Fear: Why Am I Afraid To Drive?

Driving can be a joyful and completely natural experience for many. But there are some people who do not like it and may even be afraid to drive.
Fear: Why am I afraid to drive?

If someone is afraid to drive, vehophobia is the fear that some people experience when they sit behind the wheel of a car. It can occur in different situations or conditions, and one of the common characteristics is a crippling fear that prevents them from using the vehicle.

Why are people afraid to drive?

The fear of driving that some people may experience is different. In some cases, people fear that they will cause an accident or use the gears incorrectly. In other cases , the problem comes from where they drive (on the highway, small roads, major roads).

There are also those who are afraid to drive at night or at high speeds. Amoxophobia has three dimensions:

Cognitive

The cognitive dimension relates to thoughts about accidents, losing control, fear of dying or causing other people to die.

Emotional or physiological

People who are afraid to drive experience anxiety, muscle tension, insecurity, nausea and excessive sweating. They may also have blurred vision, faster heart rate, diarrhea or tremors in the hands and legs.

Driving

Man is afraid to drive

People with amoxophobia avoid driving or drive only in special circumstances, such as when they are with someone, on certain roads, without exceeding the minimum speed, during the day, on empty roads, etc.

The degree of fear that the driver experiences can vary according to the limitations or difficulties that the phobia causes, as well as the level of discomfort that the person may feel.

Some can not even climb into the driver’s seat. Others prefer to let someone else drive, walk or take a taxi. There are also those who do not mind that it takes them twice as long to reach their destination by taking a quieter route.

This fear can disrupt everyday life.  Some examples are that you can reject job offers that require driving, spend a lot of money on public transport, refuse to help someone in an emergency, or that you can not enjoy a weekend trip.

Amoxophobia shatters self-esteem because it makes the person feel bad, frustrated and incompetent.

The fear of driving more often affects drivers with little experience (less than 2 years) and in a lower number of cases, experienced drivers as well. There are also several cases in women around the age of 30. Some of the main reasons for this fear are the following:

  • They’ve been in an accident  (or just been near one).
  • Learning based on fear or lack of confidence in one’s abilities.
  • Anxiety or stress from problems other than driving (work, family problems, etc.).

Can you overcome the fear of driving?

If, for whatever reason, you do not drive the car or anything else because just the thought of sitting in the driver ‘s seat in the car scares you, there are some tips that can help you:

Create a relaxing atmosphere

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There are some friends or family members who may make you more nervous if you take them with you. You can tell them to sit in the back or ask them directly if they can sit with you.

Wear comfortable clothing to avoid feeling pressure in any part of your body. Put on some relaxing music and hang up an air freshener.

2. Practice breathing with your stomach

When you feel that you have no control over a situation and you are about to have a panic attack, you should first choose to breathe with your stomach.

Let the air enter through the nose and continue deeper into the lungs. Your stomach should expand as much as possible. Afterwards, exhale slowly to relax your body. Repeat several times.

Use positive affirmations

Girl learns to drive

All these phrases or words that allow you to build your self-confidence and self-love are welcome if you are afraid to drive. For example, try saying the following aloud:

  • I drive carefully and I am within the speed limit.
  • I know I’m a prepared driver on duty.
  • I drive in the right field to feel safer.
  • I’m planning this ride, I know where to drive and I’m prepared.

4. Meet your fears

The best way to control your fear of driving is to drive. Start small, when there is little traffic, on quiet roads and at very low speeds. When you gain more confidence in yourself, your fears will disappear.

Exposure therapy is one of the most effective ways to overcome fear. If you do nothing to overcome the fear, it will only get bigger and eventually become impossible to control.

5. Take small steps

Woman driving

If you are afraid to drive, it will be more difficult for you to drive long distances or when it is dark. In light of this, you should complete certain steps or levels  until you are ready. Start by holding the keys for a few minutes, and get in the car with the engine off.

Afterwards, just drive down a street and around the block.  Drive to a main road or street  with traffic lights and use the right lane on the highway until you reach the first exit, then drive over to the next lane, etc.

6. Ask for help

There are many people around you who give you the support you need to let go of your fear of driving. You can ask them to join you on your first outings, or at least listen to your fears and give your opinion.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of talking about the problem and the emotions that driving causes, which can put you on the right track to overcoming fear.

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