Driving anxiety

by Wee-zer

Over the last 8 years I have developed driving anxiety. I used to drive on the highways and even to airports about an hour away but I am pretty terrified these days. Even riding in a car on the highways terrifies me.

I cringe at the high speeds and people tailgating and the cars going so fast and being so close together. People zigging and zagging in and out in front of me taking crazy chances.

My spouse had to go for surgery in our state about an hour away. The traffic is always horrendous and confusing. I just couldn't drive to this hospital and there are no easy back roads to get there.

So I hired a limo company to drive us there and back in a town car.

It is insanity and I used to love to drive but no more. I know they tell you to get over it you have to face your anxieties and drive on the highways but I just can't do it.

This will be a problem in the future I am sure. I got my license when I was 16 years old (now 66) and drove all over the place but over the years traffic has increased insanely and seems people don't drive with care anymore. People are so distracted with cell phones, drinking, eating, tending to kids...

Anyone else have this issue?

Public transportation is lacking in my area too which adds to my problems.

Comments for Driving anxiety

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Driving Anxiety Continues but...
by: Canadian Retiree

I've been making myself drive more lately and my husband encourages me to go more places on my own. I'm finding it helps. I've had to a couple of times take my car to Honda for servicing and I've driven there by myself. I'm okay driving in my neck of the woods, but I'm still nervous when I have to go beyond our city limits. Most of the traffic in our city are from other municipalities as they pass through our city to their destinations. The traffic can really get ugly in the early morning and late afternoon commutes. Usually I don't travel at these times. If there's any kind of traffic issues our roads become like parking lots especially on Pattullo Bridge as it is very narrow. I used to cross this bridge daily on my commute to work but now I hate driving over it. My husband still does most of the driving, but I'm trying to overcome my driving anxiety. Yes, I too sing when I feel an anxiety attack coming on while behind the wheel. It does work. I also say "feel the fear do it anyway" several times to myself. I also have a water bottle in my car take a swig of water which helps. I never used to be this way years ago. I drove everywhere. I think it started when I was in an accident - not my fault - I was turning left and a lady driving a New Yorker ran a light and rammed into me. My car was totaled. I gave up driving on the freeway and then it just got worse. Actually I've had two accidents, the other was a guy in a truck who ran the red light and rear ended my car. Both accidents have caused my driving anxiety. It's a drag, but I keep working at getting over it. All the best everyone

I hear you
by: Sandi

I know what you mean! I still drive places but avoid areas with a lot of traffic. I hate to admit this because it reminded me that I’m getting old and I hate to rely on others!

Driver Anxiety
by: Elizabeth Spokane

I know there are others just like you who have driver's anxiety. I don't; however, I usually remember to use a ritual that I totally believe in, because it has saved my life or at least protected me or my car from an injury.

Here is what I do: I imagine there are three huge loops of white or sparkling light around my car in 4 directions - 3 loops of light from front to back of my car, 3 around the middle, and 3 loops on two diagonals around my car - 12 loops of light in all.

My final step is to imagine a giant hand of God on the roof of my car, guiding me down the road.

This has worked for me since I was a young mother - I am now 70, and I still use this protection ritual.

driving anxiety
by: Carol from West Chester

After an accident where my husband flipped the car on a highway with me in it, before seat belts, I developed driving anxiety. I was in my 30s then. From then on I cringed even as a passenger.

Now, in my 70s I have had to learn to drive highways by myself. Have not had to do it yet but, I decided if my anxiety gets to me to pull over on the shoulder of the roadway and breathe my anxiety away. Sounds easy but I'm sure it is not.

Going to my daughter's I was always afraid of missing the turn off ramp. Thankfully, that ramp has been fixed to be more visible from the highway.

I would like to drive 3 hours to the ocean (Atlantic) for a vacation yet the thought of getting onto an unfamiliar super highway scares me. It is only about 8 miles of super lanes but getting on is terrifying.

Maybe if I left very early before heavy traffic I could do it? Or do I give in and take a bus to a diff part of the ocean. No bus to where I want to go. A limo would be fun but costs more than I can pay.

Terrible when we are scared to enjoy life. I don't have a solution just wanted to share.

driving anxiety
by: Cindi H, OH

My older sister started having problems driving just before she retired. She also has a great fear of heights so she won't drive over bridges, anywhere near mountains.

As far as the driving, she is down to only really close errands, mostly right hand turns and through familiar routes. A lot of the time she calls on Go Go Granny for rides.

