To many people, driving is one of the most frightening experiences they can have. Numerous labels have been applied to the fear of driving, including amaxophobia, ochlophobia, motorphobia, and amaxophobia. A persistent and extreme fear of losing control while driving or riding a vehicle is the root cause of this specific phobia.
There are many stressful driving situations. They may experience anxiety or fear while driving through a tunnel, crossing a bridge, or even riding as a passenger on a motorway. It’s conceivable that these buildings or paths could pose hazards to drivers. Whatever the circumstances, anxious people believe something terrible is going to happen.
Anxiety in general isn’t as severe or debilitating as driving anxiety. Neglected, a fear of driving can interfere with daily life and lead to serious psychological issues.
The Roots of a Fear of Driving
Various factors contribute to the prevalence of nervous motorists. The most frequent reason is the worry that one will experience a panic attack while behind the wheel. Other reasons include:
- Experiencing the trauma of witnessing the fatal crashes of other vehicles or learning that a loved one was involved in a car crash
- Spending hours on the road disoriented with no way to get directions
- Being delayed by thick traffic
- Disbelief in one’s driving abilities
Indicators That You Might Have a Driving Fear
Complete avoidance of driving is the most indicative symptom of driving phobia. There are other signs to look out for, including:
- Constant and extreme fear
- Avoiding collisions with cars as much as possible
- Cold sweats
- Lack of focus and direction
- Discomfort with breathing
- Driving with a racing heart
Stress and Anxiety At the Wheel
Unpredictable panic attacks are brief bouts of extreme fear. Someone with a driving phobia may experience panic attacks. Panic episodes can be diagnosed by doctors. You will be requested to detail the time, place, and activities surrounding your experience. The positive news is that there is help for panic attacks.
How to Conquer Your Fear of Driving and Become a Confident Driver
Find a Qualified Driving School
It comes as a shock to learn how many people suffer from crippling anxiety whenever they have to drive on a highway because they simply do not have the skills required to do so safely. If you want to get behind the wheel, taking driving classes is your first order of business. Find a driving teacher who is patient and willing to explain everything in detail.
While behind the wheel, a teacher will provide vocal instructions. They’ll give a rundown of the weather, traffic, and any incidents they see outside. Knowing that a professional is right there with you can help you relax. If you want to overcome your fear of driving, you shouldn’t skip your classes.
Implement Exposure Therapy
To overcome a phobia or anxiety, exposure therapy involves gradually exposing yourself to situations that trigger them. You can, for instance, spend some time in your car’s driver’s position. There is no need to start the car or do anything else.
Relax in the driver’s seat and get a sense of the controls. You can do this daily until you’re at ease. After that, you can gradually start doing something besides sitting. The next step is to attempt to start the vehicle. In exposure treatment, you’ll perform progressively more challenging tasks as you gain confidence. At some point, you’ll look back on your driving and be amazed at how easy it seems. Virtual reality exposure treatment can help with the management of driving anxiety if traditional methods prove insufficient.
The Hard Truth Approach: Identify Your Fears
The Brutal Truth Method entails telling a trusted friend or family member about your worries. In exchange, they provide you with the confidence to confront your fears head-on. If you have a fear of chickens, for instance, a good friend might try to reassure you by explaining that the bird is completely harmless. You can record yourself discussing your phobia if you feel too self-conscious to tell anyone about it, or you can write it down in a phobia workbook. It’s important to put a name to your worry. You can’t move past your crippling anxiety any other way.
Attempt Various Methods of Unwinding
You need to master the art of calm if you want to improve your driving skills. When behind the wheel, relax and don’t worry too much. You need to chill out and keep your mind on the road. Meditation is one of the many methods that are successful in reducing stress. The practice of meditation can be done at little to no cost and in the privacy of your own house. To calm down, try some deep breathing. If you’re feeling anxious, try taking some deep breaths and playing some relaxing music to help you calm down.
Rely on Affirmations
Try to be nice to yourself and tell yourself nice things. These are quick proclamations meant to inspire joy. Motivating yourself can help you tremendously. Saying things like “I’m scared, but I can do this” to yourself while driving can help. I’m willing to give driving a chance if it turns out to be enjoyable and rewarding.
Take the wheel for as long as you need to feel safe. Let the fresh air blow through your tresses by rolling down the window. If you’re afraid of driving and never give it a shot, you’ll never get over it. Getting behind the wheel requires you to overcome your apprehension.
It’s important to treat driving anxiety seriously because it can cause numerous accidents that put many people in danger. Because of the severity of the disease, professional help from a therapist, clinical psychologist, or psychiatrist is required. Medication, psychotherapy, and participation in support groups are all part of the treatment strategy that may be recommended by a mental health professional.
CBT is one of the most effective treatments for driving fears and panic attacks. (CBT). The purpose of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is to counteract negative emotions and thoughts. It’s recommended that you take a safe driving course as well. Classes like these can teach you the skills you need to get back on the road safely and confidently.
Long-term physical health problems, such as cardiovascular or respiratory diseases, may emerge in a person with a driving phobia because of the extreme psychological stress they experience.
Behavior and Cognitive Therapy
CBT trains drivers to keep their attention on the road ahead rather than constantly rearranging their daily commute. The burden of planning a daily route can be so great that people start avoiding transportation altogether. Proceed cautiously. Slowly make your way across the bridge or through the passage until you’re comfortable with it.
With the help of CBT, your dire predictions will become less frequent. You start to freak out because you think something terrible is going to happen to you on the road. You’ve been behind the wheel for some time, and everything seems to be going smoothly. Even so, you worry that disaster will befall you the next time around.
With CBT, you can let go of your emotions and concentrate on the here and now. Powerful emotional reasoning is the result of extreme dread. The truth is, most fears are unfounded, so dwelling on them is pointless. You must overcome your anxiety. You believe that whatever you’re feeling has a good chance of coming true. This kind of thinking can lead to an exaggerated perception of risk. You will probably spend the day nervous and unproductive.
The best method to reset your nervous system is to confront your fear head-on and resist the urge to go into panic mode. Maintain a steady pace. Avoid always doing what’s simplest. Doing so will only serve to reinforce your anxiety, rather than help you overcome it. With CBT, you’ll become more cognizant of your implicit safety routines. Your brain receives cues from these protection behaviours that without them, you put yourself in danger. Here are a few examples of risky habits to avoid:
- Maintaining a constant vigil for traffic reports
- Looking for alternate ways home
- Staying away from areas that are undergoing development
- Keeping your pace down below the posted limit because doing so is the safest thing to do
Driving Without Fear Anymore
Don’t wait around to get assistance if you realise you’re experiencing anxiety and distress while behind the wheel. Don’t put off dealing with your health until something bad happens.