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What is your experience learning to drive.

79 posts in this topic

The first time, gave me a real rush. I was 16 and driving an electric passenger train (with driver watching) which was illegal. But in those days, drivers could flaunt the rules before the H&S stepped in

 

And you didn't have all the idiots who cut you up, didn't indicate, etc etc

 

The fact that it was technically illegal could well make it more fun (and you said the driver was watching right so no worries) :devil:

 

I imagine there are some benefits versus for rails versus roads - but at least on roads you have more options of places to go and you can turn round easier if you make a wrong turn :lol:

 

I'd love to have a shot at driving a train - I can't really explain why - it just seems like it could be fun :)

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Thought I would make a few general points regarding learning to drive.

 

As a bit of background a few years back following my retirement from teaching I decided to train as a driving instructor with the intention of it acting as a means of income whilst I went through a university course. I also felt that at universtiy there was a good supply of people who might want to take lessons. The reality was that the company whent bust and with it the prommised franchise car etc... was not there at the end of the day and I decided that going out and buying myself a dual control car to use was too expensive a risk as our son had just been born.

 

My first comment would be about people with ASD learning to drive and what is the right time to do this. There is already a lot of debate that the current driving age is too low. The main argument for raising it should be that this is a very bordeline age when it comes to human development in respect to spatial awareness and importantly judging speed. In effect if we took a cross section of 17 year olds we would find many of them simply have not yet developed the important skills which should be in place for them to become competant drivers.

 

I have seen no research because I believe we have not got that far yet, but would ask, as a developmental condition by definition should we be far more cautious about the age we might allow yound people with ASD to start learning to drive. Personally I was 26 when I lernt to drive. I would consider myself a very good driver, I have advanced status, drive a race ready track car, and am comfortable taking it around a racing circuit reasonably close to its limits. What I would say is that as a keen cyclist and being out on the road in traffic a lot throughout my life I always felt I was not ready to learn to drive untill I was around 25 years of age. When I did I took to it pretty easily and passed first time on very few lessons. Looking back was it simply a case of understanding my development, possibly delayed because of ASD, had not reached a point where I was in a position to start to learn, personally I think so.

 

If I had any advice for parents of teenagers with ASD who want to learn to drive I would have this advice. Firstly make them aware that as a developmental condition their point of entry into the process might also have to be delayed for good reasons. I am also aware that some of the very big driving schools have pretty good simulators as an incentive for very nervous individuals to make their first steps in a safe environment. Personally i would be tempted to use these services but be honest and say how well is my son and daughter processing information and are they ready to start to learn, the temptation of these companies will be to say yes 'a couple of more simulator lessons and they will be fine'. But if the question if openly and fairly laid out I am sure you would get an honest appraisal of where they are up to.

 

To support such a thought process there are a lot of DVD's which can be bought as practice aids for the driving test. A number of the hazards recognition elements might give a good indication of how someone reads a situation in respect to spacial and speed judgement, and if you have a son or daughter who can't do these very well and score well then this might be a very good sign that they are not ready 'yet'. And I think this is the point its not about you will not make a good driver in a few years time, rather because there might be a developmental delay it might be prudent to wait so you have a good experience of the whole process.

 

Coming onto the points about jargon. The big issue here is the structure of the driving test and the need for consistency. Driving examiners are trained to be the most boring people in the world, I have always wondered what they are like when they get home, I suspect just the same. As such they are very pedantic and regimented in the way they speak and ask things. As a result when we lear how to be a drivinginstructor we are taught that we must teach people to respond to instructions in this way.

 

There is a large part of me which says the test should be run along the lines of 'you realise you are going the wrong way down this road, show me how you would safely get back on course'. In real life because a lot of us would think making a 180 degree trun in the road would be difficult and dangerous we would drive around the block. In a similar way my mother in law who is just about the worst driver I have come across, her answer to a reverse park is to arrive at Sainsburys 10 minutes before opening park in a distant corner of an empty car park and charge around hoping no other cars will be near hers by the time she gets out. Whilst there are many elements of my mother in law I admire I would no let her re write the driving test to make it user friendly. What I am saying is that it needs to be the way it is we have possibly some of the highest testing standards in the world not that you would realise it driving around.

