Fear of Driving - Las Vegas,NV

Updated on September 29, 2011
A.L. asks from Las Vegas, NV
7 answers

I have a friend whom although she was able to get her license about 15 years ago, she still doesn't drive. She simply fears it and although she has done therapy around it and hypnosis, this has not yet helped. Has anyone else out there over-come a fear of driving and if so, how did you do it?

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answers from Seattle on

I agree...Not everyone can or should drive.

She may well have a sensory processing or assimilation issue, or panic issue, that makes it *impossible* for her to drive, and that fear is a direct relation to that. It's a healthy response letting her know NOT to do something highly dangerous. To simulate a sensory processing issue turn on the radio so loud it hurts your ears, then turn it down JUST a tad. Now. Turn on the TV the same way. And start the vacuum. Give the kids pots and pans and tell them to bang and to flick the lights on and off. Call your chattiest friend. THEN, do your taxes. With all of that going on.

With a LOT of effort, you can probably get your taxes done, and done correctly.

But why on EARTH would you?

The headlights, traffic lights, speed variances, corners, oncoming cars, same direction cars, pedestrians (on the sidewalk, even), blurring motion... all of these things to certain people create the same kinds of conditions (overload, distracting, can't THINK straight, can barely SEE) to people with certain sensory or panic disorders.

You don't WANT them on the road. Unless they're a passenger.

Think of something you're afraid of. For me, it's spiders. If my son were dying, I could get in a car full of spiders and drive. PROBABLY without wrecking. Just imagine the car filled with something you're afraid of. Would YOU get into the car for anything short of an emergency?

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answers from Seattle on

Driving is a dangerous activity for both the driver and the people around them. Not everyone can or should drive. A dear friend of mine had never had a seizure. He had his first one, a grand mal, while driving. He survived. The pedestrian on the sidewalk did not. We talk a lot about the dangers of drunk drivers. Did you know tired drivers are an even bigger hazard? More than 10 percent of drivers admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel, while more than 20 percent say they have momentarily dozed while driving. About 115 people die every day in vehicle crashes in the United States -- one death every 13 minutes.

If she doesn't feel she can drive safely, then she shouldn't drive. There are lots of other options for getting around: walk, bike, mass transit, etc., etc. It sounds like she is capable of driving in an emergency. That's enough. If she lives in an area with terrible walking/biking/mass transit infrastructure, she might consider moving.

I own a car and use it to pick up lumber from the hardware store. We bus, bike, or walk for everything else. My youngest wasn't in a car until she was 5 months old.

If she can't get herself around, that needs to change. But please don't pressure her to drive.

If you want more info on the logistics and benefits of being a busy mama without a car, contact me privately. I'd love to talk.

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answers from Appleton on

The only way to overcome any fear is to face it. If she really wants to drive she has to get behind the wheel and drive.

She should go out and at least drive around the block for a couple of days then venture out further such as going to the store. She should go when traffic is light.

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answers from San Diego on

Hi A L Actually I have a fear of driving, I didn't get my license until I was 32 I am now 54, I do drive locally but don't drive the freeways, I used to even though it scared the tar out of me, but we went to Japan for 3 years and I only drove on the base and now I fear driving. Eveyone has a fear of something even if they don't admit it. I'm OK with mine maybe she just has to come to peace with it I did. J.

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answers from Austin on

I agree with ReverendRuby -- you (your friend will) have to get out there. I didn't get my license until I was 17 and did not drive regularly until I was 19. So, I was one of the fearful ones. But -- I had to get from point A to point B & I just made myself do it.

A little at a time, when traffic is light.

I still avoid the interstate when I can get away with it! :/

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answers from St. Louis on

if she doesn't drive, then how does she get around?

Who's enabling her in this fear? Something to think about.....

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

It really depends on the type of fear she has. Was she involved in a car accident? Is she afraid only of driving a car herself or of being in a car? If she has a true PHOBIA - she might need more specialised therapy and maybe even medication. A true phobia is an UNREASONABLE fear - e.g. I have a phobia of fire - I can't strike a match, or use a lighter but I like a fire in a fireplace as long as I don't have to light it! One day I forced myself to light a candle. I thought I was having a heart attack, however (after having wasted one entire box of matches) I accomplished my goal and hubby came home to a candlelit dinner. Do you think that having accomplished that feat without burning myself or anything else "cured" me? Nope - next time the panic attack was just as severe! Phobias don't respond to reason. However, I hate driving - I do it only if I absolutely have to! I used to be terrified when I first got my licence. Practice is the only thing that helped. Of course, if I can get hubby to drop me off and pick me up I still take advantage! To recap - a Phobia needs specialist help. "Regular" fear ... baby steps... start driving around a parking lot when the stores are closed, then try quiet back roads and slowly work your way up to busier streets etc. Good luck to you both! By the way, my "workaround" for my phobia was to buy a long BBQ lighter! I found that as long as the flame was far enough away from my fingers I was ok! :)

1 mom found this helpful
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