Some people have no problem driving around the town or area they live in without fear, but if they have to drive in certain other situations, they become paralyzed with fear.
If this is the case for you, you are not alone. It might help to look at your specific fear and see if you can unravel its causes so that you can find the tools to overcome it.
Weather-Related Driving Fears
Are you afraid of driving in rain or snow?
This fear is probably based on the idea that you will lose control of the car in bad weather.
If you are afraid to drive in rain or snow, it may help to learn as much as you can about how to drive in these conditions.
Of course, if the snow or rain is very heavy, it may truly be too dangerous to drive. In that case, you should not do it.
But what if you have to be somewhere and the weather is bad?
If you don’t have another means of transportation, you may be faced with having to drive in a storm, whether it is a rainstorm or snowstorm.
Here are some tips:
Keep breathing. It may sound simple, but if you are nervous about the weather, you will probably be tense.
If you focus on deep breathing while you drive, your body will begin to relax, making the situation less scary.
Pull over if you need too. If you are driving in bad weather and begin to feel panicky, find a safe place to pull over.
Again, practice some deep breathing techniques to calm yourself.
You might also want to carry a CD or tape that you can play when you pull over that will guide you through a relaxing meditation, or you can listen to a few minutes of calming music.
Of course, be sure not to listen to anything that will relax you too much while you are actually driving!
Be sure your car is properly equipped with snow tires if you live in an area where it snows often. Also be sure that your windshield wipers work properly.
Know where your hazard lights are located and carry a cell phone with you.
You probably won’t need either of these things, but it will give you added piece of mind to know that you will be able to get help if you need it.
Driving Over Bridges or Through Tunnels
If you have a specific fear of driving over a bridge or through a tunnel, it may be that your phobia is more related to heights (acrophobia) or being in enclosed spaces (claustrophobia) than to driving per se.
If this is the case, you may be able to get over your fear by dealing with the specific phobia. Phobias like acrophobia and claustrophobia can be dealt with in a number of ways.
One way is to try systematic desensitization for your specific fear. For this, you will need the help of a professional psychologist who can help you through a step-by-step process of dealing with the fear.
Hypnosis is another effective way to deal with specific phobias.
You can find hypnosis CDs or MP3s that deal specifically with acrophobia or claustrophobia or consult a professional hypnotherapist.
Hypnosis, which is similar to meditation, is a relaxation technique that will give you the tools to help yourself relax when confronted with a situation that normally causes you to feel anxious or fearful.
Driving In Heavy Traffic or On Freeways
If you have no problem driving when there are only a few other cars on the road but panic at the thought of three-lane freeways or driving in heavy traffic, you need to ask yourself what it is about these specific situations that causes your anxiety.
Most likely, you are afraid that there is an increased risk of getting into an accident with so many cars on the road.
You may also be afraid of having to make split-second decisions to find your way to the right off-ramp or merge into the correct lane to get where you are going.
In order to deal with this type of fear, try practicing relaxation techniques that can help you feel calmer in general. Such techniques such as a regular yoga or meditation practice.
You can also try some form of counseling for anxiety.
Another