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Fears Of Driving

How Do I Get Over My Fears Of Driving? – 10 Tips For Teen Drivers

The fear of driving is a very real thing for many people all across this country. In fact, fears of driving can be so strong they can literally paralyze motorists at times, which is not ideal for anyone on the roadways. The good news, however, is that if you have found your way to this article, you are already halfway through tackling your driving phobias or fear of losing control while driving. Because the first step in resolving fears is identifying them. Like any phobia though, this fear should not be expected to vanish in the blink of an eye. Recovering confidence while driving and being able to enjoy a long relaxing ride in your car is a process that tends to take time for those who battled driving anxiety. Thankfully, we are here to help you out every step of the way!

It is understood that people are afraid to drive given their fear of something negative happening whenever they go out on the road. Furthermore, this phobia is often more substantial and debilitating than worry which is the result of general stress or anxiety. If not treated in time, this phobia can disrupt daily routines and add to other long-term health issues.

Much like other phobias, the fear of driving often necessitates treatment from a psychologist, psychiatrist, or therapist trained in anxiety. The aforementioned mental health providers can aid you in developing a treatment plan that may include psychotherapy, medication, support groups, etc. But before you begin researching behavioral therapists who can help you with your fears, let’s first look at 10 easy tips that can help anyone overcome driving anxiety!

Related Article: See What Scientific American Says About Conquering Your Fear Of Driving!

10 Tips For Overcoming Driving Anxiety

1. Get In Touch With A Driving Instructor

You wouldn’t believe the number of people scared to drive simply because they are not equipped enough to. To enhance a beginner’s driving skills and to ensure confidence behind the wheel, it helps to have a gentle and patient driving instructor in the passenger seat who guides you through the process and helps you to lessen the risk of a traffic accident. Practice makes perfect and using practice tests, defensive driving courses, and adequate driver’s ed will help you perfect this skill once and for all.

2. Meditate

The key to a good, comfortable drive is relaxing your mind. And what better way to relax than to meditate? Meditation has been established as the most efficient way to relax, focus, and unravel all troublesome thoughts. The best part about meditating is that it costs nothing and does not require you to leave your house! Everything you need for an all-encompassing meditation session is readily available on Youtube. Just look up meditation videos tailored to your anxiety and you are good to go!

3. Verbalize Your Fears

Have you ever noticed how naming your fears out loud can make them seem less intimidating and more relatable? Just like how someone may be terrified of snakes while another person finds it amusing, sharing your fears with others can help lighten the load. Not only does it feel like a weight off your chest, but it can also offer an outside perspective from someone you trust or a supportive online community.

If you prefer to work through your fears on your own, consider self-help books as a resource. But if you don’t have anyone you trust to confide in, keeping a diary can also be beneficial. Don’t be afraid to jot down anything that makes you anxious while driving, whether it’s the thought of crashing or a specific area that triggers your fear. By identifying your specific fear, you can take steps towards finding the appropriate treatment.

Remember that therapy is a useful tool for many individuals with different types of anxiety, including those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and specific phobias. Seeking professional help is nothing to be ashamed of and can ultimately help you conquer your fear of driving.

4. Positive Affirmations For The Win

Whenever you feel anxiety taking over, just tell yourself the following:

  • It is ok to feel what I am feeling right now.
  • I will be fine in a matter of minutes and wondering what it was that was so stressful in the first place.
  • I am capable of dealing with negative emotions and will do so this time around as well.
  • Even though my anxiety is causing me discomfort at the moment, it cannot physically hurt me.
  • This too shall pass.

Do not underestimate the power of positive thoughts, especially when spoken out loud.

5. Stop Avoiding, Start Accepting

Every time we avoid something we are afraid of, our brain gets convinced of the danger of the task. Nothing retrains the brain like direct experience. Facing the frightening situations that trigger anxiety is the finest way to train your nervous system so that it does not need to sound the panic alarm. This leads to exposure therapy, as mentioned below.

6. Trust Exposure Therapy

Are you struggling with driving anxiety? Exposure therapy may be an effective technique to consider. This cognitive-behavioral therapy involves gradually exposing yourself to the source of your anxiety, in this case, driving. By gradually introducing yourself to driving situations, you can become more comfortable with them over time.

If you’re new to driving, start by spending five minutes sitting in your car each day to get used to the environment. From there, try driving in an empty neighborhood for short periods every day. As you become more comfortable, you can gradually work your way up to driving on the freeway for brief periods.

It may seem daunting, but trust the process. With time and practice, you can overcome your driving anxiety and confidently navigate the roadways.

7. Hypnosis

Hypnosis does not work for everyone, but you would not know unless you have tried it. While a lot of people believe hypnosis to only be a bit of made-up mumbo jumbo, there are people who swear by it as being excellent for your brain health. The only thing that matters is you being able to confidently step out on the road. And if hypnosis is the way to achieving that, then why not!

