Social Question

Gifted_With_Languages's avatar

Do you drive?

Asked by Gifted_With_Languages (1137points) June 4th, 2014

If so, are you fearful or nervous when driving or are you confident on the road? Explain.

Thank you enormously for your answers.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

74 Answers

El_Cadejo's avatar

I assume you are getting your drivers license soon?

I consider myself a rather good driver (who doesn’t :P) but I wasn’t actually confident driving until about a year or so into it. For the longest time whenever I’d pass oncoming traffic I had this odd fear that I was veering toward them and would cause a head on. It’ll pass with time once you get used to controlling a large metal box going 55mph.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Υes, I love it, it gives me joy ( on the open road), it’s soul cleansing.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

I do indeed. It’s my favorite way to escape concerns in great haste.

Proper driving should be all consuming.

Between my skill and chosen hardware I drive with utter confidence, all while remembering that things could go horribly wrong with absolutely no warning.

JLeslie's avatar

I drive. I feel fine on the road. The only time I don’t is when I am driving a very large vehicle, then I feel I need to be more careful.

When I am a passenger that is a different answer, but when I drive I feel fine.

If you are just learning to drive, a little fear is normal and ok. Young people who are overconfident and feel immortal are not the best to have on the roads.

Is there something specific you are nervous about? Staying in lane, changing lanes, parking, making turns? Did you take a Driver’s Ed class? I really recommend a class, don’t just have your parents teach you. Too many people suck at driving and don’t know the laws and have bad habits.

jca's avatar

I have driven for 30 years (makes me sound and feel old just saying that). I like to drive on the highway, I don’t really care to drive in the city.

It’s normal to be somewhat apprehensive in the beginning. It’s exciting but it can be nerve wracking. The more you drive, the excitement will fade but so will the anxiety.

Mimishu1995's avatar

I do, in video games.

talljasperman's avatar

No… I can’t parallel park. I only have a learners permit. I went to a rolling stop when I was in a crosswalk, with the instructor putting on the passengers brake. I got scared and stopped learning.

28lorelei's avatar

I have a license, but am still working on fine tuning. It’s ok, I suppose… guess I’ll enjoy it more when I have more experience!

Pachy's avatar

I’m more nervous about driving than I used to be. Drivers seem to have increasing disregard for rules of the road (i.e., not using their signals, not giving proper right-of-way, speeding, running red lights). There’s also the problem of too many drivers using cell phones (I was almost hit by a guy “driving” a pickup truck as I was walking in a crossing lane in a parking lot—he was texting). I especially dislike driving at night.

hearkat's avatar

I drive a lot. I’ve had long commutes for over 25 years, so I’ve averaged about 30,000 miles a year in my adult life. When I first learned to drive, I was very nervous. I’m driving instructor leaned over and pushed down my foot on the throttle to make me accelerate faster. Now I have a leadfoot, and my son blames me for his love of speed.

flip86's avatar

No. I’ll be 30 at the end of the month and still only have a learners permit. I’ve driven a handful of times and it really does terrify me. I might get over that and get my license eventually, but I doubt it. My sister was 34 when she finally got hers. She was always terrified about it too.

jerv's avatar

I drive quite a bit. Just my daily commute is almost 80 miles a day.

I feel fine precisely because I have a little fear. Not the paralyzing fear that @flip86 has, nor the “had a scare so I gave up” fear of @talljasperman, but enough fear to know that bad things can happen to me. Show me a driver without fear and I’ll show you one that will get themselves (and possibly others) killed.

I feel confident because I know my car, and how to handle it. I know what it can/can’t do, which allows me to use more of it’s capabilities than a less aware driver can while also avoiding exceeding it’s limits trying to do something really cool that I saw on YouTube. That knowledge has saved my life more than once, and avoided countless accidents, especially in winter driving.

