Thoughts People With Anxiety Have While Driving

I have a real love/hate relationship with driving.

On the one hand, I love the freedom that driving can give you; no more need to rely on buses or trains that never seem to turn up on time.

Plus you can just randomly decide to go on a road trip to the coast, rather than having to research travel times and buy 6 different tickets in advance.

On the other hand, I absolutely hate driving, it causes me so much stress and anxiety!

Not so much about driving myself (I can take pride that I am actually a really good, safe driver) but because of the number of bad drivers there are on the roads.

I honestly don’t know what the point is in having a driving test, it seems to me that people don’t bother to actually stick to the rules once they pass!

Driving can be difficult at the best of times, but it can be even harder if you struggle with anxiety.

I’ve been learning for 6 months now and in the last two months, I’ve improved so much!

I’m ready to take my theory test, and my instructor says that as soon as I’ve passed that, I’ll be able to take my practical test straight away.

Photo by Camylla Battani on Unsplash

While I’m super excited about actually passing, the thought of the test scares the crap out of me!

Being on the spectrum means that I’m shocking in test conditions, my brain just goes “nope, you deal with this”. It’s part of the reason that I was predicted A’s and A*’s at school but only left with B’s and C’s.

[Related: 5 Things I Wish People Understood About Autism]

Plus the test is going to cost a ridiculous sum of money to take and I don’t want to take it until I’m confident I’ll pass the first time, as I won’t be able to afford to do it again.

Do I think I could pass? Yes, I do, if only my anxiety would keep quiet for an hour. Fat chance of that happening!

It can’t just be me who has thoughts like this while driving is it?

Is that light really on red?

I sound so daft but I honestly panic that, even though I’m looking right at the traffic light and can clearly see it’s on red, it’s actually on green and I’m imagining things…

Have I got enough room to pass?

Even when you could fit a marching brass band through a gap, I’m always worrying that actually I won’t be able to get through and I’ll crash the car and kill someone.

Totally not being melodramatic.


Not at all.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Muttering “Don’t pull out” at junctions

Chris does this one too so I know it’s not just me!

Whenever I get close to a junction I instantly start to slow down and panic that they’re going to risk it and pull out.

This one isn’t even unfounded anxiety, it’s happened to me quite a few times while I’ve been learning.

Plus me and Chris were nearly in an accident last month when some stupid woman pulled out of a blind junction, without even looking!

Thank goodness Chris was doing the speed limit and reacted instantly or she’d have gone straight into my side of the car!

He still freaks out whenever we go near that same junction.

Constantly watching the speedometer

I swear I spend more time watching my speed than I do the actual road sometime!

It’s really easy to follow everyone else when you’re driving, and match your speed to theirs; which isn’t the best when most people don’t bother to follow the speed limit.

There’s a street near me which is supposed to be a 30, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone stick to it.

When I drive down it for my lessons, I end up with a huge queue behind me and you can guarantee I’ll get people trying to overtake me so they can go faster; usually shooting me dirty looks as they go by.

What do you get anxious about when you’re driving?

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Thoughts People With Anxiety Have While Driving



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  • I don’t have anxiety typically but an immense fear of heights. I have almost had panic attacks while driving over bridges. I try to calm myself down but it is not easy. I have been in an accident where someone pulled out without paying attention so I get anxious about that also. People can drive so ridiculous and other people have to be super careful!

  • Jade Marie says:

    Oh I’m so sorry to hear that! 🙁 my boyfriends been in two so I know the long term impact it can have 🙁 I never thought of people with heights having problems with bridges! Might have to add a paragraph about that 🙂

  • Mia Sutton says:

    I can totally relate. I get anxiety when I’m driving to somewhere I’ve never been before. I usually make my husband drive if I can!! 🙂

  • Jade Marie says:

    Glad I’m not the only one! 🙂 Honestly think that once I’ve passed I’m just going to continue letting chris drive me everywhere 😂

  • Andolina says:

    As someone diagnosed with anxiety, driving can be a difficult task. I often predict every possible worst-case-scenario that could happen at every given moment. I know what angles I could be hit at that would injure my children. I’m never really worried about myself (I guess that comes with the depression) but I’m always afraid that my children will be hurt and that I won’t be able to cope.

