Almost 28 and Still Afraid!

I'm 27, will be 28 next month..I am married and have 3 small children and I do not know how to drive.  I am scared to death!  Occasionally I'll pump myself up about going to driving school..getting my learners permit  AGAIN.  But then I stop and really think about it and I freak out, I feel sick to my stomach just thinking about it.  I need/want to drive.  My life and my childrens are hindered..we don't get to have play dates, go to the park...we don't live near one to walk.  My oldest will be 4 next month and my possibly going to pre-k in the fall and it'll be crazy if my husband has to leave work early to pick her up if she gets sick...and what about field trips and other volunteering?  I need to fight the fear and the embarrassment but it's so hard when you feel the pit in your stomach and the heaviness in your chest!


To add to this...My mother is/has also been afraid to drive..but she has/had her license..she doesn't drive now mostly because she has vision problems from her diabetes.  My 18 year old sister is also nervous but she's learning with the help of our brother.  When I was younger..around 11 or 12 I did see a little girl in our court get hit by a car but I'm really not sure if that is related to the fear I feel.

PaigeDuVall PaigeDuVall
5 Responses Apr 14, 2009

I can relate to how you fee. i have been down that "road" i finally signed up for a class at and it was just what i needed. they work with you one on one and help you feel comfortable. However, if your not ready there is no need to feel bad. It can be very scary. The driving class helped me feel more confident. best of luck

I can relate to you. I am 38 and terrified of driving. My husband is extremely frustrated which I do understand but it is a fear I have had for a long time. My husband and I travel a lot for work together and I want children but he has a valid point. ....who is going to take the kids to the doctor when they get sick as a as other activities. I am fearful. To make matters worse, he is on my tail about it.

i can totally relate to you, paige. i have such terrible phobias of driving. just the thought of getting behind the wheel completely freaks me out, in ways most people cannot even begin to imagine.<br />
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thanks so much for sharing your story too, fiammetta. your story is very inspiring!

AngelJ - Thanks, I think I'm really going to try this summer!<br />
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Fiammetta - Thanks so much. It really helps to know someone understands. I also live in an area where you are supposed to drive everywhere so I do not leave the house usually until the weekend. I really appreciate your story and all of your advice, I'll take a look at that DVD! I do take the DMV practice tests all the I will absolutely be doing driving school! I don't trust anyone I'm close to to have the patience or to explain everything I need to know. I just need to work up the courage to go back to the DMV for a new permit.

Awww sweetie! I know how you feel! I had the worst, most stubborn driving phobia for 21 years and I didn't learn how to drive until I was 37 years old. It was so bad that when they were babies, I used to joke that I'd definitely learn how to drive before those damned Olsen twins on Full House. Yeah, said that in the late 80's and those girls had grown up and learned to drive years before I did. Doh! I know the feeling you have, not just of fear and panic, but also of shame and dependence. It sucks, I know. I'm also from a huge city that is notorious for its lack of public transit, so I totally suffered and missed out because of my phobia.<br />
The only thing that finally got me to bite the bullet and learn was extensive professional driving lessons. I called driving schools in my area and asked if they had any teachers who specialized in people with phobias. I found a teacher, a female, and was so terrified that I didn't sleep the night before my first lesson. I took a paper bag with me on that first lesson just in case I started hyperventilating or, to be honest, barfed! I thought I was going to die. I cried. I panicked. My palms were so sweaty I could barely hold on to the steering wheel. And it took me months before I stopped feeling this way. But you know what? I learned and got my license on the very first try. Now I have zero fear of driving at all and it's been a bit over two years since I got my first license. Don't know if you can afford professional lessons, but it's totally worth it, even if you can only afford one session. I think it helps to have a pro teach you, preferrably someone with expertise in dealing with fearful students. I think it's imperative that you take that first lesson with someone in a dual-controlled car. My teacher had foot pedals on her side of the vehicle so she could brake or accelerate if needed. That can be a bit of a relief when you are so scared. Make sure you find someone who you feel comfortable with and who will let you take it at your pace, put who will still give you a push when you need it. Definitely don't bother with learning how to drive a stick-shift - you don't need it to be any more difficult than it already is for you. And then try to remember that for all your fears, for all the mystery that driving seems to hold for people like us, for all the time and effort you've put into avoiding your fear -- driving really is little more than using one foot to step on two different pedals and turning this circle thing called a steering wheel. You will be taught how to use your mirrors properly, but it's not the kind of thing you can learn without sitting in that car and looking at them. If you are worried about the rules of the road and spatial dimension (like I was) then you have to realize that no one knows these things until they are taught and have practiced. Maybe you can start by going to your DMV website and taking written tests online? Is there a video game that involves driving that can help you decrease someof your fears little by little? I used a DVD called "Rules of the Road: A Complete Driver's Ed Course" (available for purchase online) to help slowly decrease my anxieties. It lets you stop and pause whenever you want so you can review the info they give and it also offers some camera views from the perspective of the driver that can help begin to sort of build up your tolerance for driving situations.<br />
Please know that you have a new pal here in me if you ever need advice or to chat with someone who has been through what you are going through. If I can get my license at my age and with my history, I really feel like anyone can. I wish you all the luck in the world and wish I could give you a lesson myself! You can do it!