Too scared to drive - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-18-2012, 05:00 AM Thread Starter
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Too scared to drive

It's becoming a huge problem for me... I used to be absolutely fine driving. Then I didn't need a car for a while, so I sold mine and stopped driving. Well, it has been 4 years and I now realise will need to start driving again and I am finding it extremely difficult to get the courage to try.

Doesn't help my confidence either when I have family who tell other people - "oh she won't drive! no, it's always me, I do all the driving all the time!" ... and I think I start to believe it's true.. I don't drive (but I used to)... but why do I accept what others say and convince myself they are right and that I must be too scared to drive??! I can't bring myself to prove them wrong and jump in the car and go. (What if I stall/crash/get lost?!)

It's so stupid, I feel really useless! I wish I wasn't so scared all the time.

Does anyone else ever feel too scared to drive? And do you think it is linked to social anxiety??
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-18-2012, 05:20 AM
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I get road rage.. its fun cursing at people and beeping the horn

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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-18-2012, 05:21 AM
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man weird that i just woke up and read your post after I had a dream where I had to do my drivers exam over again. thank god it was just a dream.

Anyway, perhaps you can go with somebody close to you to a deserted, safe area and get the hang of it again? I suspect that once you're good at it again the anxiety will go away too.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-18-2012, 08:17 AM
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I don't have any horrid phobia of driving (I never finished driver's ed, so technically don't know how to drive), but it's something I don't want to do for various reasons. I can't afford a car. I can't afford insurance or repairs. I have no clue how to maintain a car or what to look for if something goes wrong. I have nowhere to keep a car. I can't afford gas. I have nowhere of significance to go that would warrant investing in a car. I'm horrible with directions so could easily get lost. I'm afraid of running over or into something/someone. I'm afraid of breaking some kind of traffic law and getting pulled over. (Here the paranoid part of my mind kicks in and says I'm afraid I might get pulled over by somebody pretending to be a police officer and then something really bad happens.) And yes, when I think about it longer, I'm afraid merely of being noticed and of just looking stupid in one.

In my case, I think it has more to do with OCD, and just plain being reasonable--I'm not responsible enough for a car--than it has to do with social anxiety, but there could be an element of that too, I suppose.

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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-18-2012, 09:20 AM
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I learned the summer before college and then didn't drive for four years, so I had to re-learn how to drive. It was really difficult because I was basically teaching myself and I realized I hadn't been taught properly in the first place.

What I did was start on neighborhood roads and slowly work my way up to busier streets. I was really nervous at first, particularly after I almost caused a car accident in a friend's car, but in the end I just didn't have any other choice.

Why doesn't your family help you, though, if it bothers them that you don't drive?

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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-18-2012, 11:06 AM
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I didn't like driving for a good minute after I got my license but that was because I don't like to make mistakes in front of other people, and OFC a new driver is going to make mistakes at times.

Driving is one of those things you have to do if you want to get good and comfortable with it. The longer you wait to drive, the more nervous you'll be about it.

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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-18-2012, 11:07 AM
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my parents are waiting for me to get my permit when i turn 18.. ( 1 month ) im super scared to drive. at least you knew how to drive ;x

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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-18-2012, 11:34 AM
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I know I have driving anxiety but I have to drive. It's gotten worse since I've started driving due to a few incidents of people honking at me and someone nearly killing me. I'm scared of someone hitting me or me hitting them so I would have to get out of the car and deal with them. That is why I try to drive slowly and let everyone pass me by so I can have a somewhat of an street to myself. It bothers me when someone is right next to me or behind me. I feel like I'm constantly aiming to please everyone on the road. People with road rage scare me. If I go the speed limit or a tad slow while everyone else is going faster I feel the need to speed up but I don't want to be the one caught by a cop. I give in to someone tailgating me if I'm in an unfamiliar place. Although once I was on a narrow road and someone who was obviously tailgating me honked at me twice even though I was going 5 above the speed limit. I still went the same speed. A lot of times people honk at me and speed forward in rage and cut me off. I never like when that happens. I try to be courteous on the road and let way for everyone as much as I can. I just wish I wasn't so scared sometimes because it hinders my ability to think clearly on the road.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-18-2012, 12:05 PM
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I avoid driving if at all possible. I'm absolutely terrified of having dying or being paralyzed in a wreck. I do have to drive though but I only drive to work and back and I will never drive in the rain, snow, or ice. Any my hands start shaking and sweating if I have to drive long distances.

You're not alone! Idk if It's necessarily Social Anxiety, but being afraid of things like driving and dying and getting hurt are a form of anxiety (I've researched it).

I know it sucks being dependent upon people for things that they can't quite understand. I wish you the best of luck in your future driving endeavors!

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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-18-2012, 12:19 PM
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Yeah, I'm really scared of driving and definitely think it is has to do with my SA. I never took my driver's license because of that. Luckily I really don't need it in Stockholm anyway and I think I'll be stuck here forever.

