Author: Sandy Rutherforde
The fear of driving is a form of phobia and it can cause a certain amount of problems for sufferers. For example, some people have problems driving on highways as they have difficulty merging into these high-speed lanes. Others have problems driving in heavy traffic and bridges because they feel trapped when traffic jams occurs. The problem does not end here as sufferers can also experience worrying symptoms such as dizziness, heart palpitations, excessive sweating and difficulty in breathing.
Fortunately, like most phobia, driving anxiety/fear can be eliminated completely. Here are a few simple tips to help you overcome your fear of driving:
1. Don’t give in to your fear
It is easy to simply give in to your fear and avoid places that make you anxious. However, that changes nothing as the problem will not fade away by itself. It is ok to be afraid, it is ok to feel anxious but it is not ok to avoid the problem. In order to overcome your fear of driving, you must first be willing to face it head-on. Yes, it will take time, effort and energy on your part but the rewards are well worth it if you persist.
2. Focus on your destination
-Focus your thoughts on the final destination, not the process. For example, if you are trying to merge into a highway, it is easy to get overwhelmed by everything that is going on around you:
“Omg, all the cars are travelling so fast, how am I supposed to merge into them!”
“What if I make a mistake and cause an accident!”
“I am shaking so badly that I think I might lose control!”
Do not think about what is going or not going to happen, it does not matter at all. Focus on the destination, focus on what you need to do. Need to merge into a lane? Give the appropriate signal, check for an available spot, filter into the lane. Do not obsess with what might or might not happen.
3. Unearth The Root Cause OF Your Driving Fear
It is very important to figure out exactly what it is that has given you such a strong fear of the wheel. For people who are new at driving, this fear is perfectly natural because of the different reports they hear of people who got life imprisonment for culpable homicide, or because of reports on the number of people who are dying on national roads every year. If your fear stems from this you need to face up to the reality and realize that accidents still occur even if you are not driving.
So you really do not have anything to lose at the end of the day. However, some people’s fears stem from having been involved in an accident as a third party. In such a scenario you will have to seek help from a therapist as facing your fear behind the wheel might have serious psychological effects on your mind, such as the occurrence of anxiety attacks.
4. Attempt Driving, But With A Trusted Friend Or Family Member
The presence of someone you know can greatly reduce any inherent fears you might have at first. The cause of this is very much unknown, but a few reported incidents of female clients being sexually molested during their driving lessons have since surfaced and these incidents have thus fueled this inherent fear. Being with a friend or any other person you trust helps you to relax and to approach your fear of driving with confidence.
And while you are in the company of such a person you can also do whatever it is that also makes you relax naturally, like listening to your favorite type of music. And also make sure that you are comfortable. Adjust your mirrors and your seat and ensure that you are ready to take on the road. Feeling uncomfortable can also make you afraid of driving in ways you might not realize at first.
5 Use Quiet Roads
A great percentage of people who are scared of driving are normally scared of busy roads and highways. This is, of course, understandable as this exists as a part of nearly every person’s fear. Instead, try taking your first lessons in a quiet neighborhood as this will help you to calm down and relax. Freeways and highways are riddled with unruly and rude motorists who are simply unsympathetic towards people who are new to driving and this will not help you to overcome your fear of driving. Plus, having a nasty experience on a busy road can worsen your fears even further.
For more info about overcoming the anxieties of driving and a free seminar see: “Overcome Your Fear Of Driving” by Rich Presta, world renown self improvement coach and best selling author.