Do not feel like you are the only one in this situation. I googled it once to see what I could find to help her and found out that is not a rare problem. I did get her some "Rescue Remedy" that a friend uses for panic attacks. She used it once and said it helped but now "saves it for emergencies"??

Rescue Remedy on Amazon
-- looks like a great product: "Developed by a doctor more than 80 years ago, homeopathic RESCUE REMEDY was formulated to help you stress less, stay calm and in control."

Traffic is a lot worse than when we were younger. If you can change your location, it might help. In the county I live in in Ohio, they offer Laketran to everyone - small buses that go everywhere in the county and to Cleveland and senior citizens get a hug discounted price. You can even call and preschedule a door to door pick up. But I do know that that's not a solution in most places.

Maybe check with your local church to see if anyone might offer a ride if you scheduled ahead. Personally, I still love driving and I hope I can continue until I'm 90 but I do know that others have a lot of anxiety about continuing. I wish you the best.

Me too
by: Mary

I’m 72 and I’ve noticed the same feelings. I’m fine in my town, which is not too big, and a couple more that are near, but longer distances make me nervous anymore. I try to find back roads...anything to keep away from interstates.

I use to not even think about it...but the drivers are different with the texting and high speeds and so much truck traffic, not to mention alcohol and drugs. It’s very scary. I live in a state with two notorious dangerous roads...these I don’t do.

Less driving
by: Wee-zer

Well, I just wanted to comment that I do a lot of on line shopping to be delivered to my home.

Occasionally, I shop on PeaPod for groceries too. I am constantly getting deliveries. It is so much better than going out a lot. Walmart only requires a $35 minimum order for free shipping. They are quick to deliver too. I shop for personalized gifts on Etsy. I get my prescription drugs delivered by Optum RX thru Medicare Part D. I also order from Costco, QVC, Amazon, Target and others. It cuts down on road trips.

The only drawback is breaking down the cardboard boxes the shipments come in. They have to be cut up and put in recycle bins.

I went to CVS the other day and they are now offering prescription delivery and it is thru USPS and is two day delivery. I think you have to pay a $5 monthly fee and that may cover stuff you buy on CVS.com too.

I also bought a upright freezer on Sears.com and it was delivered in one day! My old one broke down, was full of frozen food and I didn't lose a single item.

I tried to shop local and out of the 5 places I called, no one could get me a freezer for 3-7 days. On line shopping is definitely a great resource for seniors who don't want to drive or can't drive anymore.

Wendy: I also tried grocery shopping online for my mother during recent return from the hospital. We can get it delivered, but we did a pick up instead. There were a row of next to the building special parking spots. A sign in front with a phone number and spot number. You simply call, give them your name and spot number, and they put all the groceries in your trunk. It's easy to order -- and have them deliver to your doorstep.

My Thoughts
by: Wendy, retirement enthusiast

AARP has a Smart Driver course and it's free.

Maybe it would help some of you. It's one thing to not want to leave the home. It's another to not drive anywhere.

My mother gave up driving when she retired, preferring to be chauffered around by dad. That was good until he was legally-blind and had to stop driving. Luckily, they have my sister and I nearby to help.

Mom liked dad taking her everywhere. He'd sit outside in the parking lot waiting, or inside if the store had waiting chairs. She couldn't, however, meet friends for lunch or go shopping alone. It seemed to work out for them.

I vowed I will NEVER stop driving... No way!

I need my independence. I don't care to follow moms footsteps in being left without the ability to get up and go. I may not go far. I may even choose to stay at home. But -- I need to know I can go.

It's a mental thing for me: I want to know I can go where I want to go -- when I choose to go.

Just another opinion based on my perception of moms mistake.

p.s. I am wondering now if it's an AGE thing? Maybe this will happen to me too in a few more years?

Should I Stop Driving
by: Linda/Nevada

I think many seniors are plagued with driving anxiety. When we were teenagers and young adults, driving was fun and adventurous. Now in our senior years, it can be downright scary.

I have questioned many times whether it is time for me to give up my car for other means of transportation. The idea of being free from car maintenance, car registration fees, and car insurance is pretty tempting. I also do not like to drive on freeways. I am out of practice entering and exiting ramps and the speeding cars give me the chills.

Numbers do not lie and when I calculated how much I am spending on a daily basis to keep my car, there is no way that public transportation or ride share services could be cheaper. I am fortunate to have a car that is paid for and that is economical on gas. My calculations show that it is only costing me $2.50 per day to keep my car.

