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I can't drive a car EDIT2: ...or actually!

Pomorek

Antelope-Addicted Hyena
I admit it's a strange kind of problem. Also I wonder how understandable will it even be on a forum where vast majority of userbase is American. But I need to get it off my chest..

Basically, I can't bring myself to drive a car because I'm feeling too anxious about it. Before you start wondering how do I even live - driving is not that necessary around here. Everything is either in walking distance, or there's public communication to get you there.

It's not even a technical problem for me. I even have a license. Passed on second attempt, which in the context of the local stringent exams is pretty good (as if getting B grade while A would be passing on first try). I was mostly forced by my family. But I found the whole thing so unnerving, that since then (quite a few years) I drove literally a few times, and never by my own initiative.

I know all the rules etc, can even explain them to others. Also I'm cycling quite much, and I'm not giving people any reasons to honk at me, so I'd say I know how to behave in traffic. But with a car, there's way too many factors to pay attention to at the same time and I find it overwhelming to the point of anxiety.

Locations of other vehicle on the road and their speeds and directions. The course of the road, the speed and course of my vehicle. It's own spatial extent, and distances to keep from things. The status of the road, as expressed by roadsigns. All the manipulators to use. And my arch enemy, clutch pedal and manual stick (eliminating that would shave off like 25% of the whole problem, but alas, it's Eastern Europe and automatic transmission is for rich people only)... Too much to pay attention to at once!

I can handle this, with significant effort of will, for half an hour or so (just enough to pass that exam) but after that my brain undergoes emergency shutdown from all the overload. And I need to quickly look for a place to stop and cool down. After two such periods (tried such longer drives on the courses) I'm all shaky and really unable to continue in any safe way.

The problem is made all the worse by the local driving culture, or rather the lack of it. People drive like crazy, treating it like some competition, and not paying attention to safety. Going cautious and sticking to the speed limits etc. can actually anger others. I've been a witness of several accidents resulting in complete wrecking of vehicles. So it can't even be said that my driving anxiety is completely unfounded in such environment.

Why does it even matter since I managed to find my ways around without driving for so long? Well, together with my wife we devised a *possible* way to make decisive improvements in our life. A rather big change. And there's huge probability that when it's put into motion, I won't be able to avoid driving any longer. And it is seriously worrying to me. By the way, my wife doesn't have licence yet but intends to get it.

I don't really know what to expect from this tread. I know well there are no magic bullets. Exercising driving together with someone more experienced and whom I can trust would be optimal, but I don't have such option. Shelling out for some extra paid training is an option though, and I may pursue it for the lack of other solutions. There's not much else I can think of. Tried some therapy by the way. As useful as it was for other issues, with this one it didn't help a whole lot.

But maybe someone can have some idea I have not encountered before.
 

Borophagus Metropolis

The last prehistoric floofy woof of FAF
Do what Americans do. Get the biggest, most lifted truck or SUV that you can afford and drive like everyone else is in your way.
>.<

More seriously, a safe vehicle is important, but driving skill and experience is most important. I highly recommend additional training, including defensive driving, collision avoidance, and skid control. That will give you some well deserved confidence in your abilities.

The basic driver training course in most places training is a joke. Oh, so you know what the signs mean, you can keep it between the lines, and you can parallel park. You can drive! But that has nothing to do with managing the physics of a two-ton death machine travelling at 70 MPH when shit hits the fan.
 

TyraWadman

The Brutally Honest Man-Child
I can barely cross the road nowadays without getting hit. On our way to the new town, we had a car just... I don't know, not see us somehow? I just remembered being jerked around in my seat as they swerved. As soon as the guy realized his mistake, he slowed down so much we lost sight of him in seconds.

I know it probably doesn't help bolster your confidence but i can understand your fears. I have little faith when it comes to putting the trust of my life in someone else's hands!
 

Kellan Meig'h

Kilted Luthier
Take my lead and get a 3/4 ton 4 wheel drive pickup. Nobody messes with me, especially if I have my Western snow plow mounted. Always ride right on the line, letting others know this road is yours.