I feel sorry for you since it seems like you really need to be able to drive. Your family should support and encourage you instead of saying stuff like that!
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-18-2012, 12:34 PM
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I've become scared of driving lately. I don't have my DL yet, but I drive with my Mom and I used to love it but now I become so scared. I don't even know why. I don't live in the city where there's loads of intersections and traffic. I'm more paranoid now on the road and I get distracted so much lately.

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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-19-2012, 12:31 AM
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It's natural, I think I can see where you're coming from. Before I went to college (out of state), I used to drive ALL the time and loved just cruising down the streets and listening to the radio. After about a year absence, I felt really nervous and avoided at all costs to drive. Eventually, there was a point I had to drive.

If you want to know what happened, I was fine. I got used to it very fast. I was worrying over nothing. That's what SA is about, over worrying about unlikely events! For what it's worth, I've ALWAYS been worried about driving (dread car crashes, fender benders, hitting people, etc). I have yet to get into an accident yet alone a speed ticket, but I still worry about that stuff. Just know you're not alone and there's no reason to feel ashamed. You'll drive when you're ready
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-19-2012, 12:43 AM
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I love to drive. I'm at my most relaxed when driving, even in heavy traffic. I especially like long road trips. I literally love to drive.

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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-19-2012, 01:18 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all your replies... I will get going eventually! As for my family, well... I can imagine it's frustrating for them dealing with a needy adult all the time!

It is really encouraging to know that other people feel the same way as I do. It's so easy to feel like you are the only one when everyone else's thoughts and feelings are hidden away inside them, and on the outside they look confident.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-19-2012, 01:31 AM
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I wish more people were scared to drive...there are some really, really bad drivers who should be terrified, and yet are fearless and put everyone else at risk...

I know tons of people who don't drive, it's not a big deal. I would say just try it, and if it's too overwhelming then look into other options for getting around. Being scared of it isn't anything to be ashamed of, don't be too hard on yourself.

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post #16 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-20-2012, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Cletis View Post
I love to drive. I'm at my most relaxed when driving, even in heavy traffic. I especially like long road trips. I literally love to drive.
I'm the same, I love driving.
I feel more confident when I'm in my car than most other times. It's like an extension of my home, it's a place I feel safe and I feel more normal.

Recently though I've had some car troubles and the car sometimes cuts out so it's not so relaxing anymore and I get a bit tense now, but when my car is reliable I'm very comfortable driving. I love a good long drive with good music. Also I love driving in bad weather like heavy rain and even snow!
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post #17 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-20-2012, 05:58 PM
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Was terrified thinking about having the learn to drive, then was scared when I had to drive myself back and forth to work. Now I am driving 4hrs nonstop from NY to MD, and find myself driving on the highway during my lunch hour to shop. It gets better.

Sometimes I want to beat people up for beeping at me in a No Turn On Red intersection. No, I will not turn on red. I tell myself, "it's not my fault you can't read or are impatient."
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post #18 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-01-2013, 03:13 PM
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I took driver's ed in high school but didn't pass the final test to get my license. The nerves of being "tested" and going out specifically to see you mess up killed me. Then I was too scared to retake the test when even family members were rolling their eyes at my inability to just chill and do it. "Why can't you do it? Even stupid people can drive." That sort of thing. Then I went to college. Lucky! Since it was easy to walk everywhere on campus. I couldn't afford to pay for parking a car even if I did have one/could drive it. Now I'm graduated and looking for a job, and unfortunately that's hard to get without a DL. Now I'm dealing with the same fears of trying to impress the people I care about by trying to achieve neglected "milestones." This is something I have to do but just the idea of sitting in the driver's seat makes me nauseous.

I am grateful to see that there are other people that have difficulty with this. It's encouraging. Maybe I'll print out this forum and put it in my shirt pocket the next time I try to practice. Stupid? Yeah. Well. What can you do?
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post #19 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-01-2013, 06:31 PM
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I had a bit of anxiety regarding driving. I didn't get my license until I was 20. But once I started driving without my parents with me (horrific source of anxiety), things got much better. I'm still very uncomfortable with driving to places I haven't been before. Even in my city, I STILL don't know how to reach certain places, so I desperately avoid driving to places I don't know how to reach. Pumping gas was such a fear of mine at one point, that I would often let the car skirt around on an empty tank. I've gotten much better with it now. Parking is still a hair-raising experience for me. When I drove my parent's large SUV, if the parking spaces weren't angled towards traffic, I would always botch the job. Making five re-attempts to get the parking down is embarrassing, but straddling the middle line isn't an option.

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post #20 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-01-2013, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by GreatHeartly View Post
(What if I stall/crash/get lost?!)
I can easily relate to that as those are my own driving fears as well. I'm confident that I'm a good driver, but I hate the thought of getting lost. That would require asking for directions and I hate talking to strangers. Yes, I'm a 40-year-old man who's afraid to ask for directions. Pretty pathetic, isn't it?

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