How to buckle up the risks when driving with ADHD

Traffic on national roads is becoming more frantic and congested by the day. People always seem to be in a hurry and drivers don’t always share the same courtesy and patience. Amidst the rush, it only takes a split-second of divided attention to get you into trouble on the road.

Studies show a strong link between increased motor accidents and untreated Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Young adults are still relatively inexperienced on the road but those who have been diagnosed with ADHD, need to take extra precautions to keep their eyes on the road.

Whether you’re on the highway on your way to work, or just popping out for bread and milk, driving always deserves your full attention. If ADHD goes untreated, drivers won’t be able to fully meet the required levels of alertness, attention and multitasking essential for a safe trip.

The risks on the road
ADHD has three core symptoms: inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. The combined impact on untreated drivers is that they are likely to be anxious, aggressive, impulsive, irritable and distracted on the road.

The driver’s overall state-of-mind can quickly explode into road rage that can put everyone at risk. The unfortunate reality is that these drivers can’t really do anything to control their tempers.

A suggests that adults with untreated ADHD are eight times more likely to have their licenses suspended and three times more likely to have repeated violations. They are also four times more likely to be at fault in an accident and two to seven times more likely to have multiple accidents.

How to buckle up the risks and stop distracted driving

  • Ask for long-acting medication

With the correct treatment and medication dosage, driving risks can be alleviated. Studies suggest drivers should steer clear of treatments that wear off in the afternoon. The last thing you need after a long day is for medication to wear off, leaving you distracted and frustrated just in time for the journey home.

  • Make music your soothing companion

Listening to music can help those with ADHD maintain focus. Choose a radio station or CD before you get going and if you want to switch stations or listen to a new CD, pull off to do so. If there are others driving along, kindly ask them to listen to their music on their headphones.

  • Listen to the GPS

GPS systems can be especially helpful to people with ADHD if they simply talk you through the drive. Turning the volume off will only tempt you to look down at the screen.

  • Keep phones out of sight and out of mind

We are all guilty of grabbing our phones whenever it pings or lights up. It is essential for all drivers to minimise the distraction it can create. If you need to take a call, find a safe place to pull over. It is a good habit to adopt and sets an example across the board.

With discipline to keep these safety tips top of mind, individuals with ADHD can buckle up the risks and stop distracted driving.

Think you might be showing symptoms of ADHD? Use this self-assessment to see if your symptoms could be consistent with adult ADHD.

PHZA/CONC/0917/0002c