Fear of Driving

Updated on October 21, 2009
K.H. asks from Garland, TX
16 answers

Anyone else have this fear? Anyone get over it? I have an intense fear and it's holding me back from making friends and having a support group. I'm literally stuck in the house with all 3 kids by myself all the time unless hubby is off and then I still can't get a break since he has to drive us everywhere.

Embarrassing, but I am trying to get past it..

*More* I should have been more clear the first time, but I was nervous. I have had my permit in 3 different states (I was moving a lot) since I was 15! I can take the written test easily. I have never had my license. My permit is currently expired and I need to go take the stupid written test again, so I can practice driving.
I have had times in my life where I have actually driven a lot..of course with a licensed driver in the car. I used to drive an hour to work and an hour back every day. I do ok. I get really nervous in the city and with a lot of traffic and cars parked on the side of the road. I did take my driving test once and failed, but honestly I don't think I should have. The lady was incredibly mean from the very beginning and barely spoke to me. The reasons she gave me were just silly in my opinion. The one she said was major was that I can to almost a stop before turning right when I had a green light. Well, ya I did but I was nervous. Anyway, that was when I was 20 and I have been TERRIFIED to try and take the test again since then.
When I was growing up, I was in serveral accidents and I was never even in a seat, let alone have a seat belt. My crappy parents bought the cheapest van possible and it didnt have back seats. They cut the legs off of a couch and put it back there. Not bolted down or anything and there was no carpet back there so it would hold at all. The thing slide everywhere. So, while they were in the front in seats with seatbelts, my brother and I were in the back on a sliding couch with nothing. I can remember 3 accidents and while none of them were very bad, it was scary for a little girl, but nobody ever asked me if I was ok. Not once.
Then when I was 13, I had finished babysitting for my cousin and she drove me home and dropped me off. The next day we found out that on her way home she had witnessed a horrible accident and someone had died in front of her. Now I know I wasn't there, but it did affect me at that time because I was the reason she saw it and I could have if we had left later or whatever. All the what ifs. My mother decided it would be a good idea to tell me every detail and kept saying, "Man, if she hadn't of been driving you home.."
Put on top of that my father drilling it into my head that I'm a failure my whole life..ya I guess you could say I have reasons to have the fear.

Reguardless, I am a grown woman now and a totally different person and I do not want my kids to grow up seeing my fear, so this has to change!

I am just in awe of all of you that responded! It is SO wonderful to not feel alone anymore! I am absolutly going to write some of you back and am excited to take you up on your offers of help and friendship! Thanks so much to all of you!

3 moms found this helpful

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So What Happened?

So far I went and got my Oregon permit finally! Now to find time to practice driving..

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L.H.

answers from Anchorage on

Hi K.!

I had this too. I didn't learn to drive till I was 23 or 24. I had two kids at the time and was a single mother. Plus I was so nervous at my drivers test I had to take it 3 times. Embarassing! I felt like Sponge Bob.:) On a serious note..I did it by driving in empty parking lots. Once I got comfortable with that I would drive at night on empty streets, then on the highway and so on. I also got counceling and that didn't really work so I went to a lady who does Emotional Release Therapy. Dr. Mercola also has a version of this. It seems a little weird but I was desperate. I would also carry rescue remedy (bach remedies) with me if I had panic attacks. Now the only time I get scared is when it snows and there is ice on the road. Just take it in little steps and try and get a support group and counceling to help you through it.

I wish you the best!

L.

3 moms found this helpful
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L.N.

answers from Portland on

I had a good friend who had a fear of driving after an accident. I know of a great hypnotherapist, which is another idea for you to get past this. Her name is Kristen Olberz, and her email is [email protected]____.com. I hope you find something that works for you and will be wishing you well!

1 mom found this helpful

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L.U.

answers from Seattle on

K. - As some of the mama's on this board already know, I was in a horrible car accident when my son was a newborn (3 weeks). I was in and out of the hospital for about a month and my son spent a month on life support and another month in recovery at Children's Hospital. We were the passengers in the car.
I have been blessed by having a healthy, fabulous son who has no known issues from the accident and with the fact that I do not remember the accident. However, I did not drive for a year after the accident. Then, I finally got up the nerve and within a month I was rear ended.
I drive everywhere now, but I am still quite nervous. Anytime I have the right of way I am sure I will be hit. Anytime I am going through a green light I think I will be hit. We were T-Boned totally unexpectedly, so I am always freaked out that I will not see the accident until it's too late.
I probably suffer from PTSD. If I see a bad accident, I cry. If it's dark out and raining, my hands sweat and I am petrified. If some JERK cuts me off, it's all I can do to not pull the car over and give him a piece of my mind.
There is probably some counseling that you can get. I love the suggestion of starting out small. That's what I had to do. Around a parking lot until I was comfortable, then down the street to the local grocery store, then on the freeway until the next exit.... I would suggest going by yourself. Unless you don't know HOW to drive, then I would go to a class. DOn't take hubby, he loves you and sometimes someone who is not your immediate family can teach you better.
Good Luck, obviously you are not alone. L.

2 moms found this helpful
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T.J.

answers from Seattle on

Did something happen to you? I suffer from PTSD following a fatality accident when my oldest daughter was only 13 months old (3.5 years ago). Someone on a motorcycle going 80mph through a stop sign hit us, then we hit a tree, and he died basically in front of me. I was unable to drive for about a month, and I still on occasion feel like someone's going to hit me out of nowhere. I tend to hold my breath a lot when I'm driving or engage in little controlled rituals that my counselor said make me feel more in control. She had me focus on where I'm going, and visualize arriving there safely. That really helped me get past the worst times.