Know your car. Respect it. Be aware of other cars, and what they can do to you if you get careless. Above all, don’t be so afraid of them that you sacrifice freedom, employment opportunities, and life to avoid them, nor be such a scared driver that you’re actually more dangerous behind the wheel than a drunk on LSD.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I am very good at driving, but holy fuck there are so many idiots on the roads. A few years ago I came within 25 feet of certain death. You know how much that feeling sucks? A few days back I pull up to a four way stop, I have the right of way, there’s a guy coming from the right side. I pull out and the idiot sails right through the stop sign, never even slowed, or the idiots that pull out right in front of me.

filmfann's avatar

I have driven over 500,000 miles in the 40 years I have had a license.
I try to always be attentive, and I am quite confident in my driving skill, especially backing up while towing a trailer.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Uh yeah, I do it for a living, I drive over 16,000ks a month with a tractor trailer rig called a super train, that is a 2 trailer unit that has 8 axels and 30 tires and weighs 63.5 metric tons ,and is 82 feet long from bumper to bumper.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Oh sorry and for your question, yeah it is rather stressful in the winter on ice covered highways, but the rest of the time I rather enjoy it,plus I really like working alone.

ucme's avatar

Beep, beep, beep, beep…yeah!
Although i’d never advocate a baby driving a car, that would be very dangerous & just plain silly

Judi's avatar

I am a good driver I think but I am aware of my weaknesses. (I think that’s important to being a good driver.)
I don’t have the best depth perception and I am crappy at backing up, especially with a trailer. I take special care in these situations.
A good driver is aware of what’s going on around them and will pull over to the right to let slower traffic pass.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Why is backing up an issue? My mother has the exact same problem.

Coloma's avatar

I’ve been driving forever too, and yes, I love driving. I especially enjoy my area with many little country roads and highways and byways. I excel at rural and mountain driving, but hate big city driving like L.A. and S.F. here in California. I am an expert on dodging deer, winding mountain roads and 2 lane highways. I do not enjoy night driving either these days as my vision is getting a little murky after dark and I do not enjoy driving in bad weather, rain/snow/high winds.

I have had one rear ender accident ( my fault of course ) and ran over one squirrel and one skunk in 38 years. I had one deer run into me but I saw it soon enough to slow way down and it just sorta grazed the passenger side door and ran off, hopefully uninjured.
Not to bad of a track record. Not counting the bicyclist that ran into ME and flipped over the hood of my car a few years ago on my tourist community Main St.

OMG! It was like a scene from a movie and the guy was not hurt, but I gave him a $100 for a new bike and got the hell outta there asap. lol
He was a transient type and I wasn’t sure if maybe his flip over my car was staged. Extremely stressful.

gailcalled's avatar

I no longer drive at night unless I know where I am going. I no longer drive in the big cities near me; the traffic, the noise, the rush on the highways make it hard for me to read the exit signs in time to exit in a safe manner. When someone needs picking up at the airport, I pay for their taxi,

I was hit by a deer once at night, but luckily was driving only about 35 mph. The deer sideswiped the back right door, the front right door, the front driver’s mirror and the front fight side of the hood. Very expensive to repair although neither my 75-year-old passenger or I was hurt. It felt as though a freight train had whanged into us. It was dark, with no street or house lights and several cars behind me so I was not even able to stop.

Coloma's avatar

@gailcalled Our lives are so parallel, we should team up and drive each others Daisy. haha

rojo's avatar

Every day. It has lost any luster it once had.

Except for road trips out West. I love the long distance drives on those small back-country roads.

Seek's avatar

I hate driving with a fiery, vehement passion.

While I am displeased at the situation that has led to us selling a vehicle in order to make ends meet, I am more than happy that our remaining vehicle has a standard transmission – which I have never learned to operate. I literally cannot start my husband’s truck. Which means I don’t have to drive anywhere! Yay! And when I’m doing things not with my husband, I barter with my friends for rides. Why, yes I will weave a belt for you in exchange for transportation to “X number” of events.

Blackberry's avatar

I drive, and I’m confident on the road because I’ve had practice. No major accidents and 2 slight fender benders so far.

