The Shyness Project

Driving to New Places

As a part of my independence work, I’ve been driving to some new places.  So far it’s been a good experience and I haven’t had any problems.

Two weeks ago on Wednesday I caught up with my friend Emily and I picked her up so we could go to the movies. I’d never driven to the movies before so it was a new experience, as usually someone else drives.  I got directions from my dad and it was easier than I thought to get there.  We saw New Years Eve, which was alright, but I think it had too many big names and jumped around too much.  It was nice hanging out with her though and seeing her before she left for college again.

On the Sunday of that week I went to a birthday party as well, and drove to my friend Gabi’s house for the first time at night.  I’d always had my dad drop me off before because I thought it would be confusing trying to get there.  I used google maps and found it just fine though, even though it was hard to see some street signs in the dark.  It helped that I had zoomed into the online map beforehand and had seen which streets I would be passing before I turned so I could recognize that I was going the right way.  I arrived a little early, but when I went in there were already a bunch of people there helping with the food preparations so I joined them.  I hadn’t seen any of them since high school graduation day, but we all got along well and it was nice.  We ate delicious homemade pizzas Gabi made as well as some other wonderful homemade treats.  I also made a new friend Isis, who is from Brazil and has only been here since this past December but is already practically fluent in English.  She came in and sat at the table with us as they were finishing making food and I wanted to make her feel welcome, so I asked her about her New Years to start.  We ended up talking the rest of the night and she’s a really sweet person who has been to a lot of different countries.

Each experience driving to new places has been helpful.  My main fear with driving to new places is getting lost or getting in an accident.  I do prefer to have a friend with me though if it’s possible so if I do get lost it’s less stressful for me and I can have someone help me with the directions.  How do you feel about driving to new places?  Do you prefer to go with a friend?  Do you invest in a GPS?  It would be interesting to hear your experiences, especially when you first started driving more.


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20 thoughts on “Driving to New Places

  1. Hitting the open road, are you, Brittany?
    Have fun!

  2. The day I passed my test, I found myself on my own driving a car I’d never driven before in a town I’d never seen before. I’ve never looked back (metaphorically, that is). Sounds like you’re doing fine 🙂

  3. It’s very fun to drive somewhere. Take care of accident and hope your safe drive. 🙂

  4. It was very hard for me to get a driver’s lic. with dyscalcula and I took the test in 3 different states along the way – A nervous wreck every time, but I got a license here because the tester recognized that his daughter had the same problem and offered to teach me some pointers for the spacial problems and then I practiced them until I could master it.

    I needed to drive my children lots of places so that was very motivating to not get in an accident. I can not tell you how many times I was very scared particularly finding birthday party houses in new areas with no cellphones or GPS or Google maps available…I had to study good old paper maps – Whew what a job. I like on Google that they often have pictures of what the corner looks like where you are to turn…so I look for that gas station or red house now!

    My biggest adventure was driving 6 hours across the state to visit my one daughter in college and my partner had to work. I found out with my great car, I loved driving by myself and eating grapes to keep from getting tired and not needing too many stops!

    I still can not navigate big cities – they just move to fast…but I am whiz kid at figuring out public transportation once there

    How good you are at seeing what you need to learn and taking hold of the reins and figuring out how to practice.

    I give you a pat on the back! Thanks for sharing

    • That’s cool that you finally got a tester who understood your added obstacles with driving and gave you some tips! I’m glad you were paired up with him eventually.

      Yeah paper maps are confusing, I tried looking at one while lost in San Francisco before with my brother but had no clue. Luckily he was much better at using the map. It is really nice that google maps lets you zoom in and see what’s nearby.

      Wow that does sound like an adventure! I’ll have to remember to pack grapes if I ever drive a long ways like that too.

      Yeah big cities are a pain, I don’t think I’d ever want to be the one driving in SF for instance. It’s a little crazy and there are a lot of bad drivers on top of that.

      Thanks for your comment and sharing your experiences, I appreciate it!

