How to Overcome Your Fear of Roller Coasters
Are you afraid of roller coasters? Are you always left behind holding everyone's stuff as they have the time of their lives? End your fear with these steps, and soon someone else will be holding your stuff.
From what I have seen and heard, there are three main reasons that people are scared of roller coasters and thrill rides:
- The fear of heights.
- The fear of an accident happening on the ride that could in injury or death.
- The fear of that tingling feeling you get in your stomach when you experience high speeds and steep drops.
Each fear can be overcome. How do I know? Well, I had a fear of all three, but now I can proudly say that I carry a Six Flags season pass, and I don't use it for the kiddie rides.
Fear of Heights
Acrophobia is the fear of heights and one of the main reasons many are afraid of thrill rides and roller coasters. OK, so now you know what it's called, but you really want to know is how to overcome it. What I did to overcome this fear was very effective, and it may be as effective for you. The first coaster I ever conquered was Nitro at Six Flags Great Adventure. Nitro is 230 feet high, and it is an absolute monster of a structure. When I saw Nitro in person, I literally almost threw up. But I knew I really wanted conquer my fear, and I was determined to make Nitro my first roller coaster.
As I mentioned before, I had three reasons I was afraid of riding coasters. The fear of heights was the first one I had to overcome. This is because acrophobia is really a fear of the physical size of the drops. Simply the sight of the ride turned my stomach. Therefore, to overcome the fear, I made sure I never looked directly at Nitro, even while I waited in line for the ride. If I looked at the ride and its massive height, I knew it would only make me more scared.
I finally made it onto the ride, which is when you encounter your second acrophobic hurdle. When you are on your way up to the top of the ride, do not look down! If you look down, you will be so scared that the ride will not be fun at all for you. You will likely feel queasy, especially if you have a very extreme fear of heights. I had a very difficult time with this aspect of overcoming the fear, considering Nitro takes a very long time to get to the top of the hill (if you have ridden it, you know what I'm talking about). But just make sure you don't look down, and, trust me, you will be fine. Look straight ahead and relax. Let the ride do its job and take you up to the top. If you think you can't do it, go on with a good friend who loves roller coasters. Now, with your friend next to you on the ride, close your eyes while on the way up. Have your friend tell you when the drop is about to come so you can open your eyes and get ready for one of the most fun experiences of your life.
Don't look directly at the ride in line, and don't look down on the way up during the ride. If you do these two things and stay relaxed, you will conquer your fear of heights. But, for me, this was only one aspect of my fear. I still had two more to overcome.
Fear of Accident During the Ride
There have been tragic accidents on roller coasters, this is true. But, there have been far more accidents in cars than on roller coasters. Therefore, if you are fine riding in a car, there should be no reason you should be scared on a roller coaster. Of course, I understand that people are just afraid. I, myself, understood the fact that it was very, very, unlikely that I would ever have gotten into a fatal accident on a roller coaster. Yet, I was still afraid. I did't have a logical reason as to why, I just was. I'm sure that's how many of you are. Here's what I did to overcome the fear.
As I said, the first roller coaster I went on was Nitro. The first thing I did when I got into my seat on Nitro was check to restraint. I checked it in every way possible, and made sure it was snug on my body. I also made sure I picked one of the seats in the middle, not in the front. This was for psychological reasons. I figured if there were people in front of me, I could think to myself, "Hey, these people are fine, so I will be, too." Also to comfort myself, I held on tight to the hand bars throughout the ride. It just helped me feel safer holding onto something.
To overcome your fear of an accident happening during the ride, do what I did. Check your restraints to assure yourself that it will hold you in during the ride. Also, do not sit in the front. Sit behind people to assure yourself that since those people are fine, you will be too. Finally, hold on to the hand bars to feel even more safe. Do this until you feel completely comfortable on roller coasters, and in no time you'll be in the front seat, with your hands high in the air throughout the whole ride.
For some, seeing a video from the front seat of the ride, before actually riding it, can help.
Fear of the Tingling Feeling in Your Stomach
This is one of the hardest things to overcome if it is the main reason you are afraid of roller coasters. From what I understand, most people who are afraid of roller coasters are afraid for this reason. It was certainly the main reason I was frightened. I was scared of that feeling when its almost as if your stomach is going to pop out of your chest. Many of you may feel the same way.
There are two ways to overcome your fear of the tingling feeling in your stomach. One way is just to suck it up and deal with it. That is the way I chose. What you do is just go on the biggest and tallest roller coaster. Just go on it and deal with the feeling on the first drop. Once past the first drop, you've done it. You've gotten past the tingling feeling, and you've conquered your fear. Now, since you went on such a tall ride (like I did with Nitro), every other ride will feel the same, or not even as bad. The next ride can't be any worse since you already went on the tallest one you could find. In other words, you've completely conquered your fear of the tingling feeling in your stomach by just riding one, huge, ride.
The other way of overcoming this fear takes a little more time. What you can do is gradually go on larger roller coasters. First, go on a very small, not as thrilling ride. The tingling will not be as bad on a smaller ride, although you will still feel it somewhat. Then, gradually ride more thrilling rides until you're used to the tingling, and ready for the big coaster. If you choose this method, you will be taking gradual, smaller, steps in overcoming the fear. With the first method, you are just taking an elevator to the top.
The main problem with this fear is the fact that there is no way to avoid it. No matter what you do, you after going to feel the tingling in your stomach. Luckily, you will only feel the tingling for about two seconds on the very first drop of the ride. Therefore, the best advice I can give you is just to deal with it for two seconds. After a while of riding coasters, you will be completely used to the feeling. You may even begin to look forward to it. I know it sounds crazy, I know, but it's true.
Expanding What You Can Now Ride
If you used these steps and went on your first coaster, it's time to step it up. Now it's time to go on looping, inversion coasters. If you are afraid of loops, the only thing I can say is don't be. Nothing will happen to you on loops and, really, they aren't even bad. Close your eyes if you have to, during the loop, and before you know it the loop will be over. You also can start going on specially designed coasters, like Superman: Ultimate Flight, where you are in a flying position during the ride, inverted coasters, floorless coasters, or coasters where you are standing up. If these sort of coasters scare you, just remember that they have been checked, tested, and designed to make sure that nothing will happen to you and that you will have an amazing experience.
I really hope this helped all those out there afraid of roller coasters. I hope you decided to just do it. Maybe you decided to go on Nitro first, like me. If you did, I hope you had a great time and I hope you're glad you did it. Now you can make up for all the fun you missed out on over the years. Also, you can finally say it: You have conquered your fear and been on a real roller coaster.