As an aside, the automatic transmission is all too prevalent here in the USA, to the point I purchased a late model Mercury Marquis, same as a Ford Crown Victoria and performed a three pedal conversion. Same year mustang 4.6L 410 h.p. and Tremec 6 speed manual. The big Merc has the sport package so it handles great on the road and it's more of a driver's car after the conversion to manual.

The best part is, a manual transmission is kind of a millineal anti-theft device. My 18 year old grandson can't drive a stick. LOL.
 

The_biscuits_532

Eternally Confused Feline
Take my lead and get a 3/4 ton 4 wheel drive pickup. Nobody messes with me, especially if I have my Western snow plow mounted. Always ride right on the line, letting others know this road is yours.

As an aside, the automatic transmission is all too prevalent here in the USA, to the point I purchased a late model Mercury Marquis, same as a Ford Crown Victoria and performed a three pedal conversion. Same year mustang 4.6L 410 h.p. and Tremec 6 speed manual. The big Merc has the sport package so it handles great on the road and it's more of a driver's car after the conversion to manual.

The best part is, a manual transmission is kind of a millineal anti-theft device. My 18 year old grandson can't drive a stick. LOL.
I should note the last point is location-dependent.

The majority drive manual here in the UK, regardless of age.

Except me

As I noted in my last comment.
 

KiokuChan

4-tailed kitsune
Me neither and I was in a similar boat, and finally got rid of the license my parents pressured me into getting after moving across the country. (Trust me despite having it I couldn't actually drive safely). It's okay. Even if you end up needing transportation Uber, Lyft, Door Dash, Uber Eats and all kinds of stuff like that makes it much easier now. I am absolutely not okay with driving but I get by on my own without a lot of trouble.
 

Jaredthefox92

Banned
Banned
My brother has some great advice that every driver should know: ALWAYS expect EVERYONE around you in another vehicle or walking around to be an idiot. Do not underestimate the stupidity of other drivers and pedestrians. Always prepare for the worse situation and drive defensively, if someone could do something stupid, chances are they will. Let people pass you if they're in a rush, let them get ahead and then comically stop at that stop light that you both would have to pull up with. Be prepared to react in a moments notice.
 

The_biscuits_532

Eternally Confused Feline
My brother has some great advice that every driver should know: ALWAYS expect EVERYONE around you in another vehicle or walking around to be an idiot. Do not underestimate the stupidity of other drivers and pedestrians. Always prepare for the worse situation and drive defensively, if someone could do something stupid, chances are they will. Let people pass you if they're in a rush, let them get ahead and then comically stop at that stop light that you both would have to pull up with. Be prepared to react in a moments notice.
Yeah see I always assumed that and I'm pretty sure that's part of the reason I was such an anxious mess when driving

pls don't put me in charge of the speedy death machine thanks
 

Jaredthefox92

Banned
Banned
Yeah see I always assumed that and I'm pretty sure that's part of the reason I was such an anxious mess when driving

pls don't put me in charge of the speedy death machine thanks

I understand the feel, that is why I am also paranoid as well. It would be okay for me to drive, if we lived in a perfect vacuum world and people were not nitwits. I don't doubt my own driving capabilities, I doubt the brain matter of others around me while driving. Stupidity can kill, sadly.
 

Firuthi Dragovic

Gamer Dragon, former speedrunner
I actually had to be coerced into taking my initial driving tests when I was starting out. Driving is THAT crucial of a skill where I am. And even then, I can only really do it on open roads and highways. I could not do city driving under any circumstances.

It's also worth noting that I can't do drives longer than a couple of hours without getting out of the car and at least stretching. I'm considering moving because my typical drive is about an hour - to ANYWHERE - and I think the drive is messing with me given my fatigue afterwards.

It's all a part of having to watch way too many things on the road (which, where I am, can include deer - which WILL make a mess of a compact car like mine. One of a number of reasons I move up to at least an SUV as my next car).


Oh, and re: automatic vs manual.... just because I tend to pick manual driving for arcade racing games (and thus know that stick shifting's even a THING) doesn't mean I'm good at it or that I could drive manual in real life. I already have to track too many things on the road as it is, I have big enough feet that if you put three pedals on the floor I might hit two together by accident, and those games don't include the little detail about the clutch pedal in their shifting.
 

