Have you ever gotten into a car accident because of a learning challenge? Or because of a vision problem? Or because you weren’t paying attention?
I have been in 3 car accidents that were my fault. My first two happened three years ago when I was still getting used to driving with NLD. And the most recent one happened this year.
The first one was so scary because it knocked me out for a little bit. And when I was conscious I didn’t have my glasses on, I remembered what had happened. I remember that day as if it were yesterday.
The only way I could get my car out of that accident was to call a tow truck because I had broken my front axel. I was so scared and had my confidence shaken after that one.
My confidence was even more shaken after I did my second one a few months later, so much so that I didn’t drive again for at least a year. I had my parents drive me around more because I didn’t like driving with NLD and my migraine condition.
I couldn’t drive when I was nauseous and had my head exploding with pain because I couldn’t focus. Once I got my migraines under a little more control and had enough of a break I started driving again.
But it felt like I had to start learning all over again because I hadn’t done it for so long. It’s not easy to drive when you have a visual-spatial deficit, issues with feeling your body as an extension of the car, slower reflexes, challenges with estimating distances, and processing information quickly.
And on top of all that sometimes my head hurts too much due to the weather changing, stress, or my period. My most recent car accident was when I was backing out of a parking spot and hit a car that was nearby. It happened because I wasn’t at the right angle to avoid and it was hard to see down the hood of my car since it’s a Prius.
I was doing so much better for 3 years before this happened. But I won’t let one bad thing get me from getting back on the wagon or horse. I can still improve more with my visual-spatial because I already have so much. I can’t let one little mistake ruin my success and giant improvements.
I do know that NTs get into car accidents but it won’t bug them as much as will when you’re neurodiverse because you have to work at it harder. When you’re neurodiverse and can drive, you have to work harder to improve because of having something that makes it more challenging.
It can be discouraging when you think you’re doing so much better than you were with something and then you make one mistake, which sets you back. It makes you say to yourself not again!
It’s frustrating and makes me want to throw things and go ugh. But I won’t give up because I’ve come too far to do so.
I’m telling you about these things because I want you to learn from my experiences so that you don’t have to go through them. Or if you have already similar mistakes that you don’t feel so alone. And hopefully will learn something more from them.
I have talked about my challenges with driving before on this podcast in episodes 11 and 49 of year 1.
My parents are very good at teaching me how to drive and how to improve. They spent countless hours with me in their vehicles and mine. They have guided me through so many challenges in my life. I am so thankful for their help.
My mom even stood in the parking spot for me when I was trying to improve with parking. She would guide me into the spot by telling me which way to turn the wheel and how much so I could have my car straight in the spot. And she would do it until I was too tired to do more.
I know that there are some neurodiverse people out there who can’t drive because it’s too hard for them to learn. And because they have made too many mistakes that they are scared of making more. I can relate to that.
I also know that there are neurotypicals who can’t drive because them being too old to remember, aren’t alert enough, or can’t see well enough. Or they have a physical ability that implies them from driving like being blind, color blind, deaf, or paralyzed.
The differences between those people and me are there limitations are more visible than mine. I’m not minimizing those limitations. I’m saying that they’re different. Mine is invisible and people rarely hear about them.
Because people rarely hear about them it’s harder for them to believe in and understand them. I wish it was easier for me to describe to my parents what I see or what it’s like for me when I drive. But I can’t unless they spend enough time with me seeing how difficult it is for me to do.
You may be wondering why I haven’t given up after all this with driving. I haven’t because I don’t want to. I know I can do better because I already have. And the only way to go from here is up. I don’t like giving up on tackling my challenges in life because it’s too easy to do that.
It’s way harder to improve on them, yes but it’s also more satisfying when you do. Because you can say to yourself I did that and remember what it used to be like before improving.
I was playing the card game “May I” to get my mind off the accident and had a realization.
I realized that I was still really good at doing math and adding up the scores. This made me feel better because I knew what it was like for me to improve with math. It took a lot of energy and tears for me to get better at it.
I know I can do the same with driving because I already have. I’m going to do more puzzles to help me with my visual-spatial challenges because they’re fun and do work. I know I can improve.
I hope that this episode made you not feel so alone in the world of neurodiversity and car accidents. Please think about all of the ways you have improved when you get discouraged and think about giving up.
You have 3 choices to do, “When something bad happens you have three choices. You can let it define you. Or let it destroy. Or let it strengthen you.” Unknown
I chose once again to let this strengthen me not to destroy or define me!
I’m a daughter, sister, dog owner, podcaster, and project ambassador. I also am an admin assistant, tech, and social media support at a non-profit spiritual community.Share your own story