How to Overcome Fear of Driving A Car

Fear of DrivingHow did your fear of driving start? Can you recall any particular frightful incident involving you or someone close to you? Have you heard of terrible experiences from someone?

Whatever the cause of your fear of driving a car, that particular scary experience has snowballed into a major crisis – a driving phobia. You may be suffering from palpitation, sweating, lightheadedness, short and irregular breaths, quivering hands, or feelings of losing control or thoughts of crashing.

These symptoms are actually a cumulative effect of the actual fear of driving (which is a tiny portion to begin with) and the fear of having these symptoms. Unfortunately it’s become a vicious cycle that keeps escalating.

The Vicious Cycle of Fear of Driving

First stage in this cycle is the actual fear of driving caused by any incident, real or imagined. A mere remembrance brings with it slight symptoms of sweat, trembling or any of the ones mentioned above.

In the second stage of this fear cycle, you begin to fear that the symptoms will escalate. This fear of symptoms makes you even more afraid of driving, thereby worsening your symptoms.

In the third stage you give in to your feelings of fear and give up driving. You avoid the situation.

In the final stage, you experience a sharp fall in symptoms of fear because you have given up the idea of driving. This sends out a signal to your subconscious mind telling it that the way of reducing fear of driving is to avoid driving. Your belief that you fear driving gets reinforced.

How to Overthrow This Belief That You Have a Fear of Driving?

The only way to break into the fear cycle, get hold of it and eliminate it from your subconscious mind is to de-link the feelings of fear associated with driving and re-link it with pleasant and happy feelings instead.

This process can be successfully executed with a technique discussed below that reprograms the subconscious mind.

Reprogramming Technique for Overcoming Fear of Driving

Sit back and relax on your couch to perform this exercise for overcoming your fear of driving. It works by replacing the feelings of anxiety with those of peace in your subconscious mind.

Think of something very pleasant and beautiful. Recall a day when you felt happy, relaxed and secure. Maybe it was on a holiday with your family, at the beach lying in the sun, or when you first held your newborn.

Fear of DrivingPick up something from your memory and relive those wonderful feelings, the smell, the touch, the sounds…

The key is vividness. Recall your blissful feelings vividly.

Now, just for a length of two seconds, imagine yourself driving your car. Go back to your memories immediately. Drift into those feelings again.

After a minute or so, once again imagine yourself driving your car, for no more than two seconds.

Revert to your blissful and “safe” memories immediately, before allowing fear or anxiety build up. Continue this cycle for about 20 minutes.

What’s going to happen is your brain will reprogram itself to associate feelings of peace and happiness with driving. The old programming will be broken. You shall be a different person within two weeks.

That was how to overcome fear of driving using a brain reprogramming technique. You can easily overcome the general fear of driving through this technique.

But you need to go deeper and find out exactly what you are scared of while driving. And we will work a way through that too. Find out – is it a general fear of driving phobia, driving on freeways or bridges, phobia of busy intersections, fear of how to park on crowded streets without smashing a light…?

How to Overcome Your Specific Fear of Driving

Once you find out what exactly scares you while driving, sit next to an experienced driver among your family or friends, and observe how they do it.

Now apply the technique that we discussed above right there as your partner drives through the scary bridge, intersection, freeway, or whatever that gives you the fear of driving.

Fear of Driving on FreewayFor example, consider that you have fear of driving on freeways. Watch your partner drive effortlessly and skillfully on the freeway.

Absorb the situation. Sit back, relax, and think of something that makes you feel happy, relaxed and peaceful. Close your eyes if need be.

Draw from your memories and fill your mind with those feelings. Not so difficult when you are in the passenger seat with eyes closed.

Now once every minute, for two seconds each, open your eyes and imagine yourself in the driver’s seat driving the car. Continue this cycle for 15-20 minutes or until the feeling of fear dissociates with driving on the freeway. Open your eyes and continue to imagine yourself driving with those feelings still in your mind.

Now switch places with your partner and practice. You’ll feel much better than going it all alone. You can overcome your fear of driving on freeways or bridges or anything else in this way.

What is your fear of driving over bridges anyway? The bridge isn’t going to collapse? All you really need to do is look straight ahead and follow a straight line behind the other cars in front of you. If you do this you won’t hit the sides or crash into the separator. Practice the reprogramming technique and you’ll be fine.

Final Words

Take it step by step. It’s a wise thing to do especially if your fear of driving tends towards phobia. If you have a fear of driving over bridges, first drive over really small ones.

Then drive over those that are about the length of 1-2 blocks and more. Finally proclaim your victory over the fear of driving over bridges by driving over really long bridges spanning water. If you have a fear of driving on freeways, take the first exit after ramping up.

Next time go further. Initially stick to the rightmost lane. As you gain in confidence go one to the left.

You can find more of such techniques in the Driving Fear Program. Hundreds of people like you have overcome their fear of driving with this program.

The author himself has gone on from being a timid driver to an adventurous one and he wants to share his tips with you.

