While we are ultimately responsible for our own choices and responses, it is possible for other people to be the main contributors to your driving fear and anxiety. What kinds of situations can breed such fear?
- Being attacked by someone with road rage
- Another driver tailgating you
- Being pulled over by someone pretending to be an officer
- Being cut off continually by other drivers
- Having an accident and being threatened or attacked by the other driver
- Having your ability undermined by friends or family members
All of the above are things that others do to contribute to the development of your fear of driving.
Road rage is common for many people. For someone who has encountered someone with road rage, it can be a very scary experience. There have been cases of people actually stopping their cars and threatening the other drivers.
Tailgating is another huge issue with today’s drivers. This is when the car behind you gets so close you could touch it out the back window.
This can make for a highly stressful situation for the person being tailed. Many victims of tailgating are tempted to slam on their breaks to teach the other driver a lesson.
Others tend to slow down even more to show the other driver that if they need to go faster that they can pass simply pass them.
For the person who tailgates, this can be dangerous for you as well. The person you are behind just may be one of those people who have road rage and they can get pretty angry and sometimes violent.
While police officers are here to serve and protect, it can be dangerous to stop for one if the roads are otherwise empty, it is dark or late at night, or if you just feel unsafe.
Most cops understand this fear and will not penalize you for not pulling over until you get to a well lighted and safer area.
However, if you have ever been stopped and the person ended up being one that has impersonated an officer this can cause deep seeded fear of driving period. People like this are out to harm you or rob you and what a scary experience that can be indeed!
When people cut you off this can bring out a fear of getting into accidents. This type of driving behavior occurs all the time and everyone has experienced it and done it at least once during their driving years.
If this happens to you a lot you may feel that you have a dark cloud following you around and may want to give up driving to make it to go away.
Lastly, other people can do great damage to you by teasing or belittling the way you drive. Anyone who has been made fun of our put down for a particular skill they may or may not have can be emotionally and mentally affected. This alone can cause a fear of driving.
If others tell you that you are no good at it then you may begin to actually believe this is truth.
How Can You Overcome This Type Of Fear?
While these are valid fears, you cannot allow the actions of others to dictate what you do or not do in your life. This type of fear is very real and hard to overcome but it can be done.
- Do not let the tailgater get to you
- Do not give in to road rage
- Do not pull over for anyone other than a real officer
- Drive defensively
- Don’t panic
Overcoming your driving fears that are caused by others can be a hard task, but the above suggestions are a good place to begin.
If you are being tailgated, resist the urge to take revenge. Keep at your own pace and if the other vehicle does not back off you can either switch lanes (if possible) or call 911.
Tell them what the situation is and where you are located and an officer will track your position and pull the tailgater over.
Do not give into road rage yourself or put yourself in a position to where you suffer the wrath of another road ragger. This means that you do not pull over if someone with rage wants you to.
It also means that if you are at a stop light and another driver approaches you that you lock your doors and call 911. Safety first!
If you are being signaled to pull over by an officer, do not do so if you feel unsure or unsafe. If the other car is not a police car and just has a light, or the person getting out of the car is not in full uniform then you may be dealing with an imposter. Drive until you feel that you are in a safe area to pull over in.
If the person was not really a cop, once you stop in a well lit, populated area, they will not stop with you. If the officer was in fact the real deal, they will understand your concern and will not cite you for failure to stop.
Officers know what the dangers are and understand your need to feel safe and protected.
Taking a class on defensive driving can be an excellent help! These lessons can come in handy for the tailgating issues as well as the issues of being cut off.
Most of all don’t panic. If you can keep your head in a stressful situation, chances are that you will come out of it just fine.
If You Need Further Assistance
If you feel that you need more attention to overcome your fears you may want to try counseling.
If something serious has happened due to the actions of other drivers then you may be suffering from PTSD. This requires professional attention.
Another great way to help you is a self help program like The Original Driving Fear Program.
Self-help programs allow you to take things at your own pace and if used as directed can help you overcome your fears for good!