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Driving a vehicle is hard enough for those who are typical but for people who are struggling with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), sitting behind a steering wheel can be a definite challenge. According to a study conducted at one of the most prestigious medical institutes in the world, the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, drivers with ADHD are nearly 50 percent more likely to be in a serious car crash. The researchers discovered that overall, having ADHD increased a man's risk of a traffic crash by 47 percent and a woman's risk by 45 percent. How can people with ADHD stay safe on the roads if they choose to drive?

  • Medication—Inattentiveness is the main culprit when it comes to maneuvering a vehicle by someone who has ADHD. The clinicians at Karolinska investigated the role of meds in preventing accidents by determining, whether those ADHD subjects they studied had taken their prescribed drug within the previous six months. The researchers concluded, taking ADHD medication reduced men's risk of a car wreck by 58 percent, compared to those who failed to take their medication. Interestingly enough, the researchers also estimated that between 41 percent and 49 percent of the car accidents involving men with ADHD could have been avoided, if they had been taking their medication as prescribed. For women, however, there was no difference in risk perhaps because researchers may not have been able to pick up subtle differences and fewer women were included. Since medications taken by ADHD patients waxes and wanes in their system throughout the course of the day, consulting a doctor about choosing a perhaps longer-acting medication that would work better while driving would be a smart move.
  • Music--There are some scientists who believe, listening to music while driving seems to help with regards to focus in some people with ADHD, as it helps keep them rooted in the present. For those with ADHD who prefer listening to music while in their vehicles, it is best to pre-select the music and volume level before they actually take off.
  • Tolls--Signing up for an automatic toll program is a good idea for someone with ADHD, so that scouring around for change for a tollbooth attendant does not distract them.
  • Distractions—Eating, speaking on a cell phone, texting, drinking a beverage could be disastrous for any driver but for a motorist with ADHD with even more distractibility tendencies, the end result could be deadly.
  • Navigation system—If a driver with ADHD is going to an unfamiliar address, a vehicle navigation system that speaks directions is a godsend, so that they can get to where they're going without being distracted by worries of getting lost.
  • Carpooling—If someone with ADHD is thinking about being the designated driver when carpooling, forgettaboutit! Sure carpooling is cost-effective but with the distraction of having people in the vehicle, whose mouths are going a mile a minute, makes it difficult for someone with ADHD to concentrate on the road.
  • Manual Tranny--There are some who believe that driving a manual transmission as opposed to automatic, makes someone with ADHD a more attentive driver. People with ADHD tend to be more productive and focused when an activity is all encompassing—interesting, engaging. For some folks with ADHD, it is believed that driving and shifting gears manually is stimulating and helps keep them focused.

If you have a teen with ADHD who wants to drive and as a parent, you have a multitude of reservations about it, well a driving rehabilitation specialist can lend a hand. These specialists with their "can-do" attitudes help not only teens but people of all ages to explore alternative solutions for their particular special needs. For more information check out The Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists' website: www.aded.net.

--Car Chick

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