Forum: Advice / Cars & Driving

Scared to drive- help?
By moonlightrosemember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:14 PM

So this year has been kinda rough.

In March I got into a car accident where I got a concussion that lasted for weeks and totaled my car. Then in May I got into another accident where I got burns from the impact of the airbag.

In both accidents I was driving and had people in the car that really meant a lot to me, and in the second accident, my mother was injured.

Ever since then, I've been so deathly afraid to drive. I'm only 18 so the chances of getting in a car accident were pretty good since I'm a new driver. But having 2 accidents in such a short period of time really scared me. I guess I thought the chances of having another one so soon were pretty slim, but I guess I was wrong.

Now I have panic/anxiety attacks at the wheel when I'm driving in bumper to bumper traffic, someone cuts me off, driving really fast on highways/the parkway, ect. , not knowing where I'm going, driving through construction zones, ect.

I know I have to do drive and it's irrational to be afraid of driving, but does anyone have any advice on how to get over my fear?

9 Replies to Scared to drive- help?

re: Scared to drive- help?
By LoriCook
On Fri Jul 29, 2011 11:07 PM
I took a defensive driving course years ago and it was really helpful. It teaches you to always be thinking about what you would do in different situations and to always keep a space "cushion" around your car. Sounds like you need to build up your confidence. Try a safe driving class or go through driving school even if you have done it before. Start out driving again in quiet suburban or rural settings. Don't play the radio, limit all distractions and focus on having superior driving skills. Don't even let people talk to you in the car until you get to where your good habits are automatic.
If it is icy or snowing have someone take the car to an empty area so you can practice getting out of a skid and what to do in a 360 spin.
If you find you are just unable to drive confidently and safely you might just be a person who shouldn't be behind the wheel. I have a friend who is just too jumpy and nervous to drive. It can be difficult and inconvenient to be a non-driver but it isn't impossible. You might also consider waiting a few years and try again. A few years of life experience can make a world of difference in your confidence level.
re: Scared to drive- help?
By MovinTooFastPremium member
On Fri Jul 29, 2011 11:41 PM
I was sort of in the same position as you were, just not as severe. 3 weeks after I got my license, I ended up hitting a truck while trying to park at Wal-Mart. It wasn't really bad, but I had a panic attack that made everything a million times worse. I don't say this to scare you, but it took me about 2 1/2 years after that to be mentally ready to drive again. In all honesty, if you are still having panic attacks, you might want to take a break from that if at all possible, and wait until you are mentally ready to handle it again (like the above poster said). I knew that if I was having a panic attack while driving, it wasn't going to help me out whatsoever and make me more dangerous as a driver. I got so much crap from people who thought I just chose not to drive, but do what's best for you. If you need to take a break, do it. When you're ready, you'll know. You can't push it if you aren't ready.

If you think you are ready though, here's how you can ease into things. First, if this is doable for you, try just driving on a backroad with someone in the vehicle with you. After that feels comfortable, try driving in the city, but still keep someone with you. Slowly start phasing out having someone with you until you are comfortable driving on your own again. Something that I always use, even to this day, is to map out the route I'm going to take to somewhere before I even leave the house. That way, I'm not worry about how I'm going to get there as I'm driving.

I hope that helped some :) and you can feel free to PM me if you'd like as well. I can empathize with the fear of driving and I'm around your age as well.
re: Scared to drive- help?
By RawwrrBekiiChampmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sat Jul 30, 2011 05:38 PM
I know someone who passed their test and just didn't feel confident to go out on their own so went back about a month later to their driving instructor and had a few more lessons to get their confidence up, Lucy said it made her feel more calm that someone else had control in case of an emergency, which I think meant the instructor has pedals, and also I guess if your in a learner car then you also don't have the pressure from the other drivers as they will know you may be unconfident, just a thought maybe this would work for you :)

Feel free to PM me if you need, as I understand how shaken up you can be afterwards, I'm 18 and have had a collision, so I know how scary it could be and I had my sister and her friend who are 16 in the car at the time and it also involved a 12 year old girl and I was a wreck for hours after but I did manage to drive again the next day but that was just me everybody is different and I'm sure you will fine again soon,

Love Bekii xxxx
re: Scared to drive- help?
By LlamaLlamaDuckmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Jul 31, 2011 08:23 PM
I can't help much about the fear of driving but I want to say something. Just because you are a younger/newer driver does not make you more likely to have an accident. There are many idiots on the roads.

