Dyspraxia & Driving: What you need to know

Featured image by Matheus Bertelli, pexels.com

Learning how to drive, for many, is a significant milestone as well as a major life skill. As of 2019, 74% of people in England hold a full driving licence.

This can be an exciting decision to make for some, yet intimidating for others. The same of course applies to people with dyspraxia.

Having this skill brings about plenty of perks that help other life areas:

  • Freedom and flexibility to go where you want, when you like & with whom you choose
  • Expanding job prospects
  • Personal space during rush hour (plus radio privileges)
  • Car boot to lighten your carrying load
  • The accomplishment of passing the test
  • Regular opportunity to practise coordination skills

Some aspects of dyspraxia can make typical daily activities harder, so it need not come as a surprise to think about how they could impact driving too.

If you are dyspraxic there may just be a few more factors to bear in mind before you embark on your own learning journey.
 




 

Do you have to tell the DVLA if you have dyspraxia?

No, you do not need to notify the DVLA.

However, if you feel that something could directly affect your ability to drive safely, then it is a sensible idea to let them know.

It is also recommended to disclose your dyspraxia to your driving instructor at the start. Together you can come up with the best route to navigate any needs, questions or concerns you may have (to make the ride just that bit easier).

 

Can dyspraxia affect your driving?

Dyspraxia is a specific learning difference that typically affects:

  • Coordination – especially motor skills like hand to eye coordination and spatial awareness
  • Movement
  • Perception
  • Organisation abilities

Driving a car calls on you to focus on the road while keeping your feet on the pedal and your hand on the gear stick. That’s a lot of coordinating to do at once.

It also relies on being able to judge…

  • Speed (your own and others’)
  • Time
  • Distance between yourself and other road users

Following the directions of a sat nav or a map could get frustrating for someone who tends to get their Left and Right mixed up.

Again, this is a lot of multi-tasking to do while looking out for road hazards and planning ahead.

So what can you do?

 

Tips For Taking Driving Lessons With Dyspraxia

  • Let your driving instructor know about your dyspraxia from the start – you can come up with methods & tweaks that work best for you
  • Start by learning to drive an automatic
  • Label your Left and Right sides – try stickers on your steering wheel
  • Look for specialist instructors who are trained and/or experienced in helping people with dyspraxia
  • Take breaks as often as you need to help with focus
  • Install extra wing mirrors to help you see better when parking and reversing (recommended by https://dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk/dyspraxia-adults/driving/)
  • Do as much prep as you can before driving – like setting up navigation and planning rest breaks beforehand
  • Get plenty of practice in!

Driving is one of those skills that you’ll (most likely) only learn the basics of once. Every time that you get behind the wheel you continue to develop the learning.

Figuring out how to drive with dyspraxia might seem challenging at the start, but is very much possible with patience, preparation and dedication.

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