{ 100 comments… read them below or add one }

cmom January 3, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Hi. I’m 23 and I am crippled with fear when it comes to driving. I avoid it at all cost. I can drive around my neighborhood a little but interstate driving I have never been able to do. I don’t know how I got a liscense. It took many tries and I didn’t get it till I was 19. I feel terrible on so many levels. I hate being dependent on everybody else and I am so scarred I will have to take my child to the hospital some day and won’t be able to. I have never even been in a bad accident! I loved living in the city for a short time but not being able to drive prevented me from getting a job. I’m sort of relieved to hear there are other out there like me. Thanks for sharing your stories and I am going to try this technique immediately.

Naomi January 7, 2011 at 1:03 pm

I have been driving ever since 1996 without any problems. I would go whever i wished to ike shopping malls, and visiting friends. In 2003 i was driving back from the library about 45 mintes to my place. It was on a freeway and it was at night, i struggled all the way i felt like my car was going to overturn into the extreme lane and felt as if i was going to die. I was so terrified i could see the clouds approaching my windscreen. Ever since then, i avoid driving on freeways as i often have this terrifying fear. my life has changed completely and beginning to hate my cars!!! what a punishment.

Angelina January 11, 2011 at 3:51 pm

Hello,

I have been afraid of driving even before i got to drive it started when I was only 15 my boyfriend was older and he had just got his car we went for a ride at night i think it was 2am lol doing about 70 or more i would say we came up on a 90′ turn and flipped landing on the hood in someones yard and it happened again when I was 17 with my Brother. Both times I wasn’t driving but now every time I get in the car I freeze like I have no control. My heart starts hurting and I get sick to my stomach. Its frustrating I have 2 kids now and I feel so hopeless to be a mom like I should be for them. I really want to be there and drive them around, bring them to school or to a friends house. My body locks up it is so hard to even go down to the store less them a mile away. I don’t know what to do. I am afraid I will be like this forever..

nozipho January 13, 2011 at 2:34 am

after giving birth to my third child i developed this extreme fear of driving ,a minor curves feels like i m going to loose control or the car is going to fall over ,DRIVING ON FREEWAYS IS A NIGHTMARE. Desparately need help , this is badly impacting on my social and proffessional life

tess February 1, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Hi, i have a fear of driving for the last year.Driving on main roads im afraid, never had a problem with them before!!! i need help……Sick of other people having to drop me places…

Anna February 1, 2011 at 6:05 pm

I got into a small accident the first day I passed my license test. Stupid huh? It wasn’t anything big but since the feeling I got from having to call my dad and see him pull up, wondering how much damage I did, the fear that will most likely always stay with him whenever I drive, makes me want to NEVER drive again. After that day, I haven’t driven by myself at all. I’ve driven with my dad a couple of times but that’s all. Basically its been 3 months since having a license and I’ve gone no where alone. The worst part is that my best friend got her license after driving with a instructor for about a month and now she always drives and gets to do things on her own and is so independent. I wish that could be me.

Emily February 4, 2011 at 10:48 am

Brenda, i’m the same way…i have fear before i get into the car, once i’m in i’m okay…but that fear prevents me from driving more often…it’s been very difficult for me to overcome this fear…it is very easy for people to say it is very easy to drive…how come you don’t drive? but fear is fear…

Kerynn February 15, 2011 at 4:03 pm

I’m really happy I found this today. I’m 21 years old and I’m scared to drive.

I got my permit when I was 17. When I took my driving test for my license, I failed. I already had no confidence as a driver before that. I still managed to drive a little after but then I had a very stressful time in my life. It was very emotional, and I was depressed and my anxiety level skyrocketed. I haven’t driven a car in 2 years. It is a bad cycle. The longer I go without driving, the harder it is. I can’t even move someones car in the driveway for them. Its holding me back in life because I can’t start college without a license. I also don’t ask friends to hang out because I feel bad that they will have to drive. I’ve lost good friends because of this.

I really don’t know what to do.

Joe February 20, 2011 at 2:12 am

There is no reason why I should be afraid to drive the freeways. I did it for years and have never had an accident. But I deal with anxiety so sometimes I don’t for long periods of time.

chikky February 22, 2011 at 10:57 am

i have this huge fear for driving, i feel that if i drive i might crash on someones car or someone is going to crash my own car, which is realy scaery. pls could u help me help me couse i really want to drive thanks

Cindy February 23, 2011 at 11:17 pm

I feel like my whole life is the way it is because I sont have my license. Im 23 and terrified to drive. It has been impossible for me to find a job that fits my husbands schedule so he can take me to work. Because of this we are living with his family right now while he works part time and goes to school. I feel so stupid when I even sit in the drivers seat I start crying and think all these crazy things could happen. I actually picture a wheel of a semi flying of the semi and hitting me while im driving or me having no control over my vehicle. Whats worse is no one supports me except my husband and even hes getting a little unsupportive. I constantly have to hear “Get over it youre 23″. Ive lost friends over this because Im embarassed about needing a ride all the time. No one understands what im going through and im just ready to get over this but I feel like Ill never be able to drive without sweating or crying the whole time. I hate this feeling.

Jan February 28, 2011 at 5:49 pm

My phobia of driving is very embarrassing to me. I feel like I am worthless because of it, I haven’t always been afraid, it has just been for the past 2 years when i moved from a small town in Tennessee to NJ. I think the change is what caused my phobia. It is to the point now that when my boyfriend even brings it up I just get anxious and upset. My hands get sweaty even thinking about it. The last time I drove, I made it about 4 miles up the street then I had to pull over and let my passenger take over, I never felt so helpless. I just want to get over this and get my life back.

