Anxiety can be a major issue for many people, and it can be especially problematic when it comes to driving. If you are someone who suffers from driving anxiety, you know how difficult it can be to get behind the wheel. However, it is important to understand that there are ways to deal with this condition. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the things that you need to know about driving anxiety. We will also provide some tips for managing this condition.
- 1 What Is Driving Anxiety?
- 2 What Are The Symptoms Of Driving Anxiety?
- 3 What Causes Driving Anxiety?
- 4 How Does It Impact Your Everyday Life?
- 5 How To Manage Your Driving Anxiety By Yourself?
- 6 Seek Professional Help
- 7 Conclusion
- 8 A Word From Mantra Care
What Is Driving Anxiety?
Driving anxiety is defined as a fear of driving. This can manifest itself in different ways for different people. For some, it may be a general feeling of anxiety or unease when behind the wheel. Others may experience more specific fears, such as a fear of highway driving, or a fear of bridges or tunnels.
A fear of driving refers to hamaxophobia or vehophobia. Hamaxophobia is defined as a fear of vehicles or carriages, while vehophobia refers specifically to a fear of cars.
For many people, driving anxiety is simply a matter of nervousness or unease. They may feel anxious about being in control of a large vehicle, or about the responsibility of driving. Moreover, it is actually a phobia. A phobia is an irrational fear of something that poses no real danger.
In fact, researchers have found that some people are afraid of driving because they fear having a car accident. This fear can be so severe that it interferes with their ability to drive. So, it is important to identify and resolve this issue soon, otherwise, it can lead to more health problems.
What Are The Symptoms Of Driving Anxiety?
The signs and symptoms of driving anxiety are different for everyone. Some of the common symptoms include:
- feeling tense or nervous before and during a drive
- heart palpitations or chest pain
- sweaty palms
- shortness of breath
- dry mouth
- feeling nauseous or dizzy
- hot flashes or chills
- shaking or trembling
- sense of impending doom
These are some of the more common symptoms, but it’s important to remember that everyone experiences anxiety differently. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to talk to your doctor.
Moreover, it’s also important to keep in mind that these symptoms can be exacerbated by other factors such as lack of sleep, use of substances, or health conditions. Even so, studies suggest that between 36-55% of the population experiences some form of driving anxiety. So, it is essential to seek help for driving anxiety.
What Causes Driving Anxiety?
People are often surprised to learn that there are many different causes of driving anxiety. Some of the major reasons why people are afraid of driving include:
Fear of the unknown
Many people are anxious about driving because they don’t know what to expect. They may be worried about getting lost, or they may be concerned about being in an accident. In fact, it is believed that one of the main reasons why people are afraid of driving is because they don’t have a good understanding of how cars work.
Fear of losing control
Another common cause of driving anxiety is fear of losing control. People may be worried about losing control of their car, or they may be worried about losing control of themselves. This can lead to a feeling of being trapped or out of control. People with driving anxiety may also avoid certain roads or situations, such as driving on the highway or in bad weather.
Fear of traffic
Traffic can be a major source of anxiety for people who are afraid to drive. It can be hard to predict what other drivers will do, and this can lead to a feeling of being out of control. People with driving anxiety may avoid driving during rush hour or in areas with high traffic. In fact, people who already have driving anxiety may find that their anxiety gets worse when they are in traffic.
Fear of crowds
Some people are anxious about driving because they don’t like being around other drivers. They may feel like they can’t control what other people do and that they’re in danger of being in an accident. If this is your fear, you may want to consider taking public transportation or carpooling with someone you trust.
So, these are major causes of driving anxiety. However, there are some other risk factors that can contribute to your fear. For example, if you’re a woman, you may be more likely to experience driving anxiety than men.
Some of the other risk factors include:
- past experience of car accidents
- lack of trust in your driving skills
- family history of anxiety disorders
- being in an unfamiliar place
If you have driving anxiety, it’s important to understand that you’re not alone. Many people struggle with this fear. But there are things you can do to manage your anxiety and make driving less stressful.
How Does It Impact Your Everyday Life?
Driving is a common and necessary part of daily life for most people. It can be a source of enjoyment, or simply a means to get from one place to another. But when it becomes anxiety-provoking, it can have a significant impact on quality of life.
For people with driving anxiety, the thought of getting behind the wheel can be terrifying. It can cause such intense fear and anxiety that they avoid driving altogether. Eventually, this leads to negative impacts in daily life. Some of these include:
- social isolation
- limited job opportunities
- difficulty getting to medical appointments
- reliance on others for transportation
- difficulty taking vacations
Each of these can have a serious impact on quality of life. And, in fact, this driving anxiety can be so debilitating that it’s classified as a phobia.
If you suffer from driving anxiety, know that you’re not alone. It’s a common problem with a range of effective treatments. The key is to seek help from a mental health professional who can tailor treatment to your specific needs. With the right help, it is possible to manage driving anxiety and live a full, rich life.
How To Manage Your Driving Anxiety By Yourself?
If your anxiety is in its initial stage and driving doesn’t make you feel anxious all the time. Then, there are a few things you can do to manage your anxiety by yourself.
