My son has ADHD. He got his driver’s license and a month later had his first crash. At about three miles an hour. In a parking lot. The other car was parked! Meanwhile, he’s amazing at driving games on his Xbox. Hilarious! Well, except that he’s afraid to drive now.AnonymousInactive
I became hyper focused when learning to drive 29 years ago, after a friend was killed in an car accident . I consider myself a better driver then most and even drove tractor trailer for a few years. Unusual for most ADHD. Any accidents I have had were minor but definitely related to my ADHD, when I became complacent and inattentive. Maybe his little accident will just wake him up to how easily things happen. Note I scare people when their with me in a car but alone there is not problem. Don’t allow riders maybe the best policy.AnonymousInactive
I am never at ease behind the wheel. I do not know why it is. I have never been in a car accident, so I think there might be something in my hindbrain, but I do not know why I can not relax behind the wheel.AnonymousInactive
Has he taken driving lessons?
I took the Humber College motor cycle course years ago and what i learned (even though it was a motorcycle course) improved my level of comfort behind the wheel of a car immensely.
Once i understood the “Rhythm” of traffic flow driving was fun, and at times relaxing (as hard to believe as THAT sounds)Rick Green – Founder of TotallyADDParticipant
Yeah, my son took driving lessons, and they were horrible. The instructor was telling him to speed, saying he didn’t need to signal to change lanes, and even saying, “Pass that guy who’s speeding. It’ll be fun.”
Of course he only told me about this later.
Recently I heard a statistic that young drivers who learn from their parents have LOWER accident rates. The opposite of what it used to be.Patte RosebankParticipant
I took driving lessons when I was 17. I remember struggling to stay focused (or at least, awake) during the in-class sessions, and feeling completely overwhelmed by all the information coming at me from all directions while behind the wheel—whether with the instructor, or during practice sessions with my dad, who had won a safe driving rally and was a stern taskmaster. When I took my test, the tester nearly blew out my right ear by screaming, “STOP!”, as I started to advance into a left turn without noticing another car coming at us from across the intersection. Naturally, I flunked the driving test, but I already knew I was one of those people who simply weren’t meant to drive. I swear, most of the people on “Canada’s Worst Driver”, have exactly the same concentration issues as I do, but they either don’t realize it, or lack the sense of responsibility to say it.
Ten years after the driving debacle, I had a whole bunch of psychological tests, which determined that, although I am in the 93rd percentile for intelligence (meaning, only 7% of the population is smarter than I am), I have tremendous difficulty in separating the critical from the trivial when presented with a lot of information. Therefore, my initial conclusion that I wasn’t meant to drive was a very sound one. And, living in downtown Toronto, it’s a very economical one. After all, you can buy a lot of TTC fares and cab rides for the cost of driving a car for a year.AnonymousInactive
Now into my 30s, I’ve been afraid of driving my whole life and have never gotten my licence. Even before I knew about ADHD, I knew I didn’t trust myself to pay attention. The idea of getting into a 2 tonne metal box and going real fast somehow seemed like a really bad idea. Thankfully I’ve always lived somewhere with a decent transit system and have convinced myself it’s an environmentally-friendly position.AnonymousInactive
I got my first learners license when I was 16. My dad tried teaching me but he was too impatient a teacher and I was (naturally) a lousy student. I just couldn’t pay enough attention to the nuances of driving to really get it. After a while I gave up. Never took a test. I tried again when I was 18. Gave up. Again when I was 20. I gave up. A large part of my always quitting was that I felt that i wouldn’t have a good enough job to afford a car anyway. I didn’t try again until I was 26 when I finally succeeded after a couple of tries at testing. Most people don’t get it on the first try anyway. I also had money to actually buy a car.
After I got my license, that’s when the real driving education began. I had a hard edged boss who really taught me to drive. I learned to squeeze cars and trucks into the smallest spaces and the narrowest of gaps! It was crazy. “Use your mirrors!” “As long as you see daylight between the car and the wall you’re okay!” To my surprise, I never ended up causing any major damage. Sure, I’ve made a couple of boo-boos with my own car since, but nothing I loose sleep over. I’ve driven on the highways lots, just for fun. I love it!
The whole point of this? For some folks (especially ADD folks), it just takes longer and later in life to “get it”. Some people have to wait until a little more emotional and mental maturity sets in. Some extra motivation might be needed too. Most important of all, you need a good teacher. Maybe 16 is just too young!SaffronMember
“The whole point of this? For some folks (especially ADD folks), it just takes longer and later in life to “get it”. Some people have to wait until a little more emotional and mental maturity sets in.”
Bobcat, I think you’re onto something here. Even though I dutifully (fearfully) went through the motions at 16 years old and managed to get my driver’s licence then, I didn’t drive until my early 30’s. Another friend of mine with ADHD is in her late 40’s and still doesn’t drive, much to the surprise of everyone who knows her when they find out.