Joy March 3, 2011 at 2:28 pm

I am a 33 yr old and I have never had my license. The thought of driving absolutely terrifies me. It’s not so much that I’m afraid of hurting someone or getting hurt myself, but more of a financial fear. I’m afraid of the money I would have to pay, not being able to fix the car or buy another one if needed. I know insurance is there but I still have that fear. My driving skills are not bad. I feel so ashamed that I am this old and can’t drive. It has put a burden on my family and I because we have to live in places near the bus line and I always have to ask people to drive me everywhere. I am going to try my hardest to overcome this because, due to recent events, it has become even more necessary for me to learn, but it is so hard. I just cry about it.

Laura March 5, 2011 at 3:22 pm

I’m almost 22 years old and I have been driving since I was 18. I was the last out of all of my friends to get my license and have always relied on others to drive me places. I still will no go onto the freeway and don’t feel comfortable or confident driving in unfamiliar locations.

I have never been in an accident or lost a family member due to one, but ever since I was a little girl, I feared that I would lose a loved one in a car accident. This fear continues to this day and I constantly worry about family members getting into fatal wrecks when they don’t arrive home on time.

I am an aspiring filmmaker/film writer and the reality of my situation is that I need to be able to commute from Orange County into L.A. This terrifies me, I imagine myself getting into an accident on the freeway and killing someone else or myself.

I am ashamed to tell my peers that I don’t know how, or rather, refuse to drive on the freeway. I have missed out on opportunities to go out with friends and have new experiences because of this fear. I always have to rely on others to “carpool” with anytime we are traveling any distance. I have missed out on networking opportunities in my field because I am too afraid to drive to the locations. I have been embarrassed by having my parents drop me off when needing to go to other locations for school projects and the like.

I always make some lame excuse about my “bad sense of direction” which is a reality and also contributes to my anxiety of driving in unfamiliar areas. I generally only commute to and from school/work or to local stores and restaurants to meet friends or run errands. I still feel insecure and nervous when someone else is in the car with me. The first time I had a friend drive with me after getting my license was a very embarrassing experience. I was so distracted and nervous that I hit a curb which caused one of my tire rims to fall off and I almost turned on a “no turn on red” right turn.

Even still, I feel anxiety as I approach my school because there is a lot of traffic and students and I fear that I will make a costly or fatal mistake. I have also never learned to parallel park and have anxiety over parking in general. I have gotten better at parking in parking lots, but I still have anxiety if I can’t find a spot right away. I start to sweat and my heart starts pounding and as much as I try to tell myself to relax and take deep breaths, it doesn’t help.

While learning how to drive and then shortly after getting my license I had dreams about getting into car accidents. I don’t really have these dreams any more, but the fear is always in the back of my mind. I often feel uncomfortable on the freeway as a passenger, I feel safest when my family members are driving, but sometimes till clutch the side of the car and can’t seem to relax. There have been a few “close calls” while driving with friends on the freeway where someone suddenly comes into our lane and we almost collide, but still no wreck. I have never even been in a fender bender or witnessed a horrific crash, but still live with this fear and embarrassment daily.

I want to rise above it, and be able to feel like a confident driver. I think it would help me feel more independent and less self conscious. I want to stop making lame excuses and bumming rides off of other people. I don’t want this irrational and ridiculous fear to hinder my career and my happiness, and well being, but I am scared to face my fear head on. I fear that I will never overcome it.

Cassandra March 29, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Hi my name is Cassandra and when I was 15 I had a car wreck and flipped the blazer I was driving. I had three other people with me and they all had minor stuff happen to them thank God. I would never have been able to forgive myself if they would have been seriously injured. I on the other hand almost died and ever since I have had this fear of driving. That was about 6 years ago now. I don’t trust myself to drive and I don’t trust other people on the road either. I Have drove since the incident but I just get so nervous and feel like I’m gonna cry. I want to get out of this fear so much because have to rely on other people for my transportation. This also makes me feel immature and stupid because I don’t drive. This fear has affected my life so much. I don’t know how to get over this! I need help.

jh April 5, 2011 at 10:13 pm

I feel so retarded bcause i can’t drive…i have very low self esteem and I just wished i could die if i’m always going to live this retarded, slow, depressed, miserable life. i hate seeing others drive like nothing while I just feel stupid for not being able to do something so “simple”. I know i’m a smart girl and I could’ve have achieved so many things in my life, but I can’t continue my education or get a decent job because I’m not going to be asking people to drive me around all the time..oh yeah, and I’m not handicap…I’m just so miserable, i feel like i was born cursed or just my plain bad luck

Shelly April 8, 2011 at 12:40 pm

I get anxiety when im driving on freeways. I hate freeways, especially when it’s going down hill. I don’t like what it has done to me. I was in a car accident before all this happened and ever since I have trouble on freeways. Thats where my accident happened.
I feel embarrassed and scared. I want to fix this fear I have. Hopefully reading this will help me.

