I'm dyslexic & learning to drive. I've been doing maneuvers for ages and I'm still struggling ;-( Any tips for how to make this easier ?

I'm feeling very frustrated and feel like I'll never be able to reverse around a corner or reverse park.Sometimes I can and other times I can't.There seems like so many layers of info involved and things I've got to do fast otherwise I end up too far away from the curb or hit it. My processing speed and working memory is really affected by my dyslexia and letting me down a lot.Driving forwards I'm totally fine

9 Replies

  • Hi shwaise I was exactly the same although. I learnt to drive at 25 and I didn't think I'd ever be able process the information in one go. My wife still jokes about how I'm prepared to walk an extra 2 or 3 minutes in the shop car park if I can get an easy space. However, I found some good coping techniques for reversing. Not sure if you have been told them or not so if you have please ignore. If your reversing into a bay at the supermarket use your elbow as the marker. For instance the car I drive I know that to get into a space as I reverse I have to turn the wheel hard over when my elbow is in line with the third line along from the space I want to reverse into obviously try that one in an empty car park first! Also for parrell parking try putting a mark in the rear window so that you know at what point you should turn the wheel. Please ignore if you've tried or have other techniques. However, it does get easier remember your learning something completely from scratch so it can seem daunting but you'll get it.

  • yes im the same id rather walk through short cuts and aprk some distance away as i dont want to get have to do something while other cars are queueing up behind me. on the subject of driving it really really pees me off so many jobs require people to drive even when the job has nothing to do with driving!! as an offical "disabilty" exceptions should be made for dyslexics when this is required. they would if we were blind so they really should for us. ps its only a disabilty because our society is set up for non dyslexics

  • Hi

    That sounds fantastic I park by trial and error...lol. the more I do it the more I get a sense of the size of my car. I just get unnerved if Im trying to park in a tight busy road so I give up! I love your idea, but frankly I dont get it, you couldnt scribble a drawing and scan it and post it up could you...just for us hard of hearing :-)

    P.S. it doesnt help that my BF can park on a STAMP! grrrr still he's not as gifted as we are...lol.

  • i can totally relate to what your saying. i think youve got 2 things going on here. while you are still concentrating on operating the car you arnt relaxing and feeling part of the vehicle. once you are more familiar with all the levers and instruments inside the car you will ok. dont forget, yes we may take longer to process stuff but we have good spatial awareness, so it will come togather when ur more used to what button or dial does what

  • Hello shwasie, When I was learning to drive I didn't give my dyslexia a second thought! I know that sounds very odd but it worked for me. Driving is a difficult skill to master for most people, that's why many non dyslexic people never pass their test or take it many times before passing. I sincerely believe that the reason you are having problems is because you need more practice. We have to overlearn until new skills are firmly in place. You say that you have good days and bad days, so you are nearly there, so you know what you need to do. You sound anxious and worried and that you are putting a lot of pressure on yourself to do this quickly. That won't help. When you're in the car try to be calm, positive and visualize yourself doing the maneuvers well before you start them. I do this every day! Also, believe that the test will come on a good day. You will do well provided you have had enough practice - something will kick in. To the absolute horror of my lovely driving instructor (who had no idea I was dyslexic) I did pass my test the first time - but that wasn't my aim - I knew that I would pass only if the examiner felt safe in the car with me. That's what you're aiming for. So don't give up. Let it be - trust me you need more practice, even if you've had many lessons. I wasn't feeling at all positive when my test day arrived but I didn't let it show and I passed. If you can ask your instructor to take you on the exam route for lessons. That will help you a lot. Good luck - this is just a question of using you own techniques of beating the dyslexia thing!

  • Hi as a dyslexic who eventually passed their driving test after 17 years I can appreciate the anxiety that you are going through!

    This is hard to explain, but hence I will try.

    In order to pass my driving test I made all it more visual- ie shapes . when reversing look at your wing mirror nearest to the curb and look for the triangle or upside down v shape between the curb, the back of the car and draw the third imaginary line so it forms a triangle, head towards it until the triangle disappears .

    then straighten up .Use shapes and visual markers on the car to help you reverse. My biggest problem was left and right on the indicators ,where I had to constantly remember which was which ,I ended up doing my driving test with L for left on one hand and R for right on the other hand in black marker ! This reduced the time it took for my brain to process the information. Hence I passed. Apply for extra time in your driving test (speak to DVLA) Although you will have days when any stress will impact your dyslexia,this may seem to impede your progress. I know how frustrating this can be just keep going and use any visual markers , shapes , stickers on the car or even ,put stickers on the car . Use your Dyslexia to your advantage and Never ever give up, YOU CAN DO THIS!!!! good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Hello Everyone all your tips are very very helpful. I have not driven for over 20 years now. Had 2 bad car accidients over a 15 year period and decided to give up. No one was hurt... It limits our freedom though..... Would love to drive again. but scared....

  • Hi

    Maybe just take a refresher course. I passed first time a year and a half ago, I love driving! Parking is a different matter..lol. I can see how accidents would spook you. I didn't learn until I was 45 and I missed out on years of trips so don't so the same. Take the pressure off yourself you have your licence, do a few lessons for fun. explain to the instructor and he'll help you. As my friend Sue said to me once ( an Ozzy back in Oz now Id like to add) She over the years had 17 accidents. She told me that when I was in the car with her and then asked wasn't I nervous (she was driving)? I said nooo you've made all your mistakes its behind you now. Often we learn most from our biggest mistakes, pound to a penny once you have your confidence back it wont happen again, you wont let it. So baby steps DebbyKaye, no pressure, make mistakes with the driving instructor and when your feeling good again go out with confidence! I'd get in a car with you :-)

  • Hello, every body else seems to have some very good strategies. I hope they are working for you. I did pass first time when I was in my 20's, which thank goodness, was without a theory test or a parallel parking requirement!! The only thing I have to offer is, what worked for me, but not until after some of the worst cornering and 3 more like 33 point turns. Visualise it and physically make yourself go through what manoeuvres you need to make or what makes you more anxious. All this without the car of course. If you have a very good and vivid memory once you've seen something, use that talent. A patient and pedantic driving instructor also works. Best of luck.

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