Fear Of Driving/Getting Lost

Discussions in anxiety, panic attacks, phobias and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Practical help for anxiety disorders.

Postby katie_h17 » Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:29 am

Hi everyone :D I would like your advice on an issue. I had an embarrassing and what seems like paralyzing problem: I'm terrified of driving and getting lost. If I'm driving while someone else is in the car, I'm much more calm, but I absolutely hate driving by myself. My sense of direction is terrible and I go into a panic attack when I get lost or am unsure of where I'm going. Therefore, I never really ventured to drive to more than my job and school, which were both very close to my house.

I always let my friends and my boyfriend do the driving. I have a great sense of adventure, and I would definitely travel more if I didn't have this paralyzing fear. I have never gone on the freeway, because I am scared out of my mind to do so. Driver's Ed didn't go very well when I took it years ago, and I never really had the chance to practice driving that much (My mom passed away when I was young so my Dad had to take me driving to get all my hours in....he resented it and was very impatient....he always made me feel on edge). My Dad also pokes fun at my lack of directional sense, which really doesn't help me feel more secure about the matter.

Even when I have to go to the nearest town closest to my house, I feel panicky because I'm not familiar with driving there. This summer, my boyfriend and I would like to drive to each other's houses if we're still dating (about a 2 and a half hour drive), and I'm terrified to take the freeway and drive in the city. (we currently both live on campus).

I feel like my fear of driving alone and getting lost is stifling my independence; I'm 19 years old and I want to feel more self-reliant...I hate feeling like I have to look at others to take me places....

Do you have any ideas about how to overcome this fear?
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katie_h17
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Postby idiocy » Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:38 am

EFT might help. Emotional Freedom Techniques. It's supposed to work well for anxieties and phobias, and there seems to be a visible background to your anxiety while driving, which is your dad's impatience.

Check this out :

www.emofree.com

There's lots of info and feedback there.

Just to keep this real, I've been trying EFT as well, and so far haven't made much progress with my own phobia. It doesn't quite matter your knowing this because if it works for you, it works.

Just keeping it real, and without all the pomp, which is beginning to put me off these days.
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Postby TimTam » Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:54 am

If you have an anxiety of driving alone, then you shouldn't really be driving alone. Not only are you putting yourself in danger but others on the road as well. Certainly you don't want to deal with the grief and the pain when an accident occur. Options are: catch public transport or walk etc.

I usually get nervous when I drive 100km max on the freeway. I feel as if my car is going to tip over or something. Ever since then I never been on a freeway.

I was in the rehab centre (to see a physio for my arthritis condition) and I got to see a lot of people worse off than me with spinal injury etc. It's really frightening.
I never thought there were that many people in that rehab centre.

I've seen an occupational therapist and she recommended me that I have a driving assessment.

Really, just avoid it if you can...or keep pratising and practising with an expert driving teacher until you overcome your phobia...you can't overcome it alone.
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Postby HSP2000 » Tue Mar 15, 2011 5:10 pm

Hello Katie,

I no longer drive now due to other circumstance, nothing to do with fear of driving - but when I did I was exactly the same in that I only drove on roads/routes that I knew well.

In my case, it wasn't so much the fear of getting lost as such, but the fear of not knowing which lanes to get into. I was always afraid I'd get into the wrong lane and end up going up a one-way street, or cutting across or ending up in another lane [such as a contraflow Bus Lane] and causing an accident.


Although I no longer drive now, my daughter, who is older than you, does [a fairly new driver] and she is VERY like you in that she fears getting lost, as well as hving my 'lanes' problem. So you can see you're not alone or unique with this problem.


No offense to Idiocy but IMHO I don't think airy-fairy 'therapies' such as EFT will help. I admit I don't know very much about this technique but from my understanding of this kind of thing it's supposed to help overcome phobias. Phobias are irrational fears but there's nothing irrational about being afraid of causing an accident by being in the wrong place on a road especially on fast roads like motorways. [Motorway = freeway, for our US cousins.]

[And no offense to TimTam but I think Katy, like myself, already knows she could cause an accident and end up feeling bad about it. That's why she's asking for help/advice.]

I agree that your dad's impatience with you, and poking fun at you, has not helped at all so if you still call on his help now and then to accompany you whilest driving - STOP! Ditch daddy!!

Also, I picked up on something which may turn out to be nothing but I thought this was interesting. You said whenever you go anywhere you're unfamilaiar with you always let your friends or boyfriend do the driving then you went on to say:

"This summer, my boyfriend and I would like to drive to each other's houses if we're still dating....."

Is your boyfriend also putting pressure on you? Is he impatient with you especially as you always get him to do the driving? If so, ditch the boyfriend as well!

As I said above, my daughter has your problems so, here's my advice, for what it's worth [bare in mind this is non-expert advice]:


*I take it you drive to your job and school alone? Continue to do that otherwise you'll lose even your basic driving skills.

*Gradually try [still with someone else in the car] to go to slightly further and less familiar places.

*If you are simply afraid of getting lost, only, then invest in a good SatNav. They are brilliant for 99% of journeys but don't forget to use your own judgement if the SatNav wants you drive over an area where roadworks are being carried out!! :)

*Research new and unfamiliar routes thoroughly before you set off.

Google Maps is brilliant for this purpose, getting directions etc. and you can even zoom in and be on ground level to see which lanes to get into. This is something we use very often!! [I wish it had been around years ago when I used to drive!]

*Then practise practise practise until you can do the route yourself without having to be given directions by the accompanying friend/SatNav. Hopefully in time this will improve your [and my daughter's] confidence and you will develope a kind of directional instinct.

Good Luck!! :)
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