My fear of Driving

A couple of years ago I passed my driving test, on the 26 November 2009 at 10:24 to be exact. I took my lessons like most teenagers do when i turned 17, I enjoyed driving around and couldn’t wait to put in for my test. After a few months i filled out the form and passed it onto my instructor to put in for me, I was due to start university so i was hoping to be driving in my own car before i left home. Unfortunately the company i took my lessons with went bankrupt and i didn’t end up taking my test, I moved up to Boston, Lincolnshire to start my fashion course at university and made do with travelling back and forward to home by coach and trains. I decided to wait until my course was over and just focus on university before putting in for my test again, it wasn’t just the time i didn’t have to spare but it was the cost of the lessons, being a student living away from home meant i had to keep an eye on my budget and count my pennies, I wouldn’t be able to afford to drive anyway.

Years went by and i still hadn’t taken my test until 2009 at the age of 31, I eventually decided it would be best for myself and the family to take some more lessons and learn to drive. I am not a very confident person and was very nervous and felt anxious and uneasy about learning to drive so I found myself a lovely lady instructor, who was very nice and understanding. I had been involved in an accident about 7 years ago where a truck had ploughed into my mum’s car on the motorway and took us along the central reservation, apart from whiplash and nightmares we got away lightly but it has made me become a nervy passenger and i flinch when a vehicle gets too close to the car and i don’t think it has helped me with my confidence in driving. I was scared at first getting into the driving seat but it all seemed to come back to me what i had learnt all those years ago. the thought of driving really scared me but after explaining my fears to my instructor she said i was a good driver and i would eventually overcome them the more and more i get behind the wheel, i could only become an experienced driver with practice. She told me about an herbal remedy that i could take prior to getting in the car, its called Rescue Remedy by Bach, it helps to restore your inner calm, control and focus and is really good in stressful everyday situations. I bought the drops and they did seem to help ease and calm my nerves. Luckily i passed my test the first time, which made me feel very proud of myself. I did get 6 fault points but they were because my legs were shaking so much that i couldn’t control the clutch on my reversing round the corner manoeuvre.

Now two years on after passing my test i still dread driving, i get all sweaty, my hands become clammy, my legs become weak, I can’t breathe and I become all dizzy. When i know i have to drive anywhere, I start to shake and become quite tearful. I have to plan my route before i get in the car, making sure that i don’t have to drive around busy roundabouts or pull out onto busy A roads. If i know I am driving somewhere the next day I won’t be able to sleep that night because i will be worrying. Once I’m actually driving I’m not too bad, i do sweat and my heart beats ten to the dozen but I don’t think I’m too bad of a driver. I am very cautious driver but I think it’s because I have three children to think about and I’m scared that if i am in accident and they get hurt then it would be my fault, I know that i shouldn’t think like that but I can’t help myself, I’m not scared for the safety of myself but that of my children’s.

Whenever I drive somewhere and I have my eldest boy in the car he always says to me “well done mum, see you’re a good driver” but the thing is i can’t see it all i know is other drivers bib me all the time for not being fast enough or not pulling away from the lights quick enough, I’ve been called names, been threatened and had drivers up my back side trying their best to get passed me. I have never caused any accident and always drive at the national speed limit and to be honest even over the limit most of the time (not too much though)

What can I do to help myself become a more confident driver?

Do you suffer the same as me and if so what do you do?

I would love to read you feed back

Thank you for reading my post πŸ™‚

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40 thoughts on “My fear of Driving

  1. Pingback: My Fear of Driving | The Three Musketeers
  2. U r not alone dear .im suggering from this driving fear day and night . Thats a shame im replying u this late . I hope u have gotten over it now

  3. So glad I’m not alone. I passed my test at 17, over 20 years ago and have hardly driven since, and never on my own. My husband is getting frustrated doing all the driving and I really don’t want to limit the choices of my sons by not being able to take them places by car. We walk everywhere at present. The estate car we have doesn’t really encourage me to drive either, I want a tardis, small on the outside but huge inside.

    I booked the AA confident driver course at the beginning of this week and have the first lesson tomorrow… Really not trying to think about it, so I hope to have the confidence to just go out there and drive.

  4. Hi , I can across your site too googling fear of driving. I’m a mom of 5 and my eldest daughter just got her beginners. I’m very embarrassed and my husband too gets fistersted that he’s been the only driver . I have a phobia of driving . People don’t understand that I want to drive but I just can’t . The fear is crippling me and I too thought I was the only one with this. I’m 37 years old and I hate feeling this way. I feel like a bad mom because something so simple like going to the mall and shop with your teenage daughter ect.. I can’t do . Or just hop in the car and visit my mom or something like that. I still even get offers from my 73 year old mother in law to drive me places which I find ver very embarrassing and makes me feel like crap . I’m glad I found this page because it somewhat makes me feel little better and maybe some confidence to go and try and get a liscense .

