My Anxiety About Driving…

We all have our things that we struggle with, some people are afraid of mice, some people are afraid of dogs, some people are afraid of bridges. I have a mild fear of driving. Even though I’ve had my license since  I was 16, I’m now 23, I’ve only been on the highway a handful of times. I just get nervous while I’m on there. The thing that makes me nervous is the amount of traffic whizzing by and the high speed. Not to mention, my mother doesn’t help the situation. When I drove with my father on the highway, I don’t remember it being a challenge, but with my mother it’s another story.

I feel fine driving when there is no traffic on the road or very little traffic, like in the early hours of the morning which when I prefer to do my grocery shopping and run errands. But in the middle of the day, I just can’t take the stress and anxiety. Simple drives are fine for me, but regular driving in traffic stresses me out. My family all think I’m just being silly about it, but they don’t understand that driving is a real cause of anxiety for a lot of people. They treat driving like its a sort of “rite of passage,” into adulthood, but who says driving is what makes you an adult and what’s wrong with public transportation. I quite enjoy it.

The thing is the only way to overcome it is…by driving, which is stressful in itself.

Not to mention, driving is dangerous and it’s serious. I can drive when it’s just drizzling out, but if it’s really raining,  I worry about traffic lights going out and not being able to get home because the light’s not working. Things like this stress me out. If you make a mistake it can be fatal and that’s another source of stress for me.

When you think about it, what’s wrong with taking the bus? My current mode of transportation is train, bus and other forms of public transportation, mainly because I don’t have a car at present anyway. But, eventually I will have to get one and I’ll have to drive more.

It’s a  real source of stress for me and the sad thing is, it impacts my social life. If I don’t have a way to get somewhere and I am too nervous to drive, sometimes I’ll just sit home and miss out and that’s depressing. I almost feel ashamed of it, even though I know millions  of people don’t drive at all and even more don’t have cars. It made me feel a little better when at my job I met an older woman who never got a license, it made me feel less weird. But, it makes me feel bad when I need to go somewhere and can’t. I’d almost rather sit at home than ask someone else to drive me. But, taking the bus is nice.

I really want to learn to be comfortable with driving, but it’s so hard for me because these days people can be crazy on the road. I just feel inadequate for some reason and I’m not sure why. It’s something that I wish I could overcome and it just seems to come so easily to everyone else and they don’t stress the way I do.

My cousin apparently had a hard time driving, the only way she got better was by driving more, so I guess that’s what I need to do. My Great Aunt had trouble driving too…she was a nervous driver, just like me. I’ve always felt like I may have a mild anxiety problem, my father sometimes has anxiety attacks.

Studies show that millions of people in the United States have driving anxiety. The state that has the most people seeking therapy for driving anxiety is California, then New York.

Top Ten States for Driving Anxiety

  1. California
  2. New York
  3. New Jersey
  4. Florida
  5. Texas
  6. Ohio
  7. Pennsylvania
  8. Maryland
  9. Massachusetts
  10. Illinois
My state is on the list and it doesn’t surprise me, the roads, especially the beltway, ARE HORRIBLE in my state.  They’re confusing,  crowded, always backed up and old. I avoid them if I can. I found this book on amazon. I may check it out, but I’ll probably just have to say a prayer, get out, suck it up and drive more until I get a bit more comfortable.
Anyway…that’s my little phobia that I deal with…do you have any phobias?

4 thoughts on “My Anxiety About Driving…”

  1. I guess my phobia is still heights. I have learned to control it by actually going to high places.
    You have to just face it as you already know. I don’t think you ever really ever 100% cure a phobia. You will always still have that initial gut reaction at first, but once you set your mind to it, the fear fades.


  2. My phobia is driving also! I’m 17, but I got my license when I was 16 also. Part of me deciding to go to a 4-year school near the city was so I didn’t have to drive. I’ve never drove on the highway by myself yet, but I’m scared to death to do it. Everybody I know just hops in the car and drives like it’s no big problem! I think the furthest I’ve ever driven by myself was to my Grandmother’s house, which was about 2 hours away, and that was on a backroad highway. But yeah, when I do get the guts to hit the highway, it will probably be early in the morning or late in the evening. I know it sounds crazy but I always feel like I’ll never return when I leave my driveway! Sometimes I just thank God for bringing me (and whoever is with me in my car) safely back. Anyway, I hope we both get over that phobia, because driving is essential!


      1. Yeah, it stresses me out trying to merge on a highway also. Backroads can definitely be as dangerous as the highways, because sometimes (I live in the country) somebody decides to stop in the middle of the road to check their mail, or there’s a huge tractor in the middle of the road… but yeah, I think driving is mental, and it’s especially hard when trying to drive through traffic.


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