Straight Talk With Danice

Danice Akiyoshi

Danice Akiyoshi

By Danice Akiyoshi, N.D.


A Letter from Blake


My wife is a terrible back seat driver.  She complains about my driving every time she’s in my car.  She says things like, “everyone is stopped ahead, and maybe you should take your foot off the gas.”  “You’re getting too close to that truck.”  “Why are you being so aggressive, let that guy get in front of you.”  “Please don’t take that phone call, traffic is busy; you need to pay attention to the road.”  And the list goes on and on.  I’m driving out in traffic all day.  I’ve had very few tickets or accidents in my life.  I am not a bad driver.  My wife only has a 15 minute commute.  I hate to criticize her, but she is not an expert driver and I’m tired of her comments.  How can I get her off my back? Thank you.


Dear Blake,

It doesn’t seem as if your wife is actually insinuating that you are a bad driver.  It sounds a lot more to me like she struggles with anxiety.  Do you notice this in any other areas of her life?  I think when it comes to your driving she’s not doing a very good job of communicating and you’re taking it as a personal insult.  If she were a better communicator, she might say, “I’m feeling a little nervous, would you mind slowing down…please don’t drive next to big trucks or talk on the phone in busy traffic, it makes me terribly uneasy.”  If she were to own this as ‘her’ problem instead of making you feel inadequate, would you drive more cautiously or perhaps be a little more passive on the road to cater to her comfort zone?  Experience with my patients tells me that it might be doubtful, because you’re hearing this as a personal attack when she is basically trying to communicate her fear to you. I hear this complaint in my practice all the time.  My ‘simple’ advice is to let her drive or invite her to do whatever it is that will help her to relax before she gets into your car.  Or you could be more considerate of her road anxiety. The best answer by far would be for her to address the underlying reasons for her excessive anxiety.  I hope she makes that choice. Good Luck to both of you.


Danice Akiyoshi is a Naturopathic Doctor and the head of Candid Coaching Service. She offers personal coaching services relating to all types of issues and concerns. This is a letter she received from an anonymous reader. To send a question to Danice, email her at You can also visit her website at