  5. riatarded on said:

    Driving scares me! Still haven’t applied for a license! :/

    But your experience sounds like fun!

    • Yeah it can be scary. I got my license when I was 16 but I barely even drove the first year, and it wasn’t until my second year that I started driving some more. The most I’ve been driving is when I started college this past fall though and had to drive to each of my campuses each day. Practice does help and makes it less scary. Thanks for your comment!

  6. I think it’s great that you’re driving more and gaining more independence! I have a little social anxiety driving with someone as a passenger. I can’t multitask and drive and make conversation at the same time! My middle age eyes are causing havok with me driving at night. I think I need an eye doctor appointment. GPS things sound too confusing. How do you look at one of those and the road, too? (Or maybe they talk to you now.) I don’t know. Too high tech for me. I like to write out direction really big so I can put them in the seat next to me and see them. If I have to go someplace new at night, I always try to go in the day first. And I have not parallel parked since my driving test! I like driving myself places so I have an exit plan and am not dependent on someone else. Keep up the good work!!!

    • Yeah I have that too! I’m trying to keep up the conversation and listen but at the same time I’m kind of stressed trying to focus on the driving. If it’s a short distance or to somewhere I know it’s usually not a problem, it’s just the longer and unfamiliar distances that can be stressful. That’s why I think if I started doing some longer distances I’d just want to go with a close friend or family member. Yeah I think we have a GPS somewhere but it didn’t always work and would barely speak so you would have to look down at it, which wasn’t easy. I’ve just been writing out directions and putting them nearby, though for the longer distances and anything involving freeway that would be harder. It is nice though to be able to drive yourself places so you can leave when you want like you say. Thanks for your comment Barb, and hope your Self-Compassion Project has been going well!

  7. Oh the best thing to do is just GO! Get lost, make a turn, randomly somewhere and see what you find! I am sure you’ll enjoy it. It’s scary but the fear makes it so much more fun, in the end 🙂

  8. Very brave, as usual: I do have to steel myself before driving somewhere very new. especially in London. I use the One Step At A Time technique, never thinking too far ahead, and I find each challenge can be handled as I meet it.

  9. When I was a new driver, it was WAY before google maps or GPS or cell phones. My dad used to draw a map for me pretty much every time I was going anywhere besides the areas right around home. I probably wasn’t scared enough of stuff like accidents (I never got in any but I did have a couple of flat tires that nice people changed for me).

    I like having a smart phone with GPS available – very helpful. Do you belong to AAA? That and a charged up cell phone (that you don’t use while driving) make driving around feel a lot safer.

    • Haha yeah I have my dad draw maps for me too sometimes, or give me step by step directions. He did that for me when I was trying to get to the movies actually. It’s actually easier getting directions from him than google maps because I know if it’s from him it’s going to work, but google maps isn’t always reliable or right.

      It would be cool to have one of those smart phones with the GPS. I have a basic flip phone, but at least I have a phone now. And yep I do, and I agree those both do help you feel a lot safer! I’m really glad I have a phone now that I am driving more. Thanks for your comment Patti!

  10. Have you just got your driver’s license?
    Somehow google maps always gets it wrong when I am searching for directions. It’s like “turn left on Papineau boulevard”… but we can’t turn left on that boulevard!!! *sigh* I take the bus. It’s waaaay easier for me. Especially because I get lost so easily since I basically have no sense of orientation whatsoever, lol…
    But I think the more you drive, the more comfortable you will feel behind the wheel.

    • I got it when I was 16, but I haven’t been driving regularly until college started and I had to get myself to school. Before that I would just make occasional drives if I had to, like to meet a friend for tennis for instance.

      Yeah it seems to be getting it wrong when I go anywhere long distance. Maybe mapquest is better? It says to turn on a certain street sign but neither Ior the people I’m with see it…so it’s very strange. Often we have to park and ask someone in a store for help. Haha I’m directionally challenged too, so it’s difficult. The more you drive the more comfortable you get though, that is true. I’m still trying to get used to highways and night driving mostly. Thanks for your comment!

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