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.