Monica April 27, 2011 at 10:38 pm

I am terrified of being in cars. I have had a car crash caused by another driver which caused me to rollover three times and I remember vividly rolling over at times. The other driver didn’t even check to see if I was alive. I did wear a seatbelt and only hot a minor cut to my arm. After that I tried riding a bicycle and another car crashed into me , failing to see me because of the sun . In that accident I got catapulted onto the windshield hurting my back. No I take the bus which makes me feel safer. If I get in a car anything over 45 km/ hr makes me anxious and uncomfortable. I also tend to argue with drivers and give them driving instructions when I feel they are innatentive. It’s such a hardship!!!!! But I can’t even think about trying after so many failures . It’s not my driving that scares me- it’s other people’s driving that terrifies me , drunk drivers, people that text and drive or have conversations in the car :(((

Whitney May 2, 2011 at 12:46 am

Hello all, I am 24 yrs old, & I have a 5 yr old Child. & I have the fear of driving. She is soon to start school, and I am so embarrased that i only have a permit. She even tells me to get my license!! I have my own car and all, I am just fearfull and I am ready to overcome it! I just wish everyone luck, and want to remind you that 2: Timothy 1:7 says “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind”. Let’s get out there People! AND DRiVE!!!! :)

newshams May 16, 2011 at 3:00 am

hi,
I’m going to be 35 very soon
I never drove in the freeway
I need so much help cause I’m quite tense when I drive regularly
one day I was only 40 days or less driver and I was going to hit a child on his bike but I wasn’t fast at all and I was making right turn when I stopped at the red light I spotted the young cchild in a very busy intersection riding his small bike alone!
since then I ‘ve been very scared to drive even by myself
I can’t think even how will I be able to drive in the freeway?!
my husband never encourages me to do so either!
I have been a driver for a few years only and I’m not able to drive regularly because of my husband too.
please anyone can help with any useful suggesstion
thanks
NS on May 16 2011 Monday

Julie May 18, 2011 at 7:44 am

I have a horrible fear of driving which I MUST get over. I am 57 years old and once had a license when I was in my early 20′s. If I have driven 15 miles in my life that is a lot. And what fed into the fear is that it took so long for me to finally pass the driving test and everyone telling me that i was a terrible driver. I left the state I was living in to get married and never got a license in the new state and as a result my license expired. But my story gets even sadder.

I was totally reliant on my husband to drive me to wherever I needed to go for over 35 years. He passed away and after that I have been relying on my children to take me where I have to go. My children are now moving out and I will now be dependent on a public transportation system that is basically non-existent. So now I am going to have to overcome this fear.

Probably the worst of this problem is the embarassment and humilliation that I dont drive. I have not been able to look for a job, visit with friends, go to the store on my own. I have been held hostage to the schedules of my children and have had to walk on egg shells when asking if I can get a ride somewhere, And of course i dont even tell anyone I dont drive because I am so ashamed. Hopefully me writing this will be my first step in getting my permit, take driving lessons, pass the driving test so I can be a productive member of society again.

Leah May 21, 2011 at 2:56 am

I am 21 years old and I have always been afraid of driving and have been forced to now. I am lucky enough to live in a city with relatively decent public transit but because I am a journalism major I have a lot of internships where I have to be in places quickly to cover stories.

This fear has really stalled this and many other opportunities I’m coming across. For example, I had the opportunity to study Arabic in Jordan this summer but turned it down because I knew once and for all I had to devote this summer to getting over my fear and just doing it. I didn’t want it to be in the way any longer because it is getting more and more inconvenient and I am getting more and more anxiety.

The sad thing is, if I had the nerve to do it earlier I could be doing all of the other things I am bold enough and capable of doing. I don’t know what it is, I picture myself crashing, my palms sweating etc. I am also tired of my family making fun of me and I always find ways to get around telling friends who aren’t close. However, I am lucky enough to be with a great guy for four years who is willing to teach me. Good luck to everyone!!

JJ May 25, 2011 at 3:08 pm

I will be 56 this year. Got my license when I was 39 just because I told myself I would get it before 40. I am so afraid of driving and I don’t know why. I’ve never been in an accident, no near misses or anything. I have always been more comfortable being driven or taking public transportation but now that I am not living in NYC, I really need to drive. I bought a brand new car in 2009 but have never driven it. Gave it to my daughter. I am unemployed now and as I search for jobs, there are many I can’t apply to because I would have to drive. In this economy, with so many of us unemployed any opportunity that comes my way I should be able to at least consider. It’s frustrating because in everything else, I’m very independent and hate asking anyone for anything. That should be enough to make me drive but it isn’t.

Frankie May 29, 2011 at 4:06 pm

After reading all the stories i feel so much better knowing i am not alone with this driving phobia i have,mine started after a car pulled out in front of me causing me to crash into it.i was in a town i had lived in for a short time,my husband was miles away that day.i was taken to the hospital for a checkout.i was shaken and scared to death that no one was there with me that day.i have had panic attacks ever since that happened.i hope and pray your advise on how to overcome this fear works for me/and all of you out there who suffer the same fate.

Makiah June 2, 2011 at 4:32 pm

I’m 21 and I just recently obtained my permit. I’ve had some instructional driving from teachers at drivers courses, but I hate every minute I’m in a car. I get car sick just being in a car. When I drive I get very hot, and I feel really aware of my surroundings. The problem is my teacher doesn’t see things the same way. I can’t judge depth perception on the road even though my vision has been checked and cleared. I always feel like a car is going to blindside me. it happens alot, and people make it seem like its as rare as winning the lottery or something. If my teacher didn’t have the emergency brake on his side of the car, we could have gotten into serious accidents many times.

