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  1. #1
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    Default Overcoming driving phobia

    I have a phobia of driving & it's ruining my life. Public transport around here is really bad so it's pretty hard to get places without relying on my DH (who works long hours).

    I actually do have my licence but I'm too afraid to drive alone. When I drive with my DH he usually ends up yelling at me which makes the problem worse. Plus he usually gets home so late that we don't get a chance to go. There is no-one else I can drive with - I will never drive with my parents again because they literally screamed at me from the first time I ever sat in the drivers seat until the point where I just gave up & said I was never driving with them ever again. Not to mention my parents constantly (and still) telling me I'm being 'pathetic'. They don't understand, have never even tried. Just cause my dad grew up on a farm, driving the paddock bashers in the fields when he was 13 - there were no other cars around! I've had heaps & heaps driving lessons (both before getting my licence & since) & they did not help with my fear.

    The majority of the drivers around here are really horrible & aggressive on the road. Basically every second person has a problem with me driving the speed-limit (and yes I've had my speedo checked) and start tail-gating me & being aggressive & intimidating. I have so much trouble dealing with that & it really freaks me out. I've even been threatened a few times just for driving the speed limit! If I can pull over to let them go I usually do, but five minutes later the same thing happens again. Sometimes I feel like the only choice I have is to drive the speed that they want me to drive.........

    Plus I seem to have literally no spatial awareness when driving, but I have not noticed this in other aspects of my life. I have spent hours & hours driving around in parking lots trying to figure out the dimensions of my car & how close to things I am but I just can't understand it. I even freak out if my DH is getting out of a parking space cause it always looks like he is going to hit the car next to us, even though he assures me he is not. Therefore this doesn't make me feel safe on the roads as I can't park, I can't merge, I can't pass parked cars/people walking on the road/cyclists and so on without someone there to tell me if I'm going to hit them or not.

    I've basically just given up. But now I'm pregnant & I want to be able to take my baby to mothers groups etc & places when they are older. Not to mention the doctor etc. As I said, I have driving lessons & they didn't help. I've seen a psych & tried graded exposure & this works to an extent - until something happens that freaks me out again (ie getting tail-gated, threatened etc, or just not being able to get my car out of a car-park etc) and then I just go right back to square one again.

    Now I can't even join my work colleagues for xmas lunch tomorrow because I have no way of getting there & they are all expecting me to be there.

    It's destroying my life, I can't do anything I want to do. I basically have no friends cause I can never get anywhere to see/meet them, I don't do any social activities unless DH is there too so he can drive me. I finish work fairly early then just go & sit at home cause I can't go anywhere. I don't want to be like this anymore but I just don't know how to get over it.

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    Wow that sounds full on! I really feel awful for you that you have such a fear. Perhaps you could try setting aside a small time each day/few days to just drive - not to get anywhere just to practise. Not that it will help with your other issues I know.

    I was quite frightened when I was learning but I was lucky in that we live regionally and my parents lived 15 minutes out of town. I could just drive in and out without worrying about traffic. Is there anywhere you could do this?

    My only other suggestion would be to find a calm friend who can keep you company and reassure you they you're doing ok. I wish you lived close to me as I'd happily do it - I love teaching people to drive!

    Sorry if none of this is helpful I just feel really awful for you

  3. #3
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    How awful. I developed a phobia after a car accident. The second the dr said it was safe to drive my DP made me - all the time and everywhere. It was so terrifying!

    Have you tried professional lessons?

    can you catch a taxi tomorrow or can you tell one of your workmates you DH has the car and see if they can pick you up?

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    If you really do have zero spatial awareness then maybe pushing yourself to drive isn't the answer. Perhaps you could try out other forms of transport - like cycling or buying a motorized scooter. It wouldn't help with transporting the kids, but you could drive a scooter to things like the Xmas party, meeting friends for coffee etc. Baby steps.

    If that works well then you may gain confidence and improve your spatial abilities and graduate to a small car.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MissMuppet View Post
    If you really do have zero spatial awareness then maybe pushing yourself to drive isn't the answer. Perhaps you could try out other forms of transport - like cycling or buying a motorized scooter. It wouldn't help with transporting the kids, but you could drive a scooter to things like the Xmas party, meeting friends for coffee etc. Baby steps.

    If that works well then you may gain confidence and improve your spatial abilities and graduate to a small car.
    Thats a good idea. Also, might be a dumb question but have you had your eyes checked?

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    I would pay for some driving lessons in your car. The teacher should be a lot more relaxed than a family member so you can concentrate on driving rather than worry they will yell. Also they should be able to help with learning the dimensions of the car. I know when I first started to drive I found it frustrating to have to imagine where the edges of the car stopped, rather than being able to see like on a bicycle.

  7. #7
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    Bpac I have had my eyes checked really recently & I have 20/20 vision. I can't figure out if it's my eyes or if it's just something to do with driving.

    Bpac & abibelsmum - I have had professional lessons many times. I've tried multiple driving schools since getting my licence but none of them seem to want to help me given I already have my licence. I constantly get the 'why are you even here if you already have your licence' speal & then the 'you can drive, i dont see why we are bothering with this' speal as well.

    Thanks MissMuppet! I also have issues cycling (that also scares me as I've been pushed over before & also almost crashed into 'pro' guys taking up the entire path) but they might be easier to overcome than the driving thing.

    Chippa I really do wish I live in the country sometimes and could just drive where there's no traffic, or in the fields like my dad did. I live in the suburbs & I can't think of anywhere around here that I could do that, but will ask DH.

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    I'm sorry the lessons didn't work out. I have friends who got refresher lessons when they hadn't driven for a while, and I had lessons on a manual even though I was already licensed for one. Are you an RACQ member? They might be able to help?

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    Can you take the car somewhere without much traffic by yourself and just practice?

    I think spatial awareness often comes with practice. Maybe you could practice parked in a mostly empty carpark somewhere?

  10. #10
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    abibelsmum I have called RACQ before but didn't get many suggestions, I will try again.

    Ourlittleblessing - I have found a carpark that I could practice in. Half the problem is getting the car there though. DH generally works back late almost every night so he's never really here to help. I'll have to think about it more.


 

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