The common dangers and risks of driving with ADHD can be mitigated by learning driving safety tips. Understanding how ADHD may affect car insurance can offer another level of protection.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder(ADHD) involves a pattern of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. These characteristics are chronic or long lasting, can interfere with functioning, and may prevent development. Some of the common symptoms of ADHD include:

  • overlooking or missing details
  • avoiding tasks that involve staying focused
  • having trouble focusing on tasks, conversations, lectures, and long text
  • appearing not to listen when spoken to
  • finding it hard to follow through and finish tasks

While driving is part of independent living, it’s not always easy for someone living with ADHD. ADHD can lead to challenges during driving because of inattention and distraction, which can interfere with safe driving and possibly lead to vehicle accidents.

Staying aware of how symptoms affect driving can help, but it requires understanding the risks. Learning safety tips can help someone with ADHD drive safely and avoid some of the potential dangers.

Additionally, understanding how ADHD medication influences driving can also decrease the risks.

People with ADHD can drive but might have trouble focusing on the road. Experts in 2015 research indicate distractions can lead to paying less attention to driving, making it a challenge for drivers with ADHD.

They might miss or have a delayed reaction to other drivers’ behaviors, and sometimes they don’t catch cues from the environment.

Understanding the risks of driving with ADHD can help you address them and drive safely. Some of the risks can include the following:

1. Car accidents

ADHD increases a person’s risk of being involved in car accidents. It can contribute to increased rates of highway collisions and rear-ending other drivers.

2. Fast or reckless driving

People with ADHD are more likely to drive too fast, resulting in breaking hard or suddenly decelerating. Their fast driving also leads to weaving the car and making errors.

3. Driving citations

Those with ADHD report more traffic citations than drivers without the disorder. They are also more likely to drive without a license or have their license suspended or revoked.

4. Poor steering control

During observations, people with ADHD showed poorer steering control than others. Poor steering control contributes to swerving, increasing the risk of being in a car accident.

5. Late detection or slow responses to driving situations

ADHD can trigger late detection and slow driving responses. Increased impulsivity in ADHD can cause unsafe driving behaviors once the person realizes potential dangers.

6. Distractions on cell phones

Texting on a cell phone is one of the biggest distractions for drivers with or without ADHD. It decreases how much attention you pay to the road and increases how often they glance away. It can lead to dangerous lane positions and car accidents.

2016 research shows that someone with ADHD texting while driving can increase the time they spend looking away from the road by 11%. It also leads to a 13% increase in how often they glance away from the road for an extended time.

You can develop safe driving tips if you have ADHD to decrease your risk of accidents. Consider trying the following tips to help you practice safety on the road:

Driving a stick

A manual transmission vehicle, or a stick shift, can help reduce accidents for those with ADHD. It requires driver engagement because, without paying attention, they might stall their car or experience grinding gears.

A stick shift isn’t as effective on the highway, though, because it doesn’t require as much gear shifting.

Staying off the phone, even if it’s hands-free

Talking on the phone can interfere with your driving, and your ability to notice dangers or react in a timely manner diminishes. Texting while on the road leads to averting your eyes from the road long enough for a serious accident to occur.

While you might think using a hands-free option is beneficial, it’s still more distracting than having passengers in your car. You’ll still visualize things other than the road, leading to you mentally taking your eyes off your driving.

Avoiding cruise control

Using cruise control makes it more likely for your attention to drift. It doesn’t require as much engagement, encouraging distractions and leading you to lose focus.

Using a scanning procedure

Using a scanning procedure while driving with ADHD can help you stay engaged, decreasing your risk of accidents. Consider actively scanning using a sequenced method involving these steps:

  • looking ahead
  • checking your mirrors
  • looking ahead again
  • checking side traffic
  • looking ahead
  • checking speedometer
  • looking ahead
  • repeating the sequence

Considering the impact of automated driving systems

Automated driving systems can be beneficial but pose risks to a driver with ADHD. These systems can make your car stop before hitting something, stay in your lane on the road, and avoid traffic tickets.

The benefits can be helpful, but it also increases inattention and promotes giving up control of the vehicle.

Car insurance requirements and rates vary by location but consider discussing ADHD with the provider. You can choose a policy that protects you from lawsuits.

It’s important to note that drivers with accidents on their record receive increased insurance rates. For those with ADHD, this could pose a problem because they’re more likely to have accidents than others.

Research shows that you can drive on ADHD medication, and medication can improve the safety of your experience. Around 38% of men and 42% of women with ADHD experience a lower risk of motor vehicle crashes when taking medication.

Plus, the research shows that around 22% of car accidents involving people with ADHD were avoidable if the person had been using medication.

A separate 2019 study shows that the time you take the medication impacts how well it improves driving. It shows that it only decreases risks when the medication is active in your body.

If the medication wears off, it can result in a rebound effect. The rebound effect can decrease driving skills more than if you hadn’t taken medication.

Other things that can interfere with the effectiveness of medication for driving include

  • forgetting to take it
  • taking too low of a dose
  • not having rapid-onset medication when driving in the morning

Driving with ADHD is possible, but there are more risks than for other drivers. Understanding the risks and complications can help you develop safer driving habits.

Implementing some of the tips discussed above can improve your safety while driving. It can also increase the safety of other drivers on the road and any passengers in your vehicle.

While ADHD complicates driving, you can be safe during your travels. You can stay hopeful and confident in your abilities while reducing distractions during your journeys.