How do I learn how to drive when I have Autism?

A thing I really want to start learning is how to drive, as driving is something that I need to learn. I don’t like being at home all the time, and I don’t want to always depend on a driving service to get me to places. I am especially interested in wanting to get a job again, especially since I don’t know what’s going to happen to me after this semester of college. My Autism gets in the way, which while studying how to drive looks a lot easier, practicing driving is something that I am not familiar with.

What should I do?

Could you get a friend or family member to help you?


Yeah, usually thats how people learn, go into an empty parking lot in a car, and get instructions from friend or family. If thats not an option, I’ll bet you can find a driving education course somewhere nearby.

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Yep… pretty much just gotta “go do it”. A lot of things you can learn from books or online; driving, you have to actually drive. I should mention, I didn’t get a drivers license until I was 21- I was terrified of driving after some horrible accidents my sister got us in, but it’s honestly really easy. Just find a parking lot and start super slow :slight_smile:

P.S. Depending on your age and your state, there’s a very strong chance you’ll have to take a driver’s ed class to get a license. Its almost a given, actually, you usually have to be 25 or older to get a license without driver’s ed. Your best bet would be to Google “driver’s ed classes near me” and find one, you should be able to find good options :slight_smile:

You’re in West Virginia, right? Yeah, you have to take a driver’s ed class to get an Intermediate Permit, then you can take a driving test to get a real license:

If you are 18 or older and have never obtained a driver’s license (Level 2 or comparable), you must obtain a regular Class E Instruction Permit. When you have completed the application and presented the appropriate documents as a first-time applicant, you will be allowed to take the vision screening and knowledge test. When you pass the vision and knowledge tests, you will be issued a regular Class E Instruction Permit. The Instruction Permit allows you to operate a motor vehicle when a licensed driver 21 or older occupies the front passenger seat beside you. The Instruction Permit will be valid for a period of 180 days and is not to be renewed. After at least 30 days or expiration, you must pass the vision screening again and are then eligible for a road skill test.,vision%20screening%20and%20knowledge%20test.

If you are an adult driver seeking your first license , you must apply to obtain a Class E Instruction Permit, which will be granted after you pass a vision screening and knowledge test .
With a Class E Instruction Permit, you may operate a motor vehicle in the company of a licensed driver over 21 years of age. After at least 30 days, you must pass the vision screening again and then may take your road skills test .

I’m on the spectrum myself, and thankfully I’ve got my license (after my second attempt) about six or seven years ago, but the car isn’t always available to me since I have to share it with my younger sister, who actually has a job unlike me.
I can handle low traffic roads or places outside the city just fine, but when I get to the more crowded, urbanized areas, I do tend to get into a mild state of panic trying to find my way around, and have had some situations that left me wondering whether I might have earned that license by a fluke…

Driver’s ed. A good professional driving instructor will be used to dealing with a variety of people, many of them terrified to drive on the road for real the first time just like you. Sure, it’ll be new and scary, but you’ll adjust over time.

I don’t recommend starting with family or friends. Get help for practicing with them after letting a professional coach you on the basics and acclimate you to driving on the street. Practice driving in low traffic familiar areas, and work your way up to more varied conditions - including the streets by your local DMV for obvious reasons.

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that sounds quite normal though. :slight_smile: for many people who are not on the spectrum (including me) it is like that too. for me using a navigation system helps. then at least i don’t have the route finding stress. :slight_smile:


That happens to all new drivers. There is just too much to pay attention to and the mind gets easily overwhelmed. The trick is to offload the incoming information to the point where it can be managed. Kakapo gave a good tip to use navigation. You can also plan your route in advance and pick the easier route. Knowing where you are going gives you additional time to deal with the other stuff.

The best you can do is to practice as much as possible. With time, six months to a year of frequent practice, a lot of the involving actions of driving become second nature, offloaded to the muscle memory. The driving then becomes a breeze and the only thing you need to worry about is a random inattentive driver/pedestrian and some pot holes. :smile:

Also, a car with an automatic transmission is another “cheat” that makes life a lot easier for new drivers, especially in busy urban environments. However that may not always be an option.


Will I ever learn how to drive? I am 23 years old and I don’t know many skills, including driving. I really need to escape from my father, and driving is the only way for me to achieve that.

Simply ask a trusted family member, who fully understands your specific situation, to help you.

Because, "once you get your license and get out on the road," of course you want to be a responsible and safe driver. The people who are right-now closest to you and therefore most familiar with your instant situation will therefore be your best source of counsel. And they should be eager to help.

Yes, “Autism is a curious handicap.” But plenty of people before you have found ways to get beyond it, and so can you. (So will you …)

Fundamentally, remember this: “You are not the first, and you are not alone.” “Reach out.”

Most autistic people can learn to drive, so you probably can to and it’s just scary and new until you get some training. Sure, some autistic people genuinely can’t, but the only way to find out is to take some driver’s training, and acclimate to it. Read the DMV handbook, study for the written test, take the test, and then sign up for driver’s training.

But you probably don’t need a car to get a job - which you is what you actually need to move out from your dad if you don’t have friends or family who will take you in. You can start by riding the bus if you live in an area with public transportation or apply to jobs in walking or biking distance. It sucks, but that’s what people who are too poor to buy a car do to get started. It’s what I did for my first job.

Realistically, what would you drive if you had a license? Your dad doesn’t seem like the type to give you a car. Do you have the full cash to buy a car without getting a job first? You won’t be approved for a car payment without a job, probably not even if your parents were willing to cosign.

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Hi, I also think you need to ask a friend to help you.


I strongly suggest: “Seek the counsel of those who love you and who are most-immediately familiar with your situation.”

Given that you intend to one day “drive down the road at fifty-or-more miles per hour,” it is extremely important that you do not seek counsel from an internet forum.

You certainly can overcome this handicap and perform as a confident driver, as you of course desire and expect to do. And you are very wise to realize now that at this point you need help.

Now, I counsel you to seek that help from the family members who are right now very closest to you. People who have been around you every day. They will know best.

For instance: “hop into the passenger’s seat and pretend that you’re the driver” as the family member drives you around. Notice how the actual driver responds. Would you have responded the same? Your understanding family member can help you to gain the experience that you need in order to confidently become a responsible driver.

“You can do this!”

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