh. Driving. Just shoot me in the head already.

I so agree. I was like most NT teens and wanted to drive. So I got my permit at 16 (for some reason you guys got yours at 15). I was really looking forward to doing everything that driving entails. I passed the written test with no problem, 100%. I started driving and man was I bad! I ran off the road a few times, I forgot to use the blinker, I didn't check mirrors, I was just bad. Everyone hated riding with me because I was so bad. So I get what you're feeling.
I recently read a study about teenagers with Asperger's driving. I really didn't read it all the way through though. But the reason I am such a bad driver is because I have no depth perception. I can't tell where the cars are, how far away they are. I can't apply the right amount of pressure to the gas peddle or the break peddle. My advice, just do what you're comfortable with. If you keep driving, you might get better at it. I got slightly better at it, but people still don't like riding with me.

Best wishes!