Judi's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe , I think it’s because if all the places you have to look at at the same time. all the mirrors etc. And you don’t turn the way you’re pointing.

gailcalled's avatar

^^ Plus the aging necks don’t turn quite as well as they used to.

JLeslie's avatar

Technically you are supposed to turn your head in the direction you are driving when driving backwards, not use mirrors, but of course we do use mirror to some extent and now we even have cameras. I think going backwards is more difficult because there simply are more blind spots in the rear and rear sides of a vehicle. Anyone who thinks it is just as easy to drive forwards as backwards maybe is not taking the blind spots seriously enough. My husband’s cousin’s son was killed as the lady who drove the carpool that day for the toddlers backed up over him as she tried to leave the driveway.

Add in my neck does have trouble now, and I don’t always drive the same car every day so my knowledge of the depth of the car is not as good as it could be, and people tend to drive big SUV and all that makes driving backwards harder. In my little VW GTI I can back up, parallel park, squeeze through slaves with no trouble, I feel in total control of that car and understand the space I occupy. Our big Ford truck, not as much.

gailcalled's avatar

^^ What does “squeeze through slaves” mean?

JLeslie's avatar

I tried to edit it and it wouldn’t let me. It means my iPad has a mind of it’s own. Squeeze through tight spaces. If a mod will correct it that would be great. I flagged it.

DominicX's avatar

I do drive and I’ve been pretty confident on the road since I was about 17. The fact that I drive more safely than most of my friends that I’ve never had a ticket only boost that confidence.

Mariah's avatar

I can drive and I finally have my license but getting it was a saga. I am an incredibly nervous driver, as someone who is extremely aware of my own mortality, and even more afraid of being grievously injured than of dying. I am not sure I will ever be comfortable behind the wheel.

So far in my life I haven’t needed to drive much, and I don’t, having been in good sized cities with public transportation since leaving home. I don’t want to always live in a city though, so I will have to try to get more comfortable.

28lorelei's avatar

Speaking of driving, today was my first solo drive (nobody else in the car). I was a little nervous at first, but eventually got more relaxed and enjoyed just driving… although it was just a couple miles for an errand.

Judi's avatar

I have been known to hit things with the front of my car while backing up. Now I just go slow and constantly scan mirrors, look over my shoulder, stop, look in front, scan again. Like I said, I know my weaknesses and accomidate for them.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Judi Difficulty backing up is something I’ve noticed with a lot of women drivers actually. I think it may have something to do with spatial perception but it’s just a theory.

downtide's avatar

I do not drive and will never be able to. I cannot meet the minimum eyesight requirements.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

Yes, I drive and am not fearful at all. I’m a very defensive driver and since my kids have been able to drive themselves around, I am a slow driver.

johnpowell's avatar

I’m 36 and have never had my license. No medical reason not to. I’m just cheap. I have a bike and a bus-pass that is 30 bucks a month.

I have never had the need.

Seek's avatar


Man, a bus pass here is over 100, and the damned buses don’t even go anywhere.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

As I worked from the bottom up at a BMW dealer I spent time as a service valet. Parking customer cars was a big part of the job.

You could say I drove cars backward for a living during that time.

You can indeed drive backwards facing forward and using your mirrors. (They’re perfectly adjusted of course, right?) There should be a tiny bit of your car’s flanks visible in the inside of the sideview mirrors. Center mirror should frame the rear glass.

If you see space between you and your neighbor it’s there, trust it.

To get the car to go where you want it in reverse. Turn the car so the target is in the middle of the center mirror. Adjust as needed.

Works every time.

longgone's avatar

I don’t. I tried a few lessons, once, and really disliked them. At the moment, I’m trying to decide whether to make myself take them up again. I don’t want to. Financially, risk-wise and ecologically, there are all sorts of arguments against driving. On the other hand…yes, it’s practical. Not sure yet.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

A number of people have complained about driving in stop and go traffic.

Of course it sucks, but the right car is a pleasure to experience at all speeds, not just high ones, and even while at rest.

My car’s cabin is the last space that’s truly my own.

