For the typical driver, it is no problem to carry out the basic modes of driving, such as changing lanes, driving at night, in precipitation, on ice, in fog, off-road, or in heavy traffic. However, the Aspergers driver usually has significant difficulty with any one of these things, if not all of them.
Fortunately, there are strategies to overcome all of these obstacles. An Aspergers driver, like any other driver, must get experience because of the countless possibilities for any given scenario. After all, every situation is unique. Yet, even the inexperienced Aspergers driver can get a mind for it all using simplification in techniques. Among these techniques are:
For any situation:
- Be sure that you do not rely on quick glances or peripheral vision, even though an Aspergers driver’s eyesight may be 20/20. Instead, analyze what you see and be prepared if something or someone moves in front of you (forward) or behind your vehicle (reverse) and do not use the accelerator when just starting to drive unless necessary for reverse movement; keep brake covered as much as possible and come to a complete stop before shifting gears.
- Know which window or mirror to use in a given instant
- Ex: Side mirror + blind spot mirror and looking over your shoulder to change lanes
For lower-visibility situations:
- At night or during inclement weather:
- Do not solely rely on plain judgment if eyesight becomes less dependable; use tricks, such as watching for cars with no headlights on or using the shoulder line technique when oncoming lights are excessively bright;
- NEVER stare into any lights at night; it impedes vision;
- Know the different colors and flash frequencies of various kinds of lights and combine them with sounds to identify what occurs in a given instant; ex: yellow flashing lights could be tow truck or other work vehicle;
- Use high beams, but not to disturb other drivers, pedestrians, or people inside buildings upon which the beams project;
- Always use headlights when darkness falls, when street lights come on, in inclement weather, or when use is required by law in a given area;
- Use various frequencies of wipers, depending on how much precipitation covers windshield every second; not too slow and not too fast.
These are a few of the many examples of how Aspergers drivers can utilize their own strength of detail-oriented thinking to break down relatively complex driving issues. Such a mindset ensures that the driver does not miss important details that can save many lives.
“Driving with Autism” is an Aspergers101 series that educates and empowers the driver diagnosed with High-Functioning Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome. Aspergers101 has teamed up with the Texas DPS in training Texas State Troopers about the uniqueness of Autism and understanding the Autistic driver. This partnership is garnering encouraging results.
Article by Reese Eskridge
Reese Eskridge is a Production Technician with Fairville Products, who is passionate about working in the sciences (biology) and wishes to take his work experiences further into the fields of Educational Neuroscience; Science Fiction; Freelance Writing; Disability Advocacy; Public Speaking; Leadership and Entrepreneurship. Aspergers101 is proud to offer the insights and perceptions of the talented Mr. Eskridge, who is obviously living life on the spectrum to it’s fullest!
You may contact Reese at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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