While in a vehicle, I get really sick to my stomach, and my eyes begin to twinge. I can’t concentrate on the road because I’m thinking of so many things at once. I hate how a car continuously moves unless you tell it not to. A car should go as I command, and stop as I command. My freaking lawn mower does this and everything’s easy. That concept should be implemented into a car. As it is now, I press the brakes instead of the gas and vice versa. I can’t do all that multi tasking. I start drifting off at that point. I have a huge problem focusing. As such, I often have to ask for rides, and people get upset with me. Nobody wants to spend time with me because of this, and it ruins my already embarrassing reputation. People tell me to get over it. I feel like killing the next person who says that. They don’t understand what its like to not be able to properly drive. My life is boring, cynical, and meaningless as a result. I just want to be able to have fun for the first time in my life, and part of that is getting a better body…which requires a gym…which requires a car to get there. I can’t rely on people anymore. People will soon learn that everybody’s expendable.

Crystal B June 11, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Hi, I am 26 years old and have this ridiculous fear of drving, at the age of 19 I was involved in a bad car crash with a intoxicated driver and every since my fear has magnetized. Not knowing how to drive has hindered so many aspects of my life, I virually have no social life outside of work, take on-line courses for school and pretty soon I will not be able to continue taking on-line courses and will have to drive to school. I live in texas which is very big and full of highways. I am so embarrassed of my situation and have pushed friends away before they find out that I do not know how to drive .I want that freedom that driving allows and for once I am not going to give up and just do it. once I conquer my fear I won’t feel as trapped and lonely and continue a productive life w/o needing others to drive me around. I am so glad that I ran across this website because I thought I was all alone in this situation but realize that is the first step I have made into conquering my fear.

mehitable June 20, 2011 at 11:49 am

I learned how to drive when I was 25, always hated, hated, hated, hated, hated it, but fortunately lived in a big city with plenty of public transportation so I never needed to drive and rarely missed it. Now however, I’ve had to move out to the suburbs because we can’t afford the city – literally – and now I’m in a position where after over 20 years….I have to relearn. I have a license, but I’m relearning with my boyfriend, and it’s really hard. I not only have a fear of driving, I absolutely HATE driving. I don’t even like being a passenger frequently. Can’t stand highways. One thing I would like to say to everyone who has this fear or hatred of driving is….STOP BLAMING YOURSELF. You’re RIGHT to be afraid!!! Driving is one of the most dangerous activities you can ever engage in! Tens of thousands of people die or are badly injured in car crashes every year! It’s common. And it costs tons of money. Traffic sucks. The whole process of driving DOES suck. You actually are far more intelligent than the ordinary person in your hatred and/or fear of driving. It is completely RATIONAL to hate and fear driving. Those people who don’t….just don’t have enough brains to take it seriously. They’re unaware of the damage they could do. That’s why kids take to driving so easily – they have such limited awareness.

It’s really unfortunate that our society is built so much on cars and individual driving as the answer here really IS more and better public transportation. Many if not most, of the people who are driving….shouldn’t be. Whether they are afraid or not.

So STOP BLAMING YOURSELF for your fear. STOP FEELING GUILTY. You are actually RIGHT to feel fearful. It just means you’re smarter and more aware than the average bear.

So….now that you hopefully will stop blaming yourself and feeling guilty and ashamed….most of you – and me – unfortunately need to master this skill until we actually get public transportation. I think the way to do that, and what I am doing, is to do a little at a time each day until you feel reasonably comfortable in limited situations. Try to drive for 15 minutes each day at least, and then work up to maybe a half hour. Drive in deserted areas or parking lots. Graveyards if you can. Then work up to more trafficked areas.

Accept your fear. It’s sensible and will probably make you a better driver. If you feel physically ill, you might need hypnosis, or therapy or maybe even meds to control general anxiety. And accept that while you can improve a great deal…there are some things you may never be able to do. I will NEVER be able to drive on a highway. But I don’t want to and I would do virtually anything to avoid it as I know I am a poor driver and will always be a danger to myself and others. That’s not negative thinking…it’s just reality. Be realistic with yourself, accept your limitations but realize you can improve somewhat, and most importantly, STOP KICKING YOURSELF. YOU are in the right, it is the society that forces you to drive in an individual car, which is dangerous and wasteful, that is WRONG.

Toni August 1, 2011 at 11:17 pm

I am now 25, i started learning to drive at very early age 12 or 13, but the car was automatic, I only drove over the weekends, I’ve always had a fear of driving manual, I felt i couldnt control the car well enough and just not used to the extra pedal. I never got my licence, and haven’t had the automatic car for a long time. I haven’t driven in a long time and when I did drive, it wasn’t often enough to gain confidence in my driving.

My fear now is that I am out of practice and im ashamed to be learning at my age. It’s has really affected my life, i have missed out on a lot in live, simply because i don’t drive. I keep putting it off, but the fact is, im only getting older, and the longer I wait, the harder it’ll get. So before i get any older, I am going to make a serious effort to get in the car and practice, atleast 30 minutes a day.