SKUNKELLE

New Member
I feel the same way towards driving! I've had my learners for around 4 years, and in that time I've probably only driven 4 times! Each time being really afraid. I'm lucky to live in a city with buses everywhere.
 

Jaredthefox92

Banned
Banned
I feel the same way towards driving! I've had my learners for around 4 years, and in that time I've probably only driven 4 times! Each time being really afraid. I'm lucky to live in a city with buses everywhere.

Lucky you, it's not easy where I live on a winding mountain, not only do you have idiots speeding on a mountain, but you also have deer in the road and there's vertical curves where you must stop and make sure nobody is flooring it up an inclined position otherwise you may collide.
 

The_biscuits_532

Eternally Confused Feline
Lucky you, it's not easy where I live on a winding mountain, not only do you have idiots speeding on a mountain, but you also have deer in the road and there's vertical curves where you must stop and make sure nobody is flooring it up an inclined position otherwise you may collide.
Yeah it was the same when I was learning to drive. Out-of-term I live in the Scottish South Uplands. Not quite mountains but the incline is certainly there. Hill starts can eat a dick.
 

Jaredthefox92

Banned
Banned
Yeah it was the same when I was learning to drive. Out-of-term I live in the Scottish South Uplands. Not quite mountains but the incline is certainly there. Hill starts can eat a dick.

Yeah, normally people have to worry about what is horizontal, but where I live you have to worry where what is vertical. No lie, there's a steep hillside swerve where I live to get between a town where my family lives, and someone has ran off of it and crashed with fatalities before. I always get nervous going down this path, but it's the easiest way to get to my family and not take the freeway.
 

Kellan Meig'h

Kilted Luthier
I should note the last point is location-dependent.

The majority drive manual here in the UK, regardless of age.

Except me

As I noted in my last comment.
While the UK and EU both keep with the manual transmission offerings, here in the USA the art of driving a manual shift car is slowly going way. The auto manufacturers like to use the auto transmission to help with smog emissions, to the point all manufacturer's pickup trucks are no longer available with a standard shift trans.

The art of shifting is dead. Long live the standard shift!
 

MaelstromEyre

Slippery When Wet
It takes practice. I didn't want to drive at all when I was a teen. So, my parents refused to drive me anywhere, and so I had to get my license if I wanted to be able to go do stuff. Yeah, it can bring out some anxiety, especially if there's bad weather, icy or snowy roads, etc. Just take your time, you'll get your confidence.
 

Pomorek

Antelope-Addicted Hyena
Thank you all for your responses!

I was thinking more about the whole thing, and it seems to be mostly a lack of confidence. Pretty severe at that. Like I said, not only I know the driving stuff very well theoretically (I was even able to help my sister and a friend with this part!), the practical exam was rather stringent and I've heard about plenty of people who need to take many, many more attempts to pass. But then, I can't bring myself to drive on my own, without any sort of "instructor".

Another curious thing is that I have no problems about being a passenger, while the risky road environment stays the same.

Do what Americans do. Get the biggest, most lifted truck or SUV that you can afford and drive like everyone else is in your way.
>.<

More seriously, a safe vehicle is important, but driving skill and experience is most important. I highly recommend additional training, including defensive driving, collision avoidance, and skid control. That will give you some well deserved confidence in your abilities.

The basic driver training course in most places training is a joke. Oh, so you know what the signs mean, you can keep it between the lines, and you can parallel park. You can drive! But that has nothing to do with managing the physics of a two-ton death machine travelling at 70 MPH when shit hits the fan.
Actually, my courses were rather involved. There was quite much driving with instructor. I can't recall exact number of hours after all those years, but it started in April and I passed the exam successfully in August. I was training various maneuvers in details. But then, it was mostly "normal" driving, both in and out of town, and parking. Lots of parking. The things you mention, defensive driving, collision avoidance, and skid control, were hardly covered at all.

So now I wonder how to go about this. I've had so many practice hours back then and it didn't quite do the trick for me. How many more would I have to add to make it work?... This might easily get impractical.

I can barely cross the road nowadays without getting hit. On our way to the new town, we had a car just... I don't know, not see us somehow? I just remembered being jerked around in my seat as they swerved. As soon as the guy realized his mistake, he slowed down so much we lost sight of him in seconds.

