Learning To Drive


Recently I have been thinking about learning to drive but im nervous if I have a meltdown or sensory overload whilst driving.

If you are autisitic and know how to drive (a car) could you tell me a little bit about your experience on what's it like and what the pros and cons are?

Thank you!

  • I've said this many times on here when these threads pop up - driving is a bunch of separate skills - so why not learn them separately.

    First is the rules - highway code - learn what you should be doing and all the road signs.

    Next is controlling a car - if you're anxious, learn to drive an auto - all the future electric cars will be auto so a gearstick is just a load of avoidable grief,.   

    Try to find one of those companies that use an off the road course - most are on aerodromes etc. so you get used to driving a car without all the hazards and obstacles in your way.

    When you're comfortable, next is book a normal driving lesson - the only change to what you're doing are the other road users - but you'll already be skilled in controlling the car.

  •  your experience of driving is required here !

    I agree with Plastic as well.

  • Hello,

    I was lucky as my Great-grandfather used to take me out on a quiet industrial estate for driving lessons when I was about thirteen so I was used to clutch control and braking before taking more formal lessons. Having said that, I have only driven on a motorway once and never again as it was sensory overload for me. I stick to local roads and have a clean driving licence so go ahead and find what works for you. Driving does give you freedom and you are not bound by timetables. Do not be put off by the foot to the floor brigade and concentrate on your driving, good luck. 

  • great man obviously

  • I know how you feel I’m 34 never even had a lesson too scared I’ll daydream or panic.

  • I passed the driving test over thirteen years ago, and still have sensory overloads behind the wheel. Even this morning, when taking my brother with me for a Solicitor's appointment in Cookstown, I was nearly ploughed into by a White Audi driver to my right turning left to a side-bay between the road and pavement.

    I went through the emotional, and financial, wringer getting the driving test past. At first, I was none the wiser. Manoeuvring is a major bone of contention for me, I have difficulty multitasking. Perhaps practice steering with something large and round. Even now, I struggle with the steering. But my clutch control and observation levels are good enough.

    Another issue I have is dealing with multiple lanes. Some roundabouts are exceptions to the general rule. And roundabouts with additional traffic lights are a foreign concept to me; I'm from the Northern Ireland Boonies. I've seen a few of those roundabouts in England; when a passenger in a taxi. I would struggle to deal with the layouts of the roads in Britain. And that's not even considering cyclists.

    Insurance can be a stumbling block if you're under twenty-five. Fortunately, I was twenty-eight when I passed the test. People develop skills in their own time. The REAL education in driving begins once you've passed.

    Automatics are better, but they're dead expensive.

    If you're really stuck, perhaps learn to ride a motorbike first. You'll become a more confident driver if you go biking first.

    That's pretty much it.

  • Hello, 

    I learnt to drive when I was 32 because my son had been diagnosed with Autism and he couldn't cope with public transport so I started taking lessons. I didn't know I was Autistic then (that might sound silly I know) 

    I have just been diagnosed with Autism (46 now) and I love driving it is one of the best things I ever did but I found it so hard to learn. I would get overwhelmed and cry on most lessons. I found it very hard, but I had a good instructor who was patient and kind and I passed first time! I do get very irritated when people aren't following the rules of the road but I other than that I really love it and have driven all over the country and even abroad on holiday. 

    If it something you want to do give it a try and don't be put off because it's hard at first or because you are scared of what might happen. There have been journeys that have been really scary for me (like awful weather on the motorways) but I have always held it together on the road and just cried when I got home. It hasn't put me off driving. Some people don't like it but some like me, really love it. Find a nice instructor or someone you trust to take you out. See how you feel about it. Hope this helps. 

  • this was so helpful! thank you so much!

  • You're welcome! Good luck I hope you love it! 

  • I learned to drive a motorcycle first. In my day the limit was 250cc with top speeds of about 100m.p.h.

    It is well documented that motorcycle riders make better car drivers and pass car tests easier.

    You can get automatic or electric motorcycles if needed. This way you will learn road skills without having to worry about gear changing. Eventually it becomes second nature.

    Get your CBT and a 125 (about 40mph) and that way you will not have to worry about getting through spaces etc.

    At 61 I still prefer bikes as they are far more convenient for popping into the town for simple things and I have a choice of cars.