• Welcome to Autism Forums, a friendly forum to discuss Aspergers Syndrome, Autism, High Functioning Autism and related conditions.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Private Member only forums for more serious discussions that you may wish to not have guests or search engines access to.
    • Your very own blog. Write about anything you like on your own individual blog.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon! Please also check us out @ https://www.twitter.com/aspiescentral

Driving

Nitro

Admin/Immoral Turpitude
Staff member
Admin
V.I.P Member
I had four lessons when I was eighteen and couldn't get the hang of the clutch at all. Went down the motorcycle route and passed the test second time. It's great apart from when it's raining, snowing or there is a lot of traffic.

You can get twist'n'go mopeds if you want to avoid changing gear. I've ridden bikes with hand change and left hand foot brake, hand change with right hand foot brake, right hand foot change with left hand foot brake and the opposite (yes, it is confusing and yes, I have tried to change gear with the brake!). The one I haven't ridden yet is hand change with a lever operated throttle... that is the hard one!
You should try to find a Ford model T to drive.
All kinds of controls that are not normal now.
A hand throttle and a spark advance lever on the steering column.
Throttle is on the right like a farm tractor, spark timing on the left.
The timing is a guesstimate at all times.
It needs to be fully retarded before attempting to start it with the hand crank.
Too much advance will trash the engine, too little will make it run hot.

The three floor pedals all have very different functions.
The left pedal stabbed in gives you first gear, all the way out selects second gear.
That's all you get.
Half way gives you a neutral for standing still.
The middle pedal serves as a reverse selector.
The right pedal is a foot brake.

To the left of the seat is a hand brake lever.
Fully pulled allows it to be a parking brake.
Half way is a neutral.
Fully forward locks the planetary transmission in second, or high gear.

To top it off, there is no steering axis inclination, also known as caster angle on the steering knuckles, so it doesn't find center when you release the steering wheel, you have to guess at it.
 

maycontainthunder

May also contain missing cakes.
V.I.P Member
You should try to find a Ford model T to drive.
All kinds of controls that are not normal now.
A hand throttle and a spark advance lever on the steering column.
Throttle is on the right like a farm tractor, spark timing on the left.
The timing is a guesstimate at all times.
It needs to be fully retarded before attempting to start it with the hand crank.
Too much advance will trash the engine, too little will make it run hot.

The three floor pedals all have very different functions.
The left pedal stabbed in gives you first gear, all the way out selects second gear.
That's all you get.
Half way gives you a neutral for standing still.
The middle pedal serves as a reverse selector.
The right pedal is a foot brake.

To the left of the seat is a hand brake lever.
Fully pulled allows it to be a parking brake.
Half way is a neutral.
Fully forward locks the planetary transmission in second, or high gear.

To top it off, there is no steering axis inclination, also known as caster angle on the steering knuckles, so it doesn't find center when you release the steering wheel, you have to guess at it.
Not forgetting that driving a car with no electric start teaches you NOT to stall the thing! Vehicles with only rear wheel brakes.... great for entertainment going downhill in the wet!
 

Progster

Gone sideways to the sun
V.I.P Member
I can drive, and have never driven an automatic car, only manual. It took a while to master it and then get confidence - I didn't pass on my first attempt at the driving test but pased the second time round - but it does get better/easier with practice. I needed more than 20 lessons.
 

Misery

Photo-Negative
V.I.P Member
We briefly lived in California in the early 80s. My mum went to driver education classes and passed her test first time there.

My wife passed her manual driving test here in UK after 5 attempts, not only are they more strict but it shows how much more difficult it is to pass a test here. That isn't to disrespect you there in America, just saying it's a lot harder to pass your test and learn here in UK. Often driving instructors want you to do at least 45-50 lessons with them before even attempting your test. Maybe that's because they want to make as much money as they can, I don't know.

It sounds like it might be a different type of lesson from the silliness that I was used to.

What I remember of Driver's Ed (which is what passed for "official lessons" for me) was like an every other day sort of thing for a year of school, and it was this big stupid mess. Sometimes you got in the car with one of the teachers and you went somewhere while they complained about every little move you made (very dramatically) and other times you sat in class listening to your own braincells melting as they recited driving related stuff out of a book. Other days you did both.

There were no official lessons outside of class. I tend to think that the assumption was that you'd be getting lessons from your parents in addition to whatever the school was teaching.

The actual license test process (that I remember) was a short one-and-done thing. Which was probably for the best because DMVs are a notorious mess here. All I remember of it really was a written test, and then cones.

But what if you practice and practice and it just isn't coming, you learn it then the knowledge doesn't stick? I go out driving with my instructor and I am mostly ok but nervous. Then I go out driving with my wife or a friend and suddenly I seem to forget most of the important things and I am almost dangerous.

Well, the first thing to do is to stop thinking like that.

I'm going to be very blunt with you here:

If you go into a driving situation every time scared or nervous or whatever... you shouldnt be driving. I aint saying that to be mean. I'm saying it because it's a safety thing. It's a good way to end up in a wreck. That nervous paranoia distracts you from things going on around you, and boy is that ever dangerous.

