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hello. i need some guidance.

i just turned 16. i just got my driver's permit, which means that i can drive a car as long as i have an adult in the car with me.

a few weeks ago, i was ecstatic about this. most of my friends are older than me and so have been driving for a while now. i've driven around a parking lot several times and i felt really, really confident about myself.

then my parents put me behind the wheel. (in our neighborhood, but still...)

and i flipped out. all of a sudden there was just too much going on and i couldn't handle it. there was a car over there, kids there, a stop sign -- i felt like overdrive. there was just way too many things to keep track of.

i do not want to drive anymore. i've driven through the neighborhood a few more times. i'm still really nervous. i told my parents that i don't want to drive and they say that it's normal and i'll get through it. i NEED to learn how to drive. (not sure of the intelligence behind that statement, as i've been bus-ing myself around the city for the past few months.)

so, um. is this related to my anxiety? i know i feel anxious about this whole situation. being behind the wheel, i don't have a panic attack or anything similar, i'm just really overwhelmed. recently my anxiety has been under control, thanks to mostly meds. i'm just worried about this driving thing... i know some people with ocd or anxiety can't drive.

of course, this might just be 16yo excitement/worry also. i mean, it's a fucking car. i could do a lot of damage in one of those things.

i feel really uncomfortable anxiety-wise writing this, so i'm going to stop. i really just need to work out whether this is anxiety-based or just teenage-based. (none of my friends have expressed so much self-doubt or panic.)

thank you.

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It's good to be scared of cars. They can kill you and multiple other people all in the same second. As common and useful as they are, they pose a threat to everyone. It is completely healthy to have a sober understanding of the danger of automobiles.

However, when the fear is controlling you to a point that you cannot control the car, something needs to change.

I drive because it helps calm me down. Unless my mother is in the car. Then I practically cannot drive. My movements are erratic, I miss turnoffs, I accidentally cut people off, I ignore my blindspot, everything just goes downhill. This only happens with my mother. She doesn't have to do anything, I just can't do it. The only near accidents I've had have been with her in the passenger seat. I don't really know why this is, but she completely erases my ability to drive.

Maybe you have an issue with your parents in the car. You said you drove in a parking lot before and felt confident--were your parents there? The first time I drove was with my father and the stupid fuck wouldn't tell me what to do with the clutch when I needed to brake--he just kept insisting he'd tell me when I needed to know. I told him to tell me now goddamnit, but he didn't. So here I go, careening towards the ocean, and when we're too close, I brake without the clutch because I don't know how to effing use one. Next week he needs a new clutch.

I don't see him much so in 10 years I haven't driven with him in the car since. But hell if I want to try.

Ask a *responsible* adult who isn't your mom or dad to take you out. See if that helps.

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I've always had problems with anxiey. Maybe it's a combination of anxiety and being new behind the wheel. It can be overwheming. It does get easier though.

I remember my first car. A ford pinto station wagon. (yeah, I know) It was a stick and I was turning out of a neighborhood. I just froze. Pure panic. After 20 minutes of siiting in one spot my dad got behind the wheel. Shortly after that I got an automatic.

I'm 29 now and I still have to pull off the road sometimes.

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Ask a *responsible* adult who isn't your mom or dad to take you out. See if that helps.

...i don't really have any other responsible adults who would do that. ;;

but no, that makes total sense. my parents have both admitted that they're scared to death to be in the car with me, so it's entirely possible that i'm just picking up their anxiety. i did drive with them in the parking lot, i've always driven with them in the car. the parking lot vs neighborhood thing i think is pretty simple: i have to deal with other people who are kind of unpredictable.

what you say (both of you) makes sense. i just don't know any other adults that i would be comfortable asking to drive with me. i can think of one relative in particular who i think would be a good driving teacher, but he's 8 hours away. so, i dunno what to do about that problem... i'll think on it.

i haven't actually frozen up yet, i think i'm too on edge to do that. i think whiskey_or_god is right, i think it's my parents.

thank you.

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  • 1 month later...

I am 16 too and just got my learners permit. I think it's pretty normal to be anxious driving. I've gotten a bit anxious from time to time but nothing overwhelming. I think you should start off with deserted country roads or somewhere easy like that and gradually start driving in more frightening situations.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I too was insanely scared of driving when I first started as well. There's just so much to learn and you never know if the other driver is any good. Highways made me crap my pants. However, after doing it for awhile that has entirely disappeared and I find driving something I love to do and it is very relaxing so just keep at it.

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here's an idea- instead of going around the neighborhood (where you could run up the curb, miss a stop sign, run over a dog, run over a kid, etc), why not have your 'rents take you to a parking lot at night when it is empty and drive there? learn how to drive along the lines and park. then graduate to the metro park in your area (if you have a park), or a cemetery. the park could be challenging because of winding roads and animals, but the residents of the cemetery are already dead, so you're not going to hurt them (dark humor there).

i learned in the parking lot, the park, the cemetery, and then the neighborhood before the main streets and the dreaded highway.

then i learned parallel parking.

i have a huge driving anxiety and sometimes either take a cab, bus, or get a ride because i just don't feel up to driving, but if you're careful and go at your own pace, you should be able to get your license. it's normal for anyone to be afraid to drive. it's a huge responsibility and is dangerous.

be safe! go at your own pace!

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Young Drivers...

I still freak out in traffic,

Put me in a big city ,

I run over the curbs

go against one way streets,

get into rude behavior patterns,

close calls galore.

The screams of

passengers,

the howl of either tires

or the neck-snapping

launch of my SUV,(I'm not kidding)

nothing says Fuck off,

like waving the idiots off the street,

ZOOOM,the wieners. ;)

never stop.

Blehh

I have my little town wired,

although a good curb jump,

is good for the Soul,

And BIG sploohy mudpuddles.

Gee,I wasn't much inspiration,

when I learned to drive,

Rural Del Norte county,

hell it's almost all rural.

Advice:watch your mirrors,

look left before right turns,

and the left blind spot,

maybe a big motorcyle,occupying

your space,nobody gets more

irritated by ignorant drivers

more so,if they needed

pried out from under your car.

Don't flip-off anyone who will stop :)

brandishing weapons,not so much

there are exceptions

of course.

I'll leave that to you.

Stasis,Driven to the brink

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  • 3 weeks later...

three weeks later, my email lets me know that someone's replied...

thanks, all, for the advice. i'm much more stable now, much more self confident. and actually, i never really built up to driving anywhere -- my parents thrust me onto an expressway and i did just fine. (i wouldn't recommend that as a good teaching method, though.)

since then i've gotten better, my dad can actually relax in the car with me! but i still can't drive with my mom. i've tried, and it's just useless. but other than that, i'm good. the time i was closest to ramming someone was because my mom was in the passenger seat screaming, so i consider that pretty good on my part. ;)

so, thanks again. just keep swimming... just keep driving...

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