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Driving anxiety

(74 Posts)
Jaffacake2 Wed 27-Mar-24 07:39:36

Wondering if anyone else is having difficulties driving due to anxiety ?
I have been driving for nearly 50 years but have stopped recently due to panic attacks whilst driving. It's only around local areas and I know the routes well having stopped motorway driving a few years ago.
It's been a difficult year with ill health,family stresses and all the normal ups and downs of life. I have back problems from decades of nursing which have caused nerve pain in my right leg and some numbness in my foot. Am trying to get this treated and seeing an osteopath tomorrow.
Wondering whether this has made me anxious and brake too much as subconsciously worried that I may miss the brake pedal.
Thinking of giving up the car and relying on public transport with the occasional uber.
What would you ladies do ?

Gingster Wed 27-Mar-24 07:45:11

I totally understand this Jaffacake. I’m only a local driver but with the traffic getting so busy and impatient, I have to have all my courage and concentration with me. I’m determined to keep going with the car, but if I could manage with public transport I would.

Try to persevere if you can . Good luck to you, we’re not the only ones. ☘️

AGAA4 Wed 27-Mar-24 08:00:49

Driving these days isn't easy. I am having similar thoughts about giving up driving as people are so impatient, drive too fast and take unnecessary risks.
If you are having panic attacks while driving it may not be safe for you to drive.
You could try relaxation techniques to see if that helps but if you feel very anxious it may be better to stop driving for a while at least. I know a few people who have given up driving and are happy they did. They have found more relaxing ways to get around.

Oopsadaisy1 Wed 27-Mar-24 08:24:45

When I had numbness in my right foot due to a spinal op I wasn’t allowed to drive as I couldn’t be sure that I could use the brake pedal.

It might be an idea to check that you are still allowed to drive, it was almost 2 years before I was able to.

petra Wed 27-Mar-24 08:31:28

I would think twice about driving Re your right foot.
If for any reason you had an accident and the insurance company knows about your condition your insurance will be cancelled.

polomint Wed 27-Mar-24 08:34:10

I understand your concerns jaffacake2 as you are not 100% sure of whether you are able to brake etc. I'm fairly confident of driving even on motorways but the driving standards are declining. No manners or consideration. I do want to stop driving, I would give up tv first! Personally I think I need to keep driving in order to keep my confidence. I did have to stop driving a few years ago due to an injury and it was pretty scary to start again

polomint Wed 27-Mar-24 08:34:55

I meant to say I don't want to give up driving!

Juliet27 Wed 27-Mar-24 08:41:17

I was never a relaxed driver and avoided it as much as I could and although since I decided to give up my car I miss the freedom, I’d hate to be constantly avoiding potholes and cyclists.

Marydoll Wed 27-Mar-24 08:42:29

I suffer from driving anxiety, worse after a lorry ploughed in to me at traffic lights many years ago. I have to make myself do that journey to overcome the anxiety.
I haven't driven on a motorway in years.

However, I recently changed my car to an automatic and I surprised myself, despite feeling very apprehensive about driving it, that I feel my confidence returning. It is the strangest thing.
I hopefully won't be giving up driving any time soon, I am striving hard to maintain my independence.

polomint Wed 27-Mar-24 08:55:53

I agree, driving gives me independence and freedom

Aveline Wed 27-Mar-24 09:13:22

I lost a lot of confidence in driving due to long gaps after joint replacements and COVID lockdown. However, I'm finding that I can drive perfectly well and am feeling better now I've forced myself to drive more.

Redhead56 Wed 27-Mar-24 09:18:25

I gave up motorways years ago I would like to get in the car and go where I want but I can’t even though I have tried the panic stops me.
I do drive local A to B as the saying goes but even then if I see a diversion sign that strikes a panic! The only time I was legally not able to drive was after THR that was for twelve weeks.
As for public transport I use it for trips to town rugby or meals out with friends so we can have a drink. I wouldn’t personally like to rely on public transport but if my health dictated it I would.
Someone suggested seeing if you are legally allowed to drive do try to find out. I am sure it will make your mind up either way.

Katie59 Wed 27-Mar-24 10:05:21

As we get older illness affects our reaction time, what not enough attention is given is how painkillers and other medication, even Paracetamol affects us. It only takes one moment of inattention or distraction to cause a serious accident.

Callistemon21 Wed 27-Mar-24 10:08:44

I enjoy driving but have become more apprehensive about motorway travel. The motorways are often so busy with impatient drivers, some weaving in and out in a dangerous way.
DH prefers motorways, thinks they are a quicker way from A to B but often the long way round is quicker in the end.

