To begin, I have heard myths that people with Aspergers can’t drive as well as the average neurotypical person because we could get easily distracted by something (a bright colorful train, a funny advertisement…) or that Driving can get extremely stressful for us and can eventually cause us to lock down, creating mile long traffic jams at the local intersection…
Ridiculous claims certainly! the fact is that… we tend to focus narrowly on our current tasks more than the average karen on a minivan, that sometimes our extra sensitivity can help us predict or avoid dangerous situations, just like avoiding a collision with a brake checker on a Bmw? It is proven that people with Aspergers tend to be much safer than the average driver since they stick more to the rules than the other drivers on the road. But in exchange for following them, they tend to experience a bit more stress than the average neurotypical driver which often tends to ignore 4/10 basic driving rules on their average commute towards work.
Perhaps I haven’t driven enough to have the right to judge other’s people driving or point fingers. But I have two practical examples that can pretty much sum up driving with aspergers… from the most stressful to the most relaxing kind of driving.
City & highway driving, certainly hell for me
City driving can be pretty stressful for anyone regardless of their condition… Not only you got people frequently cutting you off, or bullying you out of your lane with their oversized crossovers.
And if that wasn’t enough, there’s always that impatient businessman on his giant Audi SUV tailgating you until the point your car is about to have unexpected backdoor intercourse because of how close it is to it’s rear! The next thing you know is that you have become grandpa to a hybrid car and are on the way to deliver the hybrid offspring to the scrapyard!
Normally for these cases, It always helps to keep track of your mirrors, and judging your distances between other cars around you… And deciding whether you step on it to get out of the imminent “sandwich” or if you lay down your hand on the horn and slam on the brakes to avoid a fender bender. Basic tricks that make city driving less stressful for me is often early positioning myself on the lane I need to be and as well be ready to come out the first out of the stoplight, the one that gets out the first always gets to choose in which lane they want to be in a 4 lane avenue.
And highway driving… is pretty much the same, the only big difference here is that you’ll be keeping watch for speed demons on the fast lane. Or deciding whether to overtake the truck on the lane or simply stay behind it for a few more miles until you got to take your exit.
The less stressful roads? Mountain roads!
Mountain roads, the average Karen on a Crossover can’t be spotted here, let alone the impatient SUV businessman, or the speed demon on a Bmw who’s afraid of everything but long straights. Mountain passes tend to be long or short stretches of road between mountain towns, often filled with uphills and downhills… not to mention that as well they can be pretty narrow and have plenty of blind corners! And… why this doesn’t stress me at all?
Let’s just say that secondary roads tend to be mostly empty of traffic, they’re perfect if you just want to enjoy the sights and cruise at your own pace, without worrying about tailgaters or people cutting you off. Spirited driving as well can be done since traffic is scarce around these places, and then you can calmly wind down for a while on a siding and enjoy the sights the mountain pass has to offer you.
Brake, downshift, release the brake… letting the car coast towards the bend as you turn the wheel gently and glide along the corner smoothly, then accelerating fast out of it before repeating it all over again… It’s an art not many drivers understand. Much less enjoying the sights as you keep rising above the ground like a plane doing it’s ascent towards cruising altitude.
I certainly would recommend a good mountain road every once in a while to every car enthusiast here, not only you get to experience a fraction of what your car’s performance has to offer you. As well you get to see towns that you never thought could exist and find good restaurants, people… You’ll experience more or less driving Nirvana.
Anyways… I hope that this simple blog post has helped you understand what it’s like for me at least, do you have any doubts or any leftover questions? leave them in the comments below!