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Topic: anxiety while driving

10 posts, 0 answered
  1. Jcob5839
    Jcob5839 avatar
    4 posts
    28 February 2020

    Hello everyone im a 17 year old year 12 student and im having some anxiety issues with driving a car, i am diagnosed with OCD and depression and im medicated for it. I recently got my drivers license and while i do like the freedom it gives me i try to avoid driving because it makes me feel so anxious. i need to constantly check the dashboard to make sure im not speeding, every time i change lanes im convinced to could have hit someone on a motorcycle or a bike. i panic every time i go through lights because im scared it will go yellow and i might make the wrong decision if it is safe to stop or not. i had a particularly bad experience on the way to school this morning, i was about to go through some lights which had a crossing on them the speed limit was 70 and the light went yellow and panicked and didn't think i could stop in time and the light went red when i was halfway through it the thing that made it so horrible was that there was a group of school kids waiting to cross and i thought if they started crossing i would have killed and innocent group of kids i have been thinking about it all day and i got to the point where i had to make this account and express my feelings because im too scared to tell anyone in real life, has anybody gone through any similar experiences and know how i could deal with them

    thank you

    1 person found this helpful
  2. Bee1998
    Bee1998 avatar
    28 posts
    28 February 2020 in reply to Jcob5839

    Hi Jcob5839,

    I’m really sorry to hear that you are going through anxiety, I know how hard it is, as I have been though it myself. If you don’t mind me asking, are you currently on any medication for the anxiety? And if so, is it helping at all? I don’t have a huge amount of advice to give, as I am only 21, and am not currently going through what you are dealing with. All I can say is, there are people out there who you can seek help and advice from, and people who care! If you ever need to chat to someone, I am here.

    I know I haven’t really given any helpful advice, but I wanted to reach out to you, to show you that I am listening , and I care.

    Stay strong - B xx

    1 person found this helpful
  3. ErinB
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    ErinB avatar
    34 posts
    28 February 2020 in reply to Jcob5839

    Do you feel safer when you have someone in the car with you? Since you're so new to driving it might be a good idea to only go on supervised drives until you feel more comfortable. I don't know too much about cars but I think some cars have the option to set a speed limit and your car can't go above it. Maybe it would be a good idea to look into that?

    I'm sorry to hear that you're struggling so much with the incident from this morning. Your anxiety is valid as it is a very stressful situation to be in. So many drivers have accidents or incidents similar to yours, even experienced drivers. Sometimes we over or underestimate how much time we have, not only when driving, but in other moments in life. You didn't hurt anyone and you were aware of your mistake. Well done for coming online and telling people!

    1 person found this helpful
  4. Gambit87
    Gambit87 avatar
    534 posts
    28 February 2020 in reply to Jcob5839

    Hi Jcob5839,

    I'm sorry you are experiencing this! its hard and stressfull.

    I too have OCD and the thing you need to remember is that these are just thoughts. Your thoughts are not you!

    OCD feeds on your reaction to those thoughts, the more you react to it - the more it affects you. As hard as it is recognise them, then just disregard them, don't give the thoughts power. Every time I get a thought I think 'Would I really do that? really? No - Move on'

    I cant recommend seeing a psychologist enough! they will be able to help you with strategies to help you.

    1 person found this helpful
  5. therising
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    therising avatar
    1490 posts
    28 February 2020 in reply to Jcob5839

    Hi Jcob5839

    As someone who's been driving for over 25 years, I believe you made a good call (continuing on through the lights). This is what the amber light is for, so you don't have to suddenly hit the breaks. As I say to my teenage kids 'Better to go through the amber light in a straight line than hit the breaks and go through the intersection out of control, after you've slammed on the breaks'.

    Believe me, learning to trust the calls you make comes with experience. You will learn to trust yourself. Part of that trust also involves making calls when it comes to avoiding unnecessary stress. There are still intersections I avoid because they're acknowledged by many as being incredibly stressful. I occasionally figure what's the point of entering into a completely unnecessary challenge.

