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Phycological problem during driving


I had a pretty bad car accident 4 years ago and since then I’ve been very nervous when driving on highways.

For the past 4 years, I’ve been very afraid of the right side of the road especially when it is grass land. I think it may due to my car rolled over on the grass land during the car accident.

It’s been very difficult sometimes embarrassing when I drive on high ways. Since I tend to drive very close to the right and very slow. When the speed limit is 65, I usually drive at 55-60. I am also awfully nervous.

Do anybody have suggestions?

Thanks a lot!

I talked to an airline attendant who had been in a plane crash, survived and is still flying. She said that the odds were very small of being in a second crash, so she wasn’t worried. Maybe you can appply the airline attendant’s experience and reaction to your situation.

One way to deal with Post Tramatic Stress Disorder is to find a way to relive the incident. You want the “reliving” to be as real as possible. Have you checked if your insurance covers phycological thearpy? perhaps some time in a simulator would help. Good luck.

You have a minor case of PTSD. You can see a Psychologist and get some help, or you can deal with it yourself. One way of dealing with it would be finding a freeway that has less traffic and intermittently increasing your speed and then down and kind of challenge the boundaries. You will eventually get over it-for the most part. Some of it will stay but that is what we call “experience” you will be a more careful driver. What you don’t want to be is a dangerously slow driver.
I would say if the accident was pretty bad and now you are driving, you have already achieved 95% of the goal, you just have to get over the grass roadside problem. Also have you visited the accident site since? Sometimes that helps, but make sure you are ready for it before doing so.

I also find driving makes me nervous, even though I’ve never had or been in a serious accident.

One thing that seems to help me is to concentrate on doing all the actions driving requires as by-the-book as possible - check mirrors frequently, make sure to keep enough distance away from other cars to allow room to adjust to sudden changes, stay consistently at the speed limit [for dry, daylight driving, maybe a little lower at night in bad weather], observe behavior of nearby drivers. By thinking of the actual things I have to do, I don’t allow myself to think of how nervous I could be getting.

Congratulations for recognizing a problem and being willing to be proactive in resolving it. In the past few years we have been able to improve treatment of this kind of problem. As you apparently know, it is a problem much like cancer or heart problems etc.

Ideally you have medical insurance that will pay for professional help. One thing to remember, It is not a weakness on your part any more than my cancer is due to a failure on my part. I need medical help and so do you.

You have started on your recovery by asking the question, please do follow through.

I also suggest that you seek therapy for this problem, especially if you feel your nervousness is severe. Being extremely nervous while driving can increase the likelihood of having another accident. If talk therapy, revisiting the accident, etc. don’t work, your therapist may suggest medication to help you with your nervousness while driving. Don’t rule out the medication option because it can really help with things like this. Any of the above mentioned can help with PTSD, which is what you seem to have since it’s been four years and you still have issues with it. You may also want to consider taking a defensive driving course. It may improve your confidence and, in any event, will make you a better driver.

Man up and get back on the metaphorical horse. I got shot by accident (at least I think it was accidental) whilst on hunting years ago. Luckily it was only a .22 and there wasn’t much penetration, we think it may have been a ricochet off a tree from a shot fired a ways away. But anyway, I was back out there a few weeks later.

Thank you all for your help!

I knew I have a problem but until today I know the name for it. I will check with my medical insurance company and car insurance company to see if they cover any of the therapy. I will try to sit in a defensive driving class as well. I may not be able to come back to the accident site since it is in another state but I will do it when I get a chance to.

Thanks again everyone! You are really helpful.

Some practice might help alleviate your fears of the right side.

I believe the fear is for the way the car seems to get caught by the rough if you get too far over to the right.
One’s natural gut reaction is to yank the steering wheel back to the left trying to instantaneously get back onto the driving lane.
This yank causes the swerve that results in fishtailing into a roll over ( possibly the cause of your accident ? ) and that’s what we need to practice NOT doing.

Practice in your mind.

Practice on the road at slower speeds.

You have to re-train you subconsious reaction to swerve
but instead, to grab the wheel tight with both hands. – Tight with both hands --, will force the car to go in the direction YOU want it to.
Steer in an essentially straight line and slow…no brake pedal…and GRADUALLY ease to the left to get back on the road surface, then return to driving speed.
Or not, depending on the circumstances, just slow to a stop in the rough on the shoulder of the road.

Step one of this practice is to ease over to be driving on the rumble strips and practice steering straight , then easing back to the driving lane.
— both hands on the wheel — This is where I like arm rests on both sides. When you can anchor both elbows and grab the wheel that way, the car WILL go in the direction you tell it to. This action is what you use for a flat tire too to avoid the swerve and fish tailing.

Step two of the practice is to pull off to the right, slowing to an eventual stop , rumble strips, then shoulder, then stop as you would for any mechanical malfunction or if the grand kids are barfing in the back seat.

When you see that you really CAN make the car go where you want it to with both hands firmly on the wheel, THEN you can begin precticing in your mind as you drive.
– Then you begin re-training your subconcious reaction.
– Then you begin to feel more comfortable with the right side of the road.
and after that you can begin driving at speed with the rest of the rat race.

You can also employ the ‘two hands on the wheel’ method any time you feel unsure, guaranteeing the car is going in the direction you want it to.

I do this often. With an arm rest on the door and a console in the center I have two great anchor points for both elbows. As I get into touchy situations I anchor both hands on the wheel and feel pefectly confident about aiming the truck safely through.