Driving anxiety – fear of driving

After years of driving experience, have you recently felt that you are unable to drive, and the fear of an accident is taking over you? Do you suddenly, without warning, grab the steering wheel and feel dizzy, have difficulty breathing, a sudden fear that limits you and requires you to stop on the side of the road and not continue driving?

Common effects

  • Pressure expressed in rapid pulse
  • Sweating mainly in the palms
  • Trembling and feeling chills
  • Dizziness and headache
  • Dry mouth and a strong need to leave the wheel and return home to safety

What is driving anxiety

Driving anxiety is a type of phobia that occurs while driving or while sitting next to the driver in the vehicle. This disorder characterizes about 5% -10% of the population, with a high incidence among menopausal women, but is also typical at younger ages. It is manifested in the following situations:

  • Fear of driving inside the city at night
  • Fear of driving on a highway / interurban road
  • Fear of driving when there are other passengers in the vehicle (fear of an accident with casualties)
  • Fear of driving on busy roads
  • Fear of driving in extreme weather – harsh winter, rain, strong winds
  • Fear that I will not be able to stop the vehicle in dangerous situations
  • Fear of an accident

How does it affect us?

Driving anxiety prevents you from moving independently and robs you of freedom of action and independence. This anxiety causes you to become dependent on your immediate environment and significantly disrupts your daily conduct.

The symptoms of driving anxiety are similar to the symptoms of other anxieties. It is characterized by thoughts and fears about the risk of driving and its consequences. Fear and anxiety often create physiological responses that make it difficult to function and concentrate when driving.

Different types of driving anxiety

  1. Classic driving anxiety – is characterized by veteran drivers with extensive driving experience, without any problem or traumatic experience following an accident. Anxiety is characterized by a number of brief panic attacks that occur while driving, regardless of the condition of the road or the dangers inherent in it. These drivers who have experienced panic attacks fear the next attack and try to avoid driving. In most cases the panic / anxiety attack is accompanied by physiological symptoms, for a few seconds or minutes. These drivers find it difficult to characterize the symptoms and they define them as “paralyzing fear”. The attack is so frightening that it is able to affect the driver and cause him to stop on the side and not continue to his destination for long minutes. Most drivers who have experienced an anxious experience i.e. a panic attack, create certain preventative situations to avoid the next attack.
  2. Anxiety that causes driving prevention – is suitable for people who have issued a driver’s license and due to fear and anxiety decide to avoid driving completely. In most cases the common reason for this prevention is fears and anxieties as a result of low self-esteem and lack of faith in their ability to drive the vehicle from place to place safely.
  3. Driving anxiety as a result of trauma – This anxiety characterizes drivers and passengers who have experienced traumatic experience in the vehicle. The experience can be an accident in which they drove or were present, and the sights and feelings of the accident do not let go of them.
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