The same fear that plagued me while conversing with people was also present whenever I drove. It was present to a certain extent from the time I first started driving, but wasn’t obvious until after ‘the move’ and the following events. With some help I bought a lightly used car because my truck repairs became too expensive and frequent. This car didn’t have the dark window tint on all the windows like the truck had, so I paid to have it installed. The car had electrical problems very soon after purchasing it. It wouldn’t start on occasion. The battery was fine, but something electrical wasn’t working right. I took it to the dealer and they couldn’t figure out what the problem was. So, without taking time to think through the best way to resolve the situation in a way that would minimize my losses, I impulsively traded the car in and looked for a different one. Unfortunately, I went by myself to negotiate the price, which was a mistake. The salesman could tell immediately I lacked confidence and that he could probably sell me anything. Long story short, the persuasion, which comes off to a fearful person as coercion, resulted in me paying thousands more than I should have. At least this car didn’t have immediate problems like the other one. However, there were still little annoyances that ate at me about the car. The windshield wipers moved in opposing directions instead of parallel. They did the worst job of keeping the windshield clear compared to all other vehicles I’ve driven. The wipers had too few speed settings. The car had poor pickup, taking several seconds for the car to accelerate at the rate commensurate with how far I pushed the pedal. The windows fogged far too easily and took a long time to clear.
Because I chose to stick to a strict budget and didn’t want to risk shelling out around $120 for accessories for a car that might have undiscovered defects, I didn’t spring for window tint this time. That made a big difference in my driving experience. Not a good one, either. Now, other people on the road could clearly see me when we were stopped next to each other at a traffic light or passing each other on the road. I didn’t think that would become a problem, but it did. Even when I was in my own car sitting next to someone at a traffic light, passing by someone on the road, or even if someone was stopped behind me and might be able to see me in my rearview mirror fear struck me hard. I didn’t want anyone to see my face while I was driving in case I had a mean look on my face, a scared look, a sad look, or any kind of look I might be embarrassed for others to see. I felt like every time I was next to someone or they were behind me, they were staring at and analyzing me. I was afraid to make eye contact with anyone. They might interpret it as a challenge, start following me, and confront me about it in some frightening or violent way. This is another occasion in which I’d wear a mask to hide my face if it wasn’t strange to do so. I wouldn’t have to worry about my facial expressions or body language. I did the closest socially acceptable thing and wore dark sunglasses. At least that hid my eyes and made it a little harder to tell my expression. It didn’t make me completely relaxed behind the wheel, but it somewhat helped. I thought all I had to do was keep a neutral face and I wouldn’t be thought of as weird by other drivers. Although, I still couldn’t turn my head even to glance at drivers next to me. Talk about fear and paranoia, right? The only way I could relax would be if nobody could see me, but instead see a hologram of me so they won’t think the car is driving without a driver. If I believed they couldn’t see me, but I could see them, that would be perfect.