 

What I would say is that driving instructors should take their learners to a point where they can respond to an examination environment and that might not mean using a lot of jargon in the first few lessons. I think the problem is a lot of their work is based with people under 20 and they really like the idea of being grown up and responding to this sort of technical jargon from day one and to be honest respond well to it. As we get older I think we are more concerned initially about establishing a working relationship with the instructor and might find it a bit formal at first.

 

My final point is can people with ASD make good drivers. When looking at myself I think the answer is yes. I take my driving very seriously as I do with most things in life, and would say it has continued to improve as I have gained more experience. I have very good spatial awareness for my environment is that an AS thing I am not too sure, but more importantly I have a lot of focus. When I drive my car my task is to drive the car, not listen to the radio, talk with other people, look at the view etc... I am there to drive the car to the best of my ability. Is this an autistic trait, yes.

 

There might be a lot of people with ASD who will find driving a very stressful and overpowering experience. What I would say is you will not find out if this is the case until you decide to give it a go. I think a big hurdle in finding out is what might I do in a first lesson will I kill someone or something. What a lot of people do not understand that in a proper dual control car, there are pedals on the passenger side which overide the drivers side, a qualified instructor can comfortable control that car steering with their right hand, we get trained to do so to a very high standard. In other words you are very safe and so is everyone else. If you are not sure try and find evidence of a major accident in such a scenario, I don't think you will. As such you might feel very anxious thats fine, but you are safe. If you give it a go and it is a horrible experience then at least you have given it a go, you never know you might really enjoy the experience and have a lot of potential to become a really good driver.

 

Finally to Robert I have been fortunate to take my car around a few race tracks, drive on closed forest roads over an RAC rally stage. My biggest speed thrill was in the passanger seat of a Lamborghini Countach LP400 flat out on the M58 the week before it opened in 1977 as a 12 year old, from that point on I lost my interest in trains. However as I have got older the kid in me has emerged and I have felt how cool it would be to drive a train, especially a high speen train. All I can say Robert in my best Monty Python voice, you lucky, lucky Bas....!

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See you said all that very valid stuff but this is the most interesting part :lol:

 

Finally to Robert I have been fortunate to take my car around a few race tracks, drive on closed forest roads over an RAC rally stage. My biggest speed thrill was in the passanger seat of a Lamborghini Countach LP400 flat out on the M58 the week before it opened in 1977 as a 12 year old, from that point on I lost my interest in trains. However as I have got older the kid in me has emerged and I have felt how cool it would be to drive a train, especially a high speen train. All I can say Robert in my best Monty Python voice, you lucky, lucky Bas....!

 

A similar thing happened to me, my brother had this well cool car - it was "mildly" rare so I'm not listing make or model - but it was fast :devil: (I was into trucks and bikes prior to that with a mild interest in trains) but a few days speeding around in that baby and I forgot everything else!

 

A mate of mine went to Germany and got to go round the Nurgurgring - I was so jealous even though he only went round in a road car :lol:

 

I've always fancied going in for a demolition derby kinda thing - I don't know why but I just really like the idea of risking life and limb while I trash my car and everyone else's :devil::dance::D

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I also would like to take my Integra Type R around the Nurburgring, I am aware of some unofical type times which have been recorded by owners as part of the Honda Drivers Club, I kind of know if I was to even look these times up I wouild be dipping my toe in dangerous territory.

 

Darkshine I have been in a demolition derby and it is petrifying. Its great fun adapting the cars taking out things such as fuel tanks and radiators and putting replacements onto the back seat of the car etc.... The painting up of the thing is pretty cool as well. Even the idea of a few sawn off fence posts as a roll cage seemed ok, and that was in an old 3.0 litre Audi, which is basically a tank, untill you get out there and realise you have very little control of the car, and that was simply taking place in the race series which is supposed to be non contact and a qualifying process for the main event at the end of the day. I can tell you I was more than happy for someone else to take the seat for the last race the 'B' final in our class which is an indication of my driving ability it didn't last too long for the car, when the steering broke following a side shunt with the wheel on full lock, could have broken my mates wrists but he let go in time. Things were brough home in the penultimate race of the day when a helicopter ambulance had to come in and take a guy to hospital with a suspected broken neck, he recoverd after a few months. What really amazed me was there was a drivers discussion and they waited untill the hospital rang through to say the helicopter was refueled and on standby about 50 miles away and at that point they ran the last race off. After the helicopter ambulance you wouldn't have got me out there for that no matter how much beer was inside me and I have to say most of the drivers are pretty pissed by the end of the day. My only conclusion was that with the helmets on you are unable to see the signs of the frontal labotomys which must have taken place with these guys and girls, taht or they have balls of steel. The fact that quite a lot of them were 'Dutch' might have something to do with it as well.

