My Obsession with Unprotected Left Turns

I would say that I am a safe, but slow driver now. Before I wouldn’t look at my mirrors or my blindsides to see if a car was going to pass me. As a result of a few hard lessons, and close people complaining about my driving, I got my act together. My main driving anxiety is an Unprotected Left Turn.

I nanny three times a week for a family who has two girls and one boy. One of my main jobs is to take them to their extra curricular activities. When I take the girls to ballet, there is one left unprotected turn that I have to go through before I reach the studio. I have two different reactions to this left turn. At first I’m excited because I’m like “Yay! I’m going to overcome this challenge, and I do. Then after my job with them is done, I get scared. What if I don’t make the left turn? What if a car is going too fast and hits me with them inside? What if I get sued because a car hit me? Who’s fault is it? Is it my fault or the car going straight through?

Another extra-curricular the kids go to is religious education, and in order to reach the Church, I have to go through an unprotected left turn. I have the same driving anxieties as going to the ballet studio and the same reactions.

I believe my anxiety on unprotected left turns stemmed from passengers being backseat drivers, and when I drove my friend Miss Bookworm home from dinner. In order for me to get to her house from dinner, I had to turn left on a minor street. Usually minor streets have no signals to tell you when to stop and when to go, you have to wait until all the opposing traffic is gone. When I turned left, Miss Bookworm freaked out because she thought a car from the opposing traffic was going hit us. It didn’t, but the incident scared me. I should have better cleared the traffic. What if it did hit us? What if my friend sued me? What if we both died? All of these fears came tumbling down, and I obsessed over them.

One way I calmed myself down is when I’m at a place where I have to turn left and its unprotected, I check ahead to see how far the traffic is coming and which car I will let pass before I turn. It’s helped and it settled my fears. Another way is that I build my confidence and tell myself that I am a safe driver and that I make sure that everything is safe before I do anything. Both these strategies have helped stay cool when I’m driving.

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