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How Can I Get Over My Fear of Driving?

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Authored by Rodney Southern in Automotive
Published on 02-10-2011

Driving is one of the scariest things that we face as we grow to adulthood. Many teenagers are excited about driving and will be ready to climb behind the wheel immediately when the time comes to get their driver’s license. Other teenagers will make excuses and avoid driving at all costs. Why are some people afraid of driving while others are not? Often, it is about the experiences that they have been through. Sometimes it is purely their personality. Regardless, there are some tried and true ways to overcome your fear of driving, and get you behind the wheel.

The first thing you have to do to overcome a fear of driving is to identify the specific fear. Some people are afraid of driving because of the clutch. Some fear they will be unable to keep the car on the road. Some fear driving because they were in a wreck, or someone close to them has been. There are myriad reasons why one might be afraid to drive a car. Identify this fear first and you will be on your way towards solving that particular fear.

If you are afraid of driving but can’t seem to identify why, then you should ask yourself some questions. Are you afraid to ride in a car? If so, then chances are your fear is not based in your abilities but the car driving itself. You need to gain some confidence. Driving a car is a big responsibility, and this can be overwhelming for some people. If you find that you are afraid of being in cars period, then you likely would do well to talk this fear through with a counselor or psychologist. They are able to help you work through your fear, and create an environment to enact lasting change. It will depend on how deeply rooted your fear of cars and driving is as to how long this might take.

If your car driving fears are performance based, then you can easily address this through practice. Take a trusted friend or family member to an abandoned area such as a parking lot or old dirt road to practice. You should make certain that no traffic will be around, so that you can drive around and practice without stress. A parking lot is ideal, but you should talk it over with the owner of the parking lot ahead of time. Let them know your situation and ask permission to use the parking lot after hours.

When you get to the parking lot, then practice all the things that you fear. This is called exposure therapy, and it is designed to slowly introduce you to the phobia that you have. Over time, you can increase the situational stressors until you are driving on regular roads and so on. Practice your control over the car, and various parking situations. Practice using a stick and an automatic, and always keep your friend or family member with you in case you feel unsafe.

By slowly exposing yourself to your fear of driving you will face it down and overcome it. If the fear seems too strong, or you are unable to take these steps, then consult with your counselor and they will help you work through it. Over time, you will find your way through this irrational fear.

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