 

For all those members thinking of taking up driving I can honestly say demolition derbys are not the best starting point, and have little to do with driving skill and a lot more about levels of sanity and seeing how far you are prepared to push those boundaries.

 

Now come to think about it my partners 2.0 litre VW Passat has got over 200,000 miles on it and has a few dents and scratches already, would she notice if I borrowed it for a weekend, what do you reckon Darkshine I can just about squeeze my head into my sons BMX helemet which is certified at the right level, just need to find someone who has one of those small red fire extinguishers knocking around at work where they wouldn't notice if it went missing for a few days. Believe me its more or less that simple!

Edited by LancsLad

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I also would like to take my Integra Type R around the Nurburgring, I am aware of some unofical type times which have been recorded by owners as part of the Honda Drivers Club, I kind of know if I was to even look these times up I wouild be dipping my toe in dangerous territory.

 

I won't quote the times then lol - although I am pretty tempted :devil:

 

If it were me I'd probably take a co-driver who either knows the course or someone who can read it from a map (rally style) rip the back seats to compensate for the extra weight and go play with death - hell, I'd even be the co-driver as I could read it relatively easily :ph34r:

 

 

 

Darkshine I have been in a demolition derby and it is petrifying. Its great fun adapting the cars taking out things such as fuel tanks and radiators and putting replacements onto the back seat of the car etc.... The painting up of the thing is pretty cool as well. Even the idea of a few sawn off fence posts as a roll cage seemed ok, and that was in an old 3.0 litre Audi, which is basically a tank, untill you get out there and realise you have very little control of the car, and that was simply taking place in the race series which is supposed to be non contact and a qualifying process for the main event at the end of the day. I can tell you I was more than happy for someone else to take the seat for the last race the 'B' final in our class which is an indication of my driving ability it didn't last too long for the car, when the steering broke following a side shunt with the wheel on full lock, could have broken my mates wrists but he let go in time. Things were brough home in the penultimate race of the day when a helicopter ambulance had to come in and take a guy to hospital with a suspected broken neck, he recoverd after a few months. What really amazed me was there was a drivers discussion and they waited untill the hospital rang through to say the helicopter was refueled and on standby about 50 miles away and at that point they ran the last race off. After the helicopter ambulance you wouldn't have got me out there for that no matter how much beer was inside me and I have to say most of the drivers are pretty pissed by the end of the day. My only conclusion was that with the helmets on you are unable to see the signs of the frontal labotomys which must have taken place with these guys and girls, taht or they have balls of steel. The fact that quite a lot of them were 'Dutch' might have something to do with it as well.

 

The whole process appeals - spending hours on setting a car up to then go and destroy it - makes total sense to me :D

 

 

 

For all those members thinking of taking up driving I can honestly say demolition derbys are not the best starting point, and have little to do with driving skill and a lot more about levels of sanity and seeing how far you are prepared to push those boundaries.

 

Brilliant disclaimer there :thumbs:

 

Boundaries? I guess - but for me its a toss up between total destruction or total speed fix where you could technically die on every corner - either way it's a risk - but it could be fun :lol:

 

 

 

Now come to think about it my partners 2.0 litre VW Passat has got over 200,000 miles on it and has a few dents and scratches already, would she notice if I borrowed it for a weekend, what do you reckon Darkshine I can just about squeeze my head into my sons BMX helemet which is certified at the right level, just need to find someone who has one of those small red fire extinguishers knocking around at work where they wouldn't notice if it went missing for a few days. Believe me its more or less that simple!

