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How To Get Over Fear of Roller Coasters

Updated on August 18, 2011

What exactly are you afraid of?

If you're one of those people that just can't get themselves to get on a roller coaster, or can only get on certain smaller rides, you first need to pin-point your source of fear. Why do you have a fear of roller coasters? There are many things that can be stopping you from getting on the ride; a few of the common reasons include:

  • Speed
  • Heights
  • Loops
  • Sense of danger
  • Nausea
  • Traumatic experience

No matter how old you are, you should never miss out on at least trying a roller coaster. Who knows, maybe once you try it you'll realize you actually love the thrill. It's certainly what happened to me. Now let's take a moment to reason through each of the reasons of fear listed above:

Speed - Perhaps you're worried about going at such a fast speed while your feet are hanging or most of your body is protected by but a strap/seat belt. Well firstly, you have to realize that roller coasters seem like they're going a lot faster because you can feel the wind so much more, as opposed to a car which is enclosed, or a motor bike where you're still wearing a helmet. In actuality, most roller coasters don't actually go a lot faster than your car goes on a highway. Although, some of the world's fastest roller coasters do go almost double that speed. You can always start slow and work your way up. You may discover that you enjoy feeling as free as the wind.

Heights - This one is a major issue when it comes to roller coasters. It just feels unnatural when you're that high. Humans don't have wings after-all, we're not meant to be that high! But if you think about it, you're always higher than humans were ever "meant" to be. Every time you take the elevator up to the 20-something floor of the building, or when you ride on an air plane, or even go upstairs to your bedroom. Now you may be one of those people that tenses up even those aforementioned situations, but really a roller coaster doesn't go nearly as high as a 20 story building, and certainly not as high as an airplane. Like mentioned with speeds, start of with roller coasters that aren't as high and work your way up. Whenever you get scared, just close your eyes. The first fall is usually the scariest, so just remember it'll be over in less than a few seconds and once it is you can enjoy the rest of the ride with no problems. You might realize later on that the first fall is the best part (It happened to me) and it's really something amazing to get a view of the city right before you dive towards it.

Loops - This was my biggest fear of roller coasters when I was younger. I honestly could not understand the idea of being upside down in mid-air without falling. I avoided anything and everything that even slightly tipped or twisted. I also felt like it would be the worst feeling in the world to be upside down and wondered why anyone would even want that. Alas, one day against my better judgement (at the time) I opted to go for a smaller ride that spun you around through water. It turned upside down quite a few times, but it was a hot summer day and splashed water at you which I needed really badly so I went for it. For those curious the ride was called "Cliffhanger" (now changed to Riptide) at Canada's Wonderland. It is to this day one of my favorite rides; almost 10 years later. It was honestly a strangely wonderful feeling being tossed, twisted, and held upside down. And it opened so many more doors for me, afterwards I went on a whole new spectrum of rides and truly experienced what the amusement parks were meant for: thrill! For the most part, loops on roller coasters you can't even feel, they go by so fast you just see the top of the tracks for a split second and then you're back upright. For starters you can try for something that goes almost upside down, and then to one loops, two loops, a full twist, and so on...

Sense of Danger - This should honestly be the last of your fears. The chances of you getting any sort of injury (beyond a minor headache if you really didn't enjoy it) are very extremely rare. These rides are inspected and operated every day, with thousands of people riding every day. You are more likely die in a car crash, air plane crash, and probably even sitting in your own living room. The chances of death are so low that there aren't even notable statistics for it. If any deaths have ever occurred they're usually due to rider misbehavior, as in standing on the ride or wiggling out of the restraints. Here are some common causes of death as compared by this article or this article.

  • Walking - 1 in 625
  • Slipping - 1 in 246
  • Bus ride - 1 in 64 380
  • Earthquake - 1 in 102 660
  • Lightening strike - 1 in 83 930
  • Roller coaster - 1 in 300 000 000 (300 million)

Nausea - Now this is something you can't really control. My brother often feels sick going on some rides that spin around and such. I feel the same way sometimes. More often than not, this usually depends on external factors such as the weather, what you've eaten that day, and your health. If a ride made you sick once, it doesn't mean it's going to happen again. And If one ride made you sick, it doesn't mean all other rides similar to it will too. Give some rides a chance, if you feel sick, sit out for a bit. In fact, it may just be that you're body isn't used to this kind of movement. You may feel sick the first few times and start to not feel anything afterwards. Ultimately you have to see what works for you, and if in the end you do end up feeling sick on a certain ride over and over again, then at least you tried it. Maybe next time try some sort of medication that would prevent it in the future.

Traumatic Experience - So you were little and this one roller coaster scared the living crap out of you. You cried and cried and even a McDonald's happy meal couldn't get you over the experience. You know what you need to do? Go on that ride again. Show it who's boss. It's really the only way of getting over it, you have to make yourself realize that it's an irrational thing. You may even have developed a phobia. But just think, all you friends are going through with it, so why can't you? It's all about psychology here, you have to be strong.

If you really just have a dislike. and not an actual fear of roller coasters, and would rather not go through with it, then it's of course your decision. But really, don't knock it until you try it. I've been getting a seasons pass every summer for the last 9 years (and am just now getting bored of it). It's a great way to spend time with your friends and family and really enjoy the summer.

Hopefully this article has helped some of you get over your fears related to roller coasters.


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      roxy 5 years ago

      have fun

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      Reena J 6 years ago

      Hey friends there is nothing to fear in this, have a good enjoyment with your friends and family...