Seeking Safety at Highway Speeds During Back Seat Breakdown

It was literally a meltdown.

The screaming from the back seat drowned out the radio, and then it happened…

Alex flung open the door while we were speeding down the highway.

We thought this behavior might eventually go away since it had subsided over the years.

We were wrong!

Although more common when Alex was younger, he still can get very angry and open the door in a moving car without thinking through the safety consequences.

Luckily we have not had any moving violations or accidents due to this behavior.

The issue is that children with special needs are not really in touch with reality much of the time. Over the years we learned to close tabs on both our special needs sons Jonathan and Alex. It can be extremely scary and difficult to deal with this type of challenge while driving on the street with no place to pull over when a behavioral meltdown occurs.

Trying to ignoring Alex by continuing down the road didn’t work and was obviously not a viable solution in this situation.

I found that the most effective option was to pull over on the side of the road. Then, without causing a big scene, just sit there and wait until he was ready to calm down.  Many times, we’d had to pull over to the side of the road several times during one outing before we got home for this tactic to work.

Eventually this worked.  The incidences of Alex swinging open the door were less frequent.

The only way to guarantee no trouble, at least in the car, was to not take Alex anywhere.  Of course, no one won in that situation as he got older.  The fallout at home upon our return was not worth excluding him from the outing.  Besides, sequestering him at home would not be fair anyway.

How have you handled safety issues with a special needs child?

What dilemmas have you encountered traveling in a vehicle with disabled people?

Your story is important, please share it with me. Tell me what you did and how it worked.

To share your story please leave comment below.

As always, I look forward to hearing from you.

Karen Simmons
Mother, Wife, Author, Founder & CEO of


P.S. Get help now and cope with safety concerns relating to special needs children via tips, strategies, and tools from Autism Today.

To download a video presentation that will help you understand the nature of and simple solutions for safety around special need children, click this link:


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