Overcoming Driving Anxiety
Many people have phobias. A fear of spiders and a fear of heights are common. Some people are afraid to ride in a car and others experience the fear while they are driving, trying to keep themselves safe.
For some people, the fear is so strong that they have panic attacks while they are driving even if they aren’t afraid of the car itself. There are types of automobile anxiety. Each type requires a different technique to keep the person calm while in the car.
Any Type of Stress Can Cause Anxiety
Anything that can stress a person out can result in anxiety. As most drivers know, driving can be stressful. When you are driving at high speeds, you need to dodge drivers that may not be skilled or experienced. Some people have anxiety about driving if they had a bad experience behind the wheel or if they have seen frightening news reports about car accidents.
2 Most common causes of driving anxiety include:
1. Panic Attacks While Driving
One of the most common causes of driving anxiety happens when a person has a panic attack while driving. A panic attack can take over your body and mind, making it difficult to concentrate on anything else. The panic attack will escalate your anxiety.
You will feel like there is no way out and that you are putting your life in danger.
Soon, you will be afraid to get into a car because you will be afraid to suffer another panic attack. Sadly, because of the way panic attacks work, the fear of getting into a car can cause another panic attack.
2. Dangerous Situations
Anxiety can occur as a response to a dangerous situation or fear of a dangerous experience. For example, if a person is in an accident or if they were almost in an accident, it can make them afraid to drive. Hearing about accidents or seeing a serious accident can also contribute to the fear of driving.
It is possible to experience driving anxiety over a period of time. When you have small amounts of stress that are spread out over a period of time, it can result in serious anxiety. Since driving can always be stressful, it can be difficult for these people to overcome their fear.
Tips to Reduce Driving Fear
Overcoming a fear of driving can be a lengthy process. Although overcoming the fear of driving can be challenging, there are a few tips to help you get through it.
Face Your Fear
Facing your fear is often easier said than done. If your fear is so serious that you cannot even get into a car, facing your fear may not be possible. If you can get up the courage to get into a car, you won’t need to avoid driving. Even if you have anxiety, you need to keep getting behind the wheel. Once you face your fear, it will get easier and easier each time until the anxiety and panic attacks subside.
Don’t Add To the Anxiety
It is important to make sure that you are not adding to your anxiety when you drive. Always drive within the speed limit, check your blind spots, and signal before you turn. One of the problems that people have, when they suffer from driving anxiety, is validating their fear by putting themselves into dangerous situations. If you can avoid doing this, you will see that driving is not as scary as you made it out to be.
Drive In Slow/Safe Areas
If you drive in an anxiety-free environment, it can be very helpful. This is especially true if you must drive long distances where you can become bored or tired. You can start by finding a large, empty parking lot and drive around for a bit. The longer you are driving, the better you will feel. This is especially true since there are no dangers around to worry about. The more bored you get with driving, the better you will feel.
Mindfulness equals awareness. If you know the signs of your stress and tension, you might be able to talk yourself down. If you find yourself gripping your steering wheel too tightly, if your mind is wandering to dangerous thoughts and worries, or if you start shaking, you can learn to control these emotions. If you do this, you will see a big improvement in your overall stress. Mindfulness requires you to pay attention and address the stressors one by one until you feel relaxed.
Generalized Anxiety Techniques
In addition to the tips listed above, you can use the traditional anti-anxiety strategies for generalized anxiety, phobias, and panic attacks. These are extremely valuable. These treatments are not designed specifically for driving, they will address your thoughts and the symptom issues related to your driving anxiety. These methods can help you get behind the wheel without any stress of panic.
Driving can be a daunting experience, but with Defensive Driving School, we will be with you every step of the way. You can reach us out today.