I know it probably doesn't help bolster your confidence but i can understand your fears. I have little faith when it comes to putting the trust of my life in someone else's hands!
Oh, I'm sorry to hear. I've seen too many of such situations myself too.

Same. Didn't even get to the test. Gave up after 30-odd panic-attack-y lessons. Whilst I lived in rural Scotland at the time I'm living in Liverpool at the moment so public transport is doing me just fine.
Well, I guess the biggest difference between us is that I could stave off my panic attack until after the drive...

pls don't put me in charge of the speedy death machine thanks
Very much this.

Take my lead and get a 3/4 ton 4 wheel drive pickup.
Ha, I'd love to! It may seem completely illogical (since one of my fears is losing the feel for the spatial extent of my own vehicle and hitting something because of that) but I love big cars. The bigger the better. Hell, give me a MRAP...

Sadly, aside from the fact that your recommendation would be unaffordable for me, I seem to recall that driving such beasts requires a truck licence in my country. And that's... another kind of problem.

With manual transmission, it is actually not a huge problem shifting gears when going. But starting to move from a standstill without choking the engine can be a little nightmare for me. Especially that the 90% of cars around here seem to have the clutch mechanism in bad shape. And then, starting to move uphill is rather huge nightmare...

I wonder if automatic transmission would't be an anti-theft device in my country. "It doesn't have a clutch pedal? WTF, how do I even drive this??" Automatic is an extremely thin margin, I haven't even been in a passenger car which would have this.

Me neither and I was in a similar boat, and finally got rid of the license my parents pressured me into getting after moving across the country. (Trust me despite having it I couldn't actually drive safely). It's okay. Even if you end up needing transportation Uber, Lyft, Door Dash, Uber Eats and all kinds of stuff like that makes it much easier now. I am absolutely not okay with driving but I get by on my own without a lot of trouble.
Indeed, it's not a practical problem right now. Public communication around me is at least decent. And even as I need to travel for job, a lot, there are assigned company drivers and I'm simply not one of them.

But I am missing out on some opportunities occasionally. And then, my overall life situation isn't too great. The place I'm at takes quite much blame. We'd like to move, and quite far at that. But then I'm afraid I'll end up in such situation that I won't be able to avoid driving any longer. So while not driving isn't really a limiting factor right now, it may well become so if our plans work out.

And I wouldn't like to resign the otherwise very promising plans, and the quite necessary change, just because of my inability to drive...

My brother has some great advice that every driver should know: ALWAYS expect EVERYONE around you in another vehicle or walking around to be an idiot. Do not underestimate the stupidity of other drivers and pedestrians. Always prepare for the worse situation and drive defensively, if someone could do something stupid, chances are they will. Let people pass you if they're in a rush, let them get ahead and then comically stop at that stop light that you both would have to pull up with. Be prepared to react in a moments notice.
That actually is the reason for me. In such dangerous circumstances, the most logical option is not doing the thing. Like, at all. So, maybe not the most productive assumption after all.

I actually had to be coerced into taking my initial driving tests when I was starting out. Driving is THAT crucial of a skill where I am. And even then, I can only really do it on open roads and highways. I could not do city driving under any circumstances.

It's also worth noting that I can't do drives longer than a couple of hours without getting out of the car and at least stretching. I'm considering moving because my typical drive is about an hour - to ANYWHERE - and I think the drive is messing with me given my fatigue afterwards.

It's all a part of having to watch way too many things on the road (which, where I am, can include deer - which WILL make a mess of a compact car like mine. One of a number of reasons I move up to at least an SUV as my next car).


Oh, and re: automatic vs manual.... just because I tend to pick manual driving for arcade racing games (and thus know that stick shifting's even a THING) doesn't mean I'm good at it or that I could drive manual in real life. I already have to track too many things on the road as it is, I have big enough feet that if you put three pedals on the floor I might hit two together by accident, and those games don't include the little detail about the clutch pedal in their shifting.
Very much the same. I also was coerced into getting the licence, and the city environment is my main problem too. Outside of it, I think I could handle much better. And yeah, the damned too many things on the road at once.