I’m proud to have chosen it and even more proud to have built it into what I wanted it to be.

It’s my belief that that the reason there are so many bad drivers is that between their chosen hardware and lack of skill they miserably endure driving with no feeling of confidence.

Their chosen car or poor driving position makes driving a nervous and exhausting prospect.

rojo's avatar

I recall when my daughter began driving, She would drive way out of her way in order to avoid having to cross traffic with a left hand turn. I was amazed at how many different ways there were to get to places using only right hand turns. It gradually went away as her comfort levels increased but it was a couple of years before she got over it.

Seek's avatar

Some of us don’t have the luxury of choosing the perfect car, bro. I would argue most of us.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

If you think it’s all about money then you don’t understand my point.

There are driver’s cars that employ the proper formula that cost tons less than some of the soulless crap that’s out there.

Also: You are what you drive? Not exactly, but you are most certainly how you drive.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@SecondHandStoke I only hate stop and go traffic because I drive a manual vehicle. After a while it gets tiring going 1st>2nd>1st>stop>1st>2nd>1st>stop and so on.

Judi's avatar

I think I might be the only person I know that doesn’t mind driving in L.A. The only time it really gets to me is if I have to pee.

SecondHandStoke's avatar


I lessen this problem by leaving adequate room between me and the car in front of me, keep it in 1st and control everything with the throttle alone.

Far less clutching and declutching.

My left leg and wallet thank me.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@SecondHandStoke Sounds like you’ve never been in real stop and go traffic. There is no adequate room thing, if there is enough room for a car to squeeze in, someone will and then you’re right back to bumper to bumper

hearkat's avatar

@El_Cadejo – That’s why I gave up on the manual trans. I do miss it, but I sit on Route 1 on my daily commute and that is reason enough to go automatic (I do use my paddle shifters, though).

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Try and think of someone like a trucker in stop and go traffic I have 18 gears, although in stop and go traffic I just usually use the bottom 6.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@hearkat Once I learned how to drive manual I couldn’t ever go back. Every time I find myself in a automatic vehicle I’m terribly bored and I kick for a clutch that isn’t there :P I don’t have to deal with this sort of traffic often though, only when I go near the city or some highways, two things I try to avoid whenever possible. I understand in your circumstances though, there is no way around it unfortunately.

johnpowell's avatar

@seek :: We have fairly robust bus coverage. I can see a bus stop from my window and one comes every ten minutes that takes me downtown to where I can transfer to a bus that will take me pretty much anywhere. And the buses have bike racks.

But yeah, reason #172 to not move to Florida.

JLeslie's avatar

Being afraid to drive can be very limiting in many areas of the US. It is a very common phobia, not that I think the OP is phobic, sounds like she might be apprehensive. More than one of my high anxiety friends, and some jellies here, avoid driving. Their anxieties started with other things, but eventually spread to driving also. For other people it is only about not liking to drive, which I can completely understand. I love having nice, clean, convenient, public transportation, I find that very appealing about some cities.

Judi's avatar

My daughter had a bus phobia, not a driving phobia.
That sounds crazy in an area with great transit service but in many places only those who can’t afford to drive or who criminally lost their right to drive are on the bus. We were poor when my kids were little but for most of their life they were pretty well off and it was an entirely different culture to her. She would have panic attacks at the thought of having to ride a bus. Especially alone. I think she’s gotten over it living in Scotland.

JLeslie's avatar

@Judi It doesn’t surprise me. Some places the mass transit is very segregated. If not by ethnicity then by income level, or it can be both. In NYC everyone (includng movies stars dressed to the nines and the mayor sometimes) is on the subways and buses. In Memphis not the case. My husband had never been on mass transit in Mexico City and he grew up there. The first time we travelled to a big city when we were engaged was the first time he had been on public transportation (not including taxis) because I just assumed we would use the subways. He wasn’t afraid, he just had associated it with poor people, or didn’t identify as someone who would use mass transit. A friend of mine who asked me to pick her up at the Atlanta airport said she was afraid to use the metro system there. She had done it once and felt unsafe even in the daytime. I have no idea if it actually is unsafe. My guess is there are a lot of black people on it (I guess that because it is Atlanta) but I have never been on the transit system there. Her perspective might be different than mine since I grew up using public transportation and she didn’t.

