What if I get lost while driving in an unfamiliar area, and my driver anxiety spikes? What if I run out of gas on a highway? What if I get into a car accident? What if I encounter aggressive drivers on the road? What if I have a medical emergency while driving?
Do you have anxiety while driving? Can you cope with your stress? We know that these are some of the fears and anxieties we feel at the thought of driving. We do know how a major car accident can cause someone to fear driving. But in most cases driving phobias have nothing to do with accidents. They could be because of other reasons.
In this article, we will discuss the causes of driving anxieties as well as how to overcome them. The signs of anxiety and a panic attack while driving will also be addressed. I will also share my personal experience.
Read also: Top 5 Dangers of Drinking While Driving?
What is Driving Anxiety?
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), specific phobia is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by an irrational fear of something that poses little to no threat. The NIMH estimates that approximately 12.5% of American adults experience phobias at some point in their lives. Driving anxiety is also known as driving phobia.
It’s a type of anxiety disorder that is characterized by excessive dread when it comes to driving an automobile. This anxiety can be so severe that it interferes with a person’s ability to drive. This causes them to avoid driving or experience intense panic and stress while driving.
Overcoming My Driver Anxiety
Let’s start with my personal experience. As someone who has struggled with driving anxiety in the past, I understand how overwhelming it can feel to get behind the wheel. Especially when you are surrounded by heavy traffic flow on the road. When I first started learning to drive, I constantly thought I was in danger of causing an accident.
I remember feeling incredibly nervous before each driving course. My heart would race as soon as I got into the driver’s seat. The thought of merging onto a busy highway gave me a panic attack. I was petrified when I had to make a U-turn when there was a massive line of cars before me. I constantly thought that I would mess up or my car would turn off.
How did I Overcome my Driver Anxiety?
However, with time and practice, I overcame my driving anxiety and became more confident on the road. I realized that all I needed was to take things slow and trust my instincts. I also took deep breaths when I felt my anxiety levels rising.
Listening to calming music and keeping a positive attitude helped me to stay relaxed while driving. I gradually increased the amount of time I spent on the road. With practice, I eventually learned how to drive without any fear.
So do remember that overcoming driving anxiety disorders takes time and patience. But with a positive attitude and the proper techniques, you can do it. If you are struggling, don’t be afraid to reach out to a driving instructor or therapist for support. They will help you to deal with dangerous situations. Remember that the more you practice, the more confident and capable you will become on the road.
Causes of Driver Anxiety
Now let’s discuss some of the common causes of driving anxiety phobias we experience:
- Many people with driving anxiety are afraid of losing control of their car. Sometimes due to road conditions, other drivers, or other unpredictable factors. This can cause anxiety and panic attacks.
- People who have been in a car accident or traumatic driving experience may develop driving anxiety.
- Some people may experience driving anxiety due to a fear of not performing well while driving. The thought of making mistakes or not being able to handle certain situations prevents them from performing well.
- Physical or mental health conditions, such as panic disorder, agoraphobia, or other anxiety disorders, can contribute to driving phobia.
- Inexperienced drivers who don’t know what to do in certain situations can experience fear of driving.
- For some people, driving can trigger feelings of anxiety, even if they don’t have a fear of driving.
- Environmental factors, such as heavy traffic, road construction, or bad weather, can also contribute to driving anxiety.
Tips to Overcome Driver Anxiety
Some of the tips to overcome driver anxiety are:
- Start by driving in less rush areas and gradually increase the difficulty level as you become more confident.
- Replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations that you can do it.
- Take deep breaths and relax your mind before you get behind the wheel.
- Calming music or a guided meditation can help distract you from your anxiety. It will help you calm down on the road.
- A therapist trained in Cognitive-behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help you identify negative thoughts and behaviors related to driving. It can help you teach coping strategies to manage your anxiety.
- If your driving anxiety is affecting your daily life, consider seeking help from a licensed therapist or psychologist. This can help you in overcoming your anxieties and phobias.
- “Practice, Practice, Practice.” The more you drive, the more comfortable and confident you will be. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and drive in new and difficult situations.
- Overcoming driving anxiety is a process that may take time. But with persistence and the right guidance, you can become a capable driver.
Driver anxiety is a common experience, but it can be overcome with a little guidance. There are many ways to manage and reduce anxiety from gradual exposure to deep breathing and professional help. Remember that everyone progresses at their own pace, so it’s essential to be persistent and patient in your journey.
This is where Gclass drivers can help. We provide all the guidance and exposure you need. From handling dangerous situations on the road to helping you gain confidence, we have got it all covered. I want to remind you that you are not alone in your struggle with driving anxiety. You just need to be persistent. So take a deep breath, trust yourself, and enjoy driving. Be happy, and have a safe drive, everyone!