How to Interpret a Recurring Dream of Your Car Rolling Backwards

Updated on June 24, 2020
Lorra Garrick profile image

In addition to fitness and exercise, I've always had an interest in the paranormal and "unexplained," particularly lucid dreaming and NDEs.

Find out what it could mean if you have this recurring dream!
Find out what it could mean if you have this recurring dream! | Source

Yet Another Dream Your Car Was Rolling Backwards!

Do you often dream that you’ve parked your car, turned it off, but then it starts to roll backwards?

Or perhaps you dream that you’ve exited the car and it’s not moving, but after watching it for a few moments, it begins to roll backwards?

Whether you’re in the car or not, you know what’s going to invariably happen once it begins backing up on its own—it's going to crash into other vehicles.

Dreaming Your Car Is Rolling Backwards While You’re Still in It

In these dreams, you’re already aware of the car's history of rolling backwards by itself, even after you’ve turned off the ignition.

Of course, you have NO idea you’re dreaming about this scenario for the umpteenth time. Nevertheless, in these dreams, you fear that the vehicle will start moving backwards the moment you turn it off and remove your foot from the brake pedal.

And sure enough, there it goes. You press fiercely on the brake, but it’s no use.

Another variation is that before you turn off the car, it begins moving backwards, even if you’re not on a hill.

In either case, the inevitable occurs: The back of the vehicle bangs into another parked vehicle. But your car keeps rolling even though it’s against the other vehicle, forcing momentum into the other vehicle, continuing to crumple it but also forcing it to move as well.

This usually causes a chain reaction, in that—while you’re still behind the wheel—the vehicle that your car struck then rolls into another, crumpling that one as well. And so on.

And you’re just sitting there helplessly as your car keeps pushing up against the other vehicle, proliferating the chain reaction—which may occur in any kind of parking lot or even extending into the street.

You can’t exit your vehicle because either you fear this will make it get more out of control, or, you fear injury trying to jump out of it, even though it’s moving slowly.

Dreaming Your Car Is Rolling Backwards After You’ve Exited It

Pretty much the same things unfold if the rolling occurs only after you’ve exited your vehicle.

Except that you get to witness it from a greater vantage point. You also more easily hear the crumpling and crunching of metal as the chain reaction unfolds.

You then fear that the renegade car will be traced back to you and that you’ll have to pay for all the repairs and/or that your parents will be very mad (even if you’re long into adulthood).

In these dreams, nobody gets hurt or trapped in their vehicle as yours slowly crashes into it.

Dream Involves Hills

Sometimes there is a hill involved, such as slowly backing the car down an inclined driveway. As you’re tapping—or stepping with all your might—on the brakes to control the vehicle, this has no effect and it keeps rolling backwards into the street.

Or, you may find yourself parking on a hilly street. You just know that the moment you turn the engine off, the car will start rolling backwards downhill—sometimes a steep hill.

Interpretation of These Recurring Dreams

Two Peculiar Things Come to Mind

  • Nobody gets hit—no pedestrians or cyclists, and other struck vehicles are always empty.
  • In real life, you have no fear of your vehicle moving beyond your control. In fact, you’re a great driver and your car is in good condition.

Feeling Totally Out of Control of Your Life

The sedan, SUV, van, pickup truck or bus that you're driving in these dreams symbolizes or represents your life. In your waking life, you feel very much out of control.

Too many distressing things are happening during waking life that you’ve been unable to mitigate. In waking life your thoughts are often focused on trying to solve grueling situations that you just can’t get the upper hand on.

This muck is in your head when you go to sleep and needs to be processed. So your mind creates these dreams—over and over.

Interpretation of the Details

  • Backward movement eliminates the possibility of easily seeing what might be coming up from behind. Forward movement would give you some sense of control, in that you’d easily see what's coming (in your future)—something you've been unable to do in waking life.
  • Remember, the theme is feeling out of control—being afraid that harrowing circumstances will come up from behind you such as being fired from a job or being unexpectedly diagnosed with a serious medical condition.
  • Nobody else gets hit or is present to witness the situation because the theme is all about YOU. It’s YOUR life that’s out of control, not someone else’s.

I’ve been having this recurring dream for many years, yet I consider myself to be an excellent driver and always have a well-working car.

But things have gone on in my life that have left me feeling powerless. Some situations have been resolved, while others are ongoing.

Alternate Interpretations

Back to the Past

The rolling or moving backwards symbolizes a fierce longing—going back in time and doing things differently to avoid the negative outcomes in your life that ultimately happened.

How often have you imagined that you're suddenly back in time—maybe five years, maybe 10 years, maybe 20? Or perhaps the do-over is characterized by an era such as high school, college, the first few years of your marriage, a particular job, etc., and you get to relive all those years, except with the mind, knowledge, and wisdom that you currently have? How wonderful that would be!

The dream is code for a roll-back in time. But why does the rolling backwards of your car create a stressful experience in these dreams? Because in real life, it's freaking stressful to know that you can never go backwards in time for a do-over.

Slipping Backwards Into Bad Habits

Perhaps you've failed at smoking cessation (many times) or have repeatedly attempted to lose weight without success. Perhaps your marriage is failing or you've been sleeping too much. These failures grate on you during your waking hours and continue festering in your mind during the REM (dreaming) stage of sleep.

What better symbol for this than that of a 4,000-pound metal cage with wheels that you can't stop from slipping backwards?

Rolling Down a Steep Hill or Inclined Driveway

This symbolizes a subset of the "out of control" phenomenon: You're scared that decisions you may make in life will result in disaster, as in the symbolic disaster of your car rolling in reverse down the driveway and getting creamed by an oncoming vehicle. And what could be more frightening than being in a car rolling backwards down a steep hill beyond your control, invariably heading towards an intersection?

Ask yourself what big plunge in life you've been putting off, such as quitting your miserable job to start your dream business; ending a turbulent relationship; telling your Alpha in-laws that you don't want them hosting the next Christmas dinner, etc.

Why Are These Dreams Rarely Lucid?

Again, this goes back to symbolizing feeling out of control—whether that's overall in your life, over specific aspects such as weight control or finances, or the powerlessness of going back in time for a do-over of your life. If these dreams were lucid, this would mean some degree of control in the dream. So it makes perfect sense that you're never (or rarely) aware that you're dreaming in these dreams.

The Car As the Perfect Symbol for Loss of Control

In waking life, our cars have significant meaning and importance. Remember the last time your car was in the shop for a few days? How did you feel, depending on friends, coworkers, and family to cart you around? Even if you used Uber, Lyft, or a rental car, let's face it: During this time you felt stripped of a huge chunk of control because you don't have possession of your own working vehicle.

Remember when you got your first car? Wow, you felt so much more in control of your life!

Many car dreams relate—in some shape, way, or form—to control elements in our lives.

If you'd been born long before the invention of cars, you would have likely dreamed you were in a horse-powered wagon or buggy instead of a car. Similarly, no matter what you did, the wagon in the dream keeps going backwards, either forcing the horses to walk backwards, or the horses are walking backwards and forcing the carriage to go in reverse.

Our chief mode of transportation symbolizes in real life our independence and sense of control, even if it feels as though your entire life is going down the tubes.


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