  5. I am just reading this after typing in getting help with fear of driving. I passed my test when I was 20 I was a confident driver loved driving to be honest day after I passed I drove from my family home back to uni using motorways even M25 without concern. When I was 31 I had my first daughter and soon noticed my confidence in driving going finding myself getting panicy when driving. Over time the fear and panic attacks faded although I now live in the highlands so no longer need to use motorways and when I was in areas with motorways would happily let other people drive. 9 months ago I had my 2nd baby girl I now have a complete fear of driving at night and on motorways. I have started avoided dring at night making excuses not to travel if I know it means driving at night on thursday I take my oldest daughter swimming which is a 30 minute drive as the lesson is at half 5 involves driving at night I have found myself driving both the girls in way before the lesson so I don’t need to drive in the dark, when I get to town I collect my partner so he can drive back so the return trip is not an issue. It has taken a long time for me to be able to admit to my partner my fears and while understanding finds it hard how quickly it came on. I presume its my brain panicing with having the girls in the car and not wanting to have an accident :(. Have not been able to tell anyone else how big an issue this has become for me as I’m angry with myself and don’t want to admit I have an issue. I am worried just now as with the lighter nights coming soon this problem won’t be an issue as unlikly to be travelling in the dark so will think I’m ok until we reach winter. Want to find method to overcome this fear so I can drive again safely and not be over come with panic attacks or loss of sleep the nght before I need to drive. Any advice would be gratefully received although have found this thread useful just to understand its not just me. So thank you for highlighting it,

    1. Have you tried using rescue remedy by bachs, I take a few drops prior to driving to calm my nerves and reassure me. The drops were recommended to me by my driving instructor when I was taking my lessons also taking short little trips on your own in the dark, maybe just down the road and back to boost your confidence a bit. I can completely know where your coming from as I am so scared to drive with my boys in the car for the fear of having an accident. I don’t drive in the dark or in the rain as I feel it effects my concentration and I like to have a clear view around me, I even find driving in the bright sunshine a problem.
      Good luck hope your overcome your fear soon x

      1. Contact AA Drive Smart – you get two free one hour sessions with a qualified AA instructor. They assess your driving, give you hints and pointers etc. Really worthwhile. I passed my test over 40 years ago and drove continuously until 2003 when I retired. I then developed a phobia about driving, big vehicles etc etc and didnot get behind the wheel for nearly 10 years!. For the last few weeks I have been going out on a regular basis and getting more and more confident – so you see even at 68 someone can “start again” Good luck – you can overcome almost anything including the fear of fear itself.

  6. I really thought I was the only terrifed woman [non]driver on the planet. Now I know I have company. Unlike most of you ladies I am much older. I passed my test over 40 years ago and used to drive daily to and from work. Ten years ago I retired and we were down to one car. Since then I have hardly driven and in the last three years not at all. I’m going to try for the AA Drive Confident course – just typing this gives me palpitations. So fingers crossed for me my sisters in trepitation!

  7. I’ve been reading all the comments on this blog. I honestly did think I was the only terrified woman [non]driver on the planet – now I know I have company. Unlike many of the ladies commenting I am much older being 68, I passed my test over 40 years ago and used to drive every day to and from work. Ten years ago we retired and went down to one car since when I have barely driven, in the past three years not at all. I need to get over this and so I am going to try the AA Drive Confident course….just typing this is giving me palpitations. Fingers crossed for me please my sisters in fear!

  8. I passed my driving test nearly 11 months ago and can honestly say i have only driven the car about 6 times. I get nervous whwn i know i have to dry anywhere. I am scared to death of stopping at a junction on a road. But it is upsetting me that i am so useless. I have even thought of buying an automatic, But i would feel a bigger failure.

  9. Me again.
    Tomorrow is my last lesson. Did a semi intensive last week which really helped. Went out with partner and round the block by myself at the weekend.
    Today instructor suggested commenting – basically telling myself exactly what I see and do while I’m driving. Apparently, it is an advanced driving technique (well I believed him ;-)). He reckons my driving is much better when i do this and I should do it as I finish lessons and start driving alone/with others……..

  10. When I mention that I generally don’t drive but prefer to walk or take the bus, people look at me as if I were an alien or a freak. When they find out that I am terrified of driving, they say things like, “Once you get used to driving, you’ll love it!” it’s been about twelve years since I got my licence and I still don’t love it,

  11. Thanks for starting this post.
    I passed my test 17 years ago and have never really driven since as I hate it and am happy on public transport. Now I have two kids and I feel I have to conquer it before I get too old (43 now). I am in the middle of a refresher course and was googling the fear to help me calm down before today’s lesson. I’m also trying eft tapping, recommended by my instructor which feels weird but somehow helps.
    I drove an automatic when I lived in the States and am looking out for one to buy here (UK) as that really is so much easier meanwhile the gears are still frustrating!
    Good Luck to us all!

