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Jay170590's avatar

How can I get my confidence back when driving?

Asked by Jay170590 (335 points ) December 21st, 2009 from iPhone

About a month ago I had an accident in my car which was my fault. Now whenever I drive I get anxious and it’s turned something I used to love doing into a nightmare. Another problem is that I work as a mechanic and driving cars is part of what I do. How can I get my confidence back?

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12 Answers

Haroot's avatar

Don’t think of your accident as a negative experience, but rather a learning experience. We all make mistakes, dwelling on them does absolutely nothing productive. All you have to carry over from that accident is the knowledge of what you did wrong, and simply do your best to never do it again.

Hope that helps a little.

Kelly_Obrien's avatar

Like falling off a horse, you must get back in the saddle and ride…ride…ride….

gemiwing's avatar

A car wreck can be very traumatic so I would recommend looking into coping skills for PTSD sufferers.

I also third, get in the car and ride- when you’re ready.

JustPlainBarb's avatar

Most of us have been in an auto accident at one time or another in our lives. It’s a part of what we have to deal with when we drive. Try to keep in mind that we’ve all been there and things like that just happen. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Good luck with it, I’m sure the more you drive, the better you’ll feel about yourself.

Buttonstc's avatar

In a strange way, the fact that you were at fault is a positive point because it means that the future is under your control. Just don’t repeat the same mistake and your golden.

But seriously, the only advice I can give is to grab yoursef by the scruff of the neck, plunk yoursellf down in the drivers seat and get on with it (metaphorically speaking).

Just force yourself to do it.

Years ago someone plowed into the drivers side of my car at an intersection. He was in the wrong and if the impact had been a few inches closer to the drivers seat, I would have been seriously injured or not around to tell the tale.

Afterwards, I just knew that if I surrendered to my immediate fear and reluctance to get behind the wheel again and allowed it to become an entrenched habit, I might never drive again.

So, I just gritted my teeth and forced myself to get back in and drive because I valued my independence way too much. Not being able to drive again was unthinkable for me so I just had to tough it out.

The fact that this happened in Mass. In the middle of a snowy winter didn’t help at all. And I was one extremely paranoid driver for a long long time afterward. The fact that it was not my fault was of little comfort because knowing that I have no control over other stupid drivers kinda made it worse.

But I got through it and so can you. But you just have to tough it out and force yourself.

Altho perhaps you could also contact either AAA or a driving
School and take a short refresher course. That may help with your confidence level.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I’m having something of the same problem, but not from an accident. I’m a recently retired Army officer and always lived on base and had a car and driver for my use. Now that I have to drive for myself, I have to learn again that I must pay attention to the road while driving, not working on some project or sending e-mails. Some kinds of multi-tasking are dangerous when you are the driver. For any long car trip, I still plan on hiring a car and driver as I find driving boring unless its on one of my old motorcycles.

SirGoofy's avatar

Stop using that damned iphone while you’re driving and pay attention to the road.

Pandora's avatar

@Jay170590 See about taking a safety course. I think what probably scared you was the fact that you felt the real fear of how dangerous driving can be for yourself and for other people on the road. Remember this.
You can only control your side of driving, but you can avoid fools most of the time.
Death will find you unless you purposely go looking for it. So no point in worrying about it.
Driving these days is a necessity, especially in your case for your job.
You know better on what not to do.
Most accidents happen because people are in a rush. Take your time. Its better to get there safe than not at all. (Bye the way, take your time doesn’t mean go under the speed limit on the passing lane or any lane.) Just don’t speed or get careless. LOL

janbb's avatar

@Jay170590 I had a very similar experience so I can empathize with you. In 2003, I had a bad accident in which I was at fault and later sued. It was very traumatic for me and I was very nervous about driving for a long time. The day after the accident, I drove around the neighborhood only and was very nervous but I was able to drive to work that week. I have slowly gained my confidence back but it has taken several years. I have not had anything close to an accident since – I am very attentive. For me, it has been helpful to limit my driving as much as possible to routes that I am familiar with; rarely do I drive somewhere that is at a great distance or totally unknown to me. But the panicky, nervous feeling every time I got in a car did dissipate over time. Hope this helps.

john65pennington's avatar

I have always had this attitude about driving: “if you are going to play the game, you gotta be one of the boys”. this means you have to swallow your sense of shyness, tighten your belt and get out there on the interstate and jockey around for your space on the concrete. i never had this problem. i was always a wheelman from the age 16. behind the wheel of a 3,000 pound automobile is no place for a timid person. do you have a drivers license? if not, i suggest one of the driving schools. they can help you tremendously. john

daemonelson's avatar

I recommend going for short drives on the clearest roads you can find.

I’m just getting my license now, driving scares the hell out of me, and this seems to help.

YARNLADY's avatar

When that happened to my Mother In Law, she signed up for driving lessons, and took a special “driving safely” course offered by AAA. She was careful to only drive around areas where she was familiar with, and it took about about six months for her to feel like going back on the freeway.

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