Driving and Autism
Hi I’m Scott Biehl and this blog is to discuss autism and driving. While there is popular misconception that all on the spectrum can’t drive, let me tell you, I’ve had a license for 13 years and driven for way longer than that. Learning to drive was not easy. Am I a world class driver? I don’t think so. I’ve had my fair share of accidents and tickets, but not more than any other human.
It’s hard to speak for an entire group so, I am going to speak for myself. When I get behind the wheel it gives me a sense of independence and freedom. I don’t feel like a burden on the world. Driving gives me peace, however for many others, who struggle with focus, driving is torture. I learned focus mentally by a silly movie quote, “Pick a line and drive straight through it,” Robert Duvall Days of Thunder. What that quote means to me is make a decision and don’t dwell on it. You can’t change the past, U-turns and rerouting are part of life. While I was learning to drive I had many incidents, accidents, and OOPS’s, but the blessing for me is my parents are gear heads so I had plenty of off road opportunities to learn without causing major accidents. For example one of my chores has always has been mowing the lawn so I started on a ride on tractor, yea I know it’s not as fast as a car but it requires A LOT of focus. Leaving grass uncut or hitting moms prized roses usually makes them pretty mad, so to keep them happy, you focus. Then I got a go kart that was a whole other level of focus. Its way quicker which means brakes needed to be mastered, so I didn’t damage property, thus keeping people happy. Finally, when I was 14 my dad would take me to a family friend’s junkyard where I was allowed to drive make messes and destroy stuff. I was put behind the wheel and the wipers put on high so I could fine tune my focus and not be distracted by things in the road. I finally got my license when I was 18 and I did it on my first try. I prefer the independence of driving myself, it now is very relaxing to me and gives me a sense of pride. My current daily driver is a 1979 ford f150, and I drive it everywhere.