What is driving anxiety
Driving anxiety is a very common problem effecting millions of drivers around the world. Estimations vary between 5% to 10% of all drivers suffer driving anxiety at some point in their lives. This fear can cause a serious negative impact on one’s quality of life, for example causing an individual to pass over jobs that require him to drive, or a dependency and a restriction on mobility freedom, in case they live in a place with no good public transportation, for example small towns.
There are varying degrees of driving anxiety, when it is extreme a person might refuse to drive at all, or even be a passenger with someone else. In less extreme cases (still very restricting though) a person will enforce his own restrictions on himself – for example no driving at night, avoid passing or driving on highways, etc…
What causes driving anxiety:
People suffering from driving anxiety can be split into 4 categories:
Driving anxiety caused by panic attacks with agoraphobia. Agoraphobia is a person’s fear of staying in a place where he can’t easily get help if by chance he gets a panic attack. In these cases the fear of driving is part of the agoraphobic reaction. A study conducted on the subject found that 43% of people suffering from agoraphobia rated driving down a highway as panic attack inducing. These people will obviously actively avoid driving because of the panic attacks it might cause.
Their fear is base both on the fear of a panic attack by itself, and by the fact that it might cause them to lose control of the vehicle and consequently crash. This is how, for example; a person feeling during panic attacks that he is about to feint, will fear the same will happen while driving, and a person fearing they will lose control due to panic will do impulsive acts causing accidents, like slam the breaks on the freeway or swerving to the right lane without signaling.
Driving anxiety after a traumatic accident. Drivers who have been through serious accidents often report symptoms of post traumatic stress, a feeling of uneasiness during driving and depression. Among these people driving is associated with the trauma, they experience the feelings and memories from the accident while driving, causing them great anguish and feelings that it might happen again. The fear and suffering can be so intense that they avoid driving completely. The manifestations of anxiety can vary according to the accident the person has been involved in, for example – a person might avoid certain places, road conditions, or certain times of the day, while another person would avoid curvy roads, rain, and so on…
Driving anxiety due to high risk assessment. Avoiding driving based scary notions regarding driving or the dangers it entails. These notions can be formed by opinions the person has heard often from his surroundings – from parents for example who repeatedly say over and over how driving is life threatening, when people close to the person have been involved in major accidents, or due to a general concept of the world being a scary place and the person being very vulnerable and in danger. When a person holds these views they are very focused with information backing them up, for example pays a lot more attention to reports of car crashes on the news than other people or to reckless acts of drivers they see on the road, using this as evidence that they will not return home safely if they decide to drive. This person will ignore evidence to the other side – an reckless pass they saw that did not end in a crash or that the statistical probability of being involved in a fatal car crash is very low.
Driving anxiety resulting from a sense of incompetency. People sometimes develop driving anxiety due to past failures or criticism on their driving. This group of people who might have failed several driving tests and have developed a belief that their driving is dangerous. People who have constantly received harsh criticism regarding their driving early on by people close to them so that even if they had some confidence in their driving, it has been shaken over time
Fear of being in a car
For some people who have suffered major crashes, the fear is not necessarily from driving but from being in a car altogether. Sometimes the fear is total, meaning the person Is afraid every time he is in a vehicle, and sometimes contained to his function as a passenger or driver. Unlike an active fear of driving, in some cases the person might rather drive the vehicle than experience extreme fear being a passenger, since that is where they were during the accident and for them it represents extreme danger. Also driving might give them a sense of control and reduce the feeling of danger.
People who have not suffered an accident might still sometimes suffer from anxiety of being passengers, the fear does not always manifest openly but rather sometimes in indirect ways such as extensive criticism and comments to the driver.
Overcoming Driving Anxiety can change your life.
If you are one of the many people who suffer from Driving Anxiety, you know the pain and frustration of not being independent, not being able to go as you please and being constantly dependent on other people or public transportation.Like most people who suffer from Driving Anxiety, you probably get frightened by the thought of driving on the freeway, in the rain, or even just of driving alone. Your dream of being able to drive wherever you want, whenever you want, without panicking at the sound of a honked horn, is possible, and has become a reality to many people who have overcome their fear of driving.
Finding a solution together…
This site was created in the hopes of helping people like you, that have either suffered some sort of Post traumatic stress disorder following a specific event, or people who simply see driving as a stressful and frightening activity, and actively make an effort to avoid it. Our goal is to get you to the point where you are able to live your life free of driving anxiety, and help to greatly improve your quality of life.
We know that even though driving anxiety is quite common, it is unique to each individual, and an effective treatment method for one person might not be relevant to another. And so we have gathered all the different tools available necessary to deal with your fear of driving, from the best books on driving anxiety and driving phobia, online articles from the biggest experts regarding fear of driving and how to treat it, testimonials from people who have overcome their phobia, to the best online treatment programs.