Is it possible to quit driving?

Some of you recall a thread that I started last week that I asked to be deleted about a recent car accident that I had. Well, that’s still being resolved, and I’m still not sure of the outcome, but that’s really just background for today’s little fracas.

I was coming home from my mother’s house, and on my road, a block away from my house, there was a garbage truck. We have a narrow road, and there was just enough space to get by the truck. Since I knew the guy was working, I stopped the car completely, creeped past the garbage truck very slowly, and as I approached the front of the truck the guy was right in front of it. He stopped and stared a me with pure malice.

It gets better. After I dropped off the car so that Robin could go to work I was standing outside. The guy stopped and read me the riot act about how “four of his coworkers were killed just last month by assholes like you, you passed me going 35 (which was not so, and on that road even empty is simply not possible), and you weren’t paying attention and wouldn’t it have been nice if I were lying on the road dead because of you?”

I did nothing wrong. I barely had enough room to creep by, Robin had to get to school, and I safely (very, very slowly and with due regard for this guy) passed a stopped vehicle, and this guy was the one that was not paying attention and nearly got himself killed, and somehow it’s my fault.

I no longer have any confidence behind the wheel of a car. None. Frankly, I’m scared, because even when I do nothing wrong I do something wrong. How can I regain confidence when no matter what I do I get into trouble?

The bad news: I work 30 miles away (I’m back on active duty until the endof the year). But I’m afraid to drive anywhere for any reason. My shift will not allow me to take the bus home, and I can’t have Robin picking me up every night at 11:30, because that’s not fair to her and it’s definitely not fair to Aaron.

So what do I do? I don’t want this responsibility anymore. I don’t want to be scared everywhere I go, because that skittishness will only make things worse.

I’d suggest taking a safe driving course. Start by checking with AAA. I can understand your being skittish right now, but you’re going to have to overcome it. It’s not like you live in NYC or somewhere you don’t need a car.

Relax, and good luck.

I suggest telling that guy to go fuck himself and getting right back in that car.

I agree with the driving courses. Safe driving and/or defensive driving courses would be a great help, plus the instructors could point out any bad habits you’ve picked up over the years.

Having nearly run over a garbageman myself (he ran out in front of me), I’d say just shake it off, especially since it sounds like you can’t really live without driving, at least not without a massive guilt trip. You have to do what you have to do, and look at it this way–You’ll be a safer driver because of the skittishness, for a while at least.

Assholes are like potholes in PA. You find them on every street and no matter how hard you try, you’re not going to avoid 'em all.

Ignore the guy. If you’re still a little gun-shy behind the wheel, TYM’s suggestion about a course sounds good. On preview, World Eater’s sounds better still.

Go on a road trip. Seriously. Just get in your car and force yourself to drive somewhere a few hours away and back. The longer you avoid driving, the more irrational anxiety you’ll develop towards it and the harder it will be to get back behind the wheel. Think about all the miles you’ve driven in the past without incident; think about all the accident-free miles driven by people way more irresponsible then you; consider the fact that the garbage man was probably still frightened by his friend’s death, and reacted to behaviour of yours that was probably safe. Then get in your car.

I suggested a safe driving class in the other thread.

Airman, are you checking into this?

Yeah, I’m checking into it. Right now Finance has me so screwed on money (which is another rant altogether) that I can’t do anything but look into it yet.



Become Pennsylvania’s Alvin Straight?

Oh, and despite a likely harrowing morning commute mere inches from thousands of panicked idiots, I see This Year’s Model is still among us. Take his advice and get back in the car, hoss. :slight_smile:

Based on a couple of comments you made in the previous thread, I’d also suggest getting checked by a neurologist to make sure there’s no physical basis for your driving errors.

Barring that, move down here to Florida where your driving will blend right in. Although please try something on the other side of the state. :slight_smile:

Let’s all think of other expensive remedies to help him as well.

How about getting a solid gold driving instructor to help refresh you on your driving?

As with everything else, there are pros and cons to that. The pros: since I am on active duty right now I can get it checked out. The cons: should something turn up my career will be virtually over, since sleep disorders are grounds for permanent DNIF. It can be overturned, but in some cases it takes years. I don’t have years.

I can’t help but think that Dionne Warwick and Marylin McCoo are available.

I had a brain fart a couple of months ago and pulled out in front of a semi.

I don’t know what I was thinking, and it scared me, because obviously I wasn’t thinking, my mind was just somewhere else entirely.

I wondered how many people had had a momentary lapse and done just that, and ended up in an accident.

Ever since, I’ve been making an effort to keep my attention on the road, not let my mind wander.

Your incident with the garbage truck though – you did nothing wrong, and the guy probably was shook up and cussing himself for not being more careful, and he took it out on you.

Good advice – driving safety course will give you back your confidence.

You work on a military base, right? Any lobsters present? If so could you not borrow a tank? :smiley:

It wasn’t too bad. I left before 6 and was sharing the roads with all the other sensible people trying to beat the idiots. Good thing, too, roads were a mess!

No offense intended. If you have reasons to believe that there may be an actual problem, the fact that they won’t let you fly anymore with that problem should not be the reason why you’re not getting it checked out. Especially if it’s a problem that you really shouldn’t be flying with. I didn’t read that other thread, but if it involved something happening to you, medically, while in a car that caused you to crash, think about how much worse it would be for everybody involved if you were in an airplane when that happened.


In one respect you’re right, but I’d like to note that I am not a pilot. I have one position that involves safety-of-flight, and even that is only an issue for about 15 minutes a flight. Truth is, everyone takes short naps during missions. On a 9 hour mission it’s tough to watch your instruments at all times, and there’s always someone watching someone else’s stuff to make sure.

The thing is that no matter how treatable it may be my career will be more or less over. We had a guy who fought for two years to get back on flying status because he told a doctor one time that he wasn’t sleeping very well recently. Finally he was able to get back on, but two years is a long time, and during those two years in my case my enlistment will run out, I won’t be retained, I can’t get promoted, and I’ll be forced to basically sit on my thumb. And that’s unacceptable. But that’s the long and short of it.

I’ll second the road trip idea. A few years back a road rage incident in addition to my doctor telling me I needed to lose weight caused me to stop driving completely (and voluntarily) for about 6 months. Then I had to go somewehre nearly inaccesible by public transportation and that gave me an extreme case of anxiety. The following weekend I took a trip to Monterey, just to vistit the aquarium. I enjoyed the drive immensely and haven’t had problems since.