I don't know if you were at fault when you had the accidents, but chances are that the other driver also played a roll.
re: Scared to drive- help?
By Cienmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Jul 31, 2011 08:51 PM
Edited by CienPorCientoPAZ (147923) on 2011-07-31 20:53:16
Slight hijack...
LlamaLlamaDuck wrote:

Just because you are a younger/newer driver does not make you more likely to have an accident.

Yes, it does, statistically speaking. (I'm not trying to make you feel worse, OP [I'm a young driver myself], I just wanted to correct that misinformation.) Statistically, yes, we are at a higher risk as young drivers. But yes, Llama--other drivers are part of the equation, and you're definitely right that they can play a big role in whether you get in an accident, no matter what your age.

OP, I'd say build up slowly. Start with just driving to run some short errands nearby, or going around your neighborhood. Then when you're comfortable with that, try going out onto slightly busier streets around you--but avoid highways or rush-hour traffic till you feel you've mastered everything else. It might be frustrating, and it'll feel like you're learning to drive all over again, but I think if you're patient with yourself, it'll help to take baby steps.
re: Scared to drive- help?
By Cadbury_Eatermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Aug 14, 2011 06:18 AM
I think to get your confidence back up, go to a driving school for a couple of weeks.

After that slowly work your way back up, start with the quietest of quiet street and slowly work up to busy ones.

I must stress, if you are still panicky to refrain from driving, then maybe wait till you are recovered from your traumatic incidences.
re: Scared to drive- help?
By boleyngrrl
On Fri Aug 19, 2011 07:43 AM
When I was in my accident, the next day I went the exact same way, right where I had my accident. I sort of took it like riding a horse--if you fall off, you have to get right back on or you might not ever want to again. My knuckles were white on the wheel because I was gripping it so hard, and I was panicking a bit, but after a few times going past the spot over the next few days my brain processed it was just a freak thing that won't happen every time I go to that spot. After I got my confidence back, I started taking a less hectic route to get home though, since it was quicker and safer than going on a three lane street with three parking garages and two parking lots at student rush hour. I'd just go get to the places you had the accidents (if you can) and just drive them so you will find out they were just freak accidents.

I really hope you're feeling better.
re: Scared to drive- help?
By LlamaLlamaDuckmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Fri Aug 19, 2011 08:52 AM
I agree you definately have to get back on the horse... it's just a matter of how you approach it.

I know where I used to work I dealt with a lot of people who had car accidents. The clinic provided them with transportation for their physiotherapy treatment. In most cases it was because some people absolutely refused to drive after their accidents. They were terrified. I was a little annoyed at the clinic because in a small way I thought they were enabling the fear by providing transportation and NOT reffering the client to somewhere where they could get help dealing with those fears.

I had an accident where I totalled my car and I was never given a choice on whether or not I was going to drive as I had to go to the garage they towed the car to and drive myself home. Than again I was never really given the option of not getting my drivers licence.
re: Scared to drive- help?
By Coccinellamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Fri Aug 19, 2011 09:57 AM
I can really empathize with you on this. Two years ago in December I totalled my car and aside from my rental car that I got on my insurance for the week, I had barely driven all the way up until now when my boyfriend and I bought a automatic vehicle I could drive. It's been hard to find my confidence in myself to get behind the wheel again but I've been doing it.

I started with short trips with someone in the car with me and then have worked my way up to driving to familiar places by myself. My goal is to be able to drive to Lake Cowichan (about and 1.5 on the highway/back roads) with or without other people.

I took a great driving course when I was learning and people I drive with tell me I'm a good defensive driver. My accident wasn't my fault at all (someone rear ended me at 60km/hr when I was at a complete stop already).

Is there a possibility I could be in another accident? Yes. But I love the freedom driving gives me and it allows me to do more things during the day. We bought a safe vehicle with lots of air bags and safety features and that's all that I can do for the time being.

I hope you are able to overcome this fear little by little. Don't be ashamed that you are afraid, car accidents are frightening and it can be hard to explain to people who have never been in one or been the driver in one. :)


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