Hope that helps, it's a real fear and very hard to deal with, a lot of people don't understand until they've been there. The feeling that we want to protect our kids is very strong. But you also need to get out, and the kids do too. Find your comfort, maybe just the store first, then the park, then branch out slowly. Sometimes I also say a little prayer for all of our safety, which makes me feel a little better about heading out. Best of luck, please keep us updated!

2 moms found this helpful
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S.H.

answers from Portland on

I totally agree with the post tramatic stress post.. if you have had a bad experience this is likely where the fear is coming from. I am the same way...if I can avoid driving ANYWERE I do! I always let my husband drive if we are together, etc. But slowely as time goes on I have driven more but know that I just prepare more. I'm always maping out my exact route and looking at safe ways to get there, parking in safe places even if it is further, giving myself extra time... and stangely in the last year or so I seem to just be driving everywhere now. That said, there are terrific buses and light rail options around us and you can make an adventure of a day to the zoo on the bus or maybe a short car ride to a train station to test your driving fear and then a train ride which is fun for all! If you can't break out of if yourself seek help - there is nothing wrong with that!

2 moms found this helpful
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P.H.

answers from Portland on

K.,
I live in the same town as you. Have you always had this fear or is it new? Do you have your license? I was rear-ended twice this summer and am still working on the fear of being rear-ended again. I would like to get together with you. Maybe we could do what one of the responders said and have you practice in a parking lot. If your husband was willing to watch the kids we could go in the evening (less crowded) and if you were really fearful I could take over driving to get you home!

1 mom found this helpful
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N.W.

answers from Eugene on

Yes, I have had this and have overcome it for the most part. Mine came from an accident I was in as a child so I've struggled all my life. Do you have any idea why you are so afraid to drive? It would be worth it to talk to your doctor or find a therapist who can help you. It is easier to undo the damage while you are still young. It may take time but you will be glad you made the effort. Even a small improvement that would allow you to drive around town will have a huge impact on your quality of life.

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R.M.

answers from Portland on

I had a similar issue a few years back. I would freak out just trying to go to the grocery store. What helped me was making a friend at one of the local churches in my area and attending a few activities with her from time to time. Another thing that has helped me get past this fear has been taking online classes. I get to interact with people online but do not have the fears that go along with actual physical interaction with people...no faces, no fear.
I hope these suggestions will help you. Good luck

1 mom found this helpful
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N.I.

answers from Portland on

Hi K.,

Believe me there are a lot of people out there with this problem. A lot of fears - doesn't matter what kind - are based on adrenal fatigue. I would go to a naturopath for the cure because a lot of medical doctors don't believe in adrenal fatigue. My girlfriend had this and she got no help until she went to a naturopath. There are several that are good - Dr. Brouse is one. Also, there is a several substances on the market that help and one is Stress Relief which feeds the adrenals.

If you are interested in this product go to http://nutritionalproducts.myshaklee.com and look for Stress Relief.

I would also be willing to do a nutritional eval - called a symptomalogoy eval where they have determined that your symptoms indicate a lack of nutrients and they determined what nutrients will help what symptoms. This is a free service I provide - no charge so if you want to do this please e-mail me.

N.
Wellness Coach

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R.M.

answers from Portland on

I used to suffer from major fear of driving, right after my 1st daughter was born. I had horrible fear and anxiety, awful thoughts. It was related to my post partum depression that i didn't realize i had. I ended up getting on anti depressants. Works really well. Still take them, and haven't suffered since.

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R.C.

answers from Portland on

Yes; mine manifested on the freeway and going over bridges. For me, it was caused by obsessive compulsive disorder due to emotional stress. Not as harsh as a lot of OCD tendencies, and I think not an overall disorder, really. If you talk with a mental health professional about it they will be able to help. It is not an uncommon reaction.
Best wishes!

1 mom found this helpful
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N.Z.

answers from Portland on

what caused your fear? I have a fear of driving over bridges. The best way, that worked for me, (I was in several accidents when I was younger. and had a horrible time getting over it) I just started by doing short trips. Going up the block to the grocery store. Then the park, or school. Short hops, then longer trips. Practice breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques.
I know you can do it. You will get better!

1 mom found this helpful
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M.M.

answers from Seattle on

I have a fear of driving too. I am 28 and still cannot drive. Its so depressing to me. I am currently in EMDR therapy to help me overcome my fear. I really hope it works. I would try just about anything (legal and moral of course!) I was surprised how many people replied to you. I always felt like i was the only one who couldnt drive. I completley relate with you, I feel like not driving is holding me back in everyway. If you ever want moral support we could cheer eachother on in trying to learn ([email protected]____.com) I know you can do it and so can I! Good luck! You arent alone
M. M

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D.F.

answers from Portland on

Hi K. ,
(also my daughters name ) Boy can I relate to this post !
I am ,get ready for this 41 years old and I do not have my drivers liscence ! I have anxiety issues bad .I have always relied on family and friends to drive me .I am at the point that it is becoming an absolute necessity and I feel like I might be ready .I don't know what city you are in but maybe we could do this together with each others support.I was given a car by my mom recently and I think im ready to go for it !
D... P.S. I am a single mom of 3 great kids 15,12 and 10 and I am in the gladstone area.

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D.T.

answers from Portland on

My neighbor expressed this very same experience. I almost thought this was her except she only has one child. You're not alone.

L.G.

answers from Eugene on

Unreasonable fears are best handled by a good homeopath. The right remedy is chosen for who you are and what you have told the homeopath. Then once the small tablets she/he gave you have done their work your fears and phobias are gone.

If you live in the Pacific Northwest you can find a good homeopathic doctor or naturopath or even a lay homeopath.
If you get stuck e-mail me via Mamasource. I know many who a very good.

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