 

Excellent - off you go then, you could get someone to video it - we can all make bets beforehand on whether the other drivers kick your ass with their cars or whether your other half does afterwards :devil::lol:;)

Edited by darkshine

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I tried learning in a manual, but after three tests - one was terminated early, and two completed but failed, I turned to an automatic instructor, and he was marvellous, and I passed first time Still see him driving around now - actually drove behind him the other day. The first five years of driving was done borrowing my dad's automatic Jazz, and I got straight out on the roads and motorway, doing my pass plus. Unfortunately have had an accident just two months ago, but it was the other driver's fault. So now driving a Yaris which I'm delighted with as its helping me back into driving manual but with clutch assistance and it gears down for me.

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My 2nd instuctor was so good im now his honourary daughter. As we were learning in a dual controlled car i could test my ability to cope with distractions by playing 'name that tune' and having conversations whilst driving. i passed my theory 2nd time and my practical 1st time. i was so pleased because i had experienced such an overloading stressful time from my previous instructor. i didnt realise how badly it had affected me until i had a free lesson with Gary my 2nd instructor and took him on straight away. He was the type of instructor who kept making jokes but they were slapstick type ones.

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I'm still trying to save money to afford to start lessons again :lol: I really want to learn to drive!

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i guess you've tried the 'what can i do without' trick? Are you a student? if so some places do student discounts. i had about 2 lessons per week and as time went on i needed less and less lessons. The best driving instructors do themselves out of a job by passing people.

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I'm a student with the OU but cuz it's not full time most people don't include them in their discount list.

 

Things keep coming up that cost money, so every time I get some saved something breaks, or the cat gets sick or a bill comes in that was high etc... It's just been the way things have gone this year... I think I can probably afford to start again in a couple of months - it's just frustrating - I really need to get my theory test done too :lol:

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I also struggled with my instructor's method of teaching which was basically to let me get on with it, then use the dual controls when I did something dumb (often!)......I think on my second lesson I remember approaching a roundabout, and I didn't know what to do, so he had to do an emergency stop....... I think for an Aspie it would be more useful to give constant instruction, at least initially until you have the hang of it. One other thing was the language he used.....i.e. trying to parallel park......he would say "left hand down".....what the h*ll does that mean??..... when I parallel park both my hands go up and down the steering wheel...... he should have said "clock" or "anti".....which would have been more helpful to me.

 

Hope this has been of some use (oh and I still can't parallel park!!)

Is this any help? elephant.co.uk/parking

Edited by Aeolienne

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In 2009 I did Pass Plus in Exeter, and earned praise from my parents when I next drove their car along a stretch of the M6. Alas, the same motorway has proved my undoing - last week as I was driving to the Lake District with my dad in the passenger seat I failed to slow down soon enough when I pulled off at junction 36 and hit the crash barrier on the roundabout. Thanks to the airbags we survived: me with bruising to the knee and clavicle, my poor dad with extensive bruising to the ribcage and hips, although not enough to need hospital treatment. I've been charged with driving without due care and attention, but may be able to avoid the six points on my licence by doing a police-endorsed driving course. But will I ever feel safe behind the wheel?

I did the "police-endorsed driving course" yesterday - actually a day workshop comprising both classroom sessions and driving. The latter was a disaster for me - as soon as I got into the driving seat and saw the word "airbag" I panicked. It was as if I were 20 years younger, meaning in a bad way - I felt more nervous than I'd felt since I was a learner driver, so much so that I could barely sense where the pedals were. I hadn't told the organisers (AA) that I had Asperger's - would it have made any difference if I had?

 

One of the other participants was a psychotherapist who suggested maybe there might be some specialist treatment for what is effectively a phobia, analogous to the fear of flying courses run by the likes of British Airways. Where I live in London (Golders Green, near the boundary with Hampstead Garden Suburb) there are no shortage of shrinks! My parents, as so often, have other ideas. My mum thinks all they need to do is fork out for a small second-hand car (Ford Ka for preference) so I can practise on my own. Leaving aside the indignity of still being financially dependent on my parents at my age, what they don't realise (have never realised) is that it's driving on my own that scares me, always has done. Well, almost always. I did manage to travel from Crowthorne and Teddington and back along the M3 on my own back in 2000, ironically in a pool car belonging to the very same firm who subsequently dismissed me for having an accident...