To calm my fears about driving, I never get on freeways even if it is faster to get to my destination. I give myself plenty of time to drive without using the freeways. I have lots of time now days. I plan my driving to be on the road during non-peak driving times and I rarely drive more than 10-15 miles from home. I chose my doctor's office as close as I could to home and I order a lot of my household items online. I buy the bulk of my groceries only once a month, but if I run out of something, then I go to nearby grocery stores that are only five to ten minutes away.

I have decided, for now, to still be an active driver and I pray every time I get into my car that I will have a safe journey.

I Hear You
by: Canadian Retiree

Yes I suffer from driving anxiety. I sometimes avoid freeways and bridges.

I had to drive my husband back from the Vancouver General Hospital a month ago. I was nervous but managed.

My husband does most of the driving especially over bridges. I gave up driving to work a few years ago and took transit. It was a tough commute but I did it.

I’m retired now and don’t drive much unless I have to. I totally understand how you feel.

Hang in there.

Driving Anxiety
by: Carol, Canada

I am the same. If I have to go out for an errand, I have anxiety thinking about it. If I have to go the grocery store, I will just put it off, day after day. I never want to go anywhere anymore, the traffic drives me crazy.

My husband asks me to go hiking and I keep saying no thank. He said, Are you just going to give up and never do anything again?"

I feel bad for him as it doesn't bother him as of yet. I just stay home, I put things off over and over again just to get out of driving.

My husband works and I do have appointments and have to drive when he isn't here. The traffic is horrendous, I agree. And must be like this all over.

I recently flew to another city to visit my daughter, and it's even worse where she lives. It was insane. Lots of buses here but again, I just want to stay home.

Wish I was rich and had people to do all my errands for me and take me to my appointments, ha, ha. My girlfriend is the same and she is 10 years younger than me and all ready sick of the traffic.

I'm 69, just retired end of 2018. My job required me to drive 1/3 of the time so I am sick of traffic. Don't know what the solution is.

Take a driving class
by: Michael D. Bell, REALTOR®, Venice Florida

I feel the same way. In the summer, I live in a rural farming area. I drove to my sister's house this weekend - about 170 miles each way.

There are many more cars than there used to be. People are distracted by their cell phones. \

My Nana drove until she was 94. My Mom would often worry about Nana driving too slowly in high speed traffic. But, Nana would say "they can just go around me."

I would say the best thing to do is to drive defensively and safely as you always have. You might also contact your local AAA office or senior center to find out if there any driving classes for older drivers.

Being with others who experience the same issues and learning ways to deal with those issues might help ease your fears.

Public Transportation
by: Joe W.

Where do you live? In a village, small town or somewhere else. Ask you town councilor about possible transportation additions.

The other idea is to move to a place that isn't so isolated and closer to hospitals, schools and whatever else you need in a new community.

Build a life around your changing circumstances.

Driving Anxiety
by: Nancy

Hmmm. So I'm not the only one? I've noticed being anxious about driving lately.

I'm 70. I used to never mind driving long distances, by myself, or with someone else. When I was working, I traveled all over the place on a daily basis and liked it.

Now it's a big deal to go out of town anywhere including the library which is 5 miles away.

Like you, I sometimes have to drive to a town an hour away for doctor's appointments and I really dread it.

My husband and I used to take long car trips, but this doesn't appeal to me anymore. We have taken several bus trips which have been very enjoyable because I don't have to worry about any of the driving.

Wendy, lots of people don't have Uber or Lyft in their areas. I live in a small town that doesn't have Uber.

Try Ride Sharing...
by: Wendy, retirement enthusiast

Have you considered Uber and Lyft where you ask for a ride and a driver with a car magically appears?

I have friends who are drivers, and retired, and enjoy picking people up and taking them to their destination... with a little chatter in between two points! I like the fact that no money is exchanged. You pay via the App, and the driver is paid by the company later.

I've read where lots of younger generations don't own cars and use Uber/Lyft a lot (especially college age students, and that's a good thing when in Party mode!)

A few years ago, at a conference and I ran to the front desk saying I'd be down at 6am for a shuttle ride to the airport. Unfortunately, the shuttle didn't start until 7am and the desk clerk said "why not get a uber ride?" I was kinda shocked and said I'd consider it.

I didn't do it, didn't want the app on my phone but it seems many use it nowadays... I would try it if I needed a ride.

Just my two cents!

p.s. You MUST be safe. Before you enter any car, ask for UBER I.D. to assure you are in the right car. These drivers are registered with UBER or LYFT and precautions have been taken to assure you are safe.

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