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Difficulty Learning/Adjusting to Driving

Discussion in 'Help and Support' started by The Q, Jul 17, 2020.

  1. The Q

    The Q Quinn

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    I'm getting back into driving practice lately; I started very late compared to some people, 21 years old when I first got my learner's permit. Classroom learning was no issue for me, I'm fine learning the signs and on-paper rules of the road. But I absolutely drag my feet when it comes to on-the-road practice. It's just terrifying for me.
    My mom and I don't get along the best to begin with, and she's the only one available as a supervisor/driving coach for me. It's not a great learning environment. She doesn't heed my distress over driving in general, and while I know having a driver's license is essential for a lot of careers and life in general, I can't help but feel absolutely reluctant about the whole thing even two years later.
    I've tried to explain my struggles processing the road to her, but she says I just need practice to get used to it. I definitely wouldn't feel safe driving by myself without someone on the lookout in case I don't catch something, as there are times when I feel like I'm not "seeing" the road in front of me.
    And I have negligible sense of spatial awareness or visualization of space. When it comes to parking practice, or understanding the dimensions of the car, there's just a blank for me. And when I say I can't visualize the car maneuvering, she dismisses it as me being stubborn. I am stubborn, but I don't think this is just it. I need to see what I'm doing for it to make sense to me, and that's near impossible in a car with tight maneuvers and judging distance.
    Not getting into the--in my opinion--very rational fear of steering a vehicle and not being suited to it! I definitely refuse to go onto highways.
    Any suggestions for overcoming the hurdle of driving? Or how to make it easier to deal with?
     
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  2. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member

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    Three Things:

    1) Practice

    2) Practice

    3) Practice

    Keeping in mind that none of it comes instantly or easily...
     
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  3. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I'm 62 and I never felt comfortable to drive. You can get by without driving, especially in cities. I used to say I was saving it til I was 50, but hey, 50 came and went... I did learn, as a young person, but I didn't take to it or enjoy it. I'm a bad passenger too, especially if I sit in the front.
     
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  4. LucyPurrs

    LucyPurrs NT, INFJ V.I.P Member

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    Newer model cars have a ton of safety features which might make you a lot more comfortable driving. There are even cars that will park themselves. Maybe you should consider waiting until you can afford one of these cars- most of the safety features are coming standard on even th lower priced models. My Sonata is a great car and the safety features have made me feel very secure.
     
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  5. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member

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    Good point. Such features are amazing, as in most cases the detect things faster than a human can.

    My Mazda 3 GT has such features as well. :cool:
     
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  6. Pieplup

    Pieplup The Penguin

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    I've had no desire to drive. I don't think it's a good idea for my to drive I have enough trouble not running into things IRL.
     
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  7. Jorg

    Jorg Well-Known Member

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    Yep, the keyword here is practice, practice and practice. With the Don't worry and keep chill advice.

    I also learnt to drive "late", I started at 19yo and got my license at 20 or 21 I don't remember. I alsoo struggled at the beggining, first time a truck passed near me I was like "oh f what the f do i do!!" and I struggled with downshifthing gears (I drive manual), I can still hear my dad yelling me I was falling in the easiest thing XD, but I eventually learnt.

    Maybe is the location were your mom is teaching you? Were do you began to learn? a neighborhood, a city?, maybe you need some practice in a rural, almost empty area or road. When my father teached me to drive, as well as my other brothers, we first started in an empty rural road for like a week, learning how to start the engine, how to clutch and accelerate without stalling the engine, then we spent like 2 or 3 months in rural roads with low traffic or houses, like 30km every day, shifting, turning around, etc, etc.

    Then we passed to driving around my small city, more cars, intersections, stop signs, etc. That was for like a week or 2 and then to a bigger city where the traffic is chaos, and real chaos, an american exhusband of my cousin once said people in my country drive like crazy!.

    The last "test" I did with mi father was like a 100km roadtrip through curvy roads leading to a volcano, and several "technical" roads around farms in mountains, then when the real, official driving test with a traffic cop arrived it was heckin easy! I only got a warning because I was driving kinda slow but it was because I didn't know the aera around the driving school.

    My point is, everyone can learn to drive, but it can be easier for others or harder. The main thing here is to keep practicing, being quite or peaceful. Try to "feel" the car, to visualize it and learn to feel what the car is doing. Emerson Fittipaldi, a former F1 champion once said you can learn and know what the car is doing by "the feeling in your butt"
     
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  8. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I've never been entirely comfortable driving. Except on back country roads when I was a teen as there were few distractions. Have to drive to buy groceries, for appointments, really to do most things where I live, everything is fifteen minutes on a highway away. Here people drive fast, there are bike lanes, large trucks, motorcycles, kids on scooters, aggressive drivers and people tailgate all the time.

