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Anxiety and Stress This forum is for seeking advice on anxiety and stress related issues.

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Driving in the Dark - May 29th 2018, 08:03 PM

Hi everyone. I realized that I am terrified of when my dad drives in the dark... I'm afraid of crashing. I think it might have something to do with a time I almost crashed as I was learning to drive... in the dark. My dad yelled at me and belittled the fact that I was terrified and still learning. I'm not an experienced driver yet. I notice all the mistakes my dad makes in the car like looking off the road... even for a brief moment... as I'm talking to him. and it freaks me out. Is this a reasonable fear? Could this just be part of my anxiety disorder? Has anyone else experienced this?
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Re: Driving in the Dark - May 29th 2018, 09:33 PM

First of all, I'm sorry that your dad got upset with you when you almost crashed! Driving at night can definitely be scary, especially when you're first starting out, and honestly accidents happen. Learning from it is what's important, and the fact that everyone is safe!

I'm nowhere near an experienced driver yet given I've failed my test twice and still don't have my license (ALL driving makes me anxious ) but I think driving in the dark, or being in the car with someone after dark, can definitely make someone nervous. Things definitely look a lot different at night compared to how they look during the day and some things that may be more noticeable during the day may be hidden with shadows or just look different.

I think many drivers take their eyes off the road for a split second, whether it's to change the radio or the heat, or while talking. Now if it's more than a split second and he's staring at you or something, that's definitely a different story. I think whether or not a driver does it depends on the experience of the driver and their comfort level. Where you or I would definitely have problems with looking away for a split second, someone like your dad who has been driving for a long time may have more confidence and feel more comfortable with their surroundings. But, it's definitely still not recommended since even a split second where someone doesn't have their eyes on the road can make a big difference!

Do you think you could talk to your dad and let him know that this makes you anxious, especially at night? You can explain that driving/being driven at night makes you nervous because you worry about crashing, so when he looks at you while driving, your anxiety rises. Do you think he'd be willng to listen to you?

So basically, I think it's a valid fear. Maybe I'm biased because driving is a huge trigger for my anxiety in general, but I think that night driving, or even riding with someone at night, is a valid reason to be nervous. Try to take a deep breath and remind youreslf that everything will be okay. You can get through it!

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Re: Driving in the Dark - May 29th 2018, 11:07 PM

Hey there,

I think that what you are experiencing is something that a lot of people deal with. I know I don't like driving in the dark and I go out of my way to avoid it. I think that it's possible that the accident you almost had is impacting you. I know that I still struggle with the fear of having people rear end me when they get too close; this is due to having been rear ended. I think that things like that do stick with you and intensifies the fear.

If you have someone you could talk to about your concerns that might help a bit. If that person is your dad that would be great but if he's not a safe person to talk to maybe you could try a friend or another trusted individual. If you talk about it you might find that you are able to cope a bit more with the fears that you have with night driving.

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