    1. I have never heard of eft tapping, shall look into it πŸ™‚
      I’ve not driven for months now, I use the excuse that I am happy to walk but I must admit that driving would help me out a lot with my time management. Thank you for commenting

  12. Yes like Michelle, it is nice to read that I’m not alone. I am mexican living in Finland, I passed my driving test about 6 years ago, but I drove very seldom and always with my husband on my side. I did not get the courage to try solo, also because it was very comfortable to take the public transport and it did not make that much difference in time commuting by car and it mean cheaper, and more relaxing commuting to work. All that changed after we moved away from the city center, i got frustrated because it took too long to get to work and it was not easy to transport my son to his hobbies. So 3 months ago I took some refreshing lessons (5 sessions of 1 hour), then I started driving again with my husband on my side, got a new car few weesk ago, Nissan Micra! and finally started commuting to work solo and bring my son to kinder garden. I still nervous, it has only been a week, of commuting but even after so little I found myself more confident and eager to try, I also started documenting my experiences in a blog, more for myself, but also to share with friends and family πŸ™‚ http://beginnerdriver.blogspot.com .. Good luck to you all with your driving!

  13. It is such a relief to read that I’m not alone. I passed my test 4 months ago but have yet to gain the confidence I need to go out alone. I tried when I was 17 but I was very nervous + failed 5 times. I gave up but 10 years later I tried again + found myself really enjoying it + eventually passed. However now I have to drive our own car alone I find that my confidence has taken a dive. I find the pedals different + stall the car often. Because of this I fear going out. It’s a vicious circle of needing to get used to the car but avoiding going out because I’m not used to the car. I fear that I will stall + be unable to start car again especially on a hill. The panic of rolling back or holding up traffic. I can avoid driving for most of the time but if I do need to drive I will feel sick for days before I need to do it. I am trying to over come it by driving few times a wk early in the morning when roads r quiet but its getting me down that I just can’t seem to get out of the rut I’m in πŸ™

  14. I am a mom of four and I have yet to pass my road test. I have my permit but honestly I dread passing it. My fear of driving is somewhat destroying my marriage because my husband gets so angry about being the only driver. I drive to the store and to pick the children up from school but when I do I am sweating and over thinking. My children say I drive well and they are confused as to why I worry so much. Just typing this is making me anxious.

  15. What a lovely story. I am glad that you were able to do it. I was tearful reading this because I thought I was alone. While I have not been able to pass my test and get over the fear, I know that soon I am going to summon the courage to do it. I moved from New York where you can walk everywhere and there’s reliable public transportation, to Pennsylvania. I hate having to rely on my husband for everything. I am homebound and it has me under so much pressure and stress. We moved to build a better life here together and while his has gotten better, I feel that I am not doing the same. He is very encouraging when it comes to giving me driving lessons, I am the one who dreads the minute he asks “want to drive?” I feel horrible! It seems so natural for everyone else. This writing doesn’t seem to make sense to me and that’s exactly what happens to me when I think of driving. Nothing makes sense! Thank you for letting me be able to get some of the load off here. Good Luck to you always. God Bless!!

  16. I am 31 years old. Got my driver’s license 9 years ago but I am so scared of driving. I googled “fear of driving” today and found your website. I just signed up for a brush-up lesson and I hope it helps me overcome some of my fears. Thanks so much for sharing your story. We will overcome this fear, I am sure πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you for commenting Sara, I do hope you become more confident with your new lessons. It’s frustrating isn’t it as i dont understand why i fear driving so much because as a passenger im fine with being in a car. Good luck πŸ™‚

  17. I passed my UK driving test when my girl was ten weeks old and I was yet undiagnosed with PPD. I barely remember taking it. The next time I was behind the wheel I had a panic attack. Once a relatively confident driver and, like you, confident in most other areas of my life, I have only driven a handful of times since, never on my own, and not at all for over a year. I am embarrassed about it and I’m hoping to overcome it soon. No tips from me, just a word that I totally understand! Keep driving. x

    1. Thank you for your comment. It means a lot to receive a comment on a topic that I feared I was on my own with. I look at others driving and I have nieces and nephews that have just passed there test and I see how confident they are and I feel all silly and stupid for feeling the way I do.
      I do feel much better if I have another adult sitting in the car with me just as long as it’s nit the other half as he makes me feel more nervous.
      I hope you overcome your fear too, keep driving! X

