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Emu Egg
Emu Egg

Joined: 17 Sep 2015
Age: 34
Posts: 1

17 Sep 2015, 1:10 am

Ok, so I'm not sure if I'm posting this in the right subforum. But here goes.

Last summer I was diagnosed with a Nonverbal Learning Disorder. Don't know if it matters, but verbal IQ 130 and performance IQ of 107. Can't remember on which test. New diagnosis. Still learning how it affects me, if that makes sense. I mean, it fits - but I am still figuring out which of my issues and quirks can be attributed to it, and which can be just attributed to my personality.

Anyway, yeah. So I can get by in the world. I have a part-time job, and have had a full time job before. I have a degree, and I have my own apartment.

But - I need a car. I want to work in my field, Environmental Sciences, and all the entry-level positions are either out in the boonies or in small towns.

I'm 28, I have my license. But I haven't driven in 10 years, and I only "drove" for about 3 weeks before passing the driving test (took it 3 times, passed the 3rd time).

What kind of car should I be looking for? I need to take lessons again to feel comfortable behind the wheel, should I concentrate on manual or automatic? What pitfalls should I look out for while being a new, non-neurotypical driver?

I have a very low distraction threshold. I get lost pretty damn easily. I would say I have an OK spatial awareness, but all the bruises I get from bumping into things would probably discredit that.

Driving terrifies me. I've been hit twice as a pedestrian, not to mention everything else. But in my city, and in my field, it's a necessity. Any advice? Sorry for rambling.


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Joined: 4 Apr 2011
Age: 33
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,665

17 Sep 2015, 7:42 am

an automatic might be the better choice; it takes away a few things to keep track of, allowing more attention to your surroundings.

With a lower distraction threshold, the biggest 'danger' is just that: distraction. On the road, a lot of things are happening that are of no concern to you: people mowing grass, the lanes for the opposite direction, a truck overtaking someone behind you (seen in the mirrors)... none of that concern you really, so you should train (with help from an instructor, as you are taking extra lessons anyway) in filtering information down to what is really needed.


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Joined: 4 Feb 2014
Gender: Male
Posts: 68,513
Location: Queens, NYC

17 Sep 2015, 8:39 am

Automatic, definitely.

You should try to start driving on less-travelled routes to get used to driving again.

Then graduate to the highway. Once you learn how to merge on the highway properly, you'll be okay.

I probably have an NLVD. I once scored a 150 Verbal and 90 Performance on an IQ test.

More recently, the scores were 120 Verbal and 104 Performance.


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Joined: 7 Aug 2014
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,224
Location: Whale watching off the coast of Maine

17 Sep 2015, 4:09 pm

Lucky for you that cars are my Aspie obsession, so I can definitely help you with this. :)

Will you be going out into 'the environment' at all or will you simply be heading to a building and working there?

If you just work in one building, and the drive over is on roads and highways, then a small to mid-size automatic car would be best. If you will be going out into state parks or anything like that, then I would recommend a four wheel drive vehicle with a manual transmission. Reason being is when you are not driving on pavement, 4WD is a very nice thing to have. The manual would also be good in this case because you have control over the vehicle shifting which is especially good in bad weather like snow. It is a little harder to control an automatic car in the snow because it is computer controlled, and it doesn't have the instinct a driver would normally have.

Another advantage with a manual over an automatic is that a manual is much easier and cheaper to repair. Anyone with some mechanical know-how can rebuild a manual transmission for probably less that $800. An automatic is MUCH more complicated because there are hydraulic pumps in there that do the shifting for you. It requires special knowledge and tools that most people don't have. To pay someone to rebuild the automatic transmission in our 2000 Dodge Grand Caravan cost close to $2000. Also depending on the age of the vehicle, manual transmissions get better fuel mileage than automatics. It all really boils down to what you are comfortable with and what it is you need.

For possible pitfalls, I agree with kraftiekortie on starting out on small, less traveled roads and working your way up to larger roads and highways when you feel comfortable and up to it. Lessons should definitely help you out. It will take practice and patience, but you'll get the hang of what to pay attention to on the road.

As an Aspie driver, here is a tip. The things that you should pay attention to are what is in front of you, what you can see in your rear and side view mirrors, and your instrument cluster. With the mirrors, what I do is if I am on a two lane road, I only look in my rear view mirror (the one that is inside the car attached to the windshield). If I am on a multi lane road, I'll use the rear view and the side view mirrors depending on which lane I am in. For example, if I am in the right lane of a three lane road, I'll use the left side view mirror and the rear view mirror. This strategy should help you out in knowing what to focus on without getting distracted by everything else. Once you get the hang of this and start driving for a while, then it will become second nature, trust me.

Hope I've helped you out. Let me know if you have any other questions. :)

Pileated woodpecker
Pileated woodpecker

Joined: 10 Sep 2015
Age: 32
Posts: 183
Location: Los Angeles, Ca

17 Sep 2015, 4:18 pm

Do not be afraid of driving. I always get lost, but that is what I have a map on my phone for. I don't think you need lessons- just go with someone to a quiet residential street and drive through the neighborhood. This is what I did with my mother when she hadn't driven in about 7 years and I believe she has all the same issues that you listed. You just need to gain more confidence by actually doing it. You being hit as a pedestrian has no bearing on how you will perform as a driver.

I have a Toyota Corolla which is great for gas mileage and low maintenance needed. Anything that can get you 30+ miles to the gallon is a good bet in my opinion.

Hope this helps!


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Joined: 15 May 2011
Gender: Male
Posts: 120
Location: Richland, WA

18 Sep 2015, 6:17 pm

I definitely recommend an automatic as it removes a pretty sizable chunk out of what you have to concentrate on while driving. You should also consider using a GPS (most phones have GPS apps these days), if you find it distracting to try to figure out where you're going.