The First Driving Lessons of a Young Adult

78f6a4a32ec7a7c776561305b128d62fIt is an inevitable part of modern life that we will all learn how to drive, as much for freedom as out of necessity. And without a doubt anyone whose reached and/or passed that milestone has more than a few stories to share. I’ve only just started my adventure, but it’s already become very interesting.

I guess I should start with a bit of background. I’m twenty-three and just purchased a car, got a learner’s permit, and am taking driving lessons from my father. You may be asking ‘How does someone reach that age without learning how to drive?’ The answer–in short–is life. When I was thirteen my father–who was in the Air Force–was stationed in England and I spent the first three years of High School over there. My parents didn’t want me learning how to drive in a foreign country because how they drive is different–and I’m not just talking about the wrong side of the road. Unfortunately, after my dad’s time was up he was discharged. We returned to the States and fell on hard times. After several attempts–and many kicks in the teeth–I finally got a car, a green Nissan Altima that’s almost as old as I.

The next challenge was finding somewhere that I could practice safely without fear of hitting something–or someone. My dad thought he’d found a perfect spot in the parking lot of a local church. Turns out it imageswasn’t so perfect. No, we didn’t go driving there on a sunday. That would be silly and irresponsible. Apparently, driving in circles in an empty parking lot draws attention. I don’t know if we looked suspicious, or parents giving kids driving lessons is a dying sight in the 21st century, but a police car pulled into an adjacent parking lot to watch us. They never came over to ask what we were doing and we eventually left. The next time we returned there was a sign that hadn’t been there before. It said ‘Church Traffic Only’. We got the message and left.

There wasn’t really anywhere else to go so my dad decided that we’d practice on the backroads of our neighborhood. He quickly came to regret that. Dogs run loose in our neighborhood and they kept running in front of the car and I kept braking–hard. I did that a lot, but especially when dogs were in front of us. My dad quickly decided to call it a day.

My dad was a bit braver today, going so far as to take me out onto the main road to do some driving. It was nerve rattling. I’m Autistic and driving requires several things that I find difficult; multitasking, awareness of your surroundings, and not flinching when cars go by. If it wasn’t for the fact that I was so focused on making sure I didn’t have a wreck I probably would’ve freaked out. I must’ve done something right because my dad was less prone to bracing himself against the door than he had on my previous attempt. I also think his shoulder blade is less sore. I avoided excessive breaking–mostly. I did have to hit it to avoid rolling into the path of an oncoming car when my dad told me to pull straight through. Well, that was a general instruction not a literal one.

Probably shouldn’t tell my mom that.



2 thoughts on “The First Driving Lessons of a Young Adult

  1. I greatly enjoyed this post and shared it with my daughter. I underestimated the difficulties she would have learning to drive and being on the autism spectrum. I remind myself that if I tense my muscles by holding the bar or straightening my legs that my injuries will be worse if she wrecks. And it makes her slightly less anxious when I don’t do those things.

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