  18. I was the same after an accident when I was much younger and a car went through a red light on straight into the rear passenger side were I was sitting. I do drive now but do need to know exactly where I am going and know I’m driving on roads I can manage and cope with. I passed my test in Australia in an automatic and I find driving an automatic makes things so much easier (the only downside is that you need an automatic car). I find driving in Northern Ireland much easier than anywhere else as they are much quieter than the roads in Melbourne and Dublin where we lived before. I totally agree re buses and bicycles, I hate overtaking. I am actually much worse as a passenger, at least when I’m driving I’m in control! x

  19. I have a deeply rooted fear of driving, it comes and goes in phases and there is a whole long story behind it, I write about it on my blog when I feel brave enough, I found these helped: http://www.feistytapas.com/2011/10/conquering-fear-of-driving-two-top-tips.html but look at the whole section, it helps a lot to know other people are not as confident as they seem when it comes to driving. Since we moved to a more central location, I haven’t driven in a while and in fact I need to renew the photo on my licence, I must do that tomorrow, just not easy taking a photo while I have a toddler with me so I’ll leave her with my husband tomorrow.

  20. I was exactly the same after I passed my test and the doctor prescribed me Beta-Blockers and they really helped me a lot. I’m more confident now and will drive anywhere. I hope you can overcome this too x

  21. I’ve literally just been reading a 2010 Mumsnet thread regarding this, having googled ‘scared of driving’ myself. I passed my test in March this year, and really enjoyed learning to drive. Then I got my first car – a Picasso, which feels like a TANK in comparison to my learner car. And I HATE it. I badly scratched it in my first week on a post, while parking which knocked my confidence completely. I panic if I have cars in front and behind me in my street, in case I can’t get out of the space. I make excuses to get out of driving, claiming I’d rather walk everywhere, I check out car park sizes of places we plan to go as parking is now my NEMESIS….It’s not the freedom I’d imagined.

    I’m now trying to make myself drive somewhere EVERY day on my own. (I feel alot better with OH there to confirm I’m in right lane etc) Not too far, but somewhere just to get myself practising and more comfortable.
    I’m glad to have found someone who feels like this (as horrible as it is) as I thought I was the only one – everyone else seems so happy zipping around everywhere and there’s us with our legs rattling at the thought of a roundabout up ahead! πŸ™‚ Just don’t give up.

    1. Thank you! I thought I was the only one too as everyone seems happy enough to drive. I hate it when a car is right behind me and can’t stand being behind buses as it means I have to pull out to get passed them! Also your right about the car sizes I passed my test in a Mazda sport and now drive a huge 2.0 ltr peugeot 406 estate car and now the OH is looking into buying us an MPV *holds head in hands and screams* for our growing family

      1. I am sorry about your problem but so relieved to read what you say. As a girl I was told by my dad that I’d never be any good at driving because I was too ‘bookish’/impractical, and didn’t learn till I was 27 as part of my recovery from depression. I passed my test at the second attempt and was a cautious but safe driver, but I have never been able to develop confidence or actually *want* to drive, except occasionally on holiday when I’m more relaxed. When I had twins I suddenly started getting anxiety attacks about driving and accidents, etc., and 20 years later I still rarely drive. I never took the children anywhere by car and still feel guilty about it (in a world where almost all mums whizz around all day in a car). I have tried hypnotherapy and refresher lessons, but nothing has really helped. I too was given beta blockers but haven’t tried them often enough to know whether they work. We have just got a fairly big new car after 14 years and my fear is coming back as I don’t know how I will handle this car. I don’t actually much mind being a non-driver as I genuinely prefer walking, taking the train, etc., but would like to improve just to avoid the embarrassment and to help my husband out on long journeys.

        1. I have been using a herbal rescue remedy by Bachs, which seems to work for about the first 5 minutes. My eldest son gives me encouragement whenever I am driving and this seems to help me and put me at ease, people have advised me to take a refresher course and to drive at quiet times
          just locally so I can get used to the car. We have just upgraded out car and now have a ford galaxy which scares the hell out of me. I can drive 10 miles out of my way if their is a hill on my route just so I can avoid it.
          I do hope that you will find the confidence to drive and being a careful driver is better than being one that is always have a crash and being cautious can only help you be more aware of other cars and pedestrians.
          Good luck and chin up x

          1. I tried driving our big new car yesterday (first time, and after a long break and a major operation!), got nervous at a hill start at a junction, jerked the wheel (not used to a petrol car after years with a diesel) and hit the kerb, damaging the hub cap and tyre. My husband was not impressed. I am so upset now that I feel like running away. Perhaps I am just not meant to drive.

  22. Aww what a lovely boy you’ve got giving you encouragement. I don’t like driving even though it’s been 17 years since I passed my test. I was only 17. I don’t mind driving places I know but not so keen on places I don’t. I think you can only gain confidence through practice and staying calm. hugs xx

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