Son Teaching Mom to Drive (anxiety issues)

Well the title maybe a little misleading, my mom has drove, but after her car broke down years ago she never did drive for years. This year I encouraged her to buy a used car (97 Taurus), I put the work into it yet she still depends on others for transportation (I’ve drove it more than her due to my own vehicle wo’s).

I think she WANTS to drive but her anxiety gets to her quick. I’ve taken her out to the “learning streets” in town and she will do just fine, though I did correct her on her turning (gently and after that she did just fine again though after a while she will pull over and say that she can not drive and I’ll take over.

So has any one else had this trouble with someone, if so any advice?

How old is she? How old are you?

Yes, consider age in the equation.
My 83 year old dad sold his motorcycle this year because friends and he notice his reaction time and periferal awareness are slowing and a motorcylce requires utmost concentration.

Next, don’t push her to take trips she is uncomfortable with.
Start with routes she’s completely familiar with like ; to the store or church.
Stress that she not be too overly concerned with all the antics those other drivers are participating in and that she drive HER way in her lane and stick to her business.
All the other drivers will just go around and it won’t bother her…as she gets used to that fact.
Show her that and talk about that fact as YOU drive her way showing her how that theory works for her.

Shes late 40’s I’m 19 with about four years driving, no wrecks or tickets.

Not a bad idea, I’ll see if I can’t encourage her to do more of just the standard driving, not just “learning roads”.

OK, ages help - besides driving anxiety, she might also have anxiety of driving with you, putting you at risk. Might she do better with a non-family member? Might it be worth paying for a commercial drivers ed. teacher that could evaluate her skills without the mother/son thing entering into it?

But all this assumes she WANTS to drive. If she doesn’t there’s no much we, or you, can do.

Wow, been there done that! Mom was 60 and did not drive when Dad passed away. She wanted to learn how to drive and I wanted to help her learn. The biggest problem by far was her inability to accept direction from her son. Any instruction or correction ended in her yelling at me. The teacher-student relationship could not develop. Fortunately for me, her friends taught her and she eventually got her license at age 62 and began terrorizing her neighborhood from then on. Not everyone should get a license even though they still do.

If you can afford it, how about using a driving school? I spent around $300 for 6 hours of driving instruction for my oldest daughter in NJ. I think it made it easier for both of us. I will do the same for my youngest daughter this year.

Ed B.

I agree with your attempt to teach her to drive. You are to be commended. At some point, you won’t be around and she will be on her own. @edb1961 makes a good suggestion.

Don’t know if a non-family member would be able to help, as for commercial drivers ed the only one in town only instructs at the high school (private business), and thats only because he teaches there (I had him for a few courses).

@dagosa indeed. Only thing is though its not me she mainly depends on its my Grandpa

There must be some other friend or family member who is a good driver, even tempered etc. who could help you out. Some times, it’s worth having more then one " instructor" till you hit on a good match. You often need a different perspective. In education, some students learn better with different instructors. The same can be true for driving. You just need to find the right one.

Just keep looking and asking. Does your mom have friends who drive ?


I think you . . . and your mom . . . need a LOT of patience

Take her driving for several hours each week, under all conditions . . . until she gains confidence

If she has no confidence, she will probably panic and make mistakes

And confidence comes from experience

Maybe start in some empty parking lots. Watch her as she drives up one aisle, turn, and down the next. Like a big church parking lot on a weekday. When I was a kid, that’s where my friend and I would run his go-cart, as there were no cars there at church mid-week.

Reminds me of when I attempted to teach my (now) ex-wife to ski. It turned out that wasn’t a good idea. She was reasonably talented for the sport, and anybody could have taught her how to do it at a beginner level at least, except me. She just wouldn’t take any instructions from her husband. Power thing I guess. Later, I purchased some lessons for her from the ski school, and that’s how she learned, with no trouble at all.

So it is possible that this is something that will be impossible for you and her to do. Interpersonal mother-son relationships are complicated, and if even minor comments from you make her upset, probably best to give up on this idea. Better if an authority figure like her father or even her brother/sister could provide the instruction. Even better, an actual driving instructor with a clipboard and look of authority. Your local high school or junior college may have some ideas about this, maybe the offer an adult driving course.


If may help your mother (if she’s a ‘study the book’ kind of person) to go with a very structured approach. I used ‘Drivers Ed in a Box’ with our son, worked out well, there’s lots of written material to go with it. And that way you have an ‘authority’ to point to, not just your opinion.

Getting confidence in driving a car in a confined area is tough. Cars whizz by and not having a practical knowledge only derived from experience of knowing the car boundaries is disconcerting. I had my kids drive through the vary narrow roads of cemeteries at low speeds to help. Just a suggestion on what to do. Ones and parking lots are fine, but limited. Practical experience without the danger of hitting anyone in a cemetery setting was helpful.