I’ve never crashed a car, but when i was 13yo my dad was teaching me and i lost control by leaving the clutch too quickly and it scared the hell out of me, so my real fear is the clutch pedal, and changing gears. I will try to pretend i am driving an auto, except when i need to take off or change gears, but its been years since i drove any type of car. When i do drive, i drive pretty well, but it still makes me nervous.

I’ve also had this fear of being hit from behind, i’ll look in the rear view mirror and panic when I see a car, then drive faster, this sometimes caused me to take the bend too fast, squeeling the tires because i was afraid to slow down infront of other cars. I will try to tell myself, “they’ve got brakes too, just slow down gradually and nobody will hit you”.

The only way to conquer this fear is to get into the car, put some music on and take it slow. I can’t go another day without making an effort to learn and conquer.

jennifer September 1, 2011 at 8:23 am

i am 31 years old, and i have the worst fear of driving in the world.i actually took my written test and passed, but haven’t gotten much further.my husband and i only have a truck for me to learn in but im terrified because its huge to me,and i guess after reading all your stories,i have figured out that im scared that i will hit something or someone,or crash, or…im just scared to even attempt busy traffic.people down me because of my handicap….i feel less of a person because i cant drive. im afraid that the people who are teaching me will get mad if i do something wrong…idk…i’ve gotta do something.i know that GOD will take my fear away…im just waiting..if anyone has advice,it will be appreciated

Texas gal September 7, 2011 at 11:08 am

Hi, I am 54 yrs. old and like the other people who have written comments, I have anxienty moments about driving. My husband is so cool and supportive; however, I know he feels I should drive. Only if I take it “baby steps”. I drove before, but gave up when I didn’t have a car. Now is the big challenge, he is suppose to go in for medical test and I am suppose to drive him home. (Lord, help me)! I am going to try the simple brain reprogramming exercise. I hope it works. Good luck to you all!

Charlene December 7, 2011 at 12:37 pm

For the past month or so I am having anxiety while driving at night. I see cars coming at me from the left and the right. I tried staying in the right lane as long as I can but the traffic merging on to the highway frightens me too. I need help. If the weather is clear, I do m uch better. However, if it is raining or foggy out, the anxiety overcomes me. I am getting very scared. I have asked for an accomodation to leave work an hour early so I don’t have to drive in the darkness. I can’t see the road. I reached out to my eye doctor who says there is a need for glasses. After 3 attempts I finally picked up my new glasses last night. I will try and wear them to see if this helps with seeing the road better. The highway keeps changing due to construction so that does not help. I h ave to only drive 16 miles each way and I seem to do well in the morning to work. I don’t have anxiety so it has to be the darkness. I wish I could find help. I have a call out to my medical doctor. I feel like I am going to crash and die on the highway.

Jodi January 4, 2012 at 11:24 pm

I’m 23 and never had my licence, I’m scared because I don’t want to be the one to make a mistake and end up ending someone else’s life much less mine, everyone keeps telling me GET YOUR LICENCE GET YOUR LICENCE but no one seems to understand I’m scared, they just tell me I’m stupid for thinking that, I don’t mind driving down my parents dirt road but as far as the road i just dont know if i could or not I wish I could overcome this and people would help me instead of criticize me for it, I have never really had the urge to go out and learn, But I think my problem is when i was really little my sunday school teacher and 2 other women got killed in a bad wreck and ever since then it just scared me. I need help, I want help

mel January 18, 2012 at 2:11 am

Hello,I am 25 years old.with three kids. I used to fear driving.I just Gog in my van and said I can drive.I kept practicing and practicing.We can over come anything and we can accomplish anything.just have to set our minds to our goals in life.Self driven is the road to success in everyday life. Say a prayer and ask God to help control the wheel he will.He doesn’t give up on us so we can’t give up on ourselves.life is what we make it.

Mandy February 16, 2012 at 3:48 am

Hey, I am 22 years old. I have had my drivers license for about a year. I had my “learners” permit for 4 years prior to taking my test, as I could not get over the fear. Thinking about driving brings on major panic attacks that leave me nauseated and crying. Since, I got into a pretty scary accident where I almost flipped my car and did successfully shoot off the road into a bush and completely totaled my car. I was injured, and 6 months later I am still in pain from my accident. I’ve pretty much given up on the fact that I will ever drive again, and I’ve come to accept that I will pretty much live a limited life because I am not able to drive. I am not able to get whatever job I want, as I am limited to the available bus hours(which also give me panic attacks ever since someone was stabbed in the head on the main bus on my street), and I am simply not able to visit family or friends unless they come to me. Sad? Yeah. I just don’t know how to tell myself that I will be okay and alive if I drive, and believe it. I’m kind of looking for advice to see if anything would help, but I’m really not expecting anything to help. Someone suggested I take more driving lessons, but I used to put my driving instructor into a panic as well. I don’t know if you’ve had a panic attack bad enough to make the person next to you freak out too, but it really doesn’t help your situation when you’re looking to them for guidance. Any ideas?