 

I don't know whether the bike accident I had last November has been a contributory factor. In that case I braked too sharply, whereas on the M6 slip road it was the reverse scenario. I've only tried cycling once since then - as recently as last week! - and I was such a bundle of nerves it took me several failed attempts just to push off and I got scared every time I applied the brakes.

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I think you hit on the sticking point when you say that it is doing these things alone that is the problem. Your confidence isn't very high with the driving and that will be a factor too (in addition to fear, anxiety and past experiences where something went wrong).

 

Would you consider seeing someone about this (to deal with it as a phobia)?

 

And how much do you really want to drive or indeed cycle, on your own - is this something you really want?

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I think you hit on the sticking point when you say that it is doing these things alone that is the problem. Your confidence isn't very high with the driving and that will be a factor too (in addition to fear, anxiety and past experiences where something went wrong).

 

Would you consider seeing someone about this (to deal with it as a phobia)?

Yes definitely. Provided they really took my condition seriously and didn't resort to saying "Oh if you feel nervous driving that's all the more reason to do more of it!" which was the line taken by those ###### at the firm who fired me.

 

And how much do you really want to drive or indeed cycle, on your own - is this something you really want?

I really do want to be able to cycle again. As for the driving, that is a good question. As a woman, I feel ashamed to conform to the stereotype of a rubbish woman driver, especially after all the effort it took me to get a licence in the first place. As an environmentalist, I don't want to contribute to road traffic needlessly, still less become one of those frightful driving bores droning on about what a nightmare speed cameras / one-way systems / petrol prices / cyclists / bus lanes / other drivers are. I'd always hoped I'd be able to live without owning a car and lease one as and when from a car club like Streetcar, but maybe that's just too unrealistic for someone with my condition(s).

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Maybe cycling would be the best place to start?

 

My problem is I can get in a car (for lessons although I still haven't restarted them yet) and I'm ok.

 

I can't go out on my bike though due to many reasons with being outside :rolleyes: I guess being in a little box (a car) kinda appeals to me :lol:

 

But the way you talk, cycling seems like the more do-able option at the moment, it sounds like you enjoyed it and that could be something that you could find again I think. And although it isn't the same, you'd get some experience of being back on "the road" again (I'm assuming there isn't a fantastic cycle network where you live) and maybe some confidence in yourself - and at least you tried to have a go at it!! :)

 

Finding someone who helps with phobias could be an idea - but you are right they need to take it seriously - if they said something like you said then that could be very invalidating and belittling and that wouldn't help at all. It isn't a surprise that your confidence has been knocked either and that's probably a fair percentage of the problem.

 

Although finding someone to help can be a bigger problem than the problem itself at times :rolleyes:

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I had three different instructors, and about 35 hours of lessons altogether. The first instructor was nice and patient, but I ran out of money so the lessons stopped. Then years later, in my final year of my degree, I started learning again. Initially I got on well with the instructor, however once I'd booked and paid for 10 lessons, things started to deteriorate. He spent a lot of time on his phone, had the radio on (loudly), shouted at me and told me he was 'scared' of my driving. I eventually stopped mid-lesson, got out and walked home. That was the end of that. A few months after finishing my degree, and moving, I decided to try again. I was incredibly nervous by then. Luckily I had an amazing instructor and my confidence grew. My driving came together very quickly then. He explained everything very clearly, and would show me diagrams of roundabouts before I had to drive them. By the time my test came round, I knew I could drive well enough to pass, and I did.

 

I'm still quite nervous driving if I don't know the roads well. I look up the route on google maps, so I can make sure I'm in the right lane at roundabouts etc. I find big roundabouts disorientating. I try to avoid the magic roundabout whenever possible. Whilst I understand it, other drivers don't seem to obey the rules and I find it very stressful. (I was a passenger in a car hit on this junction because someone else failed to give way).

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Driving is very stressful at the best of times especially when you have to multitask: i.e. co-ordinate the pedals at the appropriate time, look in the mirrors and around you, watch out for cyclists/pedestrians who might appear suddenly out of nowhere, other drivers who take risks...all at the same time, and the list goes on and on.

