Techniques For Coping with Driving Anxiety

Do You Have A Fear of Driving?

If you are someone that would like to overcome a driving fear, these tips may be very helpful. If you are the type of person who would rather run in the opposite direction in order to avoid driving or if you find yourself wobbling on jelly-legs whenever you try to open the driver’s door, it is possible that you are suffering from driving anxiety. Here are some tips on how you can cope with driving anxiety…

Anxiety Driving FearRelaxation Techniques

Deep breathing exercises are one of the most effective relaxation techniques for anxiety disorders.

There are also self-help driving programs that have been helpful to many.

It is also helpful whenever those symptoms of driving anxiety start to creep in.

Self talking and positive affirmations are another relaxation technique that you can make use of while driving.  Tell yourself some words of encouragement such as “I can do this and I will be at my destination very soon and safely!”

Another self-talk technique is to tell yourself your reason for driving and outline the details or purpose for the trip.  The key here is to try to relax yourself by distracting your mind and keeping it away from any negative thoughts that will only exacerbate your feelings of anxiety.

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Think of the good points for your purpose of driving. Are you excited about your arrival or the event coming up?

Observe Mindfulness While Driving

You need to observe ‘mindfulness’ all throughout the duration of your trip. Don’t allow your anxiety to make you lose focus whilst driving! Once you notice your hands starting to grip the steering wheel more tightly and your mind is telling you about impending accidents…stop your thoughts and get back to rule number one. Use relaxation techniques.

Choose A Driving Companion

People who are suffering from driving anxiety should carefully choose someone to keep them company while driving.  It should be someone whom you trust and someone who is very much aware of your anxiety and completely understands your condition.

This person must also be prepared to help you relax and stay calm.

Avoid those people who do not understand your anxiety or those who will only be causing you more stress and anxiety behind the wheel. Even if it is a husband or wife…if they are not supportive…do not drive…let them. Only drive with people who can help…not hinder. If you also hate being a passenger, say positive affirmations and deep breathe.

Know When To Take Driving Breaks

If you are experiencing driving anxiety, it is best to take several breaks behind the wheel. For example, you can take a break every 30 minutes of driving. You can either have someone else drive the car or you can look for a safe place to park for a few minutes.

You may increase the length of time for driving and shorten the time for your breaks once you notice yourself improving. If you are in a hurry, allow a trusted friend or someone else to do the driving for you.

Anxiety First Aid Kit

Another important thing that you must remember before you start driving is to check whether your anxiety first aid kit is complete.  Make sure that you have your bottle of water, cell phone with its charger and your relaxation CD inside the car.  It would also be best to have your own GPS so you can easily find your way back especially when you are driving to unfamiliar places.

Avoid Taking Anti-Anxiety Medications

 Anti-anxiety medications may effectively relieve your anxiety. Unfortunately, most of these anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medications cannot be taken while driving.  Taking these medications before or during driving is not recommended and will only increase your risk of accidents.

There are other tips too, such as progressive muscle relaxation for driving anxiety. There are self-help programs too and in my opinion these natural anxiety relief techniques are the best!

Driving Anxiety Infographic

 References

  1.  http://www.theravive.com/blog/post/2011/09/25/Coping-With-Your-Driving-Anxieties.aspx
  2. http://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety/types/driving
  3. http://www.wikihow.com/Overcome-a-Driving-Phobia

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About Jennifer Johnson

I suffered with social anxiety and stress for years. I discovered what my triggers were and learned to control them. Hopefully some of the natural anxiety relief techniques I have tried, will also be your solution.

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Comments

  1. I went through a period of being scared to drive because I thought i was going to have a panic attack and lose control but I have since gotten over that. I do however get very anxious and panic when I am a passenger. I feel more comfortable when I drive as oppose to someone else driving. I hate it.

    • Jennifer Johnson says:

      Hi Mae,

      I’m happy to hear you are no longer afraid of driving yourself…and feeling afraid when you are a passenger is totally understandable. I am afraid then too! After all, we don’t have any control at all. We are in the hands of the driver.

      Therefore if makes sense for us to be the driver. For those that prefer to be the passenger, that’s fine too.

      While I am talking to you Mae, have a beautiful Christmas and many happy days in the New Year! xxx

  2. I suffer from driving and passenger anxiety!! It is terrible, I feel terrible and stupid because I don’t feel like people around me understand the severity of it. My father has been a truck driver for 30+ years and compares all of his kids to himself. He has had no tickets, fender benders or serious accidents so he thinks my fear and anxiety is silly. I get such bad anxiety it feels like I am going to pass out, this thankfully has never happened to me while driving but it has in the passenger seat. Being in the passenger seat my anxiety is more understandable to people because, as you said, I am not in control when someone else is driving so what they do might not have been what I would’ve done in a certain situation. I panic because I am convinced everyone is out to get me and everyone drives like a bunch of crazies! I am hoping I can get over this anxiety. I have mastered driving up here in the mountains, but the thought of driving down the mountain or on the freeway are horrifying. This of course penalizes me because all of my family lives down the hill. I have read many articles so far this one is the best. Thank you

    • Jennifer Johnson says:

      Hi Tarah,

      Unfortunately people don’t understand, but please don’t ever feel terrible or stupid! You are not the only person in the world who is afraid. I am not afraid of driving, but I hate being a passenger with some people…but never put me in a plane!

      I have learned how to control many of my anxieties…but there are still some where people think I am weird…but I don’t care anymore and you know what? That makes it easier to bear!

      Once you don’t care what other people think, you may find you can face your fear easier. That sounds weird in itself, but it is so true.

      Next time you get in a vehicle tell yourself it’s ok to have people not understand how you feel, but tell yourself that everything will be alright and you will and can come out smiling.

      Being brave is hard…but practice makes perfect!

      As for your father, he may never understand because driving his truck is like you brushing your hair. He’s done it all his life and there is nothing he can see that could be scary. Don’t ever blame him for not understanding, he loves you and helping you is out of his power.

      We all have our fears, just driving isn’t one of his.

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