Fear of driving affects many aspects of ones life, from personal to professional.  Driving phobias may develop suddenly.  Driving phobia (a specific phobia)  typically leads to high levels of anxiety if the feared situation is confronted. 

Specific phobia is an intense fear of anxiety related to something specific, or an activity, or a situation.  And this fear is extreme in comparison to the actual reality of the danger.  Persons of interest avoid the situation (driving in this case) and take measures for alternative arrangements.

Causes of phobias may be genetic, or direct learning (e.g. being in a car accident).  Fear may also continue due to unhelpful thoughts (e.g. over-estimating opportunities of harm, or beliefs that maintain thoughts to the phobia).  

Avoidance is also often used, but prevents opportunities to challenge beliefs that contribute to fear, and to develop coping skills to manage anxiety.  

Sometimes being in an accident may make you want to say “I’m never driving again”, but I would like to say “Get driving as soon as you can”.

Some phobias do not have an obvious cause.

There are a number of things that may lead to a fear of driving:

  1. A past negative experience e.g. driving in storms, getting lost, being involved in road rage…
  1. Not being in your comfort zone whilst driving e.g. having to go somewhere unfamiliar, and  asking “what if’s… what if I get lost, what if I cant find parking?”
  1. Fear of suffering an anxiety attack and being stuck /trapped e.g being stuck in traffic.  Do you have strategies you use when you are having a panic?  Get to know your personal symptoms of your panic attacks…
  1. Fear of severe accidents which may cause fatalities e.g. Fear of speeding and losing control of the car.  Get to know what your worries are.  Anxiety symptoms make it difficult to trust yourself to drive safely.
  1. Fear of an exaggerated danger such as fatalities.  Your imagination (if you have driving phobia) can create the most horrible crashes….but always know they are in your mind.

So to get moving past that anxiety point…

I like using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).  Here we look at helping identify and challenge unhelpful thoughts.  CBT can be used alone or with exposure therapy.

Be specific and really identify your fear.

Write down all the reasons you wish to get rid of this fear.



To overcome any fear, you needexposure… yes you must face the fear, and yes you need lots of motivation to do this.  

Exposure can be very effective.  This involves confronting the fear without engaging in any avoidance or escape strategies.  Exposure will teach your body to decrease anxiety naturally and the feared consequences of the phobia will unlikely occur.

Consider starting with exposure in a controlled environment and directly confronting the fear through activities which lead to increasing levels of the fear and anxiety.  This usually continues until the most anxiety provoking situation has been practiced well.

So is this the time now to deal with the thoughts that are causing your physical symptoms? 

Is it time to learn new skills to relax your body, and generate some peace in your mind? 

Take charge and gain control again.


So just like a famous title that I have come across … feel the fear and do it anyway.

At least start with a small step.

Always remember to drive safely. Click here for a great article on how to drive safely

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