How to get rid of driving anxiety—experiencing excessive fear, nervousness, or stress while driving refer to as driving anxiety. For some people driving frequently induces worry and anxiety, whereas some become quite uncomfortable just thinking about having to drive. Driving anxiety may result from being in a road accident or seeing one. Afterward, some people may choose not to drive, while others may dip in complete fear of driving. Even specific conditions like crossing bridges or traveling through tunnels may be very stressful for others.
Stress And Driving
The symptoms of driving anxiety can range from minor discomfort to severe distress. If stress is not handled, it can have serious consequences in people’s life. For example, a panic episode while driving could result in a traffic accident. In contrast, not driving can leave someone homebound and alone. Numerous successful methods for reducing driving anxiety include self-guided activities and psychotherapy. Fortunately, therapy has improved symptoms in approximately 80% of persons with disorders connected to driving anxiety.
Causes Of Driving Anxiety
1. A Past Accident
The most apparent reason for driving anxiety is a past or recent accident. In addition, anxiety reactions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), post-traumatic stress disorder, impulse control disorders, and phobias can be triggered by accident.
2. Low Blood Sugar
Anxiety is a symptom of a hypoglycemia response. For example, if a panic attack occurs while driving, you may mistakenly connect the anxiety with driving itself. Low blood sugar is caused by fasting or eating a meal high in simple sugars. It is also noticeable in those who have a background of hypoglycemia or diabetes.
3. Affected By Bridges And Tunnels
Even if people do not have anxiety, bridges and tunnels can tap into and initiate a fearful response in them. For example, tunnels can make people feel enclosed and trapped. At the same time, bridges might summon up ideas of collapses or drive over the edge.
4. Influenced By Highway Driving
Highway driving is riskier and involves higher speeds, more vehicles, more lines of traffic, and more distractions. In addition, the activity on the freeway may feel overwhelming and hard to handle for those not used to it.
How To Get Rid Of Driving Anxiety
Although driving-related anxiety can be a dominant influence in a person’s life, there are various ways for someone to manage it. You can try to overcome your anxiety by understanding it, investigating methods for reducing symptoms, and applying behavioral therapies.
1. Improved Understanding Of Anxiety
You can build the necessary coping mechanisms to reduce symptoms by understanding the underlying causes of your driving anxiety. Retrace your experiences with stress-related driving by determining when it started, when it got worse, and who, what, and where was involved in the process.
Did your parents show any symptoms of driving-related anxiousness, or were these symptoms brought on by a recent accident? Understanding whether driving-related anxiety is the primary issue or only a symptom of a more severe problem can be a crucial component/lead. Last but not least, one might need professional treatment if the driving issues are linked to PTSD, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or another severe anxiety illness.
2. Bring Someone With You
Uncover the reasons why you get anxious while driving. Some fear driving alone, and if they drive in someone’s company, they feel confident and don’t go through any discomfort or nervousness. If you still have driving anxiety a few weeks or even months after receiving your full license, attempt to go on brief road journeys with a partner. This person doesn’t have to be another licensed driver; they need to make you feel at ease. Once you become more comfortable behind the wheel, you can begin taking short drives yourself. Before long, you will have overcome your worries and no longer require company whenever you travel.
3. Set Yourself Some Clear Goals
Throughout this process, you must deliberate about the outcome you want to attain and how you want to achieve it. Take into account both the immediate and long-term effects of your choices. If you want to get rid of your anxiety when driving for good, you’ll probably go down a particular road.
4. Safe Driving Zones
The more you travel, the less difficult it will be to manage your anxiety. Try driving in safe areas like a deserted parking lot, all around your home, or on quieter routes. You’ll get over your fear.
5. Drive Only During The Day At First
Avoid driving at night if you are a nervous rookie driver or even an experienced driver who is anxious. Because it is considerably more challenging to see people, animals, and other vehicles at night than during the day, you have to be more cautious, which will divert your mind making you anxious. Initially, it is better to stick to daytime driving until you become more accustomed to driving alone. You can overcome your fear of driving at night once you have conquered your fear of driving during the day hours.
6. Control Your Emotions
When you feel nervous, you must control your emotions. When you notice your hands on the wheel are shaking or are gripping it too tightly, learn to relax. Although it sounds like basic advice, maintaining your composure while driving is one of the most effective relaxing strategies. It can also help you react more quickly to situations. Use affirmations to your advantage to push away negative thoughts. Keep an eye out for any indications of your nervousness and deal with them until you feel calm.
7. Learn To Enjoy Driving On The Highway
Many people discover that they may not encounter any fear of driving on less-traffic roads, but they get utterly terrified to do so on highways, especially those with many lanes. Yes, this cannot be very comforting, especially if you’re a new driver. However, every motorist eventually has to get over this anxiety. It is advisable to start by traveling on less used and single-lane routes. You can begin to travel onto the busier highways once you become accustomed to the quieter ones. Driving on highways will eventually become second nature to you, and you won’t have any concerns.
8. Reduce Coffee Consumption
Avoid excessive caffeine intake; if you love to sip coffee most of the time, it’s high time to reduce your coffee consumption. Research shows that caffeine consumption in people with panic disorder raises the risk of a panic attack and increases anxiety levels. So, reduce your consumption or give it up entirely.
9. Positive Statements Or Affirmations
Convince yourself that you can handle the drive tomorrow rather than thinking about how anxious you are about it. Always use encouraging self-talk to drive away dread and dangerous thoughts from your head. Write some affirmations and speak them out loud in front of mirrors. Stay positive; it’s all in your head; you can combat all your nervousness and fear with self-belief.
10. Listen To Music
Music can be a significant diversion if you allow the music to distract you and play it loudly. Likewise, driving will go more smoothly if you listen to calming music at a modest volume. Music, indeed, calms the wild beast.
Anxiety when driving can seem like a strange and socially isolating experience. You should not be afraid of driving; you should enjoy it. Using any of the strategies above, you can find the answers to how to get rid of driving anxiety. Just try and never give up.
Also Read: Stress is becoming one of the significant reasons for various health-related illnesses; that’s why one should work on how to manage stress in his day-to-day life.