Chasitie February 28, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Im 32 and Ive never had a problem driving.Then 2 yrs.ago something made me start getting anxiety really bad while driving.It really gets old to me and everyone else..I have homeschooled my kids because I don’t won’t to have to take them…I just wish I could get out there and not worry about anything..Lord I just wish I could get passed this…I will overcome this I don’t care what it takes…

PORTIA March 4, 2012 at 1:50 am

my situation is very strange. i was never in an accident or lost someone close in a car accident. but my fear for driving is so extreme. i always leave my car at home and take a cab to work and back. go shopping using public transport. my boyfriend always drive my car and if i want to vist friends i ask him to drop me and pick me up. i don’t know why this happens. each time i seat on the dseat i start to shake, then sweat and have anxiety attacks. i always drive with a bottle of cold water. it gets even worse when i have passangers. i am more confident when i am alone cose i fear they might critisize my driving, making it even worse. i need help

jana March 6, 2012 at 7:28 pm

my fear of driving started when i was driving my truck a few yr’s bk and i had my first panic attack.. i was driving down the road and all of a sudden my hands stared sweating my chest too heart racing ..along with tunnel vision ..i pulled over scared to death ..thought i was dying .. even went to the er just to find out i wasnt dying and i wasnt having a heart attack ..so so embar.. now the only way ill think of driving is if someone is with me in the car ..

Choops March 22, 2012 at 1:22 am

Hi. I am now 17 and I justpassed my theory test. I have never been so nervous into any test. Not even those big ones in school or during my basketball games against other country. I feel. So pathetic that I might have driving phobia while all my friends are starting their driving journeys as well. I told my friends about taking test and driving freely. But when I sit alone at home, in front of my desk with that theory book. I feel nervous all of a sudden. I tried studying everything felt it wasn’t enough. I’m scared about not passin it. I nervous when I imagine my hands on the wheel
When i entered the room. I felt scraedand nervous but i did it anyway. Now that I have passed, I’m going to listen to the practical test and take the test itself soon. See, I am a girl with pride. I wish to do things perfectly and better than anyone else. So havin this fear is.. Just embarrassing.
Before the test,I wish to get rid of the fear. I don’t mind taking time. All i know is I don’t want to be cripple from driving. I need to drive to go for trainin or games which my parents are starting to ask me to do myself as long as its not too relevant studies. I feel it’s a starting stage of phobia. Guess I should not watch too many hospital drama with car accidents or ‘caught on tape’, haha.
it’s comforting to know that it’s not only me out there. I hope we canall try to overcome it. God bless! Loves.

Allison March 26, 2012 at 12:09 pm

I’m 20, and have had my learner’s permit for two years; I have to get it renewed this summer. I’ve never been involved in any horrible accident, nor have I really heard of my friends being in a serious one. At first, I thought I didn’t have the right motivation, since everything from my work to the grocery store is in walking distance. Then, my grandfather said he could get me this really good job, with health benefits and a very nice salary, and all I have to do is get my liscence…and, yet, I can’t drive. I’ve tried several times, and by the time I’ve adjusted the mirrors and my seat, I’m in an anxiety attack and have to immediately leave the car (half the time, the car isn’t even on yet). I’m hoping these exercises work; I’m tired of asking my husband for rides all the time and feeling so dependant.

Shir March 27, 2012 at 10:22 pm

I’m 20 and I’ve been in 3 car accidents. The first when I got hit while riding my bike, the second was in a parking lot, and the last was when I lost control on the interstate at 80 mph. I just bought a brand new car but when I drive, I start to panic. I feel like if I make even one tiny mistake, I’ll crash because it is simply so easy to total a car. I hate curvy single lane roads with high speed limits. I have nightmares about driving on those. It’s been helping me to talk on the phone (through Bluetooth) while driving and I like to sit in the driver’s seat in the parking lot and just listen to music. Ill also try aromatherapy and simply just drive long distances on winding roads just to conquer my fears.

Anonymous April 15, 2012 at 1:54 am

Im 32 just got my license in feb this year about 1 1/2 yrs ago I got into an accident coming home from work no one was hurt I had on my seat belt but I did total my car. Ever since then I kept saying I will never drive ago..after a while I told myself I’m sick and tired of watching everyone get up and go when they want but I was still nervous about driving. I finally sucked it up went and got my license even passed on the first try. I know how to drive I’m very good and very safe but I still get real nervous. I don’t drive far from my home the farthest I’ve gone was about 30 mins to my job and that’s only every other weekend. I’ve been taking it slow and driving in my area but I want to to overcome this fear. I want to be able to get in the car loosen up and not be so tense or afraid

Lacey April 22, 2012 at 9:40 pm

Hi I am 19 years old, for some reason that I cannot seem to find out I am beyond terrified of driving. I don’t recall being in any accidents or knowing anyone who has been in one. I just know that I have stalled for 3 years of my life in getting my license. I still have not received it. I am miserable. I don’t like not feeling free, that I’m trapped in one place and have to be at the mercy of my parents to take me everywhere. I cry everytime I get in the car I feel like I can’t breathe. I’m terrified beyond ayones belief, my family will never understand as much as I can explain it. I want to get past this,but I just seem like I can’t do it.

Nadine April 23, 2012 at 2:29 pm

My fear of driving is more worse than anybody. I am so scared of driving that I can’t put the car in drive and pull out of a parking lot parking space. I’ve haven’t driven in 25 years, that’s when I had a minor fender bender. I have 2 luxury cars that my spouse purchased for me. My drivng phobia is so bad that today I called to sign up for driving lessons I got scared thinking about driving and hanged up the phone in the middle of scheduling the appt. I’ve frightened my daughter and grandkids from driving. They are at an age they should drive. They say they’re scared like me.

