7 Easy Ways to Overcome Driving Anxiety

May 12, 2020

In most scenarios, getting out of your comfort zone brings about anxiety. Driving is no exception. Many people, especially new drivers, experience driving anxiety.  

It is usually for fear of losing control on the road.  Some people have a driving phobia by just thinking about it, while others develop anxiety while driving.

You can, however, overcome driving phobia with time as you get accustomed to it.It is a form of fear called agoraphobia, which is a fear of open places

Causes of driving anxiety can range from a previous accident to low blood sugar levels and other negative experiences from the past. Independent of the origin or the form of driving anxiety you might be having, there are different techniques you can use to withstand this phobia.

Some of the most common driving anxiety symptoms you may experience include;

  • Increased heart palpitation
  • Sweaty palms
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness and shortness of breath
  • Dry mouth

With that said, you can overcome this anxiety in these seven easy ways. Let’s dive right in.

1. Start by Identifying Your Specific Fear

The very beginning of the transforming journey begins by you laying out your worries.  It can be challenging to subdue until you discern a doubt and face it.  You’ll need a great deal of courage to identify and acknowledge your fear. 

For a start, list down, in a hierarchy, the worries or anxieties you have about driving, and try to practice facing them from the least to the most. 

“Through gradually working your way up the hierarchy, ideally with the support of a therapist and driving instructor, you can overcome your fear of driving and reclaim your freedom.”

~ Jennifer Rollin

2. Try Exposure Therapy

You can make a point of visiting a therapist for exposure therapy. A therapist can help you overcome driving phobia by teaching you the skills to relax your body and mind.  Through therapy, you’ll also learn more about training your mindset to face your fears head-on.

Fear can affect your life, both personally and professionally. One of the best ways to curb fear get professional help. A specialist can guide you and prescribe the best driving anxiety medication for your condition.

3. Try Systematic Desensitizing for Driving Anxiety

Systematic desensitizing for driving anxiety is a therapeutic approach that can help you become more comfortable with anything that scares you while driving. Hypnosis is one of the best therapeutic procedures you can undergo to face your fears. The process entails taking small steps to put yourself in situations that trigger anxiety.

For instance, if you’re afraid to drive your car, then you can start by sitting in the car when it’s parked in the driveway. Or you can have it parked by the roadside and sit behind the wheel while the engine is running.

You’ll face your anxiety, and try to control it by yourself. Systematic desensitizing can be befitting driving anxiety help for you to consider, especially if your driving stress is more of a phobia than a fear.

There are Three Phases to This Treatment

  • Deep muscle relaxation technique and breathing exercises

Breathing exercises include breathing control, muscle relaxation, or meditation. It is vital because of reciprocal inhibition. It means that compatibility with another inhibits the response.  In the case of phobias, fears and tension, they are inconsistent with relaxation.

  • Crating a fear hierarchy

Here, you learn you develop a fear hierarchy starting with what causes it, or from the least stimulating to the most provoking. It is vital as it provides a structure for the therapy.

  • You work your way up the hierarchy.

Starting from the least stimulating factor, you can practice your relaxation technique and work your way up. When you feel more comfortable and are no longer afraid, you move on to the next item on your hierarchy. In case one step upsets you, take a break and start from the previous step when your resume.

You should repeatedly imagine and confront the stimuli until it eventually fails to evoke any anxiety at all.

4. Find a Driving Instructor You’re Comfortable With

A terrible experience with your first instructor can cause you to associate driving session with various kinds of fears. This can make you avoid driving altogether. Finding an instructor you’re comfortable with can make a difference in boosting your confidence. Chances are, they’ve helped students in similar situations before.

5. Learn Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques can be useful in helping you overcome your driving anxiety. They involve going through therapeutic sessions such as meditation and deep breathing.

Under the guidance of an expert, you can take some time to do a few breathing exercises or sit calmly for a while before you start driving. You’ll also be guided on how to concentrate and stay focused while being mindful of your actions while you’re behind the wheel.

Meditation is one of the most recommended and highly effective practices that increases your mental strength, resilience and emotional intelligence. It helps you to focus, relax, and unwind.  You can practice meditation in your house by taking slow, deep, and deliberate breaths. Your body may involuntarily switch to stress response mode, so you have to stay focused on the process.

6. Check Your Vehicle Before Driving

Driving with uncertainty about your car’s condition can be the most dreadful assumption.  Check your vehicle to ensure that it’s fit for the road before you set out. This will help you overcome any uncertainties and “ what-ifs” that may pop up every time you try to focus.

Carry out the necessary inspections, just to be sure. Driving a car is not just about spinning the wheel, accelerating and honking. A lot is involved, most especially if you want to practice safe driving. Precautionary measures are essential, right from your driving skill to your vehicle’s road-worthiness.

Before touching that ignition, first confirm the car’s pressure, engine oil or status of the lights. In case you are unsure of any situation, engage a mechanic to help you with conducting a thorough inspection. Doing so will make you get confident behind the wheel.

7. Practice Often

From identifying your fears to gaining the courage to face your fears head-on, continuous practice will always be vital to overcoming driving anxiety. The more you drive, the faster it’ll be for you to master the skill, and, therefore, overcome driving anxiety.

Make it an outdoor habit to push your car for a few minutes a couple of times in n a week, maybe five.   You can do this in an area with little or no traffic.

Over-imagination, over-estimation of an already experienced or yet to be experienced danger is the most regular basis of driving anxiety. Underrating your capabilities of becoming a good and safe driver is a factor that plays an enormous role in developing a driving phobia.

You’ll need to step out of the anxiety closet to suppress it. Practice more and consider the tips provided, and you’ll be one step ahead in becoming the most confident driver on the road.

If you’re looking to becoming a master on the road,  one with confidence and skill, check out on our 5-hour driving course today.  For more information, reach us at 718-576-6277 or through email at info@pirrepauldriving.com.