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1353681 tn?1387087333

So nervous as passenger of car...any tips?

Hi...I am someone who has had a range of anxiety symptoms over last four years...everything ranging from
wondering too much/being nervous what people think of me, to checking my heart rate /worrying about it, to constantly monitoring my thoughts...i have learned through a few books though how to not be overly thinking so much, and be SO on top of what my heart is doing,  and I also now know that thoughts are not me, they are not real, and they can never tell about me, so i do not need to fear them.....still working on other minor anxieties, but on e I still have (which was my first one)  has to do with:

A traumatic event in which one day I was fine, in the passenger seat w/a friend about almost 6 yrs. ago now, and had always been fine, driving and as passenger....she is a kind of fast/wacky driver, and we were going down a hill in which she was actually pressing on the gas and accelerating fast....I guess it was b/c I was now aware that she was doing this , that I began to get a feeling of "out of controlness" and panic...it was  really quite nerveracking for me and scary...and its so weird b/c I'm sure (i know ) in the past before that i had always been  fine w/anything like that!

Well, I am currently still working on sitting in a passenger seat and being calm...but I for a while now have been extremely nervous to even THINK of getting into a passenger seat...i know that people are for the most part fine drivers, its just this feeling that still comes over me of myself going out of control (motion from car if I'm not driving) ...I know that it rreallly is just the way i'm perceiving being in the passenger seat, and that everything should be and will be fine...but that of course doesn not HELP me when i begin to be in the seat..(my sister has been great in driving while I try more and more to expose myself in the seat, for I have to be w/someone that is understanding, and frankly it is a bit embarrasing ) I used to even get nervous about wondering if I'd EVER be able to get back in the seat with calmness/ease, and get more and more nervous saying to myself, "I SHOULD be doing what everyone else can seem to do" .
But I know that is only putting myself in a category that has no real meaning in itself, and I know now that nothing is "wrong" with being very nervous about something, but still I would really like at thi spoint to be able to do it ....like i said, i know exposure does help...i've been doing it here and there every week, and say mantras to myself, like "turn off the control switch! " (in my head) or just have some fun now....but the small twinge of panic sometimes seeps up again....arrghhh:(

Does anyone have any tips/or have ever experienced this before?/??? It would be in a sense relieving  to see if anyone else has done this before....Thanks so much for reading....
6 Responses
Avatar universal
I used to be the same way, but with me I think I felt I had no control over the situation, and this really bothered me.  I still prefer to be the one that's driving, but somewhere along the way I learned to ride as a passenger, probably just from doing it over and over.
Have you spoken to a therapist about it?  They can teach us new ways to look at things and how to cope.  But I think if I was ridng in a car with someone down a hill and they sped up, I'd be freakin out for sure! LOL  It sounds like you've done very well at conquering your issues...good for you! Maybe you could try to talk a lot and enjoy the scenery, anything to take your mind off of being the passenger?  Good luck with this and take care.
1353681 tn?1387087333
Hello..I thank you for your comment...i have not actually been to a therapist..but would consider..i know they may just say, exposure, exposure which i have been doing, but still does make me nervous to even THINK about going in someone else's car ..:(