Mary July 31, 2012 at 5:38 pm

hello, I am 64 years old, I have given up on trying to drive. I have never had my license, ever. A long time ago, when I was about 30 something, a friend of mine was trying to teach me how to drive. I was very nervous, what upset me the most was that at one point during my adventure in driving land, she was shouting my name loudly, and I literally did not hear her! I had gone into a “trance” like state and the fact that I had tuned her out really concerned me. It is quite a handicap, in fact there are handicapped people who DO drive, that makes me feel even worse, oh well, I’m a christian too, and I know that I’m not supposed to fear things, but, I’m only human. Fortunately, I live in a town that has a decent transit system. But being dependent on the bus only is really annoying. I can’t believe that some people actually think that I choose to not drive! Nope, it’s just a fear. Many times at night I have dreams that I am able to drive and I have no fear, when I wake up, I am sad that it wasn’t real. I think that I am more afraid of the other drivers than I am of myself. The only thing I can think of that might have scared me was that I had a friend, who I didn’t know very well, crash and die when she was on her way to a party. She was in a convertible. She was a happy bubbly person. Maybe that started my fear, i don’t know, I was about 15 or so at the time. I’ve accepted the fact that I have this fear, now I just explain to people that I have a fear of driving and since a lot of people have fears of other things these days, they seem to understand. I don’t know, I’m just glad that there is a transit bus near me. Maybe one day I’ll get over this? IDK, meanwhile I’ve just accepted it.

Rene August 5, 2012 at 11:15 pm

I am 38 years old and never had my license. I was almost in 2 accidents trying to learn to drive. A few years ago, I obtained my learners permit, and was doing well with practice. Then my hands started hurting real bad. My husband told me it was all in my head. However, I gave up on the driving. My hubby is on my corner but it’s a huge inconvenience for my family. I have 11 siblings, I rely on them and my parents too much. At family gatherings, someone brings up that i need to get my license. This makes me feel really bad. My daughter bought home a drivers manual and said “Mom you need to learn how to drive. This really hit me below the belt. I know that God is gonna help me through this. Im tired of feeling trapped.

Stephanie August 17, 2012 at 8:48 pm

Wow. I never realized there were that many people with the same problem I have. I’m 23 years old with two kids and never learned to drive. I think alot of my fear of driving has to do with being involved in a car accident when I was 15 and was ejected from the car. My mom was driving and i wasn’t seriously injured, but the police officer at the scene said the car was only 5 feet from having landed on me. I think this incident, coupled with the fact that I lost 5 people from my graduating class to car accidents with in the same year is the reason for my fear of driving. I am so ready to overcome this fear! It is so embarrassing and is keeping me from being able to see my oldest son who lives in a different state. I am so tired of public transportation and depending on other people to drive me where I need to go and being stuck at the house all the time when I should be going out having a good time. I really hope this program works!

Chris September 5, 2012 at 10:49 am

I’m almost 45 years old and have such a huge fear of driving. I’m not even sure what has caused this fear. I got my permit at 16 and practiced driving some, but never really had anyone to teach me. I think that after a while I became so embarrassed that I gave up. The worst was when my younger sister got her license and I still couldn’t drive. Now my neices and nephews are driving! It’s not so much that I don’t know how, it’s that I’m afraid that I won’t be able to react fast enough to avoid an accident. I guess you could say that I’m more afraid of other people’s driving than my own. I feel so useless because of this fear. I’m so embarrassed to tell anyone that I don’t drive. My husband had surgery last month and I had to ask my sister to drive us home from the hospital. I’m an adult! My husband has to take time off of work to take our son and me to appointments. It’s awful. I’ve made up my mind that I WILL overcome this fear. Through hypnotherapy, professional driving lessons, whatever it takes. I need my self-esteem back. I need to be someone that my family can count on. Just reading about other people who have the same fear has made me feel like I’m not alone and it has actually given me the inspiration to do whatever it takes!

Niki October 22, 2012 at 3:50 am

I am almost 20 now and I have a very extreme fear of driving in town. I like out in the country – extremely rural – and I have zero problem driving out here, no problems what So even! But once I hit town I basically start to panic with all the other cars around me. I have never been in an accident or anything like that So I’m not not quite sure where my fear is rooted but I’m going to test out this method and wish for the best :) Wish me luck!

Bekah December 24, 2012 at 11:23 am

I have been looking for some kind of help with my fear. 42 yrs old and never driven. I have always depended on someone else to bring me were I needed to go. I promised myself I would gain my independence once I learn but that fear of not being sure that I can do it. I want to drive why can’t I get over the fear.

Ruth January 17, 2014 at 1:56 pm

I can relate to almost all the stories behind my fear of driving. No one seems to understand why I am so fearful. The moment I get behind the wheel, I get so terrified I can hardly think straight, my heart beats so fast and my hands get all sweaty. I hate having to be dependent on other people to take me places and I have lost many job openings. I hate to feel like this but no matter what I do, this all consuming fear just wont go away. I want so badly to have my own car and be independent. I need help, what can I do?

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