Tuesday, November 21, 2017

ADHD Goes for a Drive

May 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Ourselves

I’ll return to “A Vision for ADHD”, but right now I just need to go for a drive. The only problem is that my navigator for over 20 years has been ADHD.

Over the years I have had more accidents, tickets and close calls than I can count. Why? At times distraction has caused me to miss things others might have seen, like the line of cars braking in front of me in stop and go traffic. My thrill seeking nature and tendency to become easily frustrated by traffic, have led me to use excessive speed (just once – I swear!). I can’t count the number of times I have driven a route I know well and go zipping past my exit – detour time! – then miss the next exit to correct, etc., etc. Add to all of this the fact that my teen years were spent just as society decided that driving home from a party was a no-no.

“Yeah, I know, some people are against drunk driving, and I call those people “the cops.” But you know, sometimes, you’ve just got no choice; those kids gotta get to school!”
– Dave Attell

The cumulative costs of my driving habits have been well into the ten’s of thousands of dollars over my life. Who has to keep an Excel worksheet to track tickets and manage points on their license? Who has a speeder attorney practically on retainer? (By the way – the guy has the same car as me and has recommended a new chip for my car to make it go faster – I think I smell a conflict of interest!) Who has to keep notes on when the statute of limitations runs out on an accident so that he can finally take a breath when a lawsuit is unlikely?

I’m always looking over my shoulder, waiting to get pulled over. A radio show I listen to on the road likes to play sirens in the background when they are talking, periodically, leaving their listeners with palpitations. I’ve got to find a new station to listen to.

Although this may seem that I am making light of dangerous driving habits, I am not. My dark humor leans towards gallows humor with something like this. There has been alot of pain, so it is a “laugh or cry” situation for me. Every day people’s lives are irreversibly effected by the traumatic events that can be caused on the road.

So what can we do? As adults, we should be well aware of our mental condition when getting behind the wheel. Are we awake or tired? Focused or swimming with thoughts? Relaxed or totally stressed out? We choose each time we get behind the wheel and with that choice comes responsibility.

For our teen drivers, studies have shown that teenage drivers with ADHD:

  • are more likely to have received repeated traffic tickets, often for speeding
  • are involved in three times as many car crash injuries as teens without ADHD
  • are less likely to be demonstrating good driving habits
  • are nearly four times more likely to have had an accident
  • are found to be at fault for car crashes four times more often
  • are six to eight times more likely to have their license suspended or revoked for their driving behavior
  • are more likely to have driven, unlicensed and without adult supervision

I am not ejecting blame for my actions onto the back of ADHD, but there is no doubt in my mind that it’s been along for many miles. Be careful out there!

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