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  • Writer's pictureSarah Tian

How I Overcame My Fear of Driving

Updated: Nov 1, 2022

I got my driver's license almost ten years ago, and I've driven so few times that I can count them on two hands. But I've gotten past this problem in the last two months, and I've just started driving everywhere! I even drove from Boston to New York City!

I want to share my journey of driving, what I did to conquer my fear.

Those of you who are afraid to drive, I hope this gives you the courage to get behind the wheel!

My Driving Anxiety

Growing up, I observed how my mom was scared of driving, so she would only drive roads she knew well. She would also avoid driving on highways, which was relative easy to do living in Budapest, because we only needed to go on a highway when we were going out of town.

Hearing about car accidents on the news and from those around me also contributed my fear of driving. One of my Chinese school teachers and one of my roommates in college have both been involved in car accidents that hurt them or their families very badly.

Then, I watched my partner learn to drive and see him get into a few small accidents in the beginning. This made me think that accidents are inevitable for new drivers. So I thought that the only way to make sure I never got into an accident was to never drive at all.

The few times I tried to drive, it was a terrible experience. One winter day, I was trying to back my car into a parking spot on the side of the road when my right back tire hit the sidewalk and went flat. My partner and I looked up how to change tires on YouTube and then spent an hour in the cold wind (without gloves) changing the tire. Another time, I was driving in the city and a person was trying to cross the street, but I didn't see him because the right side of the car was blocking my view.

When I finally spotted him from the windshield, I stopped right away. He overreacted by slamming his hands on the hardtop of my Mini Cooper and shouting some angry words I didn't understand. That scared me so much that I stopped driving.