8. Befriend Music

Some people believe music to be hugely distracting while driving and a hazard to driver safety, but that is only true if you are listening to it at high volumes. On the contrary, relaxing music while you are driving can help you keep your calm behind the wheel. Remember, music soothes the savage beast!

9. Enhance Your Confidence

Have you wondered whether your fear of driving is owed to you not knowing the workings of your automobile and what goes on inside the car’s hood? Try taking your time to learn how to perform routine car maintenance. These include checking the air pressure in the tires, the water level in the battery, the oil and transmission fluid, and the windshield-wiper fluid. It is also helpful to learn how to fix a flat tire. Doing so will restore your confidence in your car and hence your driving skills.

10. Try, Try Again

While this one is a radical option, it may just end up working! Comfortably seat yourself behind the wheel of your car and start driving while directing your mind to comfortable and happy thoughts. This would be easier if you acknowledge the sense of freedom driving around brings you.

What Causes Fear Of Driving?

Do you find yourself feeling anxious or distressed when behind the wheel? There are a variety of factors that can contribute to a fear of driving. One common cause is the fear of having a panic attack while driving, which can lead to a cycle of anxiety and avoidance.

Other phobias, such as agoraphobia or claustrophobia, can also be linked to a fear of driving. However, sometimes the fear of driving can be a simple phobia that develops from prior negative experiences or the experiences of family and friends.

If you’ve been in a car accident or experienced a traumatic driving event, this can also increase the risk of developing a fear of driving. Other triggers may include driving in inclement weather, getting lost, being pulled over by law enforcement, or driving in heavy traffic.

Family and friends can also play a role in how we perceive driving. If those close to you are cautious drivers or express worries about driving, you may internalize those anxieties. Additionally, exposure to graphic driving education films or other media can contribute to a fear of driving.

In some cases, there may not be a clear reason for the development of a driving phobia. Regardless of the cause, it’s important to seek help and take steps to overcome your fear. You don’t have to let your fear of driving control your life. With the right strategies and professional support, you can learn to manage your anxiety and confidently get back behind the wheel.

Addressing Underlying Mental Health Conditions For Driving Anxiety

Dr. Sarah Johnson, a licensed therapist from the Health Library, emphasizes the importance of relaxation techniques for managing anxiety while driving. She suggests deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and mindfulness meditation.

Dr. Tom Williams, a psychiatrist from the National Institutes of Health, recommends addressing any underlying mental health conditions that may contribute to driving anxiety. He suggests seeking medical advice or diagnosis for conditions such as social anxiety or bipolar disorder, and exploring treatment options such as medication or therapy.

My Teenager Is Scared Of Driving

Driving fears are very real things among teenagers driving on the highway or driving at night. The fear of traveling or getting into a car accident can paralyze teens first learning how to drive. No matter how many DMV practice tests a teenager ace, it will not give teens battling various types of anxiety the confidence needed to drive without fear. By using the above-mentioned techniques to overcome driving anxiety, teens can reduce their driving fears and start feeling the joys of operating an automobile!

Related Content:Devices To Improve Teen Driving Safety

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Most Common Phobias Associated With Driving?

According to Healthline, the most common phobias associated with driving include a phobia of driving on the highway, fear of getting into a car accident, and a fear of losing control of the vehicle. Other specific phobias related to driving include fear of vomiting, fear of bridges, and fear of driving in inclement weather.

What Are Some Physical Symptoms That May Accompany A Fear Of Driving?

The Mayo Clinic states physical symptoms that may accompany a fear of driving include sweating, rapid heart rate, shaking, difficulty breathing, dizziness, and nausea. In extreme cases, some individuals may experience panic attacks while driving, which can be extremely frightening.

What Are Some Practical Tips For Overcoming A Fear Of Driving?

Some practical tips for overcoming a fear of driving include practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and positive affirmations, seeking the help of a mental health professional for diagnosis or treatment, and gradually exposing oneself to driving situations, starting with less intimidating routes and gradually building up to more challenging ones.

Can Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy Help With A Fear Of Driving?

Yes. According to theAmerican Psychological Association, virtual reality exposure therapy is a type of treatment that uses virtual reality technology to simulate driving scenarios and gradually desensitize individuals to their fear of driving. This type of therapy can be particularly effective for those with intense fear or those who may not have access to traditional in-person therapy.

Should You Avoid Driving Altogether If You Have A Fear Of Driving?

No. Avoiding driving altogether is not always the best solution for a fear of driving. While it may be tempting to avoid driving and rely on others or public transportation, this can reinforce the fear and make it even harder to overcome. Instead, it is important to seek out professional help and develop a treatment plan that includes gradually exposing oneself to driving situations and practicing relaxation techniques to promote safe and confident driving.

Joy Nguyen
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