A pink-haired character gripping a steering wheel with a concerned expression, large text above reads 'ADHD & DRIVING'. Creator's handle @the_mini_ADHD_coach is at the bottom."

ADHD and Driving: Navigating the Road Safely

Adults with ADHD can face challenges while driving, including distractibility and impulsiveness, which might affect their driving performance. However, with the right strategies and supports, such as behavioral therapy and potentially medication, many can drive safely and effectively. It's essential to recognize that while ADHD can introduce obstacles to safe driving, it doesn't automatically make someone a poor driver. Understanding one's symptoms and working on strategies to mitigate their impact is key to enhancing driving skills for adults with ADHD.

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Written by

Alice Gendron

Founder of The Mini ADHD Coach

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In this Article

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A word form our expert

Does ADHD Affect Your Driving Skills?

Do you have a driver's license? How long did it take you to pass your test? Are you confident enough that you are driving safely? 🤔 How many tickets were issued to you because of your concerning driving behavior? 

If you don't have a license, what's stopping you from getting one? Are you worried that your symptoms might interfere with your driving ability, which may lead to accidents? 

Have you got your driver's license? If so, how much time and effort did you put into studying for and passing the driving test? Do you feel confident in your ability to drive safely and responsibly? 🚗

What factors prevent you from taking that step if you haven't gotten your learner’s permit yet? Maybe you're concerned that your ADHD symptoms around focus, impulsivity, or inattention could make driving more difficult.

I get it; it's pretty scary. Driving is a big responsibility not just for our safety but for others, too. ⚠️

I often get questions on TMAC Instagram about whether having ADHD affects my driving abilities. For some people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), staying focused and attentive behind the wheel can be difficult. 

Lack of concentration could lead to dangerous situations, traffic violations, and even serious accidents if not managed properly. However, there are strategies people with ADHD can use to minimize risks and become responsible drivers. With practice, patience, and persistence, driving with ADHD is undoubtedly possible. The rewards of independence and convenience make it worthwhile to find ways to accommodate our needs and drive as safely as possible. 🥳

The Risks Of Driving With ADHD

Research shows that adults with ongoing ADHD symptoms are nearly twice as likely to be involved in car accidents as the general population. One contributor may be difficulty maintaining focus and controlling impulses while driving. 😬

Illustration of a pink-haired character looking at a phone with a car and traffic ticket icons, text says 'People with ADHD tend to be at greater risk for receiving traffic tickets...and for having accidents.' The creator's handle is present.

Young adults with ADHD also face heightened crash risks, with one previous study finding the four year accident rate for teen drivers was 37% higher than a control group of young adults without ADHD. Contributing factors for teen drivers can include challenges following rules and acting hastily without considering consequences. This understandably raises safety concerns for themselves and others on the road. 😟

However, having ADHD does not preclude someone from safe driving. Good driver's education tailored to addressing ADHD-related needs is invaluable preparation for establishing effective driving habits. Many driving schools work with ADHD learners to build skills like sustained focus and attentiveness. With proper training, people with ADHD can learn safe driving practices.🥰

To do this, we must be aware of how our symptoms can affect our driving ability. This allows us to employ strategies to manage those challenges proactively. With patience and proper preparation, people with ADHD can find ways to accommodate their needs and strengths while driving responsibly. 💪

Cartoon image showing a pink-haired character driving, with text 'ADHD traits like distractibility, inattentiveness, and impulsivity can affect driving'. The creator's handle is included.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms That Can Impact Driving Performance

Struggling To Maintain Focus

Specific symptoms can directly impact our cognitive functions, posing challenges in maintaining attention while driving. ADHD traits like distractibility and inattentiveness can result in reduced focus, potentially leading to severe injuries or accidents. Adults and teens with ADHD are at a greater risk of getting distracted by things like mobile phone notifications.

Drawing of a pink-haired character driving and looking at a sign for donuts, indicating distraction, with the text '...we can get easily distracted, especially during long trips...'. Creator's handle shown.

When driving, we might overlook speed limits and stop signs due to distractions or forgetfulness, which others might view as negligent or reckless driving. Moreover, individuals with ADHD often struggle to focus on details, making it easy to miss important things like stop signs and traffic lights. This can also extend to missing other drivers altogether, which increases the risk of a collision. 


Illustration of a pink-haired driver surprised by a speed limit sign, with the text '...we can have trouble to pay attention to traffic signs...'. Creator's handle is visible


Our impulsivity and difficulty in waiting can make us drive over the speed limit and even get road rage. Another common occurrence for drivers with ADHD is getting traffic tickets for offenses such as speeding, running a stop sign, and careless driving. This can result in someone losing their driving privileges and getting a suspended license.

Image of an angry pink-haired character driving with a thought bubble of a skull and swear symbols, text reads '...our struggles to regulate our emotions can lead to road rage...'. The creator's handle is at the bottom.


Sometimes, being forgetful can also affect our safe driving habits. Forgetting to wear a proper seat belt or losing car keys and then speeding due to lateness are some things that we might do, which can be pretty dangerous.

We may also forget driving rules or to obey traffic laws, parking restrictions or time limits, leading to parking fines. Driving rules can also be complicated; we may not always understand or remember them.

