Neurodivergent Rebel – Learning How to Drive

I consider myself a mostly competent driver nowadays, but this wasn’t always the case. In fact, learning to drive was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. I needed my independence as a teenager.

I’ve never lived in a city where not having a car works. Even now, my job is several towns away from where I live. Learning to drive was the only way I could see myself getting the things I wanted – so I did it.

I had a bad habit of rear-ending people and backing-up into things when I first started to drive. My mother worried about me anytime I was out on the road (for good reason).

Now, at the age of 30, my main problem is “curb-checks”. Still a work in progress but better than I was yesterday.

12 thoughts on “Neurodivergent Rebel – Learning How to Drive

  1. My only real problem comes when I’m driving in such a way that requires very little focus and my mind wanders. I’m actually a better driver in heavy traffic than I am on a less-traveled, open road. It’s weird.

    Another coping strategy I’ve used over the years is to only own vehicles with manual transmissions. I already prefer them anyway (they’re much more fun to drive and have less maintenance cost vs. automatic and CVT transmissions) but every wreck I’ve ever been in has been in an automatic. I don’t think it’s coincidence at all. Of course, with the relative unpopularity of manual transmissions that means I usually get killer deals when shopping for cars.

      1. Out of curiosity do you know how to drive a manual? It’s really not that hard and it’s a good skill to have regardless of whether you like it or ultimately don’t. I’d teach you but, I live so far away. 😛

          1. Trust me when I say you never forget it. If you ever find yourself driving one again the muscle memory of feeling the clutch engagement point, feathering the accelerator, etc. will come right back in just a few stop/start/upshift/downshift cycles.

  2. I’ve been driving for fifty years, many of those covering over 250,000 miles per year. Although I tend to be somewhat uncoordinated, driving came naturally to me. The only crash I’ve had is when an oncoming driver decided to overtake a long line of traffic around a blind curve. I’ve been very lucky in this regard.

    I didn’t start driving automatics until about twenty years ago, and to be honest I really dislike going back to a manual. Perhaps it’s a combination of advancing years and a lower back problem, but there’s no way I could be persuaded to own a manual again.

  3. I drove for 40 years. I thought I was brilliant at it and frightened everyone else nearby for about the first 20 years. Then I realised that I was an idiot when behind the wheel and became reasonably safe at least 50% of the time. I loved the thrill of risk taking inherent in every journey. Borderline Personality Disorder (with which I was once diagnosed) does not necessarily go too well with driving, but astonishingly I had only one crash (rear-ending a car which stopped while I was thinking about something else) after 6 months of driving and then, no bumps, no tickets (not even parking tickets) – none at all – absolutely miraculous and completely undeserved. Now I can’t drive and it feels like someone has taken away my favourite toy… Probably just as well, and (I’m glad to say) my decision, so I still have a licence though they are probably going to cancel it. I just don’t drive because I can’t concentrate for more than 5 minutes at a time and I’m just not safe.

    1. I’ve had to work VERY had to get my attention span up and drive right. Honestly I probably should NOT have driven when I first started. In hindsight I was not ready and it WAS very dangerous.

  4. I don’t drive! But you don’t really need to in England – we have fantastic public transport, and most people walk anything less than a mile or so. Travelling with work, we all go by train to distant clients. I remember visiting my cousin in California, and being shocked at how you couldn’t even get across to the other side of town without driving, because the sidewalks often just didn’t exist to even get there…

  5. I love driving especially long drives. I am usually the driver when a group of us go out. Feel uncomfortable as a passenger. My best drive was in the 70s – went cross country with 3 other girls,camping and loving it.

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