Driving Anxiety: Ways to Overcome

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odometer As any other activity, driving involves some risks and therefore can be scary. The popular automobile blog Jalopnik has published a list of the  top ten fears  that people experience when they get behind the wheel. But in fact the human imagination can generate an unlimited number of images and situations that can lead to driving anxiety.

Sure, it is very useful to know the variations of possible road-related dangers and know how to avoid, manage or overcome them, when necessary. But frequently thinking over the possible driving dangers can lead to a bigger problem:  driving phobia . This tricky state of mind causes people to refuse to drive and in some cases even refuse to get inside a car.

Psychologists link the origins of driving anxiety to a few possible reasons. The first and the most common cause is a  traffic collision , especially if the person was involved or witnessed one.

Other things that can trigger the phobia include:

— being a victim of  road rage
— being yelled at and intimidated when learning to drive a car
— driving in dangerous weather conditions, such in deep snow, on black ice, in heavy rain, fog, smog, etc.
— frightening news stories about bad vehicle collisions
— fear of being criticized, fear of losing control of the car, and agoraphobia, which sometimes means fear of traveling long distances away from home)

The worst part of a driving phobia is if a person just refuses to drive at all costs and becomes totally dependent on others, which can make life incredibly inconvenient and complicated. Imagine if you were suffering from driving anxiety or even phobia. Then you would have to ask your friends and relatives to get you to appointments, take you shopping shopping, and drive you to late concerts and other important things. And what if your school or job isn’t within walking distance of your house? Then, it would probably be easier and more efficient to learn how to cure your driving anxiety than to put up with it. As with any other problem, first of all you need to start talking about it.

1. Seek help and advice.
Choose a therapist
— Talk to your friends: talking about your fears will help in finding their origins and probably also intuitive ways to get rid of them

2. Consider taking  driving lessons  or a  defensive driving course  to help you drive safely and get comfortable and confident behind the wheel.

3. Avoid absolute thinking. Driving definitely involves some risks, but it doesn’t mean that something bad will happen to you. You can protect yourself by adhering to simple safe driving rules .

4. Learn to drive in a relaxed manner  and control your driving anxiety when you’re behind the wheel. Practice relaxation techniques before driving. Some recommend practicing  Zen driving .

5. If you haven’t been driving for a long time, start with small steps: drive at low speeds, drive on empty streets, spend small amounts of time on the road, and little by little increase your pace.

6. Get the car checked up at the mechanic. Make sure that your vehicle is operable and safe.

7. Start driving with other people in the car, who in your opinion are good and safe drivers and whom you trust. Take a driving class  with professionals to brush up on your skills and get reassured about your abilities.

Don’t delay and avoid dealing with your driving anxiety. The sooner you seek help and start working on your issues, the sooner you will get back to enjoying a normal life.