I feel the same way towards driving! I've had my learners for around 4 years, and in that time I've probably only driven 4 times! Each time being really afraid. I'm lucky to live in a city with buses everywhere.
Yeah, the public communication is a blessing for us.

It takes practice. I didn't want to drive at all when I was a teen. So, my parents refused to drive me anywhere, and so I had to get my license if I wanted to be able to go do stuff. Yeah, it can bring out some anxiety, especially if there's bad weather, icy or snowy roads, etc. Just take your time, you'll get your confidence.
The problem is where to get the required amount of practice in at least safe-ish environment. It's either huge traffic here, or empty forest roads, and those I handle without problem, they give nothing more to me.

Also I guess it's the matter how hardly pressed one is. I was practically coerced into getting a licence, but not driving didn't change much to me as we have public communication.

General rule of thumb: Drive as predictably as possible (make sure you signal when you are changing lanes or turning for example), and assume everyone else is an idiot.
Well, yeah, but this doesn't help when I feel I'm the idiot on the road. Regardless if this feeling finds confirmation in facts or not.
 
D

Deleted member 82554

Guest
I only have my licence purely out of necessity. And even then, it's only my restricted allowing me to drive between the hours of 6 in the morning and 10 at night, that's really all I need.

Car ownership and use in general is a pain in the ass. The amount of time, energy, and money spent just trying to find the right car, and one that isn't a lemon is hard enough, let alone having to deal with the expenses keeping it maintained and other drivers on the road. So unless you need to go somewhere far or that has limited transport, you're not really missing out on much.
 

Kellan Meig'h

Kilted Luthier
My oldest daughter took her 2019 retest in my 1997 Ford F250HD and IIRC, it still had the plow mounted on the front. My youngest daughter took the driving test in my three-pedal Merc Marquis. The tester tried to disqualify the car from being the test car but I pointed out, the state regulations say nothing about manual shift transmissions.
 

JuniperW

Birb Fanatic
Same. I find it very hard to concentrate/focus on certain things, and driving a car would be no exception. My biggest worry is getting into any accidents, since I wouldn’t want myself or anyone else to wind up severely injured or dead.
 

Crimcyan

Chum bucket with the u
I dont get how people overthink driving. My brain goes into autopilot mode when driving and completely zones everything out. I personally cant drive automatics because I will start falling asleep while driving them.
I kinda passed all my tests including motorcycle on the first try. I failed one of my tests because I told off the tester after they were complaining on how I was shifting so I dont count that one. motorcycle test was done in a heavy downpour so the testers were extremely impressed with me.
 

Ramjet

Seizing the memes of production
I dont get how people overthink driving. My brain goes into autopilot mode when driving and completely zones everything out. I personally cant drive automatics because I will start falling asleep while driving them.
I kinda passed all my tests including motorcycle on the first try. I failed one of my tests because I told off the tester after they were complaining on how I was shifting so I dont count that one. motorcycle test was done in a heavy downpour so the testers were extremely impressed with me.

Same...
Driving professionally for years probably had a lot to do with that though.

I do like autos just for the simple laziness of it, but I can drive both.
Split shift 10/13/18 speed sucks balls to manipulate in the city, glad I took my CDL in a 90 passenger auto school bus instead of the former.
 

Yakamaru

Your average Stand enjoyer
I dont get how people overthink driving. My brain goes into autopilot mode when driving and completely zones everything out. I personally cant drive automatics because I will start falling asleep while driving them.
I kinda passed all my tests including motorcycle on the first try. I failed one of my tests because I told off the tester after they were complaining on how I was shifting so I dont count that one. motorcycle test was done in a heavy downpour so the testers were extremely impressed with me.
For some it's that fear of not trusting themselves with a vehicle that easily weighs more than 15-25 people and can cause serious harm if not handled with lots of care. One could potentially say it's a self-confidence issue.

Personally I've never liked driving because I am too aware of my own mind drifting pretty much everywhere. I was thinking of getting a car with automatic gearing though because of my mind drifting everywhere and I get bored easily then manual may be what makes it a little easier. Come this week I am going to contact several driving schools to see if one have a spot vacant for the final test.
 
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