Teens, Driving, and ADHD

ADHD: Teens and Driving | How to Prepare your ADHD teen for driving

rescue team blocked off road of teen crash

4X the Accidents

Young adults with the disorder have as many as four times the number of accidents

Parents of teenagers with ADHD have more to think about before their child gets behind the wheel of a car. Young adults with the disorder have as many as four times the number of accidents as those who don’t have the condition. That's cause for concern, but it doesn't mean you need to keep your kid out of the driver's seat. Just take some precautions.

smiling teen holds up the okay symbol with her medication in the center between her thumb and finger

Medication is Crucial

Make Sure Your Teen Has Taken ADHD Medications

Prescription drugs help most kids with ADHD focus their attention and curb their impulsive habits. That's crucial for safe driving, says University of Virginia professor of psychiatric medicine Daniel Cox, PhD. If your child responds well to her ADHD medication, then "driving and medication should go hand in hand,"

an out of focus teen in the background with a bottle of pills knocked over on the table before him

Once-a-Day

Don't risk getting them caught between doses when behind the wheel.

Research shows long-acting forms of stimulant medications, whether a patch or a pill, do the best job of keeping a teen's eyes on the road. These once-a-day meds benefit your child all day and into the evening. Shorter-acting medications leave the risk of being caught between doses when behind the wheel. Different people respond to different medications. So you, your teen, and their doctor should work together to find the one that's the right fit.

a young adult stars into the distance clutching his hands into the thinkers pose

Are they Ready

Research suggests that kids with ADHD usually mature slower.

How's Your Teen's Maturity?

Is he Ready to handle the responsibility?

They might be old enough to drive, but You’ll need to figure out your kid’s ability to:

  • make sound judgments,
  • control impulsive behavior,
  • learn and obey the rules of the road,
says Miriam Monahan, an occupational therapist and certified driving instructor. She helps teens with ADHD learn to drive.

Buckle up

There's no test that shows whether a teen with ADHD is ready to drive. But life-skills tests, given by a psychologist or another health professional, can help get a read on a teen's decision-making level. They might be able to master the skills taught in a classroom, but if they lack good judgment, a driver's license should wait. It may be tough to tell your teen that she isn’t ready to drive, but it may be the right thing to do. Good Luck and when you finally make that decision heres 5 tips for ADHD and Driving