  • Jade Marie says:

    From writing this article and thinking it was just me, it’s seems almost everyone with anxiety does things like that 🙁 your biggest instinct is to protect your kids so I’m not surprised that’s what your anxiety targets 🙁

  • Sophie says:

    I just recently passed my driving test and oh my god was I anxious about it! I completely see what you’re saying about not being necessarily scared of your own driving, but of the idiots on the road. And the whole imaging red light thing, I thought I was the only one! Definitely related to this post!

    -Sophie xx
    Cherries & Perfume 

  • Jade Marie says:

    Congratulations hun! 🙂 I passed mine back in October and I was petrified! I think the only reason I passed is because I thought I’d failed after the first ten minutes or so and just relaxed for the rest of it haha and I thought I was the only one with the red light thing too- glad to know I’m not!xx

  • Lena Dee says:

    I definitely look at my speed a lot esp when I’m on a highway and yoooo the lights freak me out sometimes 😩 I’m glad it’s not just me. Great post!

    xx Lena |

  • Jade Marie says:

    I freak out so much with speed its ridiculous! Also I’m glad its not just me with the lights haha thank you! 🙂 xx

  • I can’t drive, as I live near a train station, which can take me anywhere-but I get what you mean about the anxiety. It must be awful! I sometimes have “anxiety incidents”-because I haven’t been diagnosed, but many, many people have said it’s obvious I have it. <3

  • Malou says:

    I kind of worry about the same things as you do when driving! And as a result my back and other muscles are always so tense for the entire drive lol
    It sounds like you seem to know what you’re doing though and as you say you are a safe driver! At least when you pass the test the world has one more good driver. In the NLs where I am from they have specially designed anxiety friendly tests. Maybe something like that could help you out if they also have it where you are from!

  • Jade Marie says:

    I live just down the road from my local train station but it’s not very practical for me, the trains aren’t that regular and it costs a fortune 😔 it can be really hard to get diagnosed, but I hope you manage to get some help if you feel you need it! 💛

  • Jade Marie says:

    I’ve actually passed now, first time too ☺️ I wish we had anxiety friendly tests here; it would really help people with mental health conditions!

  • lifeofshar says:

    I haven’t started my driving lessons yet, I actually think anxiety is stopping me in a way, but I know I am going to have worries like this and worse! It sucks, I like that you have written about it though! Good luck with all your future driving xx

  • Jade Marie says:

    I’m sorry to hear that hun! 😔 If it helps, I managed to pass both my theory and practical tests first time; even with my anxiety! It’s hard but I’m sure you’ll do great if you start learning xx

  • lifeofshar says:

    thats amazing that you did, well done!! and thank you, makes me feel better!! xx

  • Jade Marie says:

    Thank you ☺️ and I’m glad it’s made you feel better, it is possible hun! ☺️ xx

  • Catrina says:

    I have really bad anxiety while I’m in the car.
    It’s not so bad at all while I’m driving, but horrible while others are driving.

    When I first met my husband I was great in his car while he drived but now I am a complete scaredy cat.
    I freak out and step on the “fake brakes” lol
    I try my best to stay calm and not think of all the what ifs but theh still cross my brain…

    I make sure to breathe deep and explain to myself that noone is driving crazy. It helps at times but I have not found a reasonable way to help my an anxiety problems yet.

  • Catrina Duggan says:

    I’ve only ever been In a “fake” accident. I say “fake” because of my own brain, it was just a crazy hit the curb incident , not hitting any cars trees or lights.

    I’ve only ever been in an accident twice but have been anxious since I was atleast 15. I used to get carsick prior to that and once I hit high school , it all went downhill from the moment my friends started driving.

    I’ve become a complete hermit crab and don’t like to leave my house if it involves driving. I still try to push my comfort zones and make myself take 45 minute drives atleast once a month.
    But that never seems like enough, I’m always scared with my heart jumping out of my chest and my stomach in my throat. Is their anyway to help my case?

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