It used to be fun. Led to adventures, exploration, meeting friends and memorable nights out.
Then out of nowhere, you can't face it. The idea of getting into your car fills you with dread. What was once a sign of freedom and independence has become your worst nightmare.
Maybe worst of all, no one understands.
"Look Paul, we're just going two junctions up the Motorway (Highway) and we'll get there in no time. " They can't see your stomach churning, your palms starting to sweat. They don't hear your heart beating louder than any drum.
Driving anxiety hits people in different ways. Many people just can't face been in a car, passenger or driver.
Others can drive around town but can't drive on unfamiliar roads. And don't even think about motorways (highways.)
It's not even a fear of death that stops you. It might be you're afraid of being in an accident or being trapped.
For some, it's not being in control or getting stuck between exits, when you desperately want to stop and get your breath back.
Driving Anxiety Symptoms & Examples
This is just a short list of driving related things which can set off someone's Driving Anxiety:
- Worrying about having a panic attack and not being able to stop
- Driving on roads you've not been down before
Past experiences - usually negative ones. Sometimes not even related to driving
Losing control of the car and crashing
Having to drive through tunnels
Driving over bridges (yes even small ones)
Driving at particular times of the day - at night or early morning for example
Getting caught in bad weather and losing control of the car
Witnessing a nasty car accident
Being scared of getting lost
Being a passenger in a car (because we can't control how they drive and they might miss something...
Stress and negative events happening in your life
Too many other cars on the road
Getting older and losing confidence in your driving skills
Vision or hearing issues.
Memories of a parent or family member who didn't drive when you were young.
That list isn't complete it's just the tip of the iceberg from what clients have told me and recovered from.
You know when you have Driving Anxiety. But for those who are concerned about someone close to you here's what they might be going through before they even get into the car:
Days or even weeks before this person has to travel somewhere by car when there's no other choice.
They will do everything they can to avoid it. Being ill, telling you they really don't need to go, it's not that important.
If they have to drive, they'll spend endless hours planning a route that avoids situations which trigger their driving anxiety.
Even if it means adding hours to the trip.
They won't be able to sleep because they'll be worrying about everything that can go wrong.
They will lose their appetite and just won't eat. They may get sick. Have bouts of severe panic. Be prepared for this person to (if they are a passenger) spend the whole trip with their eyes closed.
How to overcome Driving Anxiety
The fastest way to overcome your Driving Anxiety is to work with me because it's what I do. Together we'll hunt down the root cause, pull it up and get rid of it. Just like a gardener removing weeds from a flower bed. It's what I do.
Driving Anxiety can be overcome. It's not a life sentence if you choose to take action to get rid of it.
Need more help or advice I offer a FREE no obligation consultation, we can discuss your specific anxiety challenge and share several ideas you can use.