ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How Do You Drive With Autism?

Updated on November 28, 2017
Edwardson profile image

I enjoy camping, hiking, backpacking, and traveling. I hope to visit all 50 states one day along with traveling abroad. I like meeting ne

How to Drive with Autism

Is Driving Like Socializing?

There are many parents of children with autism who are constantly asking me how I drive. I have autism, but I learned to drive from the age of fifteen.

Autism makes driving very hard because there are a lot of sensory issues involved with driving. There is so much to pay attention to but in a lot of ways driving is like socializing but the rules are more written or easier for me to understand.

Just like socializing, driving is a social dance. You really must rely on the other person or the other vehicles and you must respond to what the other drivers are doing just like you must respond to people socially.

Driving involves a lot of non-verbal communication. The non-verbal cues are a key to letting us no what the other car is doing because we cannot talk or communicate with the other drivers as we are driving. We must rely on the non-verbal communication or the cues the car gives us.

An example of some of those cues could be break lights and turn signals. The only way we can know that someone is turning is if they turn their turn signal on and let us know which direction they are turning.

Not only do you need to be able to read other people’s non-verbal communication skills just like reading other vehicle’s non-verbal communication skills, but you also must exhibit good non-verbal communication skills of your own. If you do not practice good non-verbal communication, there are plenty of chances you will make a mistake. That mistake could be very costly just as social mistakes but this one could be real dangerous. Car accidents are much worse than social mishaps and misunderstandings because there are lives at stake. People can get hurt and worse, so we really must become good at practicing our own non-verbal communication skills and then becoming an expert at reading other people’s non-verbal communication skills.

Sometimes non-verbal communication between cars can become confusing just like it can between people because people do not always say what they are meaning or in this case drivers don’t always do what they signal they are going to do.

Someone might have a right turn signal on but really, they meant to turn their left turn signal on and are turning left. This can confuse the other drivers trying to read this driver’s turn signal of non-verbal communication and this could lead to a major accident.

Sometimes these non-verbal cues come unexpectedly in driving just as they do in socializing. There are many times where something happens that forces a driver to slam on the breaks and stop immediately. There is little to no warning that someone is going to stop so fast and this can cause the other driver to rear end this person creating another major accident.

All this non-verbal communication stuff is very important, and we must pay attention to detail when driving just as we do when socializing.

The unique thing for me is I can comprehend and understand how the non-verbal stuff works when it comes to driving and interacting with other drivers and vehicles but no matter how hard I try, I am unable to understand all the non-verbal communication in socializing between people.

Rules of driving make a lot more sense to me than rules of socializing. Maybe that is because I know what I am looking for or I know what the rules are. I know what a turn signal means and I learned how to respond to it.

I have never learned what certain facial expressions and hand gestures mean though, so I haven’t been as able to learn how to react to social cues. I react a lot better to driver cues than I do social cues.

I get very stressed out trying to study and learn all the non-verbal cues of socializing. They are very exhausting for me and sometimes I just want to be able to take a step back and not worry about them, but I know that is impossible. Driving a car is a lot less stressful for me even though there is likely more pressure involved in driving than there is in socializing simply because people’s lives are on the line.

You are responsible for making all the right decisions when you are driving and when you misread someone’s non-verbal communication and make a driver error it can be very costly as someone could lose their life.

I wish we could teach social skills the way in which we teach driving. If we could just have written ways of learning social skills I think it would be a lot easier for us to learn but socially everything is unwritten, and no one really knows what all the rules are anyhow, so we must guess what each other mean and try to come to an agreement on what something means.

If people could think about non-verbal communication like they do driving it might clear up a lot of confusion about what people are saying, doing, and meaning. The biggest difference between driving and socializing in person is that the unwritten rules are written out for drivers and they are not written out for socializers. This leaves people with autism feeling very confused and isolated.

One thing that is for sure is that people with autism work hard. The rules may not be as easy to understand in socializing as they are in the world of driving but with a lot of support people with autism can slowly learn how to navigate the social world around them. This will help them to be able to connect with other people, make more friends, and one day get a boyfriend or girlfriend.

I sometimes joke that cars who make mistakes and do something they aren’t supposed to do our cars with autism and cars that follow all the rules are cars without autism. Just like driving, socializing is all about communication and ninety-three percent of that communication happens to be non-verbal which is where the autism really comes into play and makes a difference in our lives. The best approach to helping people with autism who are verbal learn how to socialize better is to begin working with them on body language and non-verbal communication. Once we start to learn some unwritten rules of socializing and non-verbal communication we will be better able to improve the quality of life for all autistic people.

How to Communicate Non-Verbally


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)