Casdon Wed 27-Mar-24 10:09:02

I don’t mean to sound harsh, or offend anybody, but I think there are only two choices if you are anxious about driving, you either do it more, push your boundaries and go to places you don’t normally until you feel confident again, or you stop driving altogether. It’s not safe for you or other road users to drive if you aren’t 100% focussed on driving, and lack of driving or sticking to the same routes is dangerous because you lose your skills. If you feel so anxious Jaffacake2, now is the time to stop in my opinion.

Callistemon21 Wed 27-Mar-24 10:13:45

If all the other drivers would stay off the motorways, they'd be wonderful.
Spaghetti Junction anyone? Try keeping a safe distance and another car will jump in front of you.

Lovetopaint037 Wed 27-Mar-24 11:12:07

Depends a lot on your access to public transport. If that is not a problem then you may well find that giving up is the answer. If you factor in insurance, recovery service, mot and servicing you may find that paying for some transport may be more affordable. We gave up our car last year as transport around here is good. We also discussed the fact that we could afford to use the local cab company if need be and still be financially better off. We are in our eighties and dh said his reactions were no longer as quick as they used to be.

Georgesgran Wed 27-Mar-24 12:28:08

On this thread, I very much agree with Casdon.
I can’t knit, sew, dance and my singing voice is usually only heard by dogs. My cooking is edible, although I’m no Nigella, but I can drive! I love it and I’m good at it - or so others tell me.
I can’t understand the problems people create for themselves - a Give Way sign is the same in Grantham or Glasgow and a Bus Lane is a Bus Lane whether that be in Brighton or Bristol.
An old friend who was sent for a driving assessment was forced to give up as all she could tackle was a familiar route - the assessor said she could and should be willing and able to go anywhere within the limits of her licence.

Perhaps the very caution and indecisive should ask for an honest opinion of their competence from a professional,

Oopsadaisy1 Wed 27-Mar-24 13:36:26


I would think twice about driving Re your right foot.
If for any reason you had an accident and the insurance company knows about your condition your insurance will be cancelled.

Exactly that, I was told my Insurance would be invalid until the Dr. signed me off.

IMO this is more important than not quite feeling up to driving.

Jaffacake2 Wed 27-Mar-24 18:10:24

Thank you all for your comments.
Stupidly I hadn't considered car insurance cover. I was really concerned that I may crash and hurt someone.
I am going to see what the osteopath thinks tomorrow. Hoping it may be a trapped nerve which she can release. Then seeing gp next week. If this is a chronic physical state then I will give up driving. Not risking being behind the wheel in the meantime.

Mojack26 Sun 31-Mar-24 12:02:28

Entirely up to you. If you don't feel safe driving don't! I have been driving for 50 years also, thus April in fact. Cannot imagine not driving, still love it...

hollysteers Sun 31-Mar-24 12:17:14

Never enjoyed driving, even as a young woman, but hoping to carry on for as long as I can.
Strangely, I am quite happy on motorways, I find them straightforward, it’s messing about in towns looking for parking etc. that fuss me.

I had a caravan over 50 miles away so drove regularly to that, but sold it, then lockdown came and I found my confidence affected. My aim now the weather is improving, is to drive regularly to the lovely spot where I had my caravan.
Use it or lose it, if you rest, you rust.

vickya Sun 31-Mar-24 12:17:43

For your confidence you could have a driving lesson, having explained the problem. Or have an assessment/advice session with the Institute of Advanced Motorists. Their trainers are sympathetic and lovely.

missdeke Sun 31-Mar-24 12:18:27

If you have confidence issues driving you have a couple of options, giving up entirely or before you decide you could try a refresher driving lesson so that a professional could assess your abilities before making up your mind, Of course if there are health issues that make it unsafe for you to drive then giving up is the sensible thing to do.

silverlining48 Sun 31-Mar-24 12:19:45

I have been driving accident free on my part anyway for 50 years but also less keen now. I woukd be very happy if all cars were cleared on my route, or at least remained 100 yards away but that is cloud cuckoo land of course.
I don’t like and avoid driving in the dark or , when it rains and hate fog too.
I know if I stop how hard it is to start again and given we don’t have public transport nearby I force myself to keep going with it, but tend to keep very local these days.
There was a time when I enjoyed it, but those days are long gone due to a couple of bad motorway experiences with foreign lorries.
We have a cross country hospital appointment this week some distance away and impossible to access by public transport so car it will be. Luckily my dh still likes to drive, but even he isn’t over keen nowadays.