Author: Ken Hugh
I have a confession to make…I get really stressed out when I’m behind the wheel of a car. Well, that wasn’t much of a confession was it? Because most people get stressed out, worn thin, pushed to the brink, or whatever you want to call it, when driving. It happens. A couple of times I have even felt a rush of almost overwhelming fear and anxiety while diving in heavy traffic or sometimes when going over a long high bridge. What is that anyways? The answer is: it is driving anxiety – fear of driving – freeway phobia. It goes by a lot of different names but what it is, is a type of panic attack.
Now, my mild driving anxiety has never gotten out of control, and I have always been able to calm myself by taking a few deep breaths. But there are those of us that have such a fear of driving, or fear of having an anxiety attack while driving, that they can barely get in the drivers seat anymore. For the people that fall into this really intense category of panic attacks while driving, there needs to be some sort of mechanism to retrain and calm their brains to be able to regain their ability to drive normally. There are methods and it is very possible to do.
SOME SIMPLY THINGS TO DO IF YOU ARE HAVING A PANIC ATTACK WHILE DRIVING:
1) Get in the slow lane. There is nothing like having 20 cars honking at you and passing you on the right hand side, flipping you the bird, to cause your anxiety level to escalate.
2) Breath deeply and turn on the radio if it helps. The radio often takes my mind off of my worries.
3) Slow down, you are in the slow lane now, let all the crazy SOBs pass. You do not have to participate in their game of: “I’ll get there before you will.”
4) Open a window, get some fresh air, even if it’s freezing outside. The cold air will give you something to think about besides your racing heart.
5) If you need to – pull SAFELY off onto the shoulder. Give it a five minute rest. Don’t get out of the car, best to just breath deeply and let things pass.
You need to be able to recognize that these are irrational fears you are having and that as long as you keep your wits about you then you are perfectly safe. I know that is hard to do when you are traveling down the road at 70 mph with a car on your tail and another one cutting you off every 15 seconds.
Unfortunately driving and stress go hand in hand especially when it comes to city driving these days. Stress and driving anxiety can be overcome, but first recognize that it is somewhat normal to feel some anxiety while driving. What is not normal is letting this driving anxiety control you, causing such fear as to interfere with your normal day to day life. If your driving anxieties get out of hand, get some help. There are some wonderful programs that can really work when it come to quieting your irrational fear of driving. Good Luck and Best Wishes!
For more info about overcoming the anxieties of driving see: “Overcome Your Fear Of Driving” by Rich Presta, world renown self improvement coach and best selling author.