Learning to drive

I really want to learn to drive but I have tried before and my social anxiety was too much to deal with. I don’t know what to do because I will not put myself through that again. My senco at college suggested a specialist driving instructor, but I cannot find any in my area. Learning to drive is also so expensive! I’m just so worried that I will never be able to drive, I really want to just be able to drive now!!! I don’t know what I can do about this and how I could possibly learn?? I also don’t know whether to learn in an automatic or manual?? Just too much for me and I don’t know what to do!!!

  • I feel driving is too scary for me... one is going at a very high speed and has to process so much incoming information all at once very quickly. And since one is going so fast, accidents can be very dangerous. I feel the way Sheldon feels about driving. I've learned some skills in a parking lot, so I know the concepts and basic driving / parking, but it's very different on the road. So I think I've given up driving for now and I'm fine with just not being able to travel that easily. Maintaining a car can be quite expensive too. But if it's really something you want, just keep practicing and persevere. Some things do take a while to master (even some neurotypicals find learning to drive for the first time difficult). Look at your improvements over time, and be happy about every small improvement. Automatic is much easier than manual, so it would be a good start.

    There is some information on the NAS website about driving:

    https://www.autism.org.uk/about/family-life/everyday-life/driving.aspx

  • I find driving scary and anxiety provoking, but I somehow managed to learn and pass my test when I was 18, then never drove for years because I was too scared. In the past year I've started driving again very gradually and can now do small journeys and familiar routes. For me, it would be much easier to drive an automatic but I don't have one. (I'm sharing a friends car which is manual) If I ever bought a car I would get automatic. It just removes an additional thing to think about/that can go wrong. If you know someone who can supervise you as a learner and will let you use their car (or you could even buy your own if you have the means) you could just pass the theory, have a couple driving lessons with an instructor and then do a lot of practice driving with your friend/supervisor. That way you don't have to pay for as many lessons. Of course it depends how you cope whether this is viable. It might take you longer than other people but if it's "only" the anxiety holding you back you can definitely learn to drive if you take it slow and do things gradually. Definitely try to find a sympathetic instructor and tell them from the start that you are anxious and need to take it slow.

  • There are 3 parts to learning to drive - the technical highway code bit about the rules and signs, the second is the physical learning how to work a car and make it do what you want - and the third is jousting with everyone else on the road to get from A to B.

    The first is easy - just a little light reading.

    The second - there's often driving schools that teachyoung  people to drive on private land without any other traffic so you can concentrate on mastering the controls with little danger - they're normally advertised as for underage drivers to be able to pass their test on their 17th birthday.   Have a chat with that type of thing.   You can decide if manual or automatic is your preference in a safe environment.

    The third - out on the road with everyone else - this is scary for the first couple of lessons - it all seems so much to look at and do at the same time - but if you've already done the first and second parts, then it's not so much of a leap.

    I dive manual or auto - but given the state of traffic these days, autos are soooo much easier when you're going to be stuck in traffic for your whole journey.    Manuals are really only fun with a performance car on clear roads - otherwise, it's just a pain to be stamping on the clutch and changing gear all the time.