 

Independent instructors are much better than the larger mainstream ones - most who treat you like idiots.

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Driving is very stressful at the best of times especially when you have to multitask: i.e. co-ordinate the pedals at the appropriate time, look in the mirrors and around you, watch out for cyclists/pedestrians who might appear suddenly out of nowhere, other drivers who take risks...all at the same time, and the list goes on and on.

 

Independent instructors are much better than the larger mainstream ones - most who treat you like idiots.

My first instructor was independent. Thankfully he's long since retired.

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I did about 15 lessons (with long gaps in between due to moving house) and I got to the point where the instructor seemed to be taking me for a ride a bit and telling me I wasn't ready even though I could clearly see that I could and was driving. As it happens I requested to be put forward for the practical and passed with flying colours as I also did with the theory and hazard awareness test before it.

 

The moral of this is to judge for yourself when you are ready otherwise you might end up paying more than you need to.

Edited by Mike_GX101

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I have stopped my lessons due to limited funds, but was getting to the same point - getting the niggling feeling that the firm wanted to slow up my progress to get extra cash....

 

Although I get the feeling I will pay more due to keep running out of money :lol: ah well.... will get it done after my course finishes...

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I'm a student with the OU but cuz it's not full time most people don't include them in their discount list.

 

Things keep coming up that cost money, so every time I get some saved something breaks, or the cat gets sick or a bill comes in that was high etc... It's just been the way things have gone this year... I think I can probably afford to start again in a couple of months - it's just frustrating - I really need to get my theory test done too :lol:

 

OU students can purchase an NUS card entitling you to student discounts according to....

http://kb.portal.nus.org.uk/al/12/1/article.aspx?aid=1177&tab=faq&bt=4&r=0.7437548

 

...website mentions about OU and that courses of '16 or more weeks' count for a card.

 

Student discounts can also include books, clothes and other things in addition to driving. Yeah i realise getting it sent to your home address can be a pain, send an SAE with a letter to your student union (im expecting Milton Keynes) asking them to send you one back. My university did this for me because my course is also distance education.

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I did the "police-endorsed driving course" yesterday - actually a day workshop comprising both classroom sessions and driving. The latter was a disaster for me - as soon as I got into the driving seat and saw the word "airbag" I panicked. It was as if I were 20 years younger, meaning in a bad way - I felt more nervous than I'd felt since I was a learner driver, so much so that I could barely sense where the pedals were. I hadn't told the organisers (AA) that I had Asperger's - would it have made any difference if I had?

 

One of the other participants was a psychotherapist who suggested maybe there might be some specialist treatment for what is effectively a phobia, analogous to the fear of flying courses run by the likes of British Airways.

Despite the above, Cumbria Constabulary have been informed that I passed the driver alertness course satisfactorily and I will not have any points on my licence.

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A Google search for "driving phobia" led me to an NHS Choices page, and from there to Triumph Over Phobia, "a national network of self-help groups"

http://www.nhs.uk/Li...asoverview.aspx

http://www.topuk.org/

I filled in TOP's enquiry form, having noted that they have a group in north London; a few days later I got a call from them. Unfortunately on hearing that I have Asperger's syndrome the spokeswoman told me flatly that I "wouldn't benefit from a group setting" and advised me to get my GP to refer me for cognitive behavioural therapy. I'm not holding my breath.

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I wouldn't hold my breath either - but if you don't ask you don't get, so it might be worth asking your GP, seeing as this seems important to you.

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A Google search for "driving phobia" led me to an NHS Choices page, and from there to Triumph Over Phobia, "a national network of self-help groups"

http://www.nhs.uk/Li...asoverview.aspx

http://www.topuk.org/

I filled in TOP's enquiry form, having noted that they have a group in north London; a few days later I got a call from them. Unfortunately on hearing that I have Asperger's syndrome the spokeswoman told me flatly that I "wouldn't benefit from a group setting" and advised me to get my GP to refer me for cognitive behavioural therapy. I'm not holding my breath.

 

That sounds like discrimination to me and also prejudice. I was a member of a user representation group on Autism sometime ago and only left because the group shut down. Sometimes we had 6 of us other times only 4 and it depended on the attendees (1 parent turned up and stated the guaranteed interview scheme was unfair on non-disabled people) as to how I and others coped in the group.

