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  1. Default Planning my first short road trip, kind of terrified to even go

    Hi everyone!

    So I've been planning on surprising my boyfriend when he gets back from bootcamp in about a week and a half. He lives 2 1/2 hours or so away, but with traffic it can be 3-4 hours. I'm 18, so I've been driving for about 2 years now. I've never been a huge fan of driving long distances, I get very anxious. But unfortunately in this situation I don't have the option of taking a train. I REALLY want to do this, I know it would make him so happy after a really long few weeks with no contact at all.

    I guess I'm most scared that something bad will happen during the drive and I won't be able to continue, like me getting sick or passing out or something. I know that is very irrational but being alone would freak me out. None of my close friends can come with me :/

    I'd really appreciate any kind of advice on how to push myself to do this and make it manageable!! I really, really want to make this happen and don't want to let my anxiety stop me.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Go ahead and do it.

    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    You sound like you are talking yourself out of the trip., Change your self talk first, and keep telling yourself that you are in good health and you won't pass out. Keep focusing on the purpose of the trip.

    A few safegaurds.....

    In case of breakdowns, be sure to have a roadside assistance contract, such as AAA. Give yourself a full four hours. Then get into your well maintained vehicle with a full tank of fuel and set sail. Driving alone you will want to stop about every two hours (in your case maybe after an hour), just to stretch your legs and clear your mind. Be sure to contact family or friends at this time and assure them you are OK, and let them know where you are.

    My first trip alone, (I was in a foreign country driving on the wrong side of the road), left me in tears. But I got through it, and now 200000 miles later, have covered more of North America than most who live there.

    Believe that you will be fine..... believe in yourself!


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    You will do just fine if you follow Lifey's advice! Have a AAA membership, get maps "just in case" (and know how to read them), stop at rest areas every hour or so to stretch and get your mind off the road. ENJOY the trip!


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    You have been driving for 2 years you say, which has amounted to many more hours than 4 hours behind the wheel and that's all this is, just another 2.5 to 4 hours onto your driving experience. We understand that it's not easy when something is concerning you and it's not always easy to 'snap out of it' but it's just another drive and once you have done it you will wonder why you let it torment you. If it helps, take a one hour (or slightly longer) drive from home this weekend and by the time you have returned you would of been on the road for 2 hours or more and think to yourself, I could of been nearly there. Last but not least, picture the look on your boyfriends face when you arrive !

    Good luck and safe travels.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I think Dave put it really well that you have almost certainly spent far more than 4 hours behind the wheel in your 2 years of driving, so in the scheme of things, this trip really isn't anything that you haven't essentially already done in the past. You've already stated that you know your fears are irrational, so that might be the best way to frame it in your mind.

    I'll also say that I suspect that this trip could be really good for you. Being by yourself for a few hours will probably be good for you - and you might even discover that having a little alone time behind the wheel is actually very refreshing and enjoyable!

  6. Default

    DON'T GO

    In your own words, you said you get very anxious.

    "guess I'm most scared that something bad will happen during the drive and I won't be able to continue, like me getting sick or passing out or something. I know that is very irrational but being alone would freak me out. "

    I'm going against the tide here, but if you are so absolutely scared to drive, then I worry that you could become a danger to yourself and others. What would happen If you talked yourself into a panic attack while behind the wheel?

    I speak from experience. I have known two people who were licensed drivers but had an irrational fear of driving. And your post about how terrified you are of a simple four hour drive sounds like it could have been written by either of them.

    One of them took up driving at a later age. She was scared to death of driving, always worried that something would happen. The few times that I rode with her, she would openly pray for protection before setting out. Nonetheless, she had several accidents in her several years of driving and eventually gave up driving completely for the rest of her life.

    The other is so scared of driving that her husband has to drive her across town to work and back daily! She only drives short distances, only when she has to.

    To most of us, such irrational fear of driving seems ridiculous, yet many of us have our own irrational phobias that affect how we live our lives. These phobias are very real and you cannot be talked out of them.

    If you are so terrified of a short four hour drive, then stay home and make other arrangements to meet up.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Do you have a good friend who could go with you to keep you company and help you out if anything happens?

  8. Default First solo drive tomorrow (3 hours)- nervous!!!

    Tomorrow I'm driving from NY to MA to surprise my boyfriend who I haven't seen in a few weeks!! I've been very excited but now that it's so close I'm getting a bit nervous! I'm 18 and have had my license for about a year and a half now, but this is by far the longest solo drive I've done- the most I've done alone is around 45 minutes. I have a playlist set up and a bag with anything I think I'd need- anything else I should do?? I've been so surprisingly relaxed about it but now I'm being flooded with all the "what-if"'s, lol. If I could just block my mind and thoughts out I think I'd be fine!!

    I'll most likely be hitting a lot of traffic, so I'm a bit nervous about that too. It could turn my 3 hr trip to 5+ hrs!

    Any advice or encouragement would be wonderful :)) I've never been too fond of traveling because of how anxious I am but I know that if I do this I'll come out the other end a lot stronger.

    Please keep all posts about the same trip in one place. - Mod
    Last edited by AZBuck; 08-04-2017 at 09:03 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default You've Already Done It

    If you've already been driving for a year and a half, then presumably you've got more than three hours behind the wheel. The fact that all your driving time so far has been on trips that lasted less than 45 minutes is not all that important. It's the cumulative experience that matters.

    Now that's not to say that you are, at 18, a complete and polished driver, but what you need to do to get there is to build on your present skill and comfort level, add to your repertoire of experiences, build on what you already have. So the best way to think of this is and to approach it is as a set of hour-or-less drives. Pick out a few places en route to get out of the car if only to stroll around a state park, visit a mall, have a meal, or stop at a small museum. Presto. you're not doing anything you haven't done before, taking a 45 minute (or so) drive to a destination. You're just doing a few of them in a row.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 08-04-2017 at 09:46 PM.

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