How to drive again after decades of avoiding it
January 11, 2012 9:59 AM Subscribe
I haven't driven a car in 15 years, and I'm about to get behind the wheel on Saturday. Help me prepare to get on the road again!
posted by Neely O'Hara to Travel & Transportation (18 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
A little background - my first time trying to drive was 22 years ago, when I was 16. My father tried to teach me, which was a terrible first experience. He screamed and yelled at me for any mistake I made and I would start crying and have to pull over to the side of the road and I absolutely dreaded the thought of driving.
Then I took lessons with a driving school through my high school, but failed the road test twice, and then didn't get behind the wheel again until I was 22. I took lessons from a different driving school and finally got my license. But I drove very infrequently, and then moved to NYC, and now it has been 15 years since I've driven at all.
Over these 15 years, I've gotten more and more anxious at the idea of driving - I have so little experience behind the wheel at all (for example, I've never driven at night before and I've only been on a highway once or twice). I've also been a passenger in a few accidents, which has increased my anxiety, and I am really intimidated at the idea of being able to process everything on the road that I need to pay attention to. I also feel like I have some issues with spatial perception - lots of times as a passenger I feel like other cars are going to hit my car, even if they're not all that close.
So anyway, after all this time of working myself up into a frenzy of nerves any time I would even contemplate driving, I signed up for refresher lessons last night, and my first one is Saturday. I want to be able to drive like any normal adult! But now that I've paid and signed the contract, I am just terrified that I won't be able to handle it. Not only do I feel like I have forgotten everything I used to know, I don't feel like I really ever knew it!
So I guess I'm looking for some tips or resources I can use before Saturday to be as ready as I can to face my biggest fear. Both in reducing my anxiety, and also just in how to be ready to handle a car and traffic again. I don't even know what I need to know! And any personal anecdotes of recovering from driving anxiety are welcome too.