Asperger’s Experiences & Personal Growth: Stephen’s Evolution

Aspergers and learning to drive

June 21, 2023 Stephen McHugh Episode 11
Asperger’s Experiences & Personal Growth: Stephen’s Evolution
Aspergers and learning to drive
Show Notes Chapter Markers

Here I talk about my personal experiences of learning to drive. It includes

Developing skills
Crossing my hands over when steering - learned early on not to do this (control of car)

I understood how to work the controls from observations of other drivers

I knew driving too fast is dangerous, and learned afterwards that too slow can causes dangers of its own

Overcoming my fear of speed - I spent time in small, quiet car parks getting used to the family car, by driving around in relatively quiet areas such as small car parks before progressing to a larger car park to get accustomed to driving at speeds close to that on a typical public road.
Emerging from junctions and roundabouts - knowing when to give way (Judging gaps, larger gaps easier, longer and straighter roads)

Reading and understanding the language involved in the rules of the road and applying them to traffic situations.

Finding an instructor
Recommendation by a friend, who advised that a local instructor was probably ideal for me, since they wouldn't be quite so pushy, but still with enough enthusiasm about them to keep you motivated along the way. 

My instructor had a good pass rate and would remind me whenever I did something wrong or praise me when I did something right. Reassured me

Being obsessed with perfection - concentrated better after being told not to dwell on perfection

Certain things I could understand easily enough MSM when lane changing and checking blind spot before carrying out manoeuvre.

Being in a dual controlled car gave me a peace of mind too, knowing that my instructor could intervene if dangerous situations arose.

Stopping for small breaks

Instead of using phrases like “Burn rubber”, use a simpler phrase like get up to a certain speed quickly.

Written test
Had access to a book with questions likely to appear on the theory test. I just read the book from start to finish, practising the questions until I was satisfied I could remember them. 

To me a lot of questions were simply a matter of applying common sense.

If you're behind a lorry indicating to turn left, it seems more logical to hold back and give it more room because, for a start, a lorry is a bigger and longer vehicle, and will thus need more room in the road in order to complete the turn safely.

Practical driving skills
Manoeuvres (parallel parking and reversing round corners using certain points on back window as guides)

Multitasking - using car controls whilst looking out for other road users
Hill starts - using a bit more revs

My driving test
Taken down familiar roads

Having practice independent of lessons gave me confidence in tackling traffic situations

Psychologically it gives me a newer kind of personal freedom
Less reliance on public transport

Long motorway drives - overcome significant barriers

Overcoming fear of speed and limitation of concentration

Whenever I encounter difficulties elsewhere, I think about the fact I mastered learning to drive.

Every case of autism is different and unique

Thanks for listening. You can find me on my website, or on twitter here. You can sign up to receive news of new episodes when they're released here.

Artwork produced by Elena Designe
Music composed by Nela Ruiz

Challenges I faced
How I chose my Instructor
My Theory Test
My Driving Test
The Future of Learning To Drive
Announcement of Short break From Podcasting