(Closed) getting over my fear of driving…

posted 5 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 2
2591 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2017 - Valleybrook Country Club

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mrsmossyoak:  I didn’t start at a later age, but I have anxiety. I would say get a lot of practice off of the main roads like in parking lots and get a good feel for how to manouver the car. Once you feel confident in your ability to control the car and stay in your lane, you will need to remind yourself when driving that you will remain in your lane and believe in yourself.

Post # 3
2180 posts
Buzzing bee

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mrsmossyoak:  Practice makes perfect! Exposure therapy will help. Have your husband in the car as often as possible at first, then slowly go by yourself more and more frequently. It wouldn’t hurt to take a defensive driving course if one is offered in your area.

I remind myself that driving is something that people of average intelligence and average motor skills can be proficient in. I don’t need the cognitive powers of Sherlock Holmes or the reflexes of James Bond to do it well. I just need to pay attention and use common sense. 

Post # 4
555 posts
Busy bee

I am not necessarily afraid, but I also wouldn’t mind being a passenger for the rest of my life. I learned to drive at 21 (I am from Europe and never even needed a car there), and I totaled a car at 24. I was not hurt, neither did I hurt anyone else (except a brick wall) and I got behind the wheel a day later. I think you really only overcome the fear by actually driving. I had to drive 50 minutes in Long Island the other day (where I have never been before and the highways are nuts) and I made it. I think if you live in the middle of nowhere it might give you the advantage that you can learn on a less busy street first and then advance to more busy highways or freeways. For me it also helped to NOT drive with my husband in the passenger seat. If someone says something or points out a tiny mistake it makes me more nervous, so I actually rather drive alone. 

Good luck, you can do it!

Post # 5
1836 posts
Buzzing bee

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mrsmossyoak:  Good luck with this! I was just fine with driving for years and years until 2009 when I took a solo road trip across the country and developed a horrible fear of driving on highways. Getting home was extremely difficult, to say the least. I didn’t drive on a highway again for over 4 years. What changed was that I landed a job that was in an area that meant I’d have to drive on the highway (the DC-area capital beltway no less) and that forced me to do it. I was TERRIFIED the first time, and then suddenly my fear was gone. Totally gone. I’m not sure why my anxiety disappeared or how to translate that into advice for you … but I’m hoping my story will give you hope. 

Post # 6
15203 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

You could always set up some cones in a parking lot or something try driving around.  Test your limits and see how close you can get until you nearly hit them, or just hit them since they are cones until you know exactly how big your car is.  Use your mirrors to see how close to things you are.  (One of my BIGGEST pet peeves is when peoeple in the left lane drift into the right lane cause they’re afraid of getting too close to the jersery barriers when they are NO where near them.)  Lanes are big enough for cars, so use your side mirrors to look back see where you are in the lanes to get an idea of where your car sits and how it looks when you’re centered or whereever you may be.

Post # 7
1939 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2018 - City, State

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alamana:  same! I was never terrified of actual driving but if I had to be on a highway or go somewhere I was unfamiliar with I was so scared. I ended up moving to a new city and getting a job that required lots of travel. Needless to say, if I wanted to pay my bills I had to get over it, so I did. Exposure therapy all the way. It was scary at first but now I’m very comfortable (I still hate 695 though, but that’s just the traffic lol)

Post # 8
4501 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

This sounds like me. I was in a car accident right after high school and it messed me up emotionally.

I did not get my licence until I was 27, and the only reason why I got it was that a new employer made it a condition of employment that I had to have my licence within 6 months of commencement, as my job hada company carand involved a lot of travel for public speaking etc.

I ended up paying to have an instructor, as most of my anxiety was around potentially harming or hurting a loved one, so them being there trying to tell me what to do wasn’t helpful. My instructor was very much a ‘shut up and do it’ guy, which sounds horrid, but really helped. One thing sticks with me, and I am sure it was said to appeal to my vanity, but it worked. He said that there are plenty of dumb people that drive everyday in a safe fashion, and that I was a smart competent girl, what made me think I wasn’t able to do it like everyone else?

Anyhow, 11 years later and whilst I don’t love driving new places, I do drive everyday, and live in a capital city with plenty of traffic. YOU CAN DO IT TOO.


Post # 9
1066 posts
Bumble bee

Practice! I’d set up some cones in a parking lot like a PP suggested and test your boundaries, see what it feels like to drive RIGHT next to something, see what it feels like to actually bump the cone. I gaurantee it’ll feel like you’re going right over top of it when you barely bump it! I always feel like people are closer to me than they actually are so I’m a little paranoid about it (I also got side swiped when I was 17 by a 90 year old lady so that doesn’t help). Parking will help with that too, you just have to get a good sense of where your car actually is, it’s smaller than it feels!!

Post # 10
1546 posts
Bumble bee

Im scared of driving too. I passed my test 6 years ago and havent driven since (im in Europe). I dont have a car and manage to get by on public transport or my Fiance driving so far but I know that cant last forever. I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone and I wish you luck in learning and conquering your fear! Hopefully one day I will do the same.

Post # 11
5152 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2014

Why not use a driving school? Sure they are usually meant for 16 year old getting their licenses, but I bet the instructor would help you get over your fear.

Post # 12
258 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2016 - Sand Key Park- Clearwater Beach Elopement

I’m really hoping I overcome my anxiety soon. I’m 22 years old, never even had a permit. I am from Iowa, and I can honestly say that even if I had learned to drive in Iowa, I would have NEVER been prepared for the absolute insane drivers in Florida. Drivers here are trying to kill you 95% of the time, I am certain. I am also pregnant, and I am way too scared to learn to drive right now while pregnant. I don’t think I could handle being scared of driving and worrying about the safety of my baby at the same time if some stupid idiot causes an accident and I’m involved.

I just hope I can learn soon. I don’t want to have to rely on my husband or family or anyone else or public transportation for much longer.

Post # 13
27 posts
  • Wedding: May 2017

You’re not alone! I have a huge fear of driving. I went through driving lessons and got my G2 at one point (I’m in Toronto) but I never used it and let it expire. 

I’m almost 27 and really don’t want to have to continue to rely on my family members for rides. I’m hoping that with a combination of exposure therapy and general anxiety therapy I can learn this year. 

Post # 14
1311 posts
Bumble bee

I got my permit at 15 and license at 24 lol. I practiced a lot with my dad but just never felt comfortable. Then one day I realized I could never have freedom/independence if I couldn’t drive. I began practicing just driving thru my neighborhood, then going further distances and going on more busy roads. I passed my license test on the first try and I was soooo happy! Quality of life improved drastically: got a job, left loser ex boyfriend, moved out of dads house, etc. It was hard and nerve wracking at first, but no regrets!

Post # 15
2597 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

Its’ not such a bad thing to be a cautious driver. And while maybe this is a really, really terrible piece of advice, you might consider driving in a more populated area. Maybe not like, downtown Philly, but a suburb or something because right now, I think that you’re freaking out because other cars are sort of few and far between and you’re panicking when you see them. Perhaps if you experience driving in actual traffic, you’ll get the hang of it and feel a little more confident. 


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