Although thank you ..when I do talk to my sister while she is driving , it def. helps me a bit..then somehow I always seem to go back to that fear in me...sometimes i can get through a 15/20  min. drive by sayin my own mantras or just talking, other times not so much.....i thank you again
Avatar universal
Hi, I have the same issue. Sitting on the passenger side make me extremely uncomfortable, need to have total control of anything I do, as if I don't trust anyone else.  I think the best thing to do is actually sit on the passenger side and ask someone you trust to drive slowly and gradually increase the speed. Well I’m trying everything to overcome this anxiety. It should go away if I try really hard :)
Avatar universal
I think a lot of people have gone through something like this. I know my boyfriend gets upset with me a lot because even if we're taking his car somewhere, I always have to be the one who drives. Not just because I like to be in control, but also, because I feel like I can't trust anyone else driving other than myself. When I'm not sitting in the driver's seat, I feel like I'm not in control if the tire flares out, etc. You never know. You honestly NEVER know. Keep your head up, and this too shall hopefully pass. :]
Avatar universal
I have it really bad. if I sit for a long time I get panic. and this weekend im going to be driving for a hour to spend with my son... Im terrirfied but maybe if I split it up into 1/2 hours each and get out and breath it wont be so bad... when I sit its like I get head pressure, and cant breath. its awful
Im the same way I hate having to be in a car for a long period of time...I have to be in the back seat for 2hrs tomorrow for my sons wedding sat and im out of meds and cant get any till the 20th of this month ..my bigget fear is not being able to breath ..I feel like im trapped and cant go no where to get away from anyone. ? My daugher will be in the back seat with me and my son and his friend will be up front his friend will be driving. ? I just figure I would take a sleeping pill and sleep for the whole 2 hr trip..and without meds I dont think I would be able to go in the first place and my son would be so upset and I will have anxiety just feeling bad if I cant go.. any good advice.. I will take..I take xanax so if I dont have any for three days its very dangerous and can put me into a full blown panic attack
Avatar universal
Yes! I'm currently going through the same thing. And it developed only 2 yrs.ago. In fact, my fiance mocks me & taunts me when I tell him "slow down" or I look like I'm hitting the brakes from the passenger side of the car! It makes me feel real bad, but at times, I can't control my anxiety when someone else is driving; even if they are good, safe drivers. These feelings are scary & I don't know quite what to do.  
I am currently going through this. Mine happened one day out of the blue and now it doesnt matter who drives Im constantly thinking they are too close to the edge like we are going to run into the ditch or that we are going to rear end someone. My bf is constantly making fun of me bc Ill brace my self and put my foot on the dash when we get behind someone. If in driving however Im perfectly fine. Its actually started to cause a serious problem as no one wants me to ride with them bc they say its annoying. Idk what I can do to help this.. any suggestions
Hypnosis maybe. Fear of flying is sometimes treated this way.
Oh Em Gee, the ridicule for grabbing the door or gasping, any knee jerk reaction really ticks my husband off!  So him getting close to a ditch or almost rear ending someone is MY fault. I get it, he’s never been in an accident but thing is, I don’t want to drive (then he would critique me and be telling me who and when to pass, etc...) Seems like a no win so I find reading or texting ANYone keeps me from watching and fretting. Not perfect by any means, but it helps. Glad to know I’m not alone in this.
The original post here is pretty old, so don't know if that person is still around -- not to my knowledge.  But I can tell you, it drives me nuts when my wife is a passenger and does something that makes me think there's something dangerous about to happen when there isn't because as the driver, I'm going to start looking around to see where the danger is.  I might slam on the brakes when there's nothing happening.  Now, between my wife and I, I'm the one with the mental illness, but she doesn't drive so even though she really doesn't have an anxiety problem and I do, she can still do things as a passenger that can be dangerous.  I know it's hard, because I suffer from anxiety, but I do also understand why a driver wouldn't like someone making it seem as if something bad is about to happen -- again, the driver might react to this in a way that causes danger where there wasn't any.  As for the back seat driver part of it, he shouldn't be doing that either.  Maybe you two need to have a heart to heart because from my outsider perspective, you both have reasons to want the other to change and if you can both realize that maybe you can both find better ways of handling it from a relationship perspective.  It's just weird how I'm the one with the phobias and the problems -- my wife is afraid to drive because she had severe eye problems requiring surgery when she was very young, so it's not irrational anxiety attacks with her, it's her belief she might not see what she needs to see -- but I'm still getting annoyed with here when she's a passenger and gasps or grabs something tightly because I truly feel she must have seen something I didn't.  Hope you can work this out.
OMG AMIFREAKINGOUT, is this a universal partner problem?  lol  My husband can do the same thing. I get not making a sound so they jump but when he drives like a knucklehead . . . it's instinct on my part too!  And if I drive, OMG, he's all over me.  I like the idea of just taking separate vehicles sometimes.  Or just shutting my eyes and going to sleep when he drives so I don't see the amount of times I'm near death.  :>))
Mom, this is what my wife has started doing.  It's not because of my driving, it's because where we live has changed radically from what it was not that long ago.  They built it up and a lot of bars opened and there's just craziness going on all the time out there!  To avoid her doing something that will adversely affect my focus, she has taken to closing her eyes.  But it's not me she's worried about, it's the nuttiness around us -- I kid you not, it's become like driving on the simulators in driver's ed out there.
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