How to conquer your fear of driving
Driving can bring out different emotions in everyone. Unfortunately, for many motorists, they can also be a source of anxiety.
There are many reasons why people fear getting behind the wheel.
Do you sound familiar? It’s not unusual. We have listed some common driving fears. Wherever possible, we offer practical advice to help you overcome them.
What is fear of driving?
Although it doesn’t have an exact name, emotions related to fear of driving are very common and can manifest in mild or more severe symptoms.
It can be a fear of certain situations.
- Driving at high speeds
- Loss of control
- Learning to Drive
- Driving alone
- Driving at night
- Being trapped in a Traffic Jam
- Driving in adverse conditions
- Driving in unfamiliar areas
- Driving alongside larger vehicles
For others, it may be generalized anxiety about driving. The driving phobia can also develop out of nowhere, sometimes with no obvious cause, and sometimes even after years of driving safely.
What are the causes of fear driving?
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the question of why certain people have a fear of driving or develop it.
Most people will experience a mix of anxiety and apprehensions. The most common triggers are:
Performance anxiety it’s human nature for people to feel the weight of responsibility, especially when safety is at stake. You are also responsible for your safety and that of your passengers. Many people are uncomfortable with their abilities behind the wheel.
Bad experience it stands to reason that anyone involved in or witnessing a road accident (or near-miss) in the past can be strongly affected by it. It doesn’t matter how minor an incident was, it can have a significant impact on your ability to return to the road.
Fear of authority – while we know police, fire services, and ambulance teams are out there to help us, some people suffer from a more clinically-pronounced strain of nervousness around authority figures. Fear of being a nuisance to authorities, or in unfamiliar traffic situations, can lead to a reluctance of getting behind the wheel.
Claustrophobia – One of the most well-known phobias is the fear of enclosed spaces. This fear can easily be transferred to the possibility of being inside a car as a passenger or driver.
What are the signs of anxiety that can lead to driving?
Driving phobias and anxieties can manifest differently in different people. However, they are often similar to other forms of anxiety and panic attacks.
These could include:
- There is confusion
- Heart palpitations
- Sweaty palms
- Breathing difficulty
- Dry mouth
Others won’t experience these symptoms but will avoid driving. This could mean keeping their fear from family and friends.
You might notice someone you know who hasn’t been behind a wheel for a while – or perhaps never got around to learning to drive – so have a talk with them.
What can I do about driving anxiety?
Although not all cases can be cured, there are some steps you can take that may help ease your driving tensions.
It could be as easy as switching your driving instructor if you are having trouble learning how to drive. Learning with the wrong person can be a barrier to your motivation to get back behind the wheel.
To remove your fear and anxiety just believes on Pass First Go Driving Instructors that will guide you how to overcome your fear by teaching you driving techniques.
Other general tips are:
Avoid caffeine, empty stomachs. A reduction in caffeinated drinks can have a surprisingly positive impact on anxiety. If you are anxious due to caffeine, the best thing is to stop drinking it. Do not drive if you are hungry.
Stress management, unfortunately, prolonged periods of high stress can lead to anxiety. So do your best to manage your stress levels. You can help yourself by taking frequent breaks from work, exercising, yoga, and meditation.
Treatment techniques you might want to look into practices such as ‘desensitization’. This involves taking small steps that put you in situations that can trigger anxiety. An example of this is simply sitting in a car while the engine runs. While it might take several hours, days, or even weeks to get to the next stage of the process, you are gradually desensitizing your triggers.