Driving with fear

In the last couple of years I developed a sense of fear in specific driving conditions. Where in the past I was very self confident about myself mastering perfectly how to handle a car even in heavy weather conditions or on slippery roads, it seems this confidence has faded. Since I live in Italy I found myself sliding on very slippery roads in a couple of occasions. Once the car just turned 180 degrees on its axe while slowly driving over an icy road. On another occasion I started sliding on a wet road in a bend where I was surprised by how slippery just a wet road could be (I had very bad tires on a second hand car I just bought).

In all these occasions I had the right reflex and managed to put the car back on track with no damage. The result though is that I start to feel uncomfortable if I suspect the road might be slippery. As soon as I suspect the car is slightly loosing its firm grip on the road I have this fear going through my body. In these occasions I slow down to a safe speed and just go on wondering how others can drive so ruthless and risking so much just because they are not aware of the road conditions or because the don’t mind their car sliding a bit. I do not understand how people driving two wheel drive cars, are driving the way they do while I drive an AWD car.

On one side I know my fear is not funded in any way. I am confident in how to handle the car when it starts sliding, I am aware of the road conditions and I am driving a car that gives me a high level of security. Maybe there is an experience in the past that is causing me to react this way. I remember one episode where I was with my family as a small boy on our way back from The Netherlands to Italy. It was winter and somewhere in Germany we had extreme icy weather conditions with very icy roads. The highway was blocked and we decided to take secondary roads, extremely slippery due to the layer of ice left by the frozen rain. My father managed to drive the car safely and we arrived home in one piece. I can’t remember if I experienced fear on this occasion. I did experience fear in many other occasions while my father was driving, in my perspective always too fast and barely paying real attention to the traffic, counting apparently on his very quick reflexes. Maybe here I developed some fears and I am projecting this now on other people I come across while driving.

In a couple of occasions I asked myself if in some way I try to feel more than these other drivers that I consider being unresponsible. I found myself regularly thinking about how well I was driving compared to others on the road. I have always felt a kind of competition on that matter, doing my best to drive in such a way that an eventual passenger will experience a nice and smooth drive. Of course the aim is in succeeding to do so and have the passenger thanking me for the nice drive and feeding my self esteem giving it energy. I have been working on my driving techniques for many years in the past only for this purpose. Happily enough this came in handy when I happened to have children that were very sensible to driving, forcing me to adapt my driving style into a super smooth one just to prevent them to throw up after a curvy road.

Another typical driving related thing that comes up now is the fact I get very irritated if someone is driving too close to me. It can really make me mad. I managed to control this madness by breathing and look for a way to give the person behind me a quick occasion to overtake. Here also I have to find out why it is causing such strong emotions.

The more I dive into this matter the more complex it seems to become. It is really fascinating to see how all connects to each other. Well, this is again one of the points I will work on in the next future.



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