How Do I Get Over My Fear Of Driving?
The fear of driving is a very real thing for many people all across this country. In fact, driving fears 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 To Overcoming Driving Anxiety
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.
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 how 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!
Verbalize Your Fears: You must have noticed in the people around you how naming one’s fears tend to make them sound silly, and hence humanizes them. While one person would be reduced to tears when they come across a lizard, another person would simply chuckle at the tiny creature.
Similarly, we have found that sharing your fears with others is akin to letting a huge burden fall off your chest. That isn’t all, when you share your fears with someone you trust, you also get the benefit of receiving an outsider’s perspective. For this, it may help to get in touch with a relevant online community that discusses and provides support. If you like keeping to yourself, give self-help books a try!
If there is no one who you trust with your anxiety, it also helps to keep a diary where you jot down everything that distresses you. Don’t hold back! Ask yourself whether you are suffering from post-traumatic stress while driving, whether you are scared of crashing your car, what are the areas which scare you most while driving, what scares you about the freeway, etc. In this way, you will be able to point out your specific fear and then be able to get the appropriate following treatment. Therapy has been known to help individuals with eating disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, OCD, and other specific phobias. There is no reason it would not help you conquer your fear.
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.
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 that it does not need to sound the panic alarm. This leads to exposure therapy, mentioned below.
Trust Exposure Therapy: Exposure therapy refers to a technique in cognitive-behavioral therapy that helps treat generalized anxiety disorders. It entails exposing the target individual to that particular source of anxiety, which in this case is driving. So the idea behind this therapy is to help a beginner cure their fear of driving by slowly familiarizing them with the freeway setting.
For some learners, it may help to start by simply sitting in their motor vehicle for 5 minutes at a time, every day, so that they are able to get comfortable in that setting. Others could start by driving around in an empty neighborhood, where there is an absence of other cars, for small durations of time every day. The plan is to eventually allow these learners to be able to drive on the freeway for small durations when they find that they are able to. Trust us when we say, you will be comfortably out the freeway in no time.
Hypnosis: Hypnosis does not work for everyone, but you would not know unless you have tried. 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!
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!
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, 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.
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?
The distress or fear of driving can take place for a number of reasons. Psychologists agree that the more common causes of driving phobia are the fear of having a panic attack during the car ride. Many a time, drivers have a panic attack when driving and then have a major fear of that happening again. This leads some drivers to stop driving altogether, which is not a sustainable solution.
Other times, other phobias can be linked to the driving phobia. These may include agoraphobia; the fear of being trapped (loosely), claustrophobia; the fear of enclosed spaces, etc.
But it is not always possible to always link the fear of driving with other phobias. Such a phobia is a simple driving phobia, which is caused by prior bad experiences or your friends’ and family’s history of driving.
If you have undergone an unfortunate motor vehicle accident, you may be at risk of developing a driving phobia. Other possible triggers of driving phobia may be driving in a big storm, losing a sense of direction, being pulled over by the cops, or driving in very heavy traffic. Moreover, the bad experience does not necessarily have to be your own. Coming across a particularly bad crash in person or on TV, or listening to someone else’s story of a crash is reason enough for this phobia to develop.
How your family and friends view driving can impact how you feel about the experience you’re your parents and siblings are especially cautious drivers, it is understandable if you internalize their worries. Some drivers also develop this phobia after viewing gruesome drivers’ education films or other relevant media. These do not have to be the only reasons for this phobia’s development. Many driving phobias in beginners lack clear reasoning. For many drivers, this driving phobia develops suddenly, after years of successful driving experience. Other drivers just never have the yearning to learn to drive. Thankfully, it is not necessary to find the cause in order to treat the phobia. Just stick to our tips, and seek professional help. You got this!
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 aces, 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!
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Matthew is a freelance writer who is passionate about technology, music, photography, and decentralized finance.