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Juniper29

Fear of hitting pedestrians

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I have developed a lot of anxiety around driving and one of my fears right now is that I will hit a pedestrian with my car. It's worst in the parking lot for my son's preschool because there are all these little kids. I know logically that if I ran over a person I would know, but I keep checking my rear view mirror for bodies in the road. I also have intrusive images of accidents whenever I'm in the car. Anyone else have this and how do you deal with it?

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i have a somewhat similar fear of yanking the steering wheel into the other lane and colliding with another car when i'm driving. i get frequent intrusive thoughts about it, particularly on hills, curves, or when traffic is sparse on long stretches of highway. they're quite unsettling and anxiety-producing. 

first thing to note is that intrusive thoughts are not a realistic or reliable source of information, nor do they represent what you truly want or think. there's no trick to making that easier to believe. you just have to work on it. repeating some facts (verbally or in your head) whenever you're confronted with the thoughts can help over time. for example, you're a safe driver who would never, ever hit a pedestrian if there was any possibility of avoiding them. the chances of this happening if you are an aware driver are minimal. you would absolutely know if you had hit somebody. it's not something that happens secretly. let the thoughts and impulses wash over you and dissipate. they're nothing more than brain jabber.

also, there's absolutely no problem with driving slowly, doing a lot of mirror/shoulder checks, and hesitating if you have any inkling that something isn't safe. battling these thoughts doesn't mean becoming a reckless driver. just go as slow as you need to in the parking lot with intentions of being as safe as is reasonably possible.

i'm sorry you're dealing with this anxiety right now. as far as places for anxiety to manifest go, driving is practically free real estate. keep confronting your thoughts. keep battling them with truths (that you have had no accidents, that no other drivers at the school have hit pedestrians, that you would know if you hit someone). practice techniques to reduce anxiety -- music/radio if it helps, silence if that helps more, breathing techniques, mindfulness, whatever you've got for coping skills.

might also be worth mentioning this fear to your pdoc. a med change may be in order if this is causing you a lot of distress.

take care. hope things improve.

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I have the same but with cyclists. It's a nightmare, whenever I drive by them I always have a panic attack. Especially on narrow streets. Unfortunately I don't know how to overcome it, but I know it's a pain.

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@echolocation I have the steering wheel thing too. Driving into other cars, driving into barriers, off cliffs ... yeah.

Hopefully I can manage this with coping skills and avoid another med change because I'm the most stable I've been in months. This is really the only thing, when I'm not driving I'm fine. I will mention it though.

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One thing that helps me is a car that alerts me if I’m about to hit something or if something is behind me when I back up. Getting a new car may not be in your plans but if you’re considering it soon, check out those features. It’s helped me a lot. Especially since pedestrians tend to dart out and play chicken here. Otherwise I tell myself it’s just false thinking but that’s not too helpful really. Car technologies are key for me, an unexpected benefit. 

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