How do I get over my fear of driving?


i am 19 yrs old without a drivers license.

i seem to be the only one of my friends now who doesn’t drive. BUT. they don’t know that. I’ve lied for a very long time now pretending I have my license, I just ‘don’t have a car’ and if someone were to offer to let me drive their car, i’d say something like “oh i don’t feel comfortable driving your car…what if i get into an accident?” and then they’d be like “oh ya good point i’ll drive”. pathetic right? i’m just so humiliated by the fact that i’m so insanely afraid to get behind the wheel of a car. the fear and anxiety that consumes me when i even think about driving is ridiculous. it’s mainly that i don’t trust myself behind the wheel. and the fact that with just ONE small mistake, one wrong turn, one un noticed blinker, you could get into a very deathly accident.

and it’s not like i’ve never driven before. my parents and boyfriend have let me drive a few times. the times that i have, my whole body would shake and convulse because i’d be so god damn sacred. i would be sweaty and my sight would turn fuzzy from the insane headaches that i would get. and afterwards when i was done, i would go into the bathroom and dry heave because the stress alone would make me sick to my stomach.

it’s gotten to the point now where people are tired of driving me around. i totally understand though. if rolls were reversed, i would of stopped driving me around a very long time ago. also, i don’t want to have to rely on someone to get me somewhere on time for the rest of my life. i consider myself an independent person. but having someone constantly drive me somewhere makes me feel like a dependent 6 yr old girl.

and then on top of it all, my little sister who will be 16 next yr, is going thru the drivers ed program planning on getting her license right when she turns 16. that makes me feel even worse about the situation..having my younger sis drive before me is so upsetting to me.

is there anyone who can give me some advice on how to even open the drivers door without wanting to puke? anyone? i’m so desperate. i need my license.

Tags: asked December 1, 2013

6 Answers

I would suggest seeing a therapist. They can help you to get in control of your fears. I would rather see someone be too afraid of hurting someone else then the people who just jump in and start driving crazy. You are a good person and your fears are valid. I think you should enlist the help of a parent. They can help you to take baby steps. Good luck and please don't be so hard on yourself.
Take a deep breath. I would like to point out some things to you, if you don't mind.

1) Cars are safer now than they have ever been. Accidents may look bad from the photos: you know the ones, the car is torn to shreds and all that is left is the frame? But! -- cars are designed to do that. The impact from a collision, the inertia and energy transferred from car to car, is absorbed by the car around you. The frame absorbs the shock and sends it to the outer shell and the car will seemingly disintegrate when the energy is transferred to it. The occupants inside the frame are left with minor cuts and scrapes, if that.

2) You have nothing to fear from driving. Cars are designed to protect the people inside them. Most in-town driving is limited to 35 MPH - most cars are only superficially damaged at those speeds. As long as you are vigilant and pay attention to other drivers - driving defensively, as it's called - you truly have nothing to fear.

3) If you ever need to drive on the highway and it is still a problem of being nervous for you, get up to the speed limit (most areas it is 65/70mph) and put your cruise control on. Stay in the far right lane, the one you're in when you enter. If people come flying up behind you or beside you, don't get worked up. You are in the "slow traffic" lane and they can merge to the left to go around you. You have nothing to worry about except staying in your lane until you get to your exit.

If it is possible I would encourage you to enroll in driver's ed. Having an instructor in the car while doing general in-town driving (at first, highway later) will help you boost your confidence. Remember to always remain calm and pay attention. YOU are your first line of defense when driving. YOU can avoid most accidents by being careful.

Other than that, it is a matter of getting you comfortable and used to the idea of driving. Go out and sit in the driver's seat of a vehicle. Buckle yourself in, adjust the mirrors, etc; but don't put the keys in the ignition. Just sit there. Sit there until you feel your heartbeat settle down, until you calm down. Repeat the process until you are adjusted to being in the driver's seat. Maybe the next time your parents/sister need to move the cars around, volunteer to do it. Take it slow, take your time, but get yourself used to being behind the wheel while a car is in motion. Gradually increase the distances you go each time - for this you may need your parents/driving instructor/other adult licensed driver in the car with you while you go. Keep working at it and get yourself used to it to build your confidence and get rid of the nerves.
HelloThat sounds really tough. I'm not sure how to help, but one thing I would suggest is thinking about what you would think if you met someone at a party that said they didn't drive? I'm sure you wouldn't be as harsh on them as you are on yourself. A lot of people don't drive these days for environmental reasons, financial reasons, all sorts. This adventurer guy doesn't drive and he's my hero ;) does sound like driving brings up alot of anxiety and it may be worth seeking the help of a professional cbt therapist to help you identify the thoughts that are creating the strong reactions. They may be able to help you challenge and test those thoughts. It must be horrible to feel that stressed and you really shouldn't have to go through that. Did you feel the same way when having driving lessons? Would having extra driving tuition help or finding people that can help with your driving anxities? I'm sure it's a pretty common thing. You describe it as a phobia and the strong reactions suggest it could be, so perhaps find someone that is an expert in phobias. If they are broken down and tackled carefully in the right way, I am sure they can be overcome. Sorry I can't help more, but good luck and please don't beat yourself up so much over it. I am sure with the right help, support and guidance you can overcome this challenge.
thank you so much you guys!!!!!!!!
I had this fear when i was like 12. I was raised on a farm so my dad made me drive ofton. i was driving tractors before i got my liscenes. what i would do is so in a HUGE open area and practice parking and turning and going around stuff. somthing like that. drive in little areas your comfortable with like around the block. do that everyday so you can get comfortable with the driving part of it. see if that helps.
I think everyone has fear a little bit in the beginning. That is normal. You have to drive to get used to the road. And don`t drive fast first time. Don`t be shy to go 20 miles per hours in the first row. I had similar problem when I was driving my parents car. then I have ordered my own car by the help of I became much more sure in myself. I didn`t scare to scratch it a little, so I was more bold.