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Driving anxiety is a quite specific form of anxiety also defined as “an unreasonable fear of driving”. Commonly, you might be afraid of losing control on the road due to which you are scared of driving. Some people refuse to drive while others develop a phobia. In recent research, it has been proved that 25 to 33 % of sufferers in the U.S. developed driving anxiety because they got into a road accident or they saw someone being hospitalized because of a road accident. Coles, T. (2017)
However, there is no long-term illness associated with driving anxiety that you have to worry about. Here we have some basic facts about driving anxiety and some simple steps that can help you overcome your fear.
Causes of driving anxiety
Some of the most common causes of driving anxiety are.
- Experience is one of the biggest cause of driving anxiety. Either you have been involved in an accident, or you have witnessed someone. Some people develop the phobia because of a close call. It is simply protective. Coles, T. (2017).
- Lower blood sugar level is also the cause of anxiety. In case the attack happens while you are driving you can wrongfully associate it with driving anxiety. It can happen because of medical issues or not having a proper meal. It commonly happens in people with a history of diabetes or hypoglycemia. Goodman, K. (2017).
- When you will choose to avoid driving you will increase your fear of driving. The more you will avoid driving the harder it will become for you to drive. With the passage of time, it can develop into driving anxiety. Moreno, T. (2012).
Signs and symptoms
A few signs and symptoms of driving anxiety include.
- Sweaty palms
- Increase palpitation of the heart
- Shortness of breath
- Fear of death
- Dry mouth
Tips to overcome driving anxiety
Here we have a few tips that will help you get rid of your fear of driving.
1- Eat well
First, you need to assure that your blood sugar level will remain normal if you have been driving your car properly for many years. To make it possible assure that you eat well before going on a drive. If you are going on a long journey and you feel hungry, it is better that you stop and have a proper meal to assure that you will not have to deal with hypoglycemia. Patients of diabetes should always have something to eat while they are driving to maintain the normal sugar level. Moreno, T. (2012). If you want some tips on eating healthier, make sure to check out our free e-book.
2- Reduce your coffee intake
Coffee can cause anxiety because it increases the heart rate, if you are suffering from driving anxiety, it is better that you avoid drinking coffee before driving. It will reduce your chances of feeling afraid. It will help you control your emotion, and you will not have to deal with a sudden anxiety attack. Make sure that you have your regular cup of coffee after you are done with driving. Eysenck, J. (2016).
3- Motivation is important
One of the most important things that you have to consider is motivation. You should know that if you are not properly motivated, you will not be able to overcome your fear. The best way to make it possible is having a companion who can motivate you to drive. If that is not an option, you can also check out our online forum to find support, or follow a driving anxiety program. They will motivate you to take your first steps, and after that, you can proceed with your driving lessons once again. Coles, T. (2017)
4- Take baby steps
In case your driving anxiety has gotten worse with the passage of time it will get hard for you to drive. There is no need to sit in the car and start driving if you feel anxious even when you are near a vehicle. It is better that you take small steps. You can start by sitting in a parked car for some time. It will reduce the fear that you have buildup inside. After a few days, you can start the car without moving it. Taking baby steps will increase your level of confidence.
5- Face your fear
You should develop the courage to face your fear otherwise you will not be able to drive again. In order to make it possible you should talk yourself into driving once again. If you are confused and it is getting hard, you could get some help from friends and family. Goodman, K. (2017). Have someone by your side in the car to feel confident and safe. You have to assure that the person sitting beside you will not add up to your fear.
6- Avoid tough situations
If you are suffering from driving anxiety, it is better that you avoid a tough situation in the beginning. Do not drive on a freeway road because you can easily get confused. Always take the safe path which is no very crowded to assure that you will not feel scared or lose control of your vehicle. Moreno, T. (2012). It is better that you drive on the highway to learn about the distance you need to keep from another vehicle. Do not try to do any stunts on the road as your confidence increase and avoid going near the trucks.
7- Ensure safety
You should learn to drive safely in all situation to give yourself some confidence. Make sure that you check the breaks and other machinery of the vehicle to assure that it is working properly. Always wear your seat belt to assure that you will not have to deal with any serious injuries. Avoid using the phone and other devices while you are driving. Doing all of this will give you extra confidence during your drive. Eysenck, J. (2016).
Driving anxiety can be very debilitating, but you can certainly overcome it. Use the tips we mentioned here and you will be on your way. If you are having real issues, we recommend you to follow a specific program. The best one we have found is Driving Fear Help . It’s backed by expert research and practical experiences of people with driving anxiety. It helps you to get rid of your fear of driving in a structured and calm manner. You can find more info over here .
Also, If you would like some general guidance on overcoming anxiety, we have a free e-book available that gives you 7 concrete steps to help you overcome anxiety. Check it out over here.
Coles, T. (2017). How To Overcome Your Fear Of Driving. https://adaa.org/learn-from-us/from-the-experts/blog-posts/consumer/fear-driving
Goodman, K. (2017). Fear of Driving. https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2017/06/23/fear-of-driving_a_22528739/
Moreno, T. (2012). How to Deal with Driving Anxiety. https://hypnosis.edu/articles/driving-anxiety
Eysenck, J. (2016). How to overcome a fear of driving. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/cars/features/how-to-overcome-a-fear-of-driving/