Fear of driving is more common than people realize, and it can have a very negative impact on your life. You may have problems doing normal things in life, like going to work and going to the grocery store. Some people who are afraid of driving use public transportation or try to get rides with friends or family members, and some stay home and miss out on important parts of their lives.
There are different degrees of vehophobia, or fear of driving. Some people with the condition are so frightened of driving they are never even able to pass the driving test and get a license, while others simply modify their lifestyle to fit their fear.
For instance, some people never drive at night or refuse to drive on a highway, and instead. drive long distances to stay on side roads. People afraid of driving might freeze up or try to drive off the road when they see other vehicles; some people are even afraid of being passengers in a moving vehicle.
What Causes Fear of Driving?
There are several potential causes of vehophobia. These include:
The person may have been in a serious car accident before, or even a relatively minor accident that was frightening. Anyone who has been in a serious car accident knows it can cause bodily injuries, physical damage to property, and even psychological and mental harms.
Post-traumatic stress disorder happens more than people realize, and people should be aware that a car accident can have other long-term effects.
Witnessed A Previous Accident
Similarly, some people may have developed the fear because they have witnessed a very serious accident or seen news coverage of one. You don’t have to experience a traumatic event directly for it to affect you.
Someone who already deals with anxiety on a regular basis is more likely to suffer when behind the wheel of a car. It doesn’t take much for general anxiety to transfer to driving anxiety.
Traffic conditions in the area can be dangerous or congested, leading to a fear of driving.
Other drivers taking out their road rage, either with dangerously aggressive driving or by shouting and honking, can make people afraid to drive too.
Runs In The Family
Sometimes people learn a driving phobia because they have watched their parents experience fear and stress while driving.
Other kinds of bad driving experiences can lead to Vehophobia, such as a trip through very bad weather conditions, like snow, ice, or a rainstorm, or being in a vehicle that hits a large animal.
Sometimes the fear of driving is learned during driving lessons, with harsh driving instructors. New drivers are already dealing with stress and are more prone to driving anxiety.
Symptoms of Vehophobia
Sometimes people with a driving phobia have a full-on panic attack, but most of the time, the symptoms aren’t as extreme. For instance, someone may have an increased heart rate, sweaty hands, or nausea.
The person may try to avoid certain kinds of roads or panic and freeze up unexpectedly. Sometimes people are so stressed out they get into fights with loved ones about it. It can affect every area of your life if you suffer from this condition.
Overcoming the Fear
Sometimes facing one’s fear is the best way to conquer it, but it is important to make sure you’re ready. You don’t want to get behind the wheel and get into an accident because of your fear, leading to even greater stress down the road. Talk to a therapist about your fears and learn different relaxation techniques for staying calm.
Hypnotherapy helps many people who have different kinds of phobias. The process will help bring awareness to the person with negative feelings and help them overcome them.
One way to deal with fear is by talking about it or joining a support group. You can also take driving classes that may help. Cognitive-behavioral therapy and desensitization are other ways to deal with phobias.
Taking Control Back
One of the best things you can do to feel in control is to keep your car well maintained. You will also be safer when you are out driving on the road if your vehicle is in good shape, and you are conscious of any problems. Here are four easy tips that will help you drive more safely:
Keep all your windows and mirrors clean and unobstructed. You can cut down on glare and increase your visibility by ensuring your mirrors are clean and grime-free. Use a microfiber cloth and a real window cleaner to make sure you get everything off your windows because you might not even notice the build-up on the windows until you actually have a problem driving at night.
Replace your windshield wipers as soon as they are cracked or chipped. Especially in Arizona, the rubber in windshield wipers can suffer a lot of damage because of the intense heat and sun. You don’t want to be caught in a rainstorm with a malfunctioning windshield wiper.
Replace any lights or covers that are cracked or not working. Not only can you get a ticket, but you are also more likely to get into a motor vehicle accident if your lights aren’t all working properly. Other drivers may have a hard time knowing what you are doing, especially if your brake lights are inoperable.
Most people don’t realize how important their tires are until they have a blowout on the highway. Balding tires also increase the time it takes to stop your vehicle and can lead to hydroplaning. Do the penny test to make sure your tires have enough tread and are properly filled with air.
At Skousen, Gulbrandsen, & Patience, PLC, we understand that the effects of a car accident don’t stop when the crash is over. We assist our clients in dealing with the many issues that may arise for years to come after going through such a traumatic experience. Feel free to call us for a free consultation if you have been involved in a serious accident and need help.