Nearly everyone who drives a car experiences fear at some point or another. Whether its having an accident (or near-accident), driving in extreme weather, getting cut off by another driver, or even driving over a bridge. These driving fears can become a problem when they are reoccurring or affect your behavior.
Driving phobias are most commonly triggered by the following events:
- Having the fear of a traffic accident
- Witnessing or being in a previous accident
- Experiencing claustrophobia while in an automobile
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Agoraphobia which is the feeling of being trapped
- The fear of traveling (also called Hodophobia)
- Stress and fear while in heavy traffic
- Fear of highway speeds
- The fear of having a panic attack while driving
Driving phobia is nothing to be embarrassed by. It’s so common that its likely you have a friend, family member, or co-worker who is quietly suffering too. The root cause of all anxiety problems, including the fear of driving, is a false alarm from our body to our brain triggering our internal fight or flight mechanism.
Driving phobia causes us to feel like we’re in danger when in fact its only perceived danger that we create in our own minds.
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7 Tips To Stop Driving Fear
- Take along a friend or family member whenever possible. This distracts your brain from spending all of its energy on worrying about driving and forces you to focus on the conversation.
- Stay in the right hand lane (slow lane) if you’re on a multiple lane road. This will reduce tail-gators and give you an easy escape route to an exit or the shoulder of the road if necessary.
- Always take along a bottle of ice cold water. Should driving anxiety make your throat dry this will provide immediate relief
- Listen to calm, soothing music while you’re drive. Never listen to news programs or opinion-based talk radio. These programs seem to always dwell on bad news which will only add to your stress levels.
- Take the long way to your destination. You can probably get to nearly everywhere you need to go by using slower side streets.
- Listen to books on cd, cassette tape, or podcast while you drive. These days you can find tons of great book material in audio format. Again, this will calm your mind as you focus on the content and not think about the driving part as much.
- If you start getting anxious slow your breathing down and take deep breaths from your abdomen instead of shallow breaths from your chest. Hold the air in for a few seconds and slowly exhale for the count of ten. Deep breathing will help steady your heart beat and help you to relax immediately
Use these tips to help build your confidence and get you back on the road again without fear.