Seek's avatar

^ The Marta is awesome. I spent two weeks in Atlanta when I was 18, and it was great. It’s above-ground, so more like riding the El in Chicago than the Subway in NYC. No scary, shady underground stations to worry about.

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek I wondered. I never have asked someone who has used it. The back story is we were at a race in Atlanta and she was flying in a day later than the rest of us arrived. She asked me to pick her up, and we were an hour from the airport each way. Basically, I would have lost about three hours of being at the track with my husband and it would be a pain in the neck and a little of a crap shoot to drive out there with Atlanta traffic and actually get back and forth in the time I would hope it would take.

I told her if she took the “subway” or airport bus to a location closer to the track, I would pick her up there. The drive for me from the track to the outskirts of where public transportation would leave her off would be easy for me, because the traffic is no problem out there, it still would easily be an hour of my time though. She didn’t want to do it so I said no. The bus went from the airport to a very nice suburban mall 20 minutes from the track. The subway was not too far from there. Keep in mind, if it was where I lived I would pick up someone at the airport, but I was there for just a few days myself for a purpose. Moreover, she has the money to just rent a car. We almost never let our friends or family drive an hour or more one way to pick us up at an airport. Even when I go home to DC I take the subway usually to the stop closest to my parents house so they don’t have to drive in DC traffic.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

I have a bus phobia too.

Talk about an undignified way to traverse the city.

Coloma's avatar

@JLeslie @Judi
I have a bus phobia too, well, maybe not an actual phobia, but I get very nervous about missing trains, planes and buses when traveling. There is a city transit here in my small community, van type buses, not big buses like you would see in larger cities, but the few times I have had to take a bus I get really stressed about it. haha
I was kind of driving phobic when I was young and I am still phobic about driving manual transmissions. I am just not that coordinated and my ex husband would get really impatient with me trying to teach me to drive his Fiat.

Gimme an automatic transmission any day of the week and my own vehicle over public transportation.
Now, what I think would be really great is to live in an area, like my small town Main St. area, where you could walk to shopping, groceries, entertainment, restaurants and not need either a car or a bus to navigate.

JLeslie's avatar

Walking into town or down the block for groceries is great as long as you don’t have 2+ kids and a spouse. I love that some urban planners and developers are using the “neighborhood” concept again, where a lot of residential is in walking distance to a downtown area or even condominiums above commercial (mixed used buildings) to make cars and public transit less necessary.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

As much as the sport of driving and the craft of car modification is in my blood I’m happiest when I can preserve the car for driving pleasure and walk to most destinations.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

In response to some of the replies ITT here’s a PSA about driving position:

The goal is to be relaxed behind the wheel. This is accomplished by letting the car do the work.

A properly designed seat and seat belt is a system used to hold the driver firmly relieving the pilot from the job of actively holding his or her self in position.

One should be seated as far from the up to 200 MPH airbag as possible while still being able to touch a palm to the top of the wheel, fully depress the clutch and reach 5th gear without leaning forward.

Arms should be slightly bent with hands at 8 and 4 on the wheel. This is a more relaxed position. Ten and Two is novice driver’s ed nonsense. You want your hand positioned on the wheel so it’s as close to the shifter as possible. Ideally (based partly on good interior ergonomics) a shift should be able to be executed without movement of the upper arm.

Crossing arms in a turn is a bad habit that reduces control. Keep each hand on it’s own side.

Hanging your wrist inside the wheel can get your arm broken should the airbag deploy.

The proper mirror adjustments that I describe above should facilitate viewing without the need to lean forward, and reducing blind spots to a minimum. I can glance left and right without moving my head.

