How to Overcome Anxiety While Driving

by Jason on June 24, 2009

If you’re feeling anxious at just the thought of driving, chances are getting on the freeway is enough to tip you into a full blown panic attack. You’re not alone and there IS help, so listen up. Anxiety while driving is way more common than you might realize. If you’re suffering with this debilitating condition, this article will give you strategies you can start implementing immediately to overcome your problem once and for all.

So, let’s get started with some tips that will alleviate the anxiety while driving one step at a time.

Rationalize your Behavior and Set a Goal

Recognizing the root cause of your fear is really the first step to overcoming your problem. Driving anxiety can originate from a multitude of places.

Have you ever been in a bad car accident or experienced a traumatic experience in the car? Is your generalized anxiety giving you an overwhelming fear of death? Do you have claustrophobic tendencies and feel trapped in the confined space of a car? Have you ever known someone close to you who also suffered from this debilitating condition? Were you deeply affected by someone who died in a car accident?

When did your driving anxiety begin?

These are just some of the questions you should be asking yourself when you get into the car and that terrible fear takes hold. Rationalize your feelings by recognizing their origin. Although this tactic won’t stop your driving anxiety, it will poise you to start treating it. That’s because understanding the root cause of your fear puts the problem in perspective. You recognize that it’s an irrational anxiety that can be stopped with treatment. The anxiety while driving is just an illusion that you’ve created for yourself with preconceived notions based on superstition and habitual behavior.

That’s the theory, anyway. The fear as you know is much more tangible.

After taking note of your fear and the feelings that overwhelm you, make a pact with yourself that you won’t let fear steer the direction of your behavior.

Choose to run TOWARDS what you want in life. Don’t run AWAY from what scares you.

Do you recognize the primary difference between those two scenarios? When you move TOWARDS your desires, you’re taking action. When you run AWAY from what scares you, you’re reacting (and irrationally as well). Take control and make the decision to overcome your driving anxiety. Making this commitment is the first step towards realistically attaining this goal.

Overcome the Panic

When you get in that car and the panic hits, it’s going to strike fast and furious. Have a plan and learn anxiety tactics that work. The very first sensation that will hit you is a feeling of not being able to breathe comfortably.

You’ll probably have trouble swallowing normally and taking natural breaths. You’ll feel claustrophobic. You’ll feel like you’re dying and trapped in your car. The list of symptoms goes on and on.

Learning to breathe the RIGHT way will be your best ally at plowing through the panic and building up a tolerance to the driving anxiety.

Start by inhaling deeply through your nose for 4 seconds and exhaling out your mouth for the next 4 seconds. Feel your diaphragm pushing your stomach outward as you breathe in and pushing inward as you exhale through your mouth.

Be methodical with your breaths. Don’t rush them. Hyperventilation is a common symptom when driving anxiety hits, so this exercise will take control of your physical symptoms and allow you to calm your panic away.

The other idea of breathing is to change your focus. If you feel like you can’t swallow, it’ll only feel more uncomfortable by thinking about it. Swallowing is an involuntary muscle reflex. Of course it’ll be harder to do if you’re actually concentrating on the muscles in your throat. Focus on what you can control, your breath. Let this exercise calm you and give you the satisfaction of knowing you’re doing something to actively stop your panic.

Getting Out of your Comfort Zone

When it comes to overcoming your anxiety while driving, don’t think of it as turning off a light switch to make the anxiety effectively disappear. Instead, think of the process as wearing down your sensitivity to the fear until you are numb to the experience altogether and driving becomes a mundane activity.

There are a couple of factors that come into play here. Firstly, when you’re driving, you’re usually moving away from you home – a place of comfort. This activity alone is something that may give you anxiety.

Start small and work your way up. Start by driving around the block or even a nearby, empty parking lot. Work your way up to driving casually around the neighborhood or on short errands.

As time goes on, try to make the trips longer and longer until you eventually take your progress up to highway driving.

Also, try to make your car as comfortable as possible.

Make the temperature perfect with climate control. Have relaxing fragrances in the car if that makes the experience more enjoyable for you. Car fragrances help you take advantage of another anxiety fighting tactic – Aromatherapy.

Also, music is a great way to take attention off your fear. Play your favorite CD or ipod playlist. Enjoy yourself. Who knows – if you pamper yourself enough in your car, you may start looking forward to the longer trips.

The most common complaint about anxiety while driving is driving on the freeway. The higher speeds and increased traffic can be a huge hurdle for panic sufferers.

My recommendation is to take it slow. You can get out of your comfort zone using baby steps without pushing yourself too far. Stay in the right lane. Go a little slower than the speed limit if you need to. If you’re in the right lane, you’re not inhibiting other drivers from passing you, so don’t feel self-conscious about your speed.

Don’t Stop Here. Engage in a Proven Step by Step Program

It’s easy to learn a few tips, casually practice them and then pretend your anxiety is gone for good. The truth is, long-term success is determined by your persistence to continuously learn new ways to treat your driving anxiety and adapt to new fears that may arise.

When it comes to ending driving anxiety for good – and I mean PERMANENTLY, there’s no program out there that compares to “Driving Fear”. Driving Fear is a program I discovered about a year ago while surfing through the internet, looking for ways to end my driving anxiety naturally.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover the program helped me completely eliminate driving anxiety by transforming my fear on the road. What was REALLY cool was that the program went beyond eliminating driving fear. Using the easily transferable techniques, I was able to overcome OTHER fears even when I wasn’t in the car.

I think ANYONE can benefit from this program. I certainly did. If you suffer from driving anxiety and you’re ready to finally do something about it, start with the Driving Fear Program.

Check it out here: The Driving Fear Program

Try it out today and learn the lifesaving techniques that will stop your driving anxiety in just minutes!

Overcome Your Anxiety While Driving - Step by Step

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July 15, 2011 at 8:02 pm

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Yahaya Alli October 5, 2009 at 5:24 am

I have suffered from anxiety and panic Attack for 15years. My biggest problem is how to overcome anxiety while driving. Please, send me more tips on this. Thank you, God bless you.

v l May 19, 2010 at 7:59 am

i have begun driving and am taking small trips and distances from the house. Whats interesting is that once im in the car i have no panic at all nor while i’m driving..i breathe fine…my issue is the “thought” of ” I need to go out today to drive”, that alone causes the apprehension…

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