    Keep in mind, there's a massive amount of information for the brain to take in when you drive. Until the brain is programmed to naturally take in this amount of info through practice and experience, you'll naturally have regular moments of challenge that you'll learn to work through. If you're navigating peak hour traffic (early morning school time) I regard you as a hero, managing just getting in the car.

    I'll let you in on a secret - just about every experienced driver keeps to them self moments where they've made questionable calls whilst driving (myself included). This is one of the reasons why experienced drivers appear to be perfect drivers. They're not really.

    Important thing to remember: L platers and P platers wear the plates so that others know they're not experienced drivers. It is the responsibility of every road user to make allowances for people displaying plates. Anyone who doesn't factor in such consideration shouldn't be on the road in my opinion.

    And 1 last tip: Don't let bullies (tailgaters) lower your vibe. They're inconsiderate arrogant twits. One of the methods I've adopted is - focus on the speed limit, stick to it best you can and if the fool behind you tries to bully you into going faster try thinking 'Nup, not interested in you pal, only interested in sticking to the speed limit!'

    You are a brave legend and I admire you for undertaking the insane challenge of navigating today's roads. It really is a massive challenge so don't undersell yourself. You'll graduate into higher levels of confidence as you go. Every experience is a learning experience.


    2 people found this helpful
  6. Jcob5839
    Jcob5839 avatar
    4 posts
    29 February 2020 in reply to Bee1998

    thank you for replying!

    yes i am currently medicated for anxiety but unfortunately it doesnt seem to help a whole lot ive had a few switches and im currently trying a new a one hopefully it works out for me

    thanks again!

  7. Jcob5839
    Jcob5839 avatar
    4 posts
    29 February 2020 in reply to therising

    thank you so much for taking the time to reply i really appreciate. its good to know that all drivers make mistakes and its not just me. your insight is very helpful and gives me some confidence

    thanks so much

  8. AmzzmA1993
    AmzzmA1993 avatar
    3 posts
    4 April 2020 in reply to Jcob5839
    I’ve been driving for over 10 years and have always been a careful driver but over the last 2 months or so I too worry that I may have run someone over even though I really know that I Haven’t, I have to constantly check my mirrors or turn around and make sure there’s not someone laying in the middle of the road. I don’t have any answers for you but it might be comforting to know that you aren’t alone.
  9. G.P
    G.P avatar
    18 posts
    5 April 2020 in reply to Jcob5839

    Hi Jcob5839,

    Thanks for sharing your experience here in this space. When I saw the title of this post, I knew immediately that I could relate. Firstly you're not alone, and congratulations on getting your drivers license :) - that's a win in itself despite the situation that you were in.

    I'm about 10 yrs older than you, and it's hard for me to admit this... but I'm also still a very anxious driver. I've only started very slowly to face my anxiety with driving, among other insecurities I have, and it's an ongoing challenge. I'm still trying to understand all the road rules, and not freak out when I'm behind the wheel.

    I'm not sure yet how to overcome it all, and I'm fearful that I'll be stuck with this for a long time... I'm still reliant on others, and feel silly that I can't get myself to places :/

    This might not be helpful with you, but just know that you're not alone in this all, I can understand and relate to how you're feeling...


    1 person found this helpful
  10. Nimi
    Nimi avatar
    89 posts
    5 April 2020
    Hi Jcob5839!

    I hope you are doing okay and have been able to find some peace after that stressful experience! I thought I might join in on this topic as I have had a very similar experience to you as well! I used to be very terrified and anxious about driving... so anxious in fact that I failed my test so many times I lost count! Eventually I got my license and on the very first day of driving on my own I had an accident and totalled my car.

    It was really traumatic and I couldn't drive for at least two years afterwards until suddenly one day I really needed to because I couldn't reach work if I didn't. I was very scared, but much to my surprise I started to be able to make the trip on my own safely each time. I found that for me setting up playlists of comforting music like my favourite songs really helped out. I could sing and distract myself from anxious thoughts.

    I am not sure if this tactic would work for everyone, but nowadays I find it relaxing to drive especially if I give myself enough time to get to my destination, so who knows! I hope this post is at least a little helpful and wish you all the best!


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