Diamond to Wrecked

By Diamond | May 12, 2016

Dear Diamond,

I’m 19 years old, got my license after five tries; but I’m now terrified to drive. I get really nervous. I know I need to drive, but I’m so scared. I’m also a guy. I don’t want anybody to know this, so I’m asking you here.


Dear Wrecked,

The more you avoid it, the harder it will be to get behind the wheel. You have the motivation to face this fear, and that’s admirable.

Instead of avoiding the chances to drive what I assume is your parents' car, force yourself to take the opportunity to drive the car on small errands several times a week and ease into it. But go out alone or with a longtime driver. Keep the radio off, and don’t talk. Be mindful. Pay attention to your surroundings.

Then take a longer drive at a quiet time of day, like mid-morning -- if you can do it then -- or ideally on a Sunday. Your confidence will go up every time you get into the car. Diamond learned to drive a standard when a friend was moving and needed her car driven three states away while I followed her in the U-haul. Nothing like four hours in the car to get the hang of it. Yes, I was terrified most of the ride.

Fear is something to be faced head on. If you start avoiding driving, you will justify your fear and maybe create excuses not to get behind the wheel; and that’s not how to overcome this. You wrote because you want to become a driver. A certain amount of healthy fear is good, because it will make you a careful driver. But too much is paralyzing and that’s when you might want to talk to a counselor or a trusted adult about it if you can’t move forward on your own.

Try the following:

On a piece of paper, make two columns. On the left, write five reasons you are afraid. On the right, write five reasons you’d like to be a driver. My guess is that your desire to drive will win. Bet on the positives.

Almost everyone feels some anxiety when first starting to drive, believe me. And driving can often be a little bit stressful still. Take a deep breath, get the keys, get in and go. Just remember this one thing, please: Don’t ever get cocky; that’s when s—t happens.

With grace and peace,


Dear Readers,

Men and women, guys and girls, have written to Dear Diamond because they want to meet someone. Each week Diamond will post one event that’s appropriate for single folks. Not exclusively for singles, but very appropriate.

Here is one with plenty of time to plan. Just get out there and mingle, folks. You just never know who will be there. This looks like a fun one:

Open Mic at Jackson Memorial Library, first and third Thursdays, 7 to 9 p.m., Main Street, Tenants Harbor.

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