When we refer to “Driving and ADHD”, we need to explain the basics. People with ADHD not only have characteristics of hyperactivity, reduced concentration or impulsivity, but stand out for their ingenuity and adventurous nature, while creation and innovation are ubiquitous in whatever they choose to tackle in their daily lives. What if they are often distracted, if they need to be doubly careful when holding the wheel or if they have difficulty organising and postpone things for later? Even this constant anxiety that overwhelms them that something has escaped them and the countless post-it reminders in the fridge and their computer with “necessary reminders”, is a manifestation of their charismatic personality.
Also, we should point out that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is not a “sign of our times” nor a “fabricated” or “modern” disorder that some people refer to in general and vaguely. ADHD is real and as such we must perceive it, taking care to always be supportive and essentially next to the people who live with it, pointing out that it is a common disorder.
A few words about ADHD (Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder)
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neurobiological disorders in childhood, which continues, to a significant extent, in adulthood.
For the adult population, the incidence of ADHD according to epidemiological data is 2-5%, and it is noted that the disorder is systematically underdiagnosed (Pechlivanidis et al., 2012). Percentages in childhood and adolescence tend to be higher because school is a significant factor of difficulty for these individuals.
What about driving?
Driving requires a lot of skills, increased attention and of course the strict observance of the Road Traffic Code. According to the non-profit Association ADHD Hellas, people with hyperactivity, reduced concentration and / or impulsivity (whether they know it or suspect it) need to pay special attention when learning to drive. Adolescents with the above symptoms in particular need more practice and a driving instructor who knows how to point out key points so that they can drive safely and not be affected by interfering stimuli (music, cell phone, talking to passengers, a pedestrian passing in front of them unexpectedly etc.).
In addition, the symptoms of distraction and impulsivity are often associated with difficulties in perceiving space (orientation) and time, difficulties in working memory, etc., with the result that drivers with specific difficulties are at greater risk for accidents. For example, research has shown that difficulty in controlling impulsivity is associated with speeding, less safety in changing lanes and a greater chance of an accident after an unexpected event, without saying that all people with impulsivity have similar behaviors. A more careful study is needed to investigate the personality traits of individuals at higher risk for accidents or negative driving behavior.
Driving simulators, proper training & practice
Driving simulators offer opportunities for a more systematic study of the driving behavior of people with hyperactivity, distraction, impulsivity and related difficulties, while proper training and practice are important factors in limiting negative behaviors. Raising awareness of parents, teens and adults about the relationship between driving with attention, concentration and good mood can play a crucial role.
Following is a video with useful information about ADHD, from the ADHD Hellas Association (in Greek):