Can you learn to drive with ASD?

driving lessons for drivers with ASD graphic

If you have an Autism Spectrum Disorder, this doesn’t necessarily have to be a barrier to freedom and independence. 1nfluence Driver Training know that Autism Spectrum Disorders are very diverse, and that it’s almost impossible to know what an individual will or won’t be able to achieve in terms of driving if they have one. Each person is different; you may find driving challenging, or you might find you pick it up quickly and that driving is straightforward for you.

Although we can’t make assumptions or predict how easy or difficult it will be to learn to drive with ASD, there is some basic information from The National Autistic Society and other organisations like it, with some general pointers if you have ASD and are thinking about learning to drive.

Do you have to declare autism to DVSA?

You do need to inform the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency if you have a health condition that affects your ability to drive safely. Failure to do this may leave you liable to a fine or prosecution if you are later involved in an accident as a result of your condition.

It’s a good idea to speak to your GP so you can discuss guidelines with them, as well as to ask them any other questions you might have about learning to driving safely with ASD.

How ASD can make driving a challenge

Common symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorders are delayed decision-making skills, challenges with motor coordination, and problems with executive functioning (higher-level thinking skills like multi-tasking). Associated conditions like sleep disorders or ADD/ADHD can also make driving difficult.

You have difficulty with communication (either verbal or nonverbal or both) or take instructions very literally. For example, a road sign may use a common expression that’s meaning may not be obvious to someone with ASD, and similarly, another driver’s hand gesture or signal (such as waving you on) may not be easy to interpret.

How 1nfluence Driver training can help you

Some of the strategies for helping you learn to drive with ASD include:

  • Social and hazard perception – Working through common driving scenarios and breaking them down into small steps to reduce frustration and build confidence.
  • Running commentary – To help develop observation and recognition skills through speaking out loud the signs, traffic lights, pedestrians and other important observations which are needed to drive safely.
  • Emergency readiness – Another helpful strategy is to be well prepared for situations where you might feel anxious or panicky, such as if you are seriously delayed in heavy traffic, or involved in an accident. By developing calming strategies, and creating a list of steps (such as calling a parent or other source of support), this helps to reduce any potential anxiety.

Single lessons are available from £50 per hour, or you can block book 10 hours from £480.

What’s happening?

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Is turning right into a side road potentially more dangerous than you think.... and is there anything you could do about it?

We often don't think twice when turning right into a side road, do we? You go through the checking of mirrors, a signal, and then slow or wait opposite the junction, looking for a gap in oncoming traffic... that's it isn't it?

But how about the traffic behind, especially if your junction is just around a bend or over the crest of a hill? Many crashes happen when a car hits the back of another.........!! Is there anything you can do about it?

Well, if you keep your wheels straight and keep an eye on your rear-view mirror, you might have the option to accelerate and drive away from the situation!! No crash and no being pushed into oncoming traffic!! Phew!! 🚗
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Working with a mix of lovely drivers today:
🚗Starting with a Polish lady who has dyspraxic tendencies and wants help with dealing with getting lost when on big roundabouts when driving ahead or turning right.
🚗A first on-road lesson with a lad with Global Developmental Delay and some processing issues. He's super keen to start learning to drive.
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If not now...... when?
Can we help?
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Do you ever drink and drive? Really? What does that question even mean to you?

Most responsible people would never think of drinking before or while driving..... But do people mean they wouldn’t exceed the Drink Drive limit? Or that they would never allow the slightest drop of alcohol to pass their lips before driving?

Legal limits can be confusing when people often don't know how many units of alcohol you can legally drink.... or what a unit actually looks like, when it differs based on the amount and strength of the alcohol or even which part of the UK you are in!!

The way alcohol affects people depends on many things too:
*your weight, age, sex and metabolism
*the type and amount of alcohol you’re drinking
*what you’ve eaten recently
*your stress levels at the time

Ultimately, the only totally safe limit for driving is NO alcohol.

Drinking and driving could cost people a driving licence, a job, but worse still a life!!
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