 

Also I am being included in the Expert Patients Program (another NHS initiative) so why you would be excluded from a Phobia course is beyond me. Unless you try the 'Experts Patients Program' they have online courses as well.

 

http://www.expertpatients.co.uk/

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Also I am being included in the Expert Patients Program (another NHS initiative) so why you would be excluded from a Phobia course is beyond me. Unless you try the 'Experts Patients Program' they have online courses as well.

 

http://www.expertpatients.co.uk/

Does their remit include phobias? Their website appeared to refer only to long-term physical conditions.

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I am 44 and have held a full UK driving licence for 26 years and was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome at age 42 now it took me a long time to pass my test as I remember the rules contained in the highway code did not exactly fit the terrain I later understood they were to be used as a guide not an absolute but the movement boy did it take me ages to discover where the bite on the clutch was and how to augment that alongside the throttle, it was a major stumbling block for me, my first test failure was clutch control I was that nervous the clutch had two position off and on the bite was nowhere to be found.

 

But after three tests I passed and that by adopting the ''regard for other road users'' stance by being super courteous even to the point I remember where a woman with a pram was on the pavement waiting to cross a busy road there being no crossing available, I saw this and slowed down and stopped thus stopping all the traffic behind me so she could cross, the examiner said that was not a usual thing to do but it does fulfil the awareness of other road users.

 

But recently a neighbour found out I had Asperger's, she being a 'helper' with an autistic school, and so asked how was it I could drive a car, I said simple I just like everybody else learned to drive a car to pass my driving test. She was genuinely perplexed until I said is she with her understanding limited by the diagnostic boxes, for I have discovered that myself, what is the current thinking regards this thing is limiting and by it being the current thinking it limits people's imagination.

 

Now of crashing cars, I have only crashed the car once and that was six months after my driving test, I following the the rules entered into a no win situation where I crashed into the back of a post office van parked on a clearway at the point of the morning between sunrise and dark where street lights were switching off. I pleaded guilty with mitigating circumstances as I was too scared to go to court and so it was I got three points and a fifty pound fine, driving without due car and attention where it was actually said if I had attended court and pleaded not guilty I would have won because my mitigating circumstances displayed it was a no win situation as the vehicle should not have been parked on a clearway with no warning lights. The road also was a national speed limit road of 60 mph maximum and I was shifting, so no room to stop either after coming off a blind bend, as the van was parked behind a blind bend. But that incident taught me slow for blind bends and expect to stop as one never knows what is on the other side, it could be nothing but clear road or there could be anything there that should not be there.

 

 

So in twenty six years of driving one crash and points long since expired, and as I drive now I drive at my own pace having driven under powered Land Rovers and VW campers most of my life, I am used to slow and it does not bother me at all.

 

But prior to aspergers being made common in society people were just people with their idiosyncracies and many an aspie just fell in with everyone else and got on with it, now we are finding these new labels actually limit people when they should not be, but I understand the industry behind limitation, for that is what it is.

 

The biggest problem I find with driving is the highway code, it seems most other drivers chuck that away after they pass their test whereas I still remember most of it and it was recently through winning a pub quiz I had to set the questions for the following week and so I did it based on the theory test for the driving test just to see how many of the oldies in the pub that drive daily actually know the highway code and to say the results were appalling, they were but I hope it taught some of the oldies that they really need to delve into that book again, for much has changed, there is new stuff out there.

Edited by Sa Skimrande

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I really struggled learning to drive - mainly because I hate starting anything new (although this was pre-diagnosis) - sitting in a driving seat felt so foreign to me. I also found it really difficult to co-ordinate doing lots of things at once (possible dyspraxia?). My instructor was really good though, endlessly patient, even when I'd burst into tears and he'd have to drive me home. The main thing for me though was just how tired it made me. I started out having 2hr lessons, but ended up doing more frequent 1hr lessons instead, which was much better. My instructor was really laid back and flexible with when and where we did the lessons too, sometimes he'd pick me up from my 6th form and I'd drive home - awesome - I saved the bus fare! :D It took me 3 attempts to pass the practical, but passed the theory first time (theoretical anything is my strong suit!). Oh, and spatial awareness - definitely not my forte, even when it's just my own body, let alone being in a big metal crate, manouvering around other big metal crates, which are also moving! Nightmare. I got there eventually though. It took about a year after I passed my test before I really started to enjoy driving, and now I can't afford a car I do miss it - suffering with depression and anxiety, being house-bound at intervals, having a car definitely made braving the big wide world much easier. My instructor also taught someone with severe dyspraxia to drive before he taught me, and she passed - he was so proud of her. :) He did say that there was a LOT of repitition in their lessons though, but that's what she needed, so that's what he did. :)

