Driving phobia, how can I help?

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Driving phobia, how can I help?

Postby StellarStory » Wed Jun 25, 2008 7:55 pm

My teen has a driving phobia. Does anyone know of some ideas that would help?

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Postby Theodore » Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:35 am

Driving is a little scary at first for many people. About all I can advise is - ease into it gradually. A small car in an empty parking lot is pretty safe, then you might graduate to slowly meandering around back roads for a while, then higher speed roads, and so on. Bump the speed up up by 5 or 10 mph per session and it won't seem like much.

Aside from that, the only way to conquer fear is to force yourself (or have someone else force you) to do whatever it is you're afraid of. Your teen may be mortally afraid of driving, but you're still going to have to force him/her to get started. If it helps, buy a few sessions from a driving school, that way the instructor can stop the car if it goes careening into a ditch or something.

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Postby StellarStory » Sun Jun 29, 2008 11:06 am


I've done all that actually. She's had a driving instructor. We started slow.

I was afraid too. I overcame it. I guess she will just have to work it out herself. At this point I think she will resist my ideas anyway. I think it has to come from her.


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Postby Teatime » Sun Jun 29, 2008 12:28 pm

I have no advice for you, Stellar. Just experience with a non-driving child also.

Kid1 got his license at age 16 along side his peers but was never interested in using it until recently - at age 28. There was real fear there for some reason. No amount of easing into it or encouragement and practice could get him behind the wheel on his own. So, he adjusted to life as a non-driver. He walked and biked throughout college days and early jobs. When he bought his home, it was within walking distance of his work. His social life didn't seem to suffer. He has always just managed somehow. He has a car now, but I noticed it stays parked a good part of the time.

I'll bet he's a little healthier from all those years of walking and biking. As his mom, it's been nice to know that he's always walked home from the pub! And think how much he's saved not spending anything on car upkeep, gas, and insurance till now! See? Lots of positives!

I know, I know. It's kind of unique to not be a driver in our society. But he has managed just fine.

Kid2 waited til she turned 18. We thought we'd raised TWO non-drivers there for awhile! She took public transportation to and from jobs and classes. She tired of having to adjust to the bus schedule. Paid cash for her car, and now we can't keep her off the road! I think it was a case of waiting til it was something SHE found to be necessary in her life.

Kid3 practices every chance she gets! She was apparently born with wheels under her. She is chomping at the bit to get her license.

Jury's still out on Kid4. She's only 9. She sure likes tooling around on the lawn mower though. Wish we could instill a little fear INTO that one!

Hang in there, Stellar. They are all amazingly different, aren't they?!
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Postby StellarStory » Sun Jun 29, 2008 12:34 pm

Yes, they are!

Thank you for your post.

I was scared of driving too but seeing how being a non driver affected an Aunt I was NOT willing to be that person.

On the up side, I don't have to be scared my girl is out on the streets in a wreck. I don't have to paid huge insurance for her either.

I just want her to be fully functional in the world and happy. At this point and time I think I need to back off and see what she can find to break through this fear. She is rejected all of my ideas and help anyway.


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Postby Minniewannabe » Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:56 am

TeaTime, I like your stories. And StellarStory, just have your DC move to New York City or another optional car town after college. My mother-in-law has never driven in her life out of fear and she's faired just fine. At least she will ride in a car when someone else is driving.

Irrational fear, like driving, leaving the house, seeing the number 13, etc. is just fear out of proportion to the danger involved. Since it is irrational, it doesn't respond well to logic. Like Theodore said, you can try and move up in small doses, but that doesn't always work either. Sometimes the best thing is just adjusting one's life to the fear.

It usually takes a new fear of not being able to do something becoming greater than the original fear before anything starts to work. For example, someone who is afraid of driving may become so disappointed he/she can't have a particular job opportunity that he/she becomes willing to work on the fear of driving. Until then, nothing much may work and life adjustments are necessary.

At least you DC won't have to spend $$ on gas right now. I'm not sure any of us will be driving in a few months anyway.


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Postby StellarStory » Mon Jun 30, 2008 10:48 am

I just want my child to be a fully, comfortably, functional, adult in the world. To me not driving is dysfunctional but then I live in the Deep South where public transportation tends to suck. That's where I like to live and where I want her to live.

For those of us who must keep driving and using gas, I do hope there is some turn around soon.

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Postby StellarStory » Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:10 am

Thanks. I'll look into that.

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Postby chrisd » Thu Apr 28, 2011 5:01 pm

I hated driving. I didn't want to learn and I got my license a couple days before my permit was to expire because I was trying to avoid the process. What I should have done was...
1. Start practicing where no one is around (solves the embarrassment problem).
2. Start with an automatic transmission so there is one less thing to worry about.
3. Expand the driving situations as the teen grows more comfortable.
4. Get a good driving instructor

I learned almost the exact opposite and my driving instructor was bad. A friend of mine owns a driving school in the Los Angeles area and I have heard good things about their instructors. I wish they were around when I was learning.

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