Drivers with ASD, especially those who have little experience, often neglect to learn about vehicle maintenance. They do not receive car maintenance information in driver’s education courses and may feel persuaded to initially think that it does not matter.
Unfortunately, when lights come on in their cars or if their cars unexpectedly die on them, they may become confused as to how to deal with such situations. Parents must educate their driving children, especially those with Aspergers, about the various situations that could arise when transportation fails. These issues include schedule changes and a dependency on alternative transportation.
Drivers with ASD should use their owner’s manuals and examine the pages containing information about fluids and pressures to check and when to check them. This is especially key for visual thinkers.
Drivers should consistently check fluids and pressures, as well as put necessary items in the car. Make sure the car has enough of the following:
- Clean oil
- Correct tire pressure
- Jack and other tire-changing equipment
- Windshield washer fluid
- Steering, brake, radiator fluids
- Clutch fluid (Manual Transmission)
- Working lights (ALL)
It is important for drivers on the Spectrum to also take into account that each situation is unique and has its own complications.
If the car stops during a drive and the driver cannot resolve the situation, they must call someone to help using these tips:
- Ask if the person can help with the issue;
- Explain where exactly you are (near plaza, mile marker for highway, junction of…);
- Keep car locked and hazard lights on
- Be sure to keep an eye open for oncoming traffic
“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.
by Reese Eskridge
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