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Tips For Overcoming Driving Challenges as an ADHDer

Updated: Nov 24, 2022


If you have ADHD, you know that driving can be quite the struggle. You also may know that the driving challenges you experience occur due to the inattentiveness and distractibility that you succumb to in your day-to-day life (“ADHD and Driving”, 2022). This creates bad habits on the road. However, fear no more. It is time to use the unique traits that you were given to become the #ultimatedriver. No, seriously - you can turn your presumed “weaknesses” into strengths! If you’re wondering how, keep reading this issue of DiverseMinds Magazine! Here are our Tips to Overcoming Driving Challenges as an ADHDer.


Understanding the Why

It is very probable that you clicked on this article because you have experienced driving difficulties in the past (or still do to this present day), and you’re searching for some magical answer that will explain why. Perhaps you’re expecting us to tell you what you’ve heard your whole life – that your brain works differently than others, making you feel like an outcast when compared to the rest of society. The reality is, you’re not atypical for experiencing challenges while driving. Everybody goes through it at some point in their lives, whether they’d like to or not, and this is especially true for newbies on the road. Please understand that it is absolutely normal to make mistakes… After all, this is what makes us human. The sole difference between you and the average individual lies in the fact that your neurodivergent brain is a bit more extraordinary than normal – hyper-aware of its surroundings, quick to act, and in need of immediate dopamine. When is this ever a bad thing, anyway? While it is this impaired executive function that has the potential to make you an impulsive, distracted driver with an altered ability to judge your environment, these traits also make it very possible for you to be highly-skilled on the road. With all this said, it’s finally time for exploration: how can women with ADHD approach driving in a way that suits their extraordinary brains to become excellent drivers?


Consider a Driving Rehabilitation Specialist

When first learning to drive, the majority of people have felt overwhelmed by the multitude of skills they need to pick up on in order to drive effectively. These include, but are not limited to, the following: predicting how quickly a car is approaching, checking your rear-view mirror every 5-8 seconds, signaling when appropriate, reacting quickly to place your foot on the brake pedal, and anticipating the actions of your fellow neighbors on the road all at the same time. Now, imagine how difficult these tactics – which must be performed simultaneously – become for a new driver with an active brain! Bizarre, isn’t it? Hence, this is why we commence this article with a crucial tip for ADHDers: consider practicing on the road with a Driving Rehabilitation Specialist (Kelly, 2022)! What are Driving Rehabilitation Specialists, you ask? Well, these are trained professionals that offer assistance to people like you, who might need a specialized method of teaching while driving. These experts truly understand your struggles, and will offer you the appropriate assistance when you present them with your difficulties. So, if you feel like you need a helping hand who will comprehend the workings of your extraordinary brain, consider this resource essential. After all, a sense of empathy and support from even one individual can make a world of difference.


Familiarity is Key

Familiarity, Familiarity. Familiarity. Are you familiar with this word yet? Let’s hope you are, because our next tip is to stick to routes that feel familiar to you while driving. Now, this piece of information is incredibly important… As somebody with ADHD, sticking to routine may provide you with a sense of deep comfort and relief, while leaving your comfort zone can feel extra scary, causing you to make more mistakes than usual. This is why we recommend that, when traveling to a particular destination, you stick to a route that feels familiar. By driving on roads that you’ve driven on dozens of times before, you can save yourself the stress of adjusting to new routes, and simply shift your focus to improving your driving skills. In this way, you put yourself at an advantage; ADHDers reach their optimal potential by being patient with themselves, performing one task at a time. Well, it’s the same story for driving! So, make that left turn at your favourite intersection, drive down the road close to home, and do anything and everything that will put your mind in the calmest state possible (Kelly, 2022). Once you finally feel like you have mastered the routes that feel familiar to you, you can step outside the lines of your comfort zone by attempting to drive in alternative areas. Taking baby steps is key here.


Use Active Scanning Techniques

No matter how long you have had your license, you likely understand that driving requires that you are aware of your surroundings 24/7. This means the comprehension of what is occurring ahead of you, behind you, and to the left and right of you. While this poses a challenge to many, this can be especially difficult for an ADHDer. Here at DiverseMinds Magazine, we understand that it is very tempting to fall into the trap of impulsivity when traffic becomes hectic on route. However, we urge you to not give in to the wants of your brain. Instead, practice active scanning techniques to build on the skill of awareness. What does this mean? Well, simply get somebody you’re close with, like a parent or friend, to sit in the passenger seat as you describe to them what is going on around you on the road (Kelly, 2022). Note that this ecompasses the fact that you will tell this person, for example, when there is a red light ahead, when the car in front of you has put their brakes on, or even when there is construction on the road you’re about to turn onto. For added benefit, we recommend that you narrate your driving decisions as well (Kelly, 2022). For example, try telling the person in the passenger seat that you will come to a stop because there is a stop sign ahead. This will be extremely helpful in allowing you to trust the decisions you make and ultimately understand the workings of the road.


Ask the Instructor About Experience With ADHD

Last but not least, if you are in the process of taking driving lessons, or if you have followed our advice in obtaining your very own Driving Rehabilitation Specialist (which you totally should), feel free to ask these professionals about their past experience assisting ADHDers on the road. As mentioned previously, a sense of understanding surrounding the unique traits you were offered goes a long way for you. In fact, the failure to comprehend the extraordinary workings of the ADHD mind can result in horrid experiences with driving instructors, because many can become impatient or fed up with distractibility. Trust us, there are a lot of people out there who will never give you a hard time for simply being you. You are unique and awesome, and we know that you have all of the tools that you need to become an excellent driver. So, while you are driving along, put forth confidence that you offer a discrete sense of individuality that makes it possible for you to excel. Be kind to yourself, give yourself patience, and ensure that you have a support system alongside you that wants to see you succeed while learning to drive. We believe that, as long as you follow the tips and tricks that we’ve provided in this article, you are absolutely capable of becoming the next pro driver! You got this, girl.


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