    I hate it, and get so distracted at times that I want to scream, jump out of the car, and run into the woods and never come out. I think it's the noise of traffic that makes me feel close to losing my sanity.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2020
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  9. Raggamuffin

    Raggamuffin Well-Known Member

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    I enjoy driving, but during my first lessons I hated it with a passion. It made me extremely nervous and I didn't end up going for the test.

    A few years later I tried again - I still wasn't keen on it. Half-way through, my instructor quit her job and the new instructor was with me for another couple of months until I my test. On the day of my driving test we had a 2 hour lesson beforehand. I think nerves were getting the better of me, as I was making all sorts of silly mistakes. When we got to the test centre I asked him honestly what he thought my chances were. He told me rather bluntly that they weren't good.

    During the test itself I did something rather strange for me - I spent the whole test talking with the examiner. We hit it off, talking in detail about all sorts of subjects, all the while doing the test. When we park up at the test centre he turns to me and smiles; he tells me I passed the test with no major or minor faults - a feat only 1 or 2 people he tested managed a year.

    Winner winner, chicken dinner.

    tenor322.gif

    Ed
     
  10. Jumpback

    Jumpback Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, it’s really practice, practice, practice. And this is not a thing unique that autistic spectrum people face, teenagers or other people getting their license for the first time in general are high risk drivers

    I use GPS on my phone almost everywhere I go and try to stay in easy lanes, even if I already know where I am going, just to help with focus.

    And this isn’t about driving skill and so on, I used to deliver pizzas late at night and excelled at driving fast when there were few other people to worry about and the territory was very familiar

    The hardest thing for me is to not drive by exit ramps by being in the wrong lane or just forgetting to pay attention or feeling anxiety as a result having a difficult time predicting what others might do

    But everyone struggles with some of these things. For example, no one is born with a natural tendency to use car mirrors.

    It does help to have a really good car. I used to have a Honda Prelude with a turbo kit professionally installed by previous owner and all sorts of performance upgrades, and car was so stable and fast that I had little fear of weaving in and out of highway traffic. Driving a BMW M3 in highway traffic is actually a lot easier than driving an unreliable old junky rust bucket in highway traffic, because really good cars are very stable and don’t wander around the road, and if you make a mistake they have great breaks and acceleration and road holding and they can get you out of difficult situations
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2020
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  11. Raggamuffin

    Raggamuffin Well-Known Member

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    I go from a fast car to a sensible car. It's nice to change it up. 12 cars in 14 years of driving. I'm eyeing up my next fast car as I get bored rather quickly of the sensible one's.

    Problem I find with having a fast car is the constant temptation to rag it and drive like an absolute tool.

    Ed
     
  12. AprilR

    AprilR Well-Known Member

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    I understand you, i am also terrified to drive. I am not good with directions and roads to begin with. I would definitely need a car with navigation.
     
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  13. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    I have good/normal visual and spatial processing, it's aural processing I had trouble with, so I found it hard to pay attention and take in what my instructor was saying and drive at the same time. Also, I confused left and right: my instructor would say left, and I would go right!
    Take it slowly. Practise initially one empty, country roads, drive slowly, and when you get used to that, start driving on the busier roads. One step at a time.
     
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  14. Jumpback

    Jumpback Well-Known Member

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    Thing is that some of the craziest performance cars are actually the safest, since they have so much ability to get you out of dangerous spots. Like accidently pull out in front of someone in a Ferrari, just floor the accelerator and problem is gone. Breaks and road holding are way better on ferrraris than normal cars too.

    Problem is, even though a 200 mph Ferrari might be very safe, it’s very hard to not speed in a Ferrari
     
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  15. The Q

    The Q Quinn

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    I can imagine a good car helps. The family one I'm working with turns horribly wide with very few reference points to work with, so a lot of it is by feel which I have yet to master. I'm almost done the required 60 hours of practice time in order to take the test, but I don't feel that it's nearly enough especially for highway and parking.
     
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  16. Raggamuffin

    Raggamuffin Well-Known Member

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    Also the maintenance costs of performance vehicles can be through the roof. I much prefer project cars which were quite nimble to begin with - but can be turned into something with crazy power.

    I've always been a fan of sleeper cars, that catch the unsuspecting off guard.

    Ed
     
  17. Els

    Els Well-Known Member

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    I struggle as well. In my country we have to pass the theory before actually driving, and I failed miserabily for 3 years, and I was serious about it. I just can't manage it, I struggle to understand the pictures' situations and the questions asked. I don't know my right from my left, so I also make mistakes like that and it's also making me fail. I can't evaluate the distances, the speed, the situation and everything correctly on the pictures, the questions are weird and sometimes they mean "now", sometimes they mean "a bit later", and sometimes they just make a trap on purpose (really). Worst thing, because I'm supposed to be clever/average in general, people don't get at all where and why I struggle. They think it's because I don't practice enough or don't make efforts, but I swear I went there everyday for months and regularily in 3 years, and I swear I struggle because it IS difficult for me and I don't get the questions and exercises at all.
    I think I'll never drive.
    Also, I don't know if anyone else has this issue, but I can't see at night because of other cars' lights. My eyes just can't look, I can't see anything. Driving at night would anyway be something I won't do, I loose completely sight of the road even if I try hard.
    All that to say you're not alone. Don't get discouraged either, if you manage to get the license it's better to be honest it's practical. I want it as well, but oh yes it's hard.

