Taking Driver's Ed and obtaining a driving permit seems to be standard operating procedure for most U.S. teenagers. If you managed to evade that type of training for whatever reason, you may have decided that it's finally time to take the plunge and become a driver as an adult. Here are some issues you might need to overcome, or at least be acutely aware of, in your quest to hit the road alongside your contemporaries.
Addressing Age-related Health Issues
One problem that adolescent aspiring drivers don't have to worry about is age-related health concerns. But as individuals get older, their bodies become more vulnerable to a wide range of middle-aged and senior complaints. Some of these ailments can pose a direct threat to your ability to drive safely. For example, presbyopia, a stiffening of the eye's lens that makes it hard to see near objects (such as your dashboard gauges), commonly becomes a problem after the age of 40. Another age-related eye condition, cataracts, can cause serious visual blurring, poor night vision and "halos" around street lamps and car headlights. Last but not least, osteoarthritis and other degenerative joint diseases may make it hard to steer, brake or shift gears crisply. Get these conditions dealt with before you do anything else.
Medications (prescribed or otherwise) can also put up roadblocks to safe driving. Make sure none of your medications conveys a sedative effect that might slow your reaction time or even knock you out while you're behind the wheel. Review your prescribed medicines with your physician to make sure that none of them are likely to interact with each other in a hazardous manner. In many cases the dosage amounts or schedules can be safely adjusted to reduce risks for drivers.
Fighting a Driving Phobia
Some adults have avoided getting behind the wheel of a vehicle because of a driving phobia. If you think you fit that description, rest assured that phobias can be handled in a variety of ways. First you need to determine the true nature of your phobia, whether it's a fear of driving or a fear of being in a moving vehicle at all. Both of these phobias are grounded in a deeper underlying fear of losing control. A person might have had a frightening accident while taking driving lessons as a youth, for instance and this fear caused him to swear off driving.
An experienced therapist can help you work through your driving phobia once its underlying cause has been pinpointed. Exposure therapy, in which someone is gradually exposed to various aspects of the feared activity, is often prescribed. This form of therapy might involve sitting in a car for brief periods while someone else drives, then progressing to sitting in the driver's seat while the car is standing still, sitting in the driver's seat with the ignition on, et cetera, until you finally feel comfortable putting the car into gear and moving forward. Working with a patient teacher at a driving school can also relieve your phobia while giving you the reassurance that you're receiving expert training.
Training and Qualifying for Your License
Even adults usually need to go through the process of obtaining a driving permit and/or driver's license. First you have to pass both a vision exam and a written exam demonstrating your knowledge of your state's rules of the road. Whether you also have to take Driver's Ed courses at a driving school depends on your state's laws. (Texas, for instance, requires adults under the age of 25 to do so.) Individual state laws also determine whether young adults must hold a driving permit for a certain period of time before moving on to a driver's license.
Regardless of the legal requirements, it always makes good sense to go through formal training at a reputable driving school. For starters, you'll learn everything you need to know to pass the written exam, while the intense training will ensure that you have the skills to ace the mandatory road test. Formal training may even slash the amount of time you have to wait before you can get your official driver's license. Best of all, at the end of the course you'll know you're ready for real-world driving.
Taking up driving as an adult isn't necessarily a snap, but if you take the time to learn properly and overcome the obstacles, you'll soon feel completely at home behind the wheel. Good luck -- and drive safely!
For more information, visit websites like http://www.a1peckdrivingschool.com.