Driving anxiety is not an ailment. It is a condition, where a person driving a vehicle suddenly gets anxious and starts panicking, to the extent of passing out – in extreme cases. Now the big question is “do you suffer from driving anxiety”? and How to overcome driving anxiety?
Symptoms of Driving Anxiety
We all experience anxiety while driving, sometime or the other in adverse traffic situations. However, it is considered a problem only when the anxiety phase persists consistently over a period of time. Driving anxiety is situational and momentary and can be easily overcome with self determination and emotional support.
So how do you determine if you are undergoing a spell of driving anxiety attacks? There are several situations that might spur anxiety attacks while driving. Some of the most relevant fears leading to driving anxiety involve:
- Stuck up in traffic
- Hit by a vehicle from the front or rear
- Driving on the highway
- Driving over a bridge
- Claustrophobic tendencies of being trapped in a vehicle
- Fear of causing an accident
People suffering from driving anxiety usually can experience their palms sweating, their heart beats racing and sometimes even on the verge of being in tears, when stuck in an unfortunate traffic situation or driving on the road.
Causes of Driving Anxiety
Studies have revealed that there may be multiple reasons leading to anxiety while driving. In most cases it is seen that the patient suffering from driving anxiety must have had or seen a car wreck very closely, and it is the impact of the incident that has jolted the senses to the extent that the incident is flashed back as soon as he/she sits behind the wheels. There are also cases when a person experiences driving anxiety attacks, even when someone else drives the car too.
Experts dealing with anxiety driving consider that, people with phobias for driving are actually the safest on the roads. Their anxiety in turn helps them to be more vigilant; thus minimizing the risk of accidents in comparison to others who are less alert about the traffic on the road, thus increasing the chances of car wreck. Therefore, it is absolutely normal to be alert and cautious while driving on the road; lest your anxiousness while driving leads to panic attacks.
Overcoming Driving Anxiety
Driving anxiety can be easily overcome if you develop the material strength to stay cool and hold over your nerves while driving. There are a few simple ways to counter the problem, in association with self-help programs like The Driving Fear Program.
Evaluate – What is causing Anxiety; This is the foremost task to be done to get rid of driving anxiety. Find out the potential reasons that are causing anxiety while driving. It may be correlated to an emotional scar caused due to an accident you have witnessed or suffered; new to driving and do not trust your skills, etc. Once your fear factor is evaluated, your therapist can guide you to think positively to overcome driving anxiety.
Make yourself comfortable: It is essential that you make yourself comfortable in your car as you are set to drive it . Studies have shown that being comfortable diminishes the anxiety levels to a large extent especially in cases of anxiety driving. Also, make sure that you have all the necessary things required in case you are stuck in traffic for long hours, face a breakdown, injury, etc. Carrying an extra tyre for your car, first aid box, some food, water and chocolates can give you that sense of security to overcome any eventualities.
Drive nearby with a Friend: You can ask a friend to accompany you when driving, as talking with another person beside you can be relaxing and help you overcome the anxiety and fear of driving. Also, start building your confidence by driving in nearby lanes and not so busy neighborhood roads, before you get over your driving anxiety.