Driving: PTSD & Tips For Newbies

Driving- PTSD and tips for newbies

Two years ago, I failed my driving test. It was horrible. The instructor screamed at me because she realized her clipboard was inadequate in shielding herself from incoming vehicles (as if that was my fault…).

Praise God no one was hurt.

I was thoroughly traumatized. I never failed anything in my life, until that moment. I bawled my eyes out at Taco Bell, then returned for a second test, two days later. It was a man instructor with all the chill in the world.

I passed, hyperventilating and all.

Two years later, I have yet to get a ticket or be pulled over by a police officer.

Praise Jesus. Knock on a fake wooden chair!

I was definitely scared straight. I would never turn right on red, or pull onto a street if there was even a glimpse of a car approaching. I knew that red spot would quickly swell into a huge metal monster that would mow me over and squish me dead.

And I didn’t have that instructor’s safety-shield clipboard to protect me. . .

I would take all the easy streets. I would drive too slow, a nervous kind of slow that warns the rest of the drivers, don’t mess with me! I WILL swerve! I’m a bomb, ready to explode. PASS ME IF YOU WANT TO LIVE.

I would apologize to everyone. I’d be stopped at a light, stuck in traffic behind a truck, who was behind another truck. Someone a street over would honk, and I’d quickly throw my hand in the air and apologize.

“Sorry, sorry! It was probably me. Sorry!”

I felt like the other drivers were clicking their tongues, judging that crazy-little-white-car. Getting angry at that crazy-little-white-car because it wouldn’t GO already. Hating that crazy-little-white-car. Wanting to hunt down the crazy-little-white-car, and step on it.

(This is a tangent, but change “car” to “girl” and you get me. Haha!)

I’m glad to say I’m comfortable driving, and that horrible experience truly made me a better and safer driver.

Sometimes, I do have flashbacks. Serious PTSD. When that happens, I force myself to drive the freeway, and I remember it isn’t as bad, hard, or as scary as my brain makes it to be.

Poor sad Rebekah. Pity party over.

Through trial and error, I came up with a few tips and things I wish I knew during those early stages of driving.

  • Everyone fails their first time. I tell this to everyone. I think it takes the pressure off. It isn’t life-or-death. If you fail, you can return and take it the next day.
  • Safety is the biggest priority. Don’t let ANYONE pressure you into moving when you don’t feel comfortable. Let those cars honk. Ignore that passenger/instructor/teacher/parent. You’re the driver. You have foot buttons and a big steering wheel. No one else does. You’re in control of the vehicle.
  • You CAN drive slower than the speed limit. Meaning: the car in front of you is slowing down? Slow down. (Yes I needed to know this. I thought the speed limit was a hard-set rule.)
  • When turning left (in the US), yield to incoming traffic.
  • Behind every ball—is a child. Slow down. [Mom tip.]
  • Everyone on the road has the same purpose: to get to their destination safely. It doesn’t matter if you’re a new driver and can’t parallel park. You CAN drive safely.

Driving has everything to do with practice.

I have now graduated to the stage of worrying about gas money and having to change the lightbulb in my car. I keep forgetting to ask my dad about it.

Papi? The lightbulb is dead in my car.


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6 thoughts on “Driving: PTSD & Tips For Newbies

  1. Oh you poor thing! People like that shouldn’t be instructors!
    I was lucky enough to pass the first time, but I grew up in a country area with no scary highways or complex traffic lights, so I HATE driving in the city and am always that driver apologising for everything (or was – I left it so long since I last drove that my license expired!). All those tips are so true – I’ve seen too many near misses from inexperienced drivers feeling pressure to take a gap they weren’t confident with.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My uncle taught me how to drive. The one thing I remember the most was when he said the other cars didn’t want to crash into, so I have nothing to worry about. I have been pulled over a few times, but I’ve only gotten one speeding ticket so far.. woopsie… after that though, I took an online class and remembered that driving recklessly can literally kill someone. I didn’t want that in my conscience so I try to drive calmly and slower… I’m not quite there yet, though.. heehee 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! I suddenly don’t feel safe on the road. 😜
      But that was good advice from your uncle. I think that when we initially begin driving, we think the world is against us, but that’s not the case.


  3. Hahahaha totally!! I failed my drivers test the first time and literally cried all the way home, until my auntie took me out for burgers to take my mind off it haha! But I passed the second time and now I’m fine! And I agree, keeping petrol in the tank is the bane of my life these days… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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