Emotional Dysregulation

Some drivers with ADHD worry about controlling overwhelming emotions regarding driving and traffic situations. They often ask me how I manage not to get angry or frustrated when other drivers make mistakes or when there is heavy traffic. Not being able to control our emotions can lead to poor judgment and reckless driving, which increases the chance of getting pulled over 👮, getting into an accident, or worse, a serious injury to yourself or others.

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Safe Driving Tips For Drivers With ADHD 

Dealing with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can make it harder to ensure driving safety. But there are ways we can improve our driving experience and take steps to prevent accidents. 

Here are some practical tips to consider. ⬇️

Minimize Distractions 

To promote safe driving habits, it's important to counteract ADHD tendencies like distractibility and inattention.

To do this, try to:

  • Minimize distractions by avoiding the use of cell phones, eating, applying makeup, or fiddling with the radio/sound system while driving. Turn cell phone notifications off whilst driving if notifications are extremely distracting for you.
  • Get enough rest before long drives to prevent fatigue and vehicle accidents. 
  • Place phones and other distractions out of easy reach to avoid getting pulled over for using your device
  • Remind passengers that you may need to talk less when driving to stay focused.If you need to drive with young children, consider asking another adult to come with you on long trips.

Depiction of a pink-haired character driving and another person talking to them, with the text '...we can have trouble to focus on the road when someone is talking to us...'. Creator's handle included.

Learn To Control Road Rage 

Keeping our emotions in check while driving is super important. If you start feeling frustrated with other drivers on the road, taking deep breaths and finding ways to regulate yourself can stop you from driving recklessly. If you notice your emotions are affecting your ability to focus, pull over and take a breather. Being proactive can make a big difference.

Choose The Right Vehicle

The type of car you drive matters when driving with ADHD. Automatic transmission reduces distractions for some, while others prefer manual transmission for increased engagement with the road. Evidence suggests that driving a car with automatic transmission can be safer for adults with ADHD, and is associated with improved driving performance.

Find The Right Soundtrack

Music can influence driving behavior. Understanding whether music helps you concentrate or adds to feelings of restlessness and hyperactivity is essential. Adjusting the volume or opting for quiet periods can minimize distractions and create a driving environment that can prevent you from losing focus.

Get Your Meds Right

ADHD medication can sometimes affect how we behave. Sometimes, it helps with distractions and other times, it can make us feel more tired than usual. If you are taking medication for ADHD (especially stimulant medication), be sure to ask your doctor how it will affect your driving. You might need to adjust your dose or switch to a different medication treatment if it impacts your ability to drive safely. 

Remember; extended release medications can mean that some adults with ADHD are more adversely affected in their driving by even low doses of alcohol than drivers without ADHD. Most countries have zero tolerance for a certain amount of intoxication, so this is something that’s important to bear in mind in order to avoid driving accidents and losing your driving privileges. 

Find Support

Connecting with others who have adult ADHD can offer valuable insights into managing driving challenges effectively. Learning from their experiences can provide practical strategies for safer driving.

Being honest with yourself about how ADHD impacts driving is crucial. Seeking support from a clinical psychologist, therapist, doctor, or support group can provide diagnosis, treatment, and guidance on adapting driving habits to enhance safety.


Contrary to popular belief, having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder doesn't make us bad drivers. 😉 Many adults and teens with ADHD are great drivers. The crux lies in recognizing our symptoms and how they relate to possible driving risks. With this awareness, we can take a mindful approach to dealing with these challenges.

Certainly, distractions can creep in, especially during long journeys that lead to our ADHD brains occasionally wandering. But the truth is, we have the potential to excel as drivers by leveraging our self-awareness and proactive strategies. Equipped with a profound understanding of our condition, we can navigate roads safely and sidestep accidents. 💪 

While it's true that some individuals with ADHD might face a greater likelihood of getting speeding tickets or being in accidents, it's crucial to keep in mind that this doesn't label everyone within the ADHD community as bad drivers. Our driving history doesn't solely define our driving skills. By recognizing our symptoms and how they can impact us, we empower ourselves to be responsible drivers, keeping ourselves - and others - safe on the road.

In the grand scheme of things, driving success with ADHD hinges on knowledge, self-awareness, and adaptability. It's a journey that encompasses understanding our unique challenges and triumphing over them, ultimately forging a path to safe and proficient driving.

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ADHD and Driving: FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

If you have ADHD, does that mean you’ll be a bad or reckless driver?

No, having ADHD doesn't automatically make you a bad or reckless driver. In fact, many individuals with ADHD excel as drivers. While managing your symptoms might require extra effort, effective management combined with proper driver education can help you obey traffic laws and become a good driver.

What are some of the ADHD-related symptoms that affect driving?

Certain ADHD traits can influence your driving capabilities. Impulsivity, forgetfulness, easy distraction, difficulty focusing on details, and challenges in managing emotions are some of the aspects that can impact your driving skills. These traits can affect your driving performance by making it harder to pay attention, increasing the risk of going over the average speed limit and leading to more accidents.

: How can you become a good driver when you have ADHD?

Like any driver, getting proper driver education and working with a driving instructor that understands ADHD is crucial for both adults and teens with ADHD. Beyond that, effectively managing your symptoms is key. This might involve therapy, medication, and even small adjustments such as placing your phone out of reach to avoid distractions. Enlisting passengers to help you stay focused can also be beneficial. If you require professional assistance to manage symptoms or enhance your driving, don't hesitate to seek it out.

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