    Also, if you struggle with the car's dimensions and stuffs and the person doesn't get it, stop talking. Honestly if the person doesn't get it and keeps on not wanting to understand what you say, then that person is stubborn. Dealing with a stubborn person is difficult, even more when the person accuses you unfairly to be that. I don't talk to my mum about any type of issue I have as soon as I see her reacting as you mention, I just can't talk to her when she does that, she won't listen and just keep on repeating it's more or less my fault. Find a solution for yourself and don't loose your time justificating (I mean, that's what I do, I just gave up on her when she doesn't want to understand something and won't be helpful - I enjoy the other qualities she has but she certainly can be very stubborn and not willing to understand that what I have is an issue, so I just gave up on that when I see she's starting again).

    That being said, your mum is right, there's only practice that will make you progress.

    I'm thinking for spatialization and visualization, maybe there are games in which you can control a car and see the car from the outside. I think GTA has that. I'm not sure but it might help because you'd see a car from an other point of view and have time to understand it as a whole object. I'm absolutely not sure if that would help through, just an idea.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2020
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  18. Misery

    Misery Photo-Negative V.I.P Member

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    Okay, just a quick bit of advice here:

    Stick purely to "blank" areas while you're learning. I mean areas that are nearly devoid of any other cars at all.

    The reason: It's a really, REALLY bad idea to attempt anything beyond that while you're at all scared of the whole thing. Fear leads to distractions and mistakes, and that's a good way to have a crash. I've had a major crash before myself. Well, two major crashes actually. 0/10, do not recommend.

    So yeah: If you're experiencing fear, dont even dare to try anything beyond the absolute most basic and empty roads.

    As for being able to tell where the boundaries of the car are: You'll get there in time, believe me. That'll happen on it's own. Dont focus on that though. Pay attention to the line in the middle of the road, and keep that at a specific distance to your.... uh.... left? Well, where I'm at we drive on the right side of the road, so that fits there. But yes, dont worry about the exact vehicle size. Just worry about distance between you, and that middle line. DONT try to pass anyone, period.

    Also I'll agree with not going onto highways/tollways. Dont even touch those until you're experienced and feel confident. Those are a very different thing from "normal" roads. I've spent alot of time on them (and I'm in the US, in a state specifically known for having an unusual amount of absolute moron drivers), and things can get tense.

    This is all coming from someone that does ALOT of driving and tends to have zero fear in any situation, for... some reason I dont even know why. I tend to be so bloody nervous about a TON of things.... but not driving. Even after two big crashes. Even in horrible nightmare weather. These days, with the whole pandemic thing, I drive just to get out of the house. No destination, I just roam and then come back home.

    It can be a very enjoyable thing to do, but you *must* get past that fear first. That's a critical thing you need to do.

    Also dont try parallel parking. Just dont.

    Now, as for your mom badgering you while you're trying to drive... honestly? You might have to just stand up to her. And I really mean that. Reason: It's a genuine safety issue. Her adding to your anxiety with bad comments and such could put both of you in real danger, so... dont let her do that. Frankly if it were me, with someone irritating me in the car, I'd have already shouted that person down. Which sounds mean, I know, but again, it's very unsafe to have someone being a snot while you're trying to drive. Even moreso when you're still learning!
     
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  19. NothingToSeeHere

    NothingToSeeHere Asexuowl V.I.P Member

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    Sounds like your mum really isn't the right person to be teaching you, is there no way you can get a professional teacher? There are even instructors who specialise in teaching people with disabilities including autism.
     
  20. Barymore

    Barymore nevertheless, she persisted V.I.P Member

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    Hi there!

    There has been a lot of good advice already.
    1. practice 2. stay in the goldilocks zone (prep the route in advance, drive the same route repeatedly & choose a route with little traffic, then add another route when you feel comfortable) 3. Car with features makes such a diff. to feeling safe (I love cars with sensors, adaptive cruise control, park assist, automatic, rear view camera - but I know, price issue). 4.Try out another instructor if possible

    As misery loves company: I started driving only at 31 and took an eternity of lessons before I was able to go for the test. An.Eternity..... I thought I would never learn (gear shift, no nifty gadgets to help)

    Now I love driving.

    I also have issues with night blindness, my wife too, I dont think its specifically an ND issue....