It’s not all your fault: In my experience domestic cars are designed with the wheel far too close to the driver in relation to the other controls. Most cars IMO don’t have adequate lateral bolsters in the seats. Most cars for the domestic market are too wide to provide proper lateral support.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

“Speed is the only truly modern sensation.”

I meant the seats in domestic market cars are too wide in the comment above.

downtide's avatar

@SecondHandStoke ” Ten and Two is novice driver’s ed nonsense. You want your hand positioned on the wheel so it’s as close to the shifter as possible.” I’ve noticed that my partner drives nearer eight and four.

JLeslie's avatar

Well, my husband races cars and is a racing instructor and he definitely uses 10 and 2 on the track. He is shifting a lot on that race track. He even gets on me sometimes when I am driving, especially on turns, that I am not holding the steering wheel correctly. Some steering wheels don’t allow for 10 and 2 now that we have air bags packed into them and buttons for blue tooth and the radio. most people don’t drive 10 and 2 during their whole time while on a drive, I don’t think it is a big deal, especially if there is little traffic around and the roads are dry and fairly straight. In America just having both hands free probably would help. Too many people eating and drinking and looking at their phones.

9 and 3 was more popular about 15 years ago, I learned to drive 30 years ago, and now I do sometimes hear 8 and 4, but I have a hard time believing that is the safest. One reason for 9 and 3 is because of air bags and to prevent your hand and arm from crossing the steering wheel on turns, because if the air bag deploys you break your arm and your own hand and arm can be thrust into your face. That is another reason to never drive one hand on 12 o’clock. The advent of air bags chained the rules for safety reasons not necessarily related to control of the car, and it is thought that 9 and 3 give as good control as 10 and 2 in common driving situations. Plus, very few people are shifting in America. If you are shifting so much that your hand position on the wheel is a consideration you likely are in an urban area not driving very fast to begin with, but the air bag is still a factor.

rojo's avatar

Mostly I drive with one hand at 9, the elbow out the window and one on the (shifter) knob other times I drive with my wrist at 12 and my fingers at 9 unless something has me concerned; perhaps traffic conditions, weather, other drivers. Most of the time it is highway driving.

JLeslie's avatar

@rojo You have your hand at 9 and that same arm elbow on the window?

rojo's avatar

Sure, this is ‘murica not England (clocks are numbered clockwise right?)

JLeslie's avatar

@rojo Sí señor Rojo, I was just making sure I understood. I have to say that is pretty unsafe. The hand you have on the wheel does not have good control for sudden moves because the range of your hand is limited by your elbow being on the window. Driving safely has a lot to do with reaction time in a suprise situation. Enough distance from the car in front of you to brake if he brakes suddenly, not driving tandem to the car in the lane next to you so if something is in your lane you can quickly move over, having your hands available to control the car if you hit a slick patch or something suddenly appears on the roadway, and on and on. It is in the moments of something going wrong that safety practices really kick in.

rojo's avatar

What you say is true. @JLeslie I cannot dispute it. However, I am probably too old to change and too lazy to even try. I can hopefully get another 43 years out of my method.

SecondHandStoke's avatar


Why should people practice safe driving habits when they can simply drive an enormous body on frame tank instead, the lazy, unskilled selfish fucks.

With their overheight bumpers overriding my hood rendering my car’s passive safety systems unused.

I hope the nightmare of their bumper reaching over my side impact beams and decapitating me haunts them nightly for the rest of their years.

JLeslie's avatar

I realized today I often have my left hand in the 8 o’clock position. Amazing what you realize when you pay attention. I still think it is less safe than 9 or 10.

@SecondHandStoke I hate all the mega big, mega high vehicles on the road. I have one, I have a fairly big Ford truck. When I drive it I feel like I have tons of blind spots and if I go too fast it feels out of control to me. I don’t mean I am speeding, I can be going to the speed limit, but add a little extra wind, or a slight curve on a highway and being high off the ground feels less stable. I think having so many SUV’s and similar on the road makes the roads much more hazardous.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

The manufacturers of enormous SUVs are fully aware of thier place in the Reptilian Complex and even use the term amongst those in the industry.

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