What are you afraid of?
Everyone has their share of fears and anxieties. Maybe for you it’s a fear of flying. Or spiders. Perhaps your fears are so strong that they prevent you from living a full life, like taking that trip to Italy or…okay I don’t know how a fear of spiders could prevent you from living a full life…
The point is, we all have something that holds us back. For me, that fear is driving. Specifically, driving on highways. It all started back in Miami during grad school where I was forced to drive for the first time. Because I’m a NYC girl who took public transportation everywhere!
One evening, my best friend and I were going into South Beach for a concert. I was driving. I wasn’t familiar with the roads and I somehow ended up in the left lane speeding. I needed to switch lanes for an upcoming exit. I didn’t see a car in my blind spot and I almost hit it. I panicked a little and realized that I was not in control of my car that was speeding down the highway.
To this day, I still have anxiety about switching lanes and it makes me dread getting behind the wheel. But as luck would have it, I recently started a new job that requires me to drive to work every day on the worst highway in New York City: the Van Wyck.
I hate it. But I’ve learned to manage my anxiety with a few coping skills that help calm me down and boost my confidence.
The radio is my best friend while driving. I’m musically inclined and it’s the easiest thing in the world for me to be distracted by a good beat. It turns an otherwise dreadful experience into an enjoyable one. Something I can almost take pleasure in. Almost!
I’ve got my favorite stations on pre-set, a couple of mix CDs and Apple Music which I don’t use as much as I should. Mainly because I’m worried it will conflict with my next coping mechanism.
If I’m going somewhere new, I need to map out my route before I get behind the wheel. Usually, this is for longer drives that take me out of my neighborhood or Queens. For example, I need to make sure the trip won’t take me through Manhattan if I’m traveling between NY and NJ. Of course, I’ll use the Maps app on my iPhone while driving but it’s helpful to know beforehand which roads I want to be taking.
Does iMusic interfere with the Maps app? Let me know!
These are a crutch, really. I mean, they are helpful…if I use them. And I do! But not as often as I should. Granted, I just added them to my mirrors less than a month ago so I’m still getting used to them. But they make me feel more confident about switching lanes which I now do by also checking over my shoulder religiously. Because I’ve had a few more almost collisions since Miami. Maybe as recently as a month ago…
I’m not a crazy driver, I promise! But my anxiety about driving is real. While these coping skills help a lot, they don’t completely eliminate my fear of driving.
How about you? What fears or anxieties do you have and what skills do you use to cope? Leave a comment below!
P.S. If you know of more skills I could use to manage my fear of driving, please do share!