If you want to drive safely, you're gonna have to build up that confidence one way or another. Stop telling yourself "I cant" and stop saying "what if" and start saying "I'm gonna get this". When you get in the driver's seat, say to yourself "Yeah... I can do this".

Seriously I cant stress all of that enough.

I'm speaking from experience here. I made that mistake once and only once. Parts everywhere. I still remember the sound it made *shudder*

It was a tough lesson that I hope nobody has to go through, but I learned real confidence soon afterwards and stopped having problems.

Really, attitude and outlook really do make a difference here.
 
I learned to drive first on bush cars, and various off-road vehicles, farm and other heavy equipment before learning to drive motorcycle and standard cars so that definitely made things a lot easier for me. I can certainly say that I still enjoy driving standard vehicles over automatics to this day, simply due to the additional control but it does tax concentration no matter how focused you are and nowadays, especially in most cities; focus is detrimental.. but as previously mentioned, confidence is more or just as imperative. I’d suggest a good friend in the passenger seat, one you feel at ease with and maybe with a mesmerizing sense of humour. Hit the country roads away from civilization and just get used to the rhythms of responses to scenarios as they happen, try to acclimatize to how the vehicle responds to you and the environments your traversing, get comfortable. As comfort builds, approach more complex tasks like higher traffic areas, differing intersections and interchanges, small towns leading into larger cities, single lane to multi-lane to roundabouts. But do remember, you don’t have to take the route of manual, automatics are a far more convenient option, they do suffer a very slight impedance when it comes to mpg comparison and do cost a bit more than manuals but they are worth it for the convenience, and if it makes it easier to focus then it’s certainly worth it. I still prefer automatics when it comes to hauling but simply driving, I’ll take manual any day. I still occasionally get distracted by focusing on my surroundings enough to stay in a gear too long but prefer to have the gears when I see something amiss in drivers around me.
 

Tom

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I learned and tested with automatic transmission, but a few years later then most of my peers. I did eventually learn to drive manual transmission when I bought one from a friend. I learned by grinding the gears and hopping around the parking lot, or traffic lite or most embarassingly at a toll booth, on a hill. But my friends at least enjoyed the experience as they thought it was hilarious.

:D
 
Last edited:

GrownupGirl

Tempermental Artist
V.I.P Member
I wonder if I may have non-verbal learning disorder because I've never learned to drive a car or rife a bike, and I took a lot longer to learn to tie my own shoes or tell time on a non-digital clock. But I was really good at reading, writing and spelling as a kid. Whatever the reason, it's incredibly frustrating. Especially right now when it's too hot to walk anywhere.
 

Gerald Wilgus

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I love driving a manual transmission except in stop and go traffic. Most Americans only know how to steer but not how to drive. Getting my 2001 MR2 out on track days and for instruction was eye opening as It is an excellent car for conserving momentum while cornering and I learned how best to control it and have situational awareness. That was something I wanted to do my entire life and do not regret it in the safe structured venue at Gingerman Raceway.
 

AprilR

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I had some difficulties learning to drive, but i got my license. Although i prefer not to drive, since the drivers where i live are absolutely horrible
 

Shevek

Member
To drive easily and well, most of it has to be automatic. When you are walking around, and have to quickly change direction and speed, you probably are not even aware that you first move your feet out from under your center of gravity, so that you can stay balanced as you change it's vector. To get around, you don't think about every step, you just decide to go.
When driving, most of the time, steering to keep in your lane should be automatic. Shifting gears should take no more thought than putting on clothes. Your conscious thoughts should be about the changing traffic situation. I learned my shifting on a farm lane, and my traffic sense on a bicycle, and got a commercial license on my first try, on ice. In Canada, you could take a test with an automatic and then learn standard once you have gotten comfortable with the rest of driving. On older cars, a manual saved fuel, but the automatics are quite good now.
 

Shevek

Member
I love driving a manual transmission except in stop and go traffic. Most Americans only know how to steer but not how to drive. Getting my 2001 MR2 out on track days and for instruction was eye opening as It is an excellent car for conserving momentum while cornering and I learned how best to control it and have situational awareness. That was something I wanted to do my entire life and do not regret it in the safe structured venue at Gingerman Raceway.
Ha Ha! I got to Los Angeles in the middle of a gas shortage, and the car rental was mobbed with people who were in a hurry and couldn't wait to put gas in their own cars. It didn't look like they would be able to honor my reservation, until the clerk asked if I could drive standard. His Mustang had just been sitting there.
"It is more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow."
It is also cheaper, and far less alarming and dangerous to others, and you can drive flat out for extended periods of time, when a Porsche driver is lucky to get a few seconds of what it was built for.
Learning to control a skid has saved me from two bad accidents on black ice - the reflexes, like those for riding a bike, don't need a lot of maintenance once learned.
 

