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Intake - Driving fear

Intake - Driving fear

Today I met Pedro - I call him Pedro, but that's not his real name.
Pedro turned to Codrive in hopes of finding appropriate help for his problem.

I received Pedro in our office, offered him a glass of water, and asked how I could help him.
He had already mentioned via messenger that he experienced a huge fear on the highway.
This sparked my interest.

I let Pedro do the talking. Without interrupting too much.
Pedro is high profile in life. An interesting young man, with a promising career.

Pedro described having a massive panic attack while on holiday in Portugal, on the highway.
This had never happened to him before.
He had to get through the hard shoulder for 3 hours before he gathered all his courage and continued his journey in terror until the next exit.

After a bit of research, we came to the following conclusion:


  • Pedro has the idea that he can't get out on the highway. That makes him very anxious.
  • The hard shoulder is not an option due to the traumatic experience in Portugal.
  • He has to wait until the next exit, and in the meantime he has to persevere.
  • Pedro has the same feelings in tunnels. Can't get out. Even at low speed.
  • Pedro is now afraid of the fright. He avoids the highway because he fears that panic will return.
  • Pedro is also uncomfortable as a passenger on the highway.

I started developing a strategy in my head.

  • I'm going to give Pedro a very careful taste of the highway back.
    To this end I will first drive myself, with Pedro on the passenger seat.
  • Then I stand with him on the hard shoulder, get out if necessary. And then we'll see how he feels.
  • Then I go back, and I repeat stopping on the hard shoulder a number of times. I always ask how he feels.
  • Then I will let Pedro drive himself, and reassure him beforehand that I have everything under control.
  • We repeat this until Pedro experiences that the hard shoulder can be a safe haven.

We call this exposure therapy.
I'm going to confront Pedro with his fears in controlled circumstances.
I am his guide, his companion in whom he will have confidence.

I told Pedro I think I can help him.
But it can be a long process.

We will have our first driving lesson within 4 weeks.
I look forward.

And Pedro too, I think.

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