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Hi guys,

I just visited the SAS store and was surprised to find media about a fear of freeway driving being sold. I'm inclined to think that I'm just generally a fearful freeway driver because I haven't had much experience driving through freeways, but seeing that 2/3 of the media being sold had to do with driving makes me wonder if this fear is a common disorder secondary to social anxiety. If so, does it have a name?

I got my license when I was 21 (I'm 22 now), which I know is relatively late. It only took me one time to pass the actual behind-the-wheel driving test, but I spent nearly $400 on private coaching, and after I passed I still felt pretty high anxiety driving through side-streets. Only about a year later did I start to feel okay strolling across stride-streets. This was after I graduated college 'cause then I lived near campus and so could just walk to get to class. Since then I've had much more practice and so have alleviated most of my driving nerves.

But I still have a huge fear of driving through freeways :afr . I'd say I've done so less than a dozen times. I suppose this is because of my lack of practice, but I don't understand why the freeway is so anxiety-inducing for me that I try to just avoid it entirely all together if possible. Nobody else seems to have this seemingly irrational fear. Friends and family were super eager to get their driving license (during their teens, mind you--and I still wasn't in the least bit excited to do so even at 21), and when they finally did, they seemed to have no qualms at all about driving through the freeway!

Perhaps it seems absurd for this to be at all related to SA in some way, but for some reason for me personally it makes perfect logical sense for there to be an association. I can't put my finger on it exactly, but I can't help but to feel that if I were out-going and social, I would have been super excited to drive around and actually go places, thereby giving me many opportunities to practice. Maybe that's it. Can anyone relate or does anyone have ideas?

Thanks,
Marcus
:lurk
 

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I didn't get my license until I was about your age. I had just finished my first enlistment in the Navy and had reenlisted. I've never been afraid of freeway driving except in high traffic areas like Los Angeles. I drove through there once during rush hour and never did it again. Driving through any city on the freeway always stresses me out a lot, but I love driving between cities where there isn't a lot of traffic. I almost had a bad wreck Thursday on my way home from work. I was passing a shopping center when I decided to change lanes. I always look over my shoulder briefly to see if there's anything in my blind zone. When I looked forward again there was a pickup truck crossing right in front of me to make a left turn. I slammed on the brakes but I just knew I was going to broadside him. At the last minute he hit the gas to try to get out of my way. We both left a lot of rubber on that road and I barely missed him. It scared the daylights out of me. I shook the rest of the way home. I wondered what was he thinking! There was no one behind me! Why did he cross over right in front of me? Couldn't he wait a few seconds until I passed? People here do that kind of thing all the time. I imagine it happens everywhere though. There's a lot of rude obnoxious people out there. I guess he thought I would see him pull out in front of me and thought I would stop for him. I just hope he was as scared as I was. Maybe he'll think twice before doing that again.
 

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I have a fear of freeway driving and pretty much avoid it. I think it's because I'm afraid of being trapped on it if there's an accident or something and you're stuck between exits. Also, I think the main reason is I fear getting lost or not knowing which freeway system to take to go where.
 

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Hi Marcus,

I hate driving the freeways here in LA, too. Some of that is because I drive an old Corvair (which Ralph Nader determined was "unsafe at any speed"), and some of it is just the high speeds on the freeway and the crazy drivers. So, if I can help it, I almost always take surface streets, which I'm more comfortable driving.

I don't know about there being a link between fear of freeway driving and SA, but I do have a lot of other phobias, like fear of heights, fear of flying, etc. The only thing that I can think of off-hand that links them all is the fear of something catastrophic happening, which may be part of our (over-) sensitive natures. :stu

I think the more practice you get, though, the more you will desensitize to freeway driving, like you said.
 

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I suppose Los Angeles freeways are a different animal than anything I've experienced. I love freeway driving, as there's lots of room around me and accidents are less common, and have a fear of non-freeway driving where there are tightly packed cars and narrow lanes (though it's only a major problem when I haven't been to the place before).
 

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I was telling my therapist about my driving phobias, and she said these are really common to people with anxiety disorders, and that lots of people with Panic disorder have panic attacks when driving. I'm not exactly sure what the correlation is, but there definitely is one.
I don't have panic attacks, but I've always been a really nervous driver, and it's mostly related to drivng places I am unfamiliar with. When I moved from a small town to a city, I didn't drive at all for a few months. Now, I am pretty much okay, but still like to avoid the freeway (especially at rush hour) even though I have done it lots of times. It's just stressful. When I was taking an antidepressant before, all my driving anxiety went away completely.
 

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Freeway driving, Night driving, and driving in unfamiliar areas. All of those things give me severe anxiety.

I once spent two days driving over 1000 miles across the country, alone. That was one of the worst experiences of my life even though I reached my destination in one piece. I had never had a 48 hour panic attack before. It's not fun and I wouldn't recommend it. :)
 

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I'm okay with driving, including freeways, if I'm familiar with the area, but if I'm not then I can get really anxious. :?
 

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Yikes said:
Freeway driving, Night driving, and driving in unfamiliar areas. All of those things give me severe anxiety.
Me too. It's why I don't venture out much and then, not very far.
 

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I don't like freeway driving, but I am not afraid of it. I am afraid of driving on bridges over water though. I always think I will somehow go over the barrier and sink to the bottom while trapped in my car. :? I have no idea where that fear came from.
 
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