Dyslexia and Driving: Overcoming the Obstacles

October 24, 2012 in Resources

Dyslexia can affect you in many areas of your life, and driving an automobile is one of them. Learning to drive and passing your driving test has never been harder, with so many people on the roads now and both the theory and practical driving tests getting harder to pass. Being dyslexic means that you could find it even harder to learn to drive, and dyslexia can present problems for people even after they have passed their driving test. On the other hand, some dyslexics actually find it easy to drive, so understanding the disadvantages and advantages will put you in the best possible position to hit the road and stay safe!

Passing the Test

Possibly the hardest part about becoming a licensed driver is passing the test. The theory test is often difficult for dyslexics, but help is at hand for those that struggle with the written test. Test centers will arrange for special circumstances if you inform them you are dyslexic, from offering you more time to complete the test, to conducting an oral test instead of a written test. You will have to present the test center with evidence of you suffering from dyslexia if you want special arrangements to be made, and do not be afraid to use the Americans with Disabilities Act to aid your request for extra help.

When learning to actually drive a car, make sure you instructor knows you are dyslexic and talk to him or her about how you can best learn to drive. Getting your left and rights correct can often present a problem, and using visual signs is a great way of overcoming this barrier. If this is a problem for you, ask you instructor to switch left and right for points of reference, like ‘your side’ and ‘my side,’ or ‘writing hand’ and ‘watch hand.’ It doesn’t matter exactly what is said, as long as it makes sense to you and you can remember it. If you feel your instructor is not helping you to learn, moving too fast, or simply not considering your specific needs enough, then look for another instructor.

Driving with Dyslexia

Once you have passed the test and have your license, your driving experience is about to begin. Driving by yourself may be daunting at first, but be confident and practice as much as you can. You will have to react quickly to situations, and process a lot of information at the same time, which can be a problem for dyslexics. Take it slow, relax, and remember not to panic. The more you drive the more comfortable you will feel while driving a car.

There all sorts of different problems that dyslexia sufferers have to deal with that can affect their ability to drive. Problems with perception, reading, and controlling attention can be an issue, but recognizing these problems and working around them is the key to success.

Plus Points

While driving with dyslexia does present some problems, there are many cases where dyslexics make better driver than non-dyslexics. For instance, some dyslexics benefit from enhanced eye hand coordination, are much better at practical tasks, more creative, and have quicker problem solving skills. Dyslexia effects everybody in different ways, and each individual with dyslexia needs to look closely at how the condition affects them and then focus on the strengths they possess, not the weaknesses.

On Vacation

If you are considering driving while on vacation, then there are few things you should consider. Streets can be much busier, with both more cars and more pedestrians, so you need to keep alert. If you hire a vehicle, getting used to a different car may take a little while, especially if you have driven the same car since you passed your test. You also have to read up on the traffic rules and regulations if you are visiting a different country, and whether it is safe for foreigners to drive there. There is no reason not to recommend driving in Europe because the roads are well-maintained, fairly safe, and well signposted, however you need to learn the differences in the driving system once there or you could run into problems. For instance, distances on road signs are given in kilometers, not miles, as are sign that display speed limits. You need to remember this or you may end up being pulled over by the police for speeding.

There is absolutely no reason why being dyslexic should stop you from being able to drive. You may need to put a lot of work into it, but it really is worth the effort, and the sense of achievement you will feel will make up for the times you felt it was impossible.

 

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