General Question

skateangel's avatar

What can I do about my driving anxiety?

Asked by skateangel (298 points ) September 19th, 2011

I recentely watched a video showing someone who was drinking and driving and how they could’ve easily killed someone and it made me very sick. Now everytime I have to drive, or someone I care about I get really scared…which is hard of course cause driving is something you constantly have to do:( I used to enjoy it but the more I keep hearing about people getting DUI’s and everything, I just feel more sick. What do you guys think?

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15 Answers

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Try to stay in the now. I have had driving anxiety for a very long time, to the point where I have quit driving for long periods of time.
Try to focus on what is happening right now, not envisioning what could happen. Practice driving around in familiar, comfortable, non-busy areas while making it a point to focus on just your driving and what is immediately around you. The more you drive without something bad happening, the more the positive reinforcement will help.

marinelife's avatar

If your anxiety is interfering with your life (and it sounds like it is), that is something a therapist can help you with.

We really can’t control things that are out of our control and the more we try, the more we limit our world.

Aethelflaed's avatar

To build on the therapy idea, you might look into EMDR therapy. It’s really good for these types of situations, and it often has drastic results within a couple of sessions.

Kardamom's avatar

I agree that a little short term therapy geared specifically towards your anxiety towards driving would be useful.

Sometimes hypnotherapy can be helpful too.

And you should check your area to see if there are any driving refresher courses specifially for nervous/anxious drivers. I know AAA has some refresher courses for senior citizens and they might also have some for anxious drivers. I looked online and I found a bunch of courses, but I’m not sure where you are located, so you can check that out, yourself.

Good luck : )

blueiiznh's avatar

Theraphy, adaptive driving classes, researching techniques for better defensive driving are all great measures.
If it is an anxiety that is causing you to not do something like driving which is tough to live without, you will need to take control of your fears somehow.
I have lost a close friend to a DUI caused by someone else and it is a terrible feeling.
Just know that you can control your fears as long as you work to overcome them.

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AshlynM's avatar

Drive only when necessary. Maybe ask a friend or family member to drive you if you need to go somewhere. Take a taxi. Walk. Ride your bike.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I don’t mean to be rude, but, from personal experience… I think that cutting back or avoiding driving is the worst possible thing you can do.

jerv's avatar

I have been known to be anxious on the road myself from time to time. However, I also know the odds on many things, and trust me, driving is amongst the safer things that I do.

Also note that you drove without getting hit by a drunk driver for… how long ? Now, you may not know it from looking at the propaganda and all, but the stats show that there are fewer drunk drivers than there were a few years ago; the numbers are trending downwards. You are safer on teh road than you ever were, and you did fine back when it was more dangerous.

@AshlynM Two of those solutions still have you on the road, and the other two are more dangerous than driving. Hell, WA state finally made it a full-fledged crime for a motorist to kill a bicyclist; it used to be a mere ticketable offense! That doesn’t keep me from riding my mountain bike though, despite it being more dangerous than sharing the road with millions of crazy people.

@ANef_is_Enuf Agreed! Those times where I’ve been scared of anything—I have found that running only makes it worse. Grab you fear by the horns, smack it around, and remind it who is really in charge of your life.

skateangel's avatar

Thanks so much for all the answers everyone. I’ts just hard to stop envisioning bad things happening. I can’t even drive at night, though I’d like to. @blueiiznh That’s horrible:( I don’t understand how people could be so selfish to not care about KILLING other people/destroying lives. It makes me sick.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@skateangel it is hard. I completely relate. I do agree with the suggestions above to consider therapy, even temporarily, to get a handle on your anxiety.

atch's avatar

I believe that all anxiety has it’s roots in fear. Being afraid is normal. Phobia is an obsession. Obsession is an externalized manifestation of internal feelings of fear. Perhaps the anxiety is an indication that something else is bothering you on a level that you are unaware of or avoiding. Generally, these issues breakdown to a problem of self confrontation or denial, if you will. If you are genuinely nervouse behind the wheel of a car, your fear based consciousness is acting against you to manifest these events inti your life. It is a dangerous game that will reinforce itself if the event occurs resulting in what is know as a self fullfilling pophecy. My best advice is to be brave even in the face of fear because that is courage. That is true courage: moving forward in the face of fear. All men of courage have fear. Those that dont….get hit by cars.

blueiiznh's avatar

@skateangel I am so sorry to hear about the anxiety you are going through on driving. I hope this passes soon.
It is not abnormal to have these kinds of things happen for various reasons. I have another friend that has a phobia about staying in hotels. While I may not understand that one, it is very real for them.
Sometimes we simply don’t know where they are coming from. In your case, you have something at least you know was one of the trigger points. I wish you speed in finding a solution that helps.

snapdragon24's avatar

I have awful anxiety while driving as well. For all types of reasons…but I think that one of the main reasons is that I just got my license in January and instead of getting used to driving in a small car like most beginners here where I live…I was left with my mom’s Jeap, which I eventually crashed against a wall in an underground parking…I get freaked out every time i get into that car…I feel like it occupies the whole road! Anyway…yeh and plus I live in Europe…people here drive however they want, as fast as they want, and you always have to be careful because someone always pulls a weird driving stunt! Basically…we all have stuff that freaks us out…this is definitely one of them…don’t give up driving and even maybe drive around with someone calm on your side.

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