Practicing driving in an empty place
This is the foremost thing you should do if you want to get rid of your driving anxiety. Look for an empty parking lot or a quiet street where there is no traffic. Now, start driving slowly and gradually increase your speed. While doing so, concentrate on your breathing and try to keep yourself calm. Also, don’t forget to take breaks in between if you feel dizzy or lightheaded.
Listening to soothing music
Another thing that can help you calm your nerves while driving is listening to soothing music. Make a playlist of your favorite songs and play it in the background while driving. This will help you relax and keep your mind off the anxious thoughts. It is also believed that music can help improve your mood and reduce stress levels.
Visualizing the journey
If you are someone who gets anxious thinking about the journey, then it is advisable to visualize it before starting your drive. This will help you be prepared for what’s coming ahead and you will feel more confident while driving. It also works as a distraction from anxious thoughts.
If you are a beginner, then it is best to start slow. Begin by driving in your neighborhood or somewhere that you are familiar with. This will help you get comfortable behind the wheel and gain confidence. Once you feel more confident, you can start driving on the highways or long distances. Also, this is something real that can be done to ease your anxiety.
Don’t focus on your surroundings
When you are driving, it is important to focus on the road and your surroundings. However, if you start focusing on the other drivers or what’s happening around you, then it will only make you more anxious. Try to keep your mind focused on driving and don’t let anything else distract you.
If you are feeling anxious while driving, then it is best to take a break. Pull over at a rest stop and take some deep breaths. This will help you relax and calm down. Try to avoid driving when you are feeling tired or stressed. Moreover, taking short breaks will enable you to refresh and focus on your journey.
Build your confidence
This is often easier said than done, but it is important to build your confidence if you want to overcome driving anxiety. One way to do this is by taking a defensive driving course. This will teach you how to be a better and more confident driver. Additionally, it will also give you the skills to deal with different situations on the road. Gradually, you will start to feel more comfortable behind the wheel and your anxiety will start to ease.
Deep Breathing exercise
This is one of the most important things that you need to do when you’re feeling anxious is to breathe. Take a few deep breaths and focus on your breathing. This will help you relax and calm down. It is also a good way to distract yourself from anxious thoughts. In fact, it is a meditation technique that can be very effective in reducing anxiety.
Be patient with yourself
Being patient with yourself is actually an avoidable thing. It takes time to overcome anxiety and it is important to be patient. Remember that you are not alone in this and there are many people who suffer from driving anxiety. Just take things one step at a time and eventually, you will get there.
These are some of the things that you can do to ease your driving anxiety. Remember, it is important to take things slow and not to focus on the surroundings. If you feel like you’re starting to get anxious, then take a break and breathe. With time and practice, you will start to feel more confident behind the wheel. Just be patient with yourself and don’t give up.
Seek Professional Help
There are times when some people need to seek professional help to deal with their anxiety. This could be for a number of reasons, such as:
- anxiety is impacting your ability to drive
- have been in a car accident
- afraid to drive on highways or in certain weather conditions
- have had a panic attack while driving
If these things sound familiar, then you may want to seek professional help. Some professional treatment options might include:
CBT is a type of therapy that can help you identify and change the thoughts and behaviors that are causing your anxiety. This therapy is believed to be very effective in treating anxiety disorders. It works by helping you to:
- identify your anxiety triggers
- learn how to manage and cope with anxiety
- develop healthy coping mechanisms
In this way, a therapist can help you to understand your anxiety. And give you the tools to manage it effectively.
This type of therapy gradually exposes you to the things that trigger your anxiety. This could involve driving in different weather conditions or on different types of roads. The idea is that by slowly exposing yourself to these things, you will eventually be able to manage your anxiety and not be so afraid.
Also, if you have had a panic attack while driving, this type of therapy can help you slowly face your fears. And learn how to manage the anxiety that comes with it.
In some cases, medication may be necessary to help you manage your anxiety. Your doctor can prescribe you medication that can help to:
- reduce your anxiety symptoms
- improve your sleep
- help with depression
In this way, medication can help to improve your overall mental health. And make it easier for you to manage your anxiety. Some options include:
- anti-anxiety medications
So, if your conditions are not responding to self-help methods. It is important to seek professional help. And find the treatment that works best for you.
If your anxiety is impacting your quality of life, it’s important to seek professional help. There are many effective treatments available, so don’t hesitate to reach out for support. It is possible to manage your anxiety and live a happy, healthy life.
To conclude, driving anxiety is a real and serious problem. While it may not be as common as other anxiety disorders, it can be just as debilitating. If you think you might have driving anxiety, don’t hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional for help. With the right treatment, you can get back on the road – and back to living your life.
You can reach out to Mantra Care for help with driving anxiety. Our team of mental health professionals is here to help you get back on the road – and back to living your life. Contact us and book your free consultation session today to learn more about our services!
A Word From Mantra Care
Your mental health — your psychological, emotional, and social well-being — has an impact on every aspect of your life. Positive mental health essentially allows you to effectively deal with life’s everyday challenges.
At Mantra Care, we have a team of therapists who provide affordable online therapy to assist you with issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, relationship, OCD, LGBTQ, and PTSD. You can take our mental health test. You can also book a free therapy or download our free Android or iOS app.