I’m now quite a fearless driver and have grown really dependent on the greater geographic expanse it gives me. However, I use defensive driving techniques (e.g., maintaining large space cushions between myself and other vehicles) and must have music playing on the radio to stay alert and focus properly. Talk radio or conversation with passengers is too distracting.AnonymousInactive
Wow. My story is very similar to your son’s. I got in a wreck the first day of driving in my Driver’s Ed class at school. It was horrible. Everyone called me “Crash” at school for the rest of the year. I’ve always been afraid of making left turns ever since. It’s been around 5 years since then and I’ve become comfortable enough to drive the 137 miles in between home and college. Granted it’s all highway and then curvy back roads which can be fun. If I were you I’d be concerned about his feelings towards driving, especially if he plans to go off to college and you want him to visit you, and later if he doesn’t end up living in a big city. You might want to even “re-teach” him driving so that he loses that “Pass that guy who’s speeding. It’ll be fun.” thing he learned. I can’t say it’ll be easy for him, let alone that there won’t be more wrecks. He just needs to remember that he needs to “get back on the horse” eventually at least.Patte RosebankParticipant
I’ve often thought that the legal system has it all wrong when doling out the “Big 3” privileges of driving, voting, and drinking.
When you consider the consequences of an error in judgment in each of the “Big 3”, it makes far more sense that we should be allowed to vote at 16, to drink at 19, and to drive at 21. After all, if one teenager screws up in the voting booth, it’s no big deal. If that teenager drinks alcohol before he’s mature enough to know when to stop, it can have serious repercussions, but probably won’t be fatal. However, a teenager who is lacking in maturity and judgment, and is behind the wheel of 2,000 lbs. of speeding metal, could kill someone (or himself) in an instant.
Of course, I’m a fine one to talk. I tried to drive the family car when I was 3. The flagpole is still lying in the bushes where it fell when I backed into it.TimParticipant
Larynxa, I agree with your Big 3 comment. It’s crazy that we allow driving at 16.
My experience with driving is a bit different. I took to it quickly and easily. In the early years I kept the tickets under control and caused only one crash (which is enough!). I won a trophy for car racing and participated in motorcycle competitions in my late teens and early twenties.
However (!!!), I had a lot of close calls that I managed to avoid because I was technically very good even if I was a terror on the road. I still remember one day when I was going far too fast in the city and, while coming out of a bend in the road with poor sight lines, I was almost upon a woman crossing the street. It was all I could do to avoid her although I came so close I must have scared the bejeezes out of her.
I certainly scared myself and realised that I wasn’t making very good decisions about driving. Since then I have become very careful. I follow the speed limit, leave lots of following distance, stop at stop signs, slow for pedestrians and animals etc. All of these have become habits which have served me well because they give lots of opportunity to recover from a daydreaming session or momentary loss of focus. I still have a few close calls but they would have been crashes before. I also save a lot of fuel.
The only down side of driving like this is that most drivers are horribly impatient. They will tailgate aggressively and pass in stupid places but I have accepted that I’m not responsible for their bad habits. If someone persists in tailgating I just slow down or pull over to let her pass.
I unfortunately have to drive a lot but since cleaning up my act, I haven’t had a ticket in about 25 years, my car has no dents and no one has died because of my driving. I’m very happy about the last one.AnonymousInactive
Spent the first 28 years of my life in Boston where there’s lots of mass transit options, high auto insurance rates, narrow roads full of impatient drivers and very little parking. So it made more sense not to drive. My mom never got her license, she was just too nervous and never got comfortable driving, so we just walked and took buses everywhere. Now my husband and I live in suburban Nashville where the roads are great, parking is more available and the bus and train choices are very limited. Plus I got pregnant shortly after we moved here. Taking cabs to my prenatal appts got old in a hurry, and I was not walking 2 miles to the bus stop in 100 degree heat! So I took a drivers ed course and was lucky enough to get a great instructor who helped me learn my way around Nashville.
Finally earned my license when I was 29 years old and 33 weeks pregnant. That little piece of plastic is such a source of pride to me. Now my son won’t grow up freezing or sweating at bus stops, and it won’t take 4 hours to get someplace that’s 20 minutes by car. If I’d gotten it in my teens I probably would have brought my adolescent mindset into my driving. Instead I had matured enough to be patient, not take crazy chances, and take my safety and that of my child seriously. At first I was a very nervous driver. I didn’t even want to drive 5 minutes to the supermarket because I had to make a left turn! But I gradually built up my confidence with longer and more challenging trips. Now I’m comfortable tackling everything from busy 8-lane interstates to narrow 2-lane country roads full of hills and hairpin turns. Can’t say I’ve never made a mistake at the wheel but I learn from every mistake and never repeat them, and I’ve been lucky enough not to cause a wreck or get a speeding ticket. I’m still kind of uncomfortable with left turns so I seek out intersections with green arrows, or if I’m not in a hurry I’ll drive a little out of my way so I don’t have to make a tricky judgment call.
Also I make sure to eat something and take my Ritalin (or hit the Starbucks drive-thru in a pinch) so I’m equipped to be the most alert, attentive driver I can be. And I give myself plenty of time to get where I’m going. If my destination is 20 minutes away I set my alarm for 45 minutes before I need to be there, get myself and my son ready and usually get there 10-15 minutes early. Quite a change for a lifelong latecomer!AnonymousInactive
With the exception of about 12 speeding tickets, my driving record was free and clear….(chuckles). UNTIL about a month ago, when I T-boned a guy, i never even saw. He wasn’t speeding or doing anything out of the ordinary. I was just trying to cross the road, and looked right, and left, and instead of focusing on the oncoming traffic lane to the right, i was focusing on the guy the next block over who was pulling across the same road as me. I figured, if he can go, i can go. WRONG, he waited for the car that was passing by, I never saw him. Truth is, had it not been for that accident, I probably would have never discovered I had ADHD.AnonymousInactive
I like the big 3 idea! I could vote before I got my permit.
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