Driving anxiety how it all started for me and how I deal with it daily.
Remember how happy you were when you turned 16 and got your driver’s license.
If you were anything like me, you would have thought that it was the best day of your life.
When I got my license, I was able to understand what it was like to experience freedom; it was the first time in my life that I actually felt independent.
I remember picking up my friends at their houses because they did not have their licenses yet and wanted to go for a joyride.
I can still hear my mom saying, “Please be careful.
Don’t fool around or get into any monkey business!”
Often, she would yell this as I ran out the door and jumped into her red 1984 Thunderbird.
When you fast forward ten years, driving is considered an everyday activity for most people.
As working adults, we all have jobs that we have to drive to every day.
In addition, we also drive to the store or perform other errands.
For me, it all started one weekend when I was at an intersection sitting and waiting for the red light to turn green. Above all, this was just like any other ordinary day.
There I was, sitting in my car listening to music, and waiting for the light to turn green; everything was good.
Can a Car Accident Cause Driving Anxiety?
Well, this is what happened next I glanced up at the rear view mirror and I have seen a car in the distance.
At that time it seemed like no big deal to me then I noticed the car was really coming up on me fast really fast.
Now there was no one else right behind me so I started to kind of worried because the car did not seem like it was slowing down.
Then, before I knew it, yes, I got rear-ended from a car doing about 45 mph not paying attention at all as he plowed into the back of me.
All I can remember was the airbag going off a loud bang that sounded like a gun shot with a bunch of white smoke now, thank God no one
was hurt or anything like that and I don’t want to bore you and go into the details about what happened after that accident.
The main thing is I was not hurt and neither was the other driver, he was simply not paying attention and just basically ran right in the back of my car.
Can You Drive With Driving Anxiety?
Yes, you can so let me tell you what happened to me next.
I noticed that I started to feel weird when I was driving by myself like I had to get out of the car.
This was a problem for me because if I had someone in the car with me, I seemed to be fine and now I began to worry a bit.
I could not figure out why or what the hell was causing this weird feeling.
So there I was one night talking to my wife about what I was feeling now she told me that I should go and talk to the doctor about it.
I was not a big fan of doctors nor am I to this day, but I did go and he basically said that I was suffering from driving anxiety.
So the doc gave me a general definition of what it is and what types of anxiety that people do suffer from.
Then he went to explain the different types of treatment that I could try.
I thought to myself, okay now what do I do well to make a long story short keep reading and I will describe exactly what driver anxiety is all about.
Then later on in some other posts I will tell what help me and what did not.
Driving Anxiety What Exactly is it:
How does fear differ from anxiety? Let’s take them one by one.
Anxiety, according to Mr Google, is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. A nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks.
Fear, an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.
Driving anxiety is a very common form of anxiety that ranges in severity; this includes the hesitation to drive.
When individuals drive, anxiety is always present.
Sometimes, anxiety is so severe that people refuse to drive at all.
When this is the case, anxiety interferes with someone’s ability to drive and develops into a driving phobia.
Every single day, everyone battles with their own fears. Although some win them over, others have to battle it for life.
People have different fears. This includes, the fear of darkness, heights, rejection, driving, and so on.
Eventually, these fears worsen and can cause people to get anxious, worried, or unhappy. Living with anxiety is difficult because it prevents you from taking part in normal, everyday life.
In summary, anxiety drags you away from enjoying living life to the fullest. If each fear is not properly addressed, they will eventually develop into a more serious state; we call this a phobia.
A phobia is an extreme feeling of fear or dislike to a certain activity or situation.
Driving Anxiety With Everyday Life:
Things have evolved a lot; in today’s society, individuals require more in order to be happy. Having food on the table top is not enough.
As everyday life continues, technology advances because our lives are set at a faster pace.
Driving cars allows for individuals to get they need to be at a faster rate. This includes getting to work on time or attending an important meeting with fellow clients.
Driving makes living easier; wouldn’t you agree?
Anxiety occurs any time of the day, to anyone at any age at different rates.
There are people suffering driving anxiety in everyday life but some with minimal cases.
Each case is triggered differently according to the person experiencing it, however I listed some reasons below.
- Several failed driving tests (for beginners). Who would want to keep retaking it over and over again.
- Incidents in the past that caused panic attack while driving. Bad car accidents in the past that make you fear driving.
- Feeling nervous and worrying too much. Over thinking of extreme situations that may occur. Unnecessary nervousness cutters our minds hindering to think correctly.
- Unfamiliar roads. It builds uncertainty of what might come after that bridge or that U-turn few blocks from here.
How To Cope With Driving Anxiety:
1. Find the root cause of your driving anxiety.
- Ask yourself where it did all begin. Maybe you have been in an incident where you experienced extreme fear like you’ve gotten into a bad car accident, (That was me).
- Yeah, well in traumatic situations that caused you to panic like witnessing someone who got hurt very badly. Knowing the origin of your anxiety can help you in dealing with it.
2. Start little by little.
- They say everything takes time. Gradually, expose yourself to the actual driving anxiety. You can drive a few miles each day for example.
- If you find the anxiety is getting too much, then drive back. Increased the distance each time you drive. This simple action will improve your situation and will make you feel better.
- Breathe in and breathe out, one more time. Breathe in, Breathe out. Calm your inner fear. Don’t give in to the negative thoughts.
- Nothing beats a peaceful mind. Focus your eyes on the road. Be mindful of your surroundings.
- Don’t be distracted with the vehicle behind you. If someone is tailgating you, just relax. Allow plenty of time each you drive.
- Drive at a safe speed. If driving anxiety arises, stop your vehicle and calm yourself.
- Tell yourself “I got this.” Again, breathe in, breathe out.
You Can Overcome Driving Anxiety:
4. Power of P
- Most importantly, after practicing enough, things will eventually become repetitious, you won’t even have to think about what you are doing.
- Consistently with practicing will finally make everything come together for you.
- Manage your driving skills by building your driving confidence. Indeed this will take time to achieve.
5. Grab a buddy
- Have someone to support you and push you while getting back your confidence. In this case of having a good friend this will help boost your confidence as well.
- It’s better to have a friend who believes that you can do it. Remember two is better than one. So, work with a partner and be a team.
6. Seek professional help
- If your driving anxiety is too much for you to handle, seek professional help. There are doctors who can help you overcome this.
- Enroll again to a driving lesson or have a professional trainer guide you.
- Keep working on it, and tell your self every day that you will overcome this.
Avoiding driving will not help you at all because not facing your fears is the worst thing you can do, face your fears and you will overcome them.
Have faith and believe in yourself. Who else will get you out there, only you can. And I know YOU CAN.
It will take time, but eventually, it will lead you back to your normal life.
Driving is awesome! Don’t let yourself, stop enjoying it.
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