Gerald Wilgus

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
The best training that I received was through the MSF, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. A weekend course that taught the fundamentals of handling a motorcycle. At the end you took a test demonstrating your skills as well as rules of the road. Passing it, the DMV accepted the certificate in leiu of taking their road test. The worst part of the test for me was "the box" about the size of 4 parking spaces that you had to execute a low speed figure eight without going beyond the lines or touching the ground with a foot.
 

Nitro

Admin/Immoral Turpitude
Staff member
Admin
V.I.P Member
In a vehicle that normally got around 21 miles to a gallon, I once idled 3/4th of a tank of fuel away to travel about 6 miles in stop and go traffic headed into a huge concert venue on Marvin's Mountaintop.
.
My '86 Toyota 4Runner camping rig I call the War Wagon was sporting a 22RE 2.4l 4 cylinder and running the clutch became a total hassle after the first hour or so.
At that point in time I finally gave in and shifted the transfer case into low range and just let it idle in gear.
When the gap closed up, I would slip it out of mesh until I saw traffic start to flow again.
I arrived at my destination about 6 or 7 hours later completely worn out and set up camp.
On the final day, I had to pay an extreme amount of cash for 5 gallons of fuel just to leave the place because I didn't have enough to make it to a fuel stop.
 

Nitro

Admin/Immoral Turpitude
Staff member
Admin
V.I.P Member
The best training that I received was through the MSF, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. A weekend course that taught the fundamentals of handling a motorcycle. At the end you took a test demonstrating your skills as well as rules of the road. Passing it, the DMV accepted the certificate in leiu of taking their road test. The worst part of the test for me was "the box" about the size of 4 parking spaces that you had to execute a low speed figure eight without going beyond the lines or touching the ground with a foot.
I'm sure they taught you how to push your bars to pull it off.

I learned that in the dirt.
 

Nitro

Admin/Immoral Turpitude
Staff member
Admin
V.I.P Member
I love driving a manual transmission except in stop and go traffic. Most Americans only know how to steer but not how to drive. Getting my 2001 MR2 out on track days and for instruction was eye opening as It is an excellent car for conserving momentum while cornering and I learned how best to control it and have situational awareness. That was something I wanted to do my entire life and do not regret it in the safe structured venue at Gingerman Raceway.
The best way to learn how to get maximum performance out of any powerplant is to start with a low powered unit.
I learned more about using an engine up in a 1200cc 40 horsepower VW Beetle than any car I ever drove.
 

Gerald Wilgus

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I'm sure they taught you how to push your bars to pull it off.

I learned that in the dirt.
That and shifting your balance, so different than countersteering at speed. I enjoyed the dynamics of riding. For my last trip I mapped out the twistiest roads in the Rockies and had a great time.
 

Gerald Wilgus

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
The best way to learn how to get maximum performance out of any powerplant is to start with a low powered unit.
I learned more about using an engine up in a 1200cc 40 horsepower VW Beetle than any car I ever drove.
With 138 HP my Spyder is not going to set records, but at 2,000 lbs I could brake later and turn in without losing much speed and actually make up distance on heavy more powerful cars that blow me away on the straights.
 
Last edited:

Richelle-H

Relaxed Relativity Inspector
V.I.P Member
I grew up in a time when if you could not handle manual transmission you did not drive. I remember being taken to the Santa Anita Race Track to drive around their parking lot during off season in order to learn how. This was before I was old enough to even apply for a learner's permit.

A safe environment (i.e. a enormous parking lot without cars or major obstructions), was a stress free way to learn. Then it was just practice. It took a while but right before I was to apply for my drivers license I had a few refresher lessons from a driving school. I was very nervous when I went in to apply for my license, fearing my parallel parking would give me an instant fail. Surprisingly, I managed (maybe because of all the practice I had over several years). That same year I shared driving chores with my mother as we drove across country on Route 66 from California to Tennessee and Kentucky where my mother's relatives all resided.

I have only driven stick since then (except for the occasional rental). I really do not like automatic transmissions. I like the control and I have always achieved greater gas mileage with a manual than with an automatic. Shift points on an automatic were always somewhat inaccurate and unreliable for fuel efficiency. I also did not like the removal of choice and the control of deciding when to shift.

The newer automatics seem to have a means of going to a semi manual mode, but I do not like those either.

I started very early on a stick, so I cannot offer any advice except to practice in as stress free a manner as you can manage. It is merely muscle training for co-ordination. I do not think about it anymore. It is as natural as walking for me. I can be clumsy walking, but I have had very few accidents over the years and those were mostly the fault of the other driver, but when it was my fault it was almost always due to inattention or distraction.

Do not think you cannot do it. It will happen if you keep at it. I love the freedom of being able to drive. Even more so now that I was forbidden to drive for almost an entire year between June of 2020 and April of 2021 because of a seizure.

Good luck to you. Just believe in yourself and keep trying.
 

Forest Cat

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
A safe environment (i.e. a enormous parking lot without cars or major obstructions), was a stress free way to learn.

I agree with that. I have taught a few people how to drive and first I always took them to a big open space with nothing to crash into. And just let them drive and try.
 

New Threads

Top Bottom