The good, the bad and the distracted stories of my ADHD family.

Driving with ADHD

It’s not a Ferrari, but it’s red.

ADHD and driving can be an interesting combination.

“What’s his problem?” was Nate’s response to the first driver that flipped him off.

“Oh I don’t know, maybe it’s because you’re riding his ass?” I said sarcastically.

It started out as a lazy Saturday morning request. Still in our pajamas and sipping morning coffee, Nate casually suggested, “Hey, let’s go out for pancakes.”

“I doubt they’re serving breakfast this late,” I replied.

“They serve ‘til 11:00. If we hurry, we can make it.”

Our relaxed Saturday morning quickly turned into a manic ADHD episode to get three kids out the door quickly.

“Get your shoes on… Get your shoes on… Get your shoes on!”

“Where’s your coat? What do you mean you left it at school?”

“Get something. Let’s go!”


In Nate’s defense, it was a pancake emergency.

In Dr. Ned Hallowell’s book, Driven to Distraction, he describes ADHD as having a “Ferrari brain with bicycle breaks”. Ferrari brains can be an advantage in creativity, problem solving, and assertiveness, etc.  However, behind the wheel of a car, it takes on a whole different dimension.

Nate slammed on the gas and we were off. Our destination was a pancake breakfast spot across town. As his Ferrari ADHD brain mapped our course and his size 13 shoes alternated between slamming on the break and stomping on the gas, I tested the car’s safety features. The seat belt halted my body’s trajectory toward the dashboard, the headrest supported my neck from accelerated speeds, and the handles on the car roof proved to be quite handy when taking fast turns.

While driving like a maniac, Nate likes to simultaneously test multiple radio stations, ensure the car vents are blowing maximum air, and request I look up on my iphone whatever random question pops into his head.

“What time is the game on Sunday?

“I don’t’ know,” I replied, squeezing my dry eyes shut from the air vent assault.

“Well, look it up on your phone.”

Already carsick one mile from the house, the last thing I was going to do is look shit-up on my iphone.

“It can wait ‘til we get there. … Will you slow down?”

“What? I’m not speeding,” he responded, breaking hard behind another car stopped at a red light.


After the light turned green, the car inched forward and turned on their left turn signal.

“Awe. Come on you asshole. Move it,” Nate yelled agitated



Nate nudged our car forward in attempts to squeeze around him and promptly got a second “bird” within two short miles from the house.

“Nice,” I said. “That’s twice.”

“What? He was being an asshole and wouldn’t let me around.


Clearly, we viewed the situation differently.

A few traffic lights later, Nate stopped within inches behind a red VW van. I didn’t notice much about the car except for the Star Wars family stickers across the back window.   Suddenly, the driver got out of his car, came around toward ours, and yelled at Nate to back off.

Given the gun violence and road rage incidents today, I should have been nervous, but my mind quickly deduced the situation and ascertained the driver of a VW bus with Star Wars stickers wasn’t likely to be violent. (Although, after further thought, wondered, “How messed up is Nate’s driving that he actually pissed off a driver with Star Wars family stickers?”)

Nothing causes more bickering between Nate and I than his driving. I feel for all those unsuspecting drivers out there who get caught up in Nate’s Ferrari brain driving style. But in his defense, pancakes were on the line. So for those of you who flipped us off and got out of your car to yell at us, please know, it’s not that you’re driving too slow, or have decided to take an inconvenient left turn. It’s Nate’s ADHD, energetic, assertive “Ferrari Brain” driving, with a clear hyper focus on pancakes, that’s the issue.

Our rear window stickers. Same idea, different sense of humor.

Our rear window stickers. Same idea, different sense of humor.

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