Written on Apr 17, 2023 12:57:09 PM
How To Overcome Anxiety with Driving
Topics: auto accident tips
The prospect of driving can be intimidating for some — especially if you’ve had a bad experience behind the wheel, were in a car accident, or are suffering from an anxiety disorder. However, it doesn’t have to be a dreaded chore. Learning how to overcome anxiety with driving is possible with the right strategies.
What is Driving Anxiety?
Driving anxiety is an ongoing fear or dread of driving, which can lead to physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling, and nausea. Driving-related anxiety can be triggered by a specific event (like getting into an auto accident) or simply feeling overwhelmed while behind the wheel. Overcoming driving anxiety is possible — but it will take some time and effort.
Effects of Driving Anxiety
Driving anxiety can be debilitating and lead to a decrease in quality of life. Not only can it keep you from being able to drive, but it can also limit your ability to take part in enjoyable activities that require travel.
Anxiety symptoms stemming from driving phobia include:
- Difficulty focusing or paying attention while driving
- Intense fear, panic, or anxiety
- Avoidance or delay in leaving the house out of fear of driving
- A strong desire to avoid certain roads and highways
- Sweating, shaking, and other physical symptoms
Causes of Driving Anxiety
The cause of driving anxiety can vary from person to person. In some cases, it might be rooted in past experiences such as a car accident or the fear of being judged by other drivers on the road. Other times, it can be caused by a heightened sense of danger (due to factors like traffic congestion or busy intersections).
If you've been in a car accident and have driving anxiety, it is possible that you are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In this case, it is important to seek help not only from a doctor about your physical injuries but also from a mental health professional. Side effects of PTSD include but are not limited to:
- Intrusive thoughts
- Nightmares related to the incident or insomnia
- Panic attacks
- Self-destructive behavior
- A feeling of losing control
- Avoidance of driving or other activities that remind you of the accident
- Intense emotional reactions when remembering the event
The first step in overcoming anxiety with driving is to identify and address the underlying causes. Once you understand why you are feeling anxious while behind the wheel, it will be easier to come up with strategies to combat it.
Tips to Overcome Anxiety with Driving
Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to start overcoming your driving anxiety and become a confident driver again. Here are some of the most effective strategies and tips for conquering your fear of driving.
Practice Relaxation Techniques & Visualization Techniques
Relaxation techniques can help you stay calm and in control while behind the wheel. Practice deep breathing exercises, positive self-talk, or mindfulness to help you stay focused on the road ahead.
Visualization techniques can help you prepare for any potential challenges or obstacles you might encounter on the road. Imagine yourself successfully handling different driving scenarios and visualize a positive outcome.
Get Familiar with Your Vehicle
Knowing how your car works and being familiar with its functions will reduce any fear of driving it. Learn where everything is located, how to adjust your seat and mirrors correctly, and how to use the features in the vehicle (like cruise control).
Take It Slow When Getting Behind The Wheel Again
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of driving, try taking it slow and gradually working your way up to longer trips. Start by taking short drives around the neighborhood or a local park.
Once you're ready to get back behind the wheel, practice driving in low-traffic areas with few distractions and enlist the help of a supportive friend or family member to accompany you while you drive. When you’re behind the wheel, focus on a task at hand — like paying attention to traffic signals and signs — to help keep your mind from wandering.
Take Part In Enjoyable Driving Activities
Once you can safely drive short distances, start taking part in enjoyable activities that require driving-related travel. Go on road trips or take a scenic drive to help build your confidence behind the wheel and break any negative associations with driving.
Visit a Mental Health Professional
If your anxiety persists or worsens, it might be time to seek professional help. A mental health professional can provide you with additional strategies and techniques to help you manage your anxiety while driving.
Your doctor may also suggest medications that can reduce fear and anxiety levels. While these drugs should not replace the need for therapy, they can be helpful in managing symptoms of driving anxiety.
Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy
Virtual reality exposure therapy is an effective way to reduce driving anxiety. In this type of therapy, you will be shown a series of virtual reality simulations that mimic real-life scenarios on the road.
This allows you to become comfortable with different driving situations and build your confidence behind the wheel in a safe environment. With regular practice, virtual reality therapy can help you overcome driving anxiety and feel better prepared to hit the road.
Talk therapy is an important part of treating driving anxiety. A mental health professional can help you understand the root causes of your fear and provide guidance on how to cope with it in a healthy way.
During talk therapy, it’s important to focus on identifying underlying triggers, challenges, and negative associations that you have with driving. With the help of a therapist, you can learn ways to better manage and reduce your driving anxiety.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy that can help you manage your anxiety in the long-term. CBT focuses on restructuring negative thoughts and behaviors associated with driving, as well as developing healthier coping strategies for managing stress or fear.
By working through specific techniques with a trained therapist, you can learn how to better manage your emotions and how to respond more effectively in stressful driving situations. With regular practice and dedication, you can learn how to overcome your anxiety with driving.
With the right tools and support, you can become a confident driver again in no time. Be sure to utilize any available resources that can help you manage or reduce your driving anxiety.
When To Seek Legal Help
By identifying the underlying causes of your anxiety, practicing relaxation and visualization techniques, getting familiar with your vehicle, taking it slow when getting back behind the wheel, and visiting a therapist if necessary – you can start to conquer driving anxiety and reclaim your confidence on the road.
However, if your anxiety persists and becomes overwhelming, it is important to seek legal help. A qualified lawyer can review your case and determine if you are eligible for compensation. When handling a car accident case, pain and suffering and emotional damages do play a factor in your settlement.
At Lowman Law Firm, our auto accident attorneys understand the difficulties associated with driving anxiety and how to seek justice for those affected by it. We are dedicated to helping our clients in Hernando County, Citrus County, and Pasco County get the compensation they deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation and learn how we can help you overcome your driving anxiety and build back your confidence on Florida roads.