How I Dealt with Fear and Anxiety While Driving

Driving is a daily activity for most of us, whether for work, school, recreation, or errands. However, certain situations can make our fear, anxiety, or panic increase. The fear of driving in general, in unknown places, or in heavy traffic, is a common fear and can make it an unsafe experience.

Some fears are far worse than others. If driving gives you a massive case of nerves, you’re not alone. A 2016 survey of drivers found that 22 percent of adults had some level of anxiety about driving, and about 20 percent reported panic at “extreme levels.” And anxiety isn’t the only phobia driving can cause. Fear of driving in the dark, on busy roads, or in bad weather, is also relatively common.

Here’s How I Dealt with Fear and Anxiety While Driving:

Be on guard for psychic equivalence.

Anxiety is an epidemic and can often get in the way of living the life we want. You might have been anxious behind the wheel, for example, you know how terrifying it is to be faced with these emotions while at the wheel. When you are in such a situation, you may think you’re about to crash, or that you’ll hurt someone. However, there are alternative actions that you can take in order to combat these feelings, some of which can save your life. We all have our ways of dealing with what scares us. I turn on my favorite songs and sing at the top of my lungs, knowing that I am distracting myself – which is the one thing that really helps. If I can only distract myself enough, I tend to worry less about what’s going on around me and can focus on my music instead.

Take a deep breath while driving.

Fear and anxiety while driving can be tricky, but there are a few things that can help diminish your fears. When an anxiety attack hits, take a deep breath, and try to keep driving. If you slow down, you will deprive yourself of the chance to regain composure before continuing. Once you reach your destination, take some deep breaths, and pat yourself on the back for completing what seemed impossible.

Probe catastrophic assumptions.

Driving can be one of the most stressful things we have to do on a daily basis. So, if you can learn to control your anxiety, you can drive with confidence which is the first step to learning how to stop catastrophic assumptions. You are responsible for maintaining the well-being of everyone in the car, other drivers, pedestrians, and animals. On top of that, you have to make sure everyone is buckled up and make sure there is enough gas for the trip. Additionally, make sure that you have the right paperwork in the car as well as your license and registration. Having said that, fear of driving is one of the most common reasons people avoid driving. From being nervous about damage to being scared of causing an accident, many people struggle with anxiety—and for some, even the idea of driving is overwhelming. But anxiety only comes from fear of uncontrollable events. It’s not about what’s actually going to happen—it’s about thinking or anticipating that something bad will happen.

Release emotional reasoning.

Driving to the mechanic can be anxiety-provoking. I have a friend who does not prefer anyone else other than her regular mechanic. This is because she feels unsafe driving to other mechanics. According to Psychologist Dr. Gene Beresin, “we tend to overreact to things not going as planned.” We just need to replace our emotional reasoning with rational thinking to deal with anxiety. For example, “I may not exactly feel safe driving to my mechanic, but, as a result of his great work, I am no longer in fear.”

Keep your eyes on the road ahead.

Keep your eyes on the road and imagine you are driving on a smooth, perfectly plain. Doing this will help you to remain focused on what is in front of you instead of worrying about what could happen. 

Remove avoidance.

Anxiety and fear are common concerns that can impede our ability to drive. If you typically drive fast and are eager to race away from oncoming traffic, you may struggle with anxiety. If you are constantly worried about getting into an accident, or if you feel nervous for some reason, fear may inhibit your ability to drive. Anxiety and panic can affect your driving and your well-being, and it is important to address these emotions sooner rather than later.

Fear of driving is the fear of the unknown. While some drivers fear driving, many do not. Most people spend their entire lives driving, but suddenly, they are faced with the fear of driving in a moment of lost control. Therefore, driving is an activity that must be done with utmost safety.

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