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Forums / Anxiety / Anxiety about Driving

Topic: Anxiety about Driving

6 posts, 0 answered
  1. geo87
    geo87 avatar
    1 posts
    10 November 2015
    For as long as I can remember I have had an aversion to driving a car. I used to pray that my driving instructor wouldn't turn up when I was a teenager and I eventually went to university without passing my test and then didn't think about it again for 5 years. Then I needed a driving licence for work... cue being in a constant state of anxiety for months while I did an intensive course and failing the test 3 times because I was shaking so much I couldn't use the clutch. When I passed I thought that would be the end of it and when I went out on my own I would get some confidence. But this was not the case. Everytime I get in a car my legs start shaking and I feel myself panicing. I have only managed to get more than 5 mins from my house once and do everything possible to get out of driving at work. I keep thinking that maybe if I just keep going out even for really short drives it will get better but it just seems to make it worse. I drove for 30mins at work recently and haven't even been able to get in a work car since. I feel so stupid because its such a simple task that everyone does everyday. I dont even know where to start getting help, none of my friends understand they just think im being a drama queen about it. Its on my mind constantly and I even have dreams about driving. Has anyone else experienced this kind of irrational fear and managed to get over it? It just feels like its an impossible task. Feels good to talk about it though and already feels like a small weight has been lifted :-)
    1 person found this helpful
  2. Zeal
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    Zeal avatar
    1737 posts
    11 November 2015 in reply to geo87

    Hi geo,

    Welcome to the forum!

    You are not alone -  just the idea of driving makes me anxious!

    I am a 22 year old female, and I sat my Learner's test for the first time (and thankfully passed) about three months ago. I have been for one 15 minute drive with my Dad, and I use the word "driving" loosely. It was more familiarising myself with being behind the driver's wheel! I was so nervous and would only drive really slowly in this empty byroad attached to a car park, and kept to the middle of the road. My boyfriend was encouraging and positive, and that's the reason I sat for my first written driving test. After my exams are done later this month, I have promised my Dad I will go for a weekly drive with him. I really fear the idea of driving on roads with other cars. I just don't trust myself, even though I'm cautious and sensible. I worry most about doing something wrong or hurting someone on the road. I think this may connect to my OCD, at least in part.

    I also have the dilemma of needing to drive for a job I got accepted for a few weeks ago. After three months of training, I will need to get to client's houses (young kids with Autism and their parents) to run therapy sessions. At the end of the group job interview, I actually approached the lady and admitted that I didn't have my driver's licence. She said that wasn't ideal, but not the end of the world. I hope I will start to make progress with driving, but realistically I know it's going to be a slow process. I know I will get really anxious when I first drive on a road with other cars, let alone on a busy road or in heavy traffic. My parents don't push me too much, as I thankfully have made good progress in other areas of my life, despite my anxiety.

    I just wanted to let you know that you are not the only person who has this problem or who fears driving. I used to feel that there were hardly any others with this problem. Last year I met a girl who was about 23 and has never sat the test for her L's. She was a friendly and responsible person, but just didn't like the idea of driving, for whatever reason.

    I don't actually know of a solution to this problem. I am yet to find one! Confronting the fear in small steps is often helpful, but you have already been doing this. If you really want to overcome this, perhaps you could have a few appointments with a counsellor. Talking things through, like you have here, can really help on an emotional level.

    Best wishes,


    1 person found this helpful
  3. MisterM
    MisterM avatar
    475 posts
    11 November 2015 in reply to Zeal
    I get bad anxiety driving to unfamiliar places and city driving, thinking oh my what if I get lost or miss a turn off.
  4. PinkDinosaur
    PinkDinosaur avatar
    1 posts
    11 November 2015 in reply to geo87

    Hi geo,

     I used to feel this way all the time. I have anxiety, and it presents itself in different ways a lot. My anxiety with driving is primarily related to a fear that I will suddenly turn my car into oncoming traffic. It was especially bad when I had just moved to a new city about 4-5 years ago, and didn't know anyone. I eventually figured it was partly related to a fear that I would kill myself and no-one would really know about it. Through a combination of acceptance and commitment therapy (mostly just self-therapy, although I now also see a psychologist for other issues), mindfulness and building experience with driving, I have found I don't get so scared of it, even though I still occasionally have those thoughts from time to time. I almost (*almost!*) can find them amusing sometimes. My brain can be so unhelpful!!

     I'm not sure if that's helpful, but I just wanted you to know you're not alone. Sometimes realising that lots of people have irrational thoughts and fears can be a big part of starting to deal with them better. I hope you feel better soon - good luck!

    1 person found this helpful
  5. persistence
    persistence avatar
    18 posts
    11 November 2015


    you're definitely not the only one..I reversed into a car when I was on a hill once and now I refuse to drive on any hill roads or ramps (especially in shopping centres).

    even though I've had my full license for nearly 15 years I still have fears. I often say I will take extra driving lessons just for this purpose however I keep putting it off.

    I often walk or catch public transport to avoid this're not alone at all.

  6. Music_Freak
    Music_Freak avatar
    3263 posts
    18 July 2016 in reply to persistence

    I just found this thread and IT'S SO ME!!

    I got my L's when I was 19 and didn't get my P's until last year at 35.

    The thought of driving even short distances freaks me out, and right turns into main roads, forget it. Same with parking...I just can't do it, unless car parks are empty.

    When I drive I have to plan everything, use Google maps, plan the drive, so there's no right turns - everything, just to try and feel OK about it, but even then I'll sometimes end up catching public transport to avoid the whole trauma

    2 people found this helpful

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