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Dyspraxia tell me if I am wrong seems to accompany asperger's as I have it too and it is one of the reasons why I dance as there is no better way to find a way of getting better than to move to a set of instructions as what choreographies are and moreso bearing in mind if you don't get it right you will be letting others down as common in most group dances everyone is watching someone else for cues where they are unsure.

 

It is with my dancing the problem I experience is not knowing intuitively where my limbs are without looking and trying to do arm movements along with leg movements is difficult, but we do them all the time in normal movement so it can be learned.

 

The same with driving dyspraxia is a condition but it is not an absolute, it just means some may take longer to get to grips with the movement and I did eventually and so I can drive and have been doing so for 26 years, it has become second nature. And in those 26 years I have driven cars, tanks,motorcycles and seven and a half tonne trucks towing trailers, so it is just a case of getting used to something, we may be slow with it and cautious, but what is wrong with being slow and cautious- nothing, in fact it is far better than over confident and reckless.

 

It just takes time but we get there in the end.

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I wouldn't hold my breath either - but if you don't ask you don't get, so it might be worth asking your GP, seeing as this seems important to you.

I did - eventually - and I saw the community psychiatric nurse at my GP's surgery today. Should get to see a shrink proper in about four weeks.

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Further to my last post, the community psychiatric nurse expressed concern as to whether I was getting sufficient support for my Asperger's. I told her I was ineligible for any benefits but she thought there must be something there for me.

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Could she help you apply for DLA or ESA? After a month you can start a new claim from scratch.

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Could she help you apply for DLA or ESA?

I can't in all honesty see how I would be eligible for DLA, given that I can (for instance) cook a meal, follow conversations and travel independently on public transport.

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I failed my first driving test due to not being aware enough of other vehicles - I think I hyperfocused on the mechanics of driving, and didn't think about what was going on around me. Thats true of me generally, just ask my fiance :/

 

I also didn't turn my head when looking in the mirrors, had to learn to make everything obvious which was hard when your not very aware of yourself.

 

I was much better by my second test, even though I nearly fell apart when I found out I had the same examiner!

 

20 years on I love driving, though motorways at night test my awarness. , I still have the odd moment where I lose awareness when driving, but I guess we all do. Sometimes I just seem to get stuck in my head and forget how to drive for a second - crash gears, or use the brake instead of accelerator, etc..bit worrying that..

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I'm learning to drive at the moment. I've had 22hrs of lessons so far, and I passed my theory test on Saturday. I am finding the driving part a bit of a struggle. I am petrified of losing control of the car, and I slow down too much when going around bends and corners. I also hesitate too much because I struggle to make quick decisions and judgments. I find that talking myself through moves is helping a little, but I fear that I will be learning for some time to come. I originally hoped that I would be able to pass by my birthday in May, but alas that seems unlikely :( My instructor is fantastic. He's patient, and I find him really helpful with his explanations. I find that he's one of the few strangers that I have been able to gel with. But I suspect that is because I have a clear expectation and the understanding of his role.

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Last week I had another mental health assessment, this time over the phone by someone whose job title is "IAPT Screener" - IAPT standing for Improving Access to Psychological Therapies. She decided the next thing for me is to be assessed for "Guided Self Help", which is a version of CBT but different from the full-on variety. I've been booked onto an IAPT introductory workshop on 6 March, and in the meantime I'm supposed to be referred to the Richmond Fellowship for employment support. Does anyone have any experience of the latter?

 

Don't throw me the car keys just yet!

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This could be promising -

Aspiring drivers with autism taught by Leamington man

Edited by Aeolienne

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