Author: Eliza Brown
Only in recent years, i found myself being able to drive freely without feeling Driving anxiety to some extent. However, most of my life, highway driving anxiety was a HUGE problem for me.
Not so long ago, it was absolutely impossible for me to be on a freeway and not have a panic attack at some point, when someone was trying to bypass me. I drove strictly on the right lane, and the whole experience was extremely uncomfortable. I even felt uneasy sitting in the passenger seat and i was always jealous of the person next to me driving so calmly and happily freely passing other vehicles.
Eventually i overcame my driving anxiety. I made it a goal, i am going to be able to drive on freeways and interstates freely. after that, it was just a matter of going out and doing it, one step at a time. I went on the freeway, and forced myself onto the fast lane, even passing cars and at some point i even managed to stay by huge trucks and buses (my biggest fear in those days…) through the panic attacks.
I wont say that today i love the thought of getting on the highway or doing a long drive in dense city, but i know i’m able to and i don’t make excuses to avoid it anymore.
When i heard my mom was i’ll and was in the hospital, i didn’t think twice before jumping in the car to go see her (a 4 hour drive away in Nevada). It was then i realized how far iv’e come by practicing my driving and that iv’e achieved my goal.
Even though i am now almost completely over my driving anxiety, i still has some moments when it creeps back up on me. For example, about a month ago, i was driving to a friend via the Hollywood freeway, and accidentally took a wrong exit. i ended up lost in hectic rush hour traffic fighting angry home crazy drivers, and i almost got lost in another panic attack. i eventually found my way, but i was all shaken up when i got there and couldn’t enjoy my visit.
The point of this, is that even though my driving anxiety surfaces back from time to time, i’m generally doing much better, and i have to say my quality of life has increased immensely.
If any of what i’m talking about sounds familiar to you, you probably also have some form of driving anxiety or phobia, but what i’m saying is it doesn’t have to be that way! the key is practice, force yourself to get out there and drive despite of the fear, read about breathing exercises you can even take some therapy sessions, the point is to slowly make progress and not give up. Good luck!