The Top 7 Tips to Manage Driving-Related Anxiety and Panic

by • April 6, 2021 • Random NewsComments (0)758

Driving is serious business; it can be both fun and scary at times. Fun because being in motion makes you feel good, scary because accidents can occur at any time. Many people desire to drive but can’t seem to, not because they do not want to but because they’ve got driving anxiety. Several factors can trigger panic and anxiety. One of such factors is driving. If you experience panic attacks whenever you drive, understand this — you’re not alone. Several people who have got high-level anxiety about driving usually avoid certain driving situations or stop driving at all. While this doesn’t solve the issue, it serves as a temporary solution. One of the most potent ways of treating driving-related anxiety or panic attack is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).  It has to do with facing the situations the individual is afraid of messing up. Follow this guide to explore effective tactics to manage this challenge. 

1. Hire a Driving Instructor

For some people, the main reason they get anxious behind the wheel is simply due to their poor driving skills. When you’re not skilled at an act, you don’t have the confidence to do it, and any attempt at it would cause you to be anxious. Hiring a driving instructor is an excellent way to manage your anxiety behind the wheel. A  kind and gentle instructor in the passenger seat would make you more confident when driving. They will be there helping you to navigate the route you’re supposed to take. When they see potential danger unfolding, they quickly talk about it. This allows you to concentrate on driving. A couple of sessions with a driving instructor could be enough to help you work through your anxiety.

2. Question The Voices In Your Head

Anxiety and panic can make you believe a disaster would occur while driving, even though you have never experienced it before. Fear is good at telling us that some other time would be terrible. Even though what you’ve been anxious about hasn’t happened yet. When you start panicking, and the ‘“what-ifs” saturate your mind, return the questions. Ask what if those fears never materialize? What if you don’t hit the next truck that tries to overtake you? What if your anxiety is trying to limit what you can do? Panic isn’t the cause of terrible events. It’s only fear that tells us our anxiety or panic attack would get the better of us next time. Question the credibility of your fears; you’d see that panic only leads to more panic. 

3. Meditate

Meditation might seem too simple to be a method of managing anxiety or panic attacks. Yet, it is one of the more efficient ways of focusing and relaxing. The professionals behind The Driving Peace program explain that achieving mindfulness is possible if you decide to try meditation. Thus, giving you time to concentrate on positive things and let your mind be reminded of the endless possibilities that lie before you.

4. Have a Positive Mindset

When you constantly have negative thoughts about driving, do your best to switch them up and concentrate on positive thoughts. You need to be aware of other factors causing stress in your life. After identifying them, you mustn’t attempt driving under pressure. It would only increase your chances of being anxious when driving. 

5. Don’t Run From Your Fears

Each time you get scared of facing what makes you afraid, a message is sent to your brain that it must be dangerous. Talking to yourself might try and calm you down, but nothing rewires the brain like a firsthand experience of the situation. Confront the event triggering anxiety and panic attacks. It is one of the most potent ways of teaching your brain that it doesn’t have to panic in the face of that experience. This method is called the exposure approach in CBT. Trying it will help you deal with your fears.

6. Desensitization

This is a different method that is helpful when you want to manage driving-related anxiety. Much like the previous tactics, it has to do with taking baby steps to place yourself in a situation that can ignite your anxiety. The stages of desensitization would be based on how severe your driving anxiety is. 

7. Take Anxiety Medications

There are also medications you can take that would help with the driving anxiety medication. These medications can help reduce or eliminate your driving anxiety. Some of them include:

  • Beta-blockers 
  • Antidepressants
  • Benzodiazepines 

These medications tackle feelings of anxiety and severe fear. It is essential, however, that your doctor is consulted before taking any pills. Driving-related anxiety is simply anxiety when driving, and people experience it for various reasons. It comes in different forms, from being tense when going to avoiding driving at all. You need to recognize its symptoms so you can take necessary precautions if you’re on the road. Don’t feel dejected if you experience this challenge. As stated in the introduction, you’re not alone, and there are many people with high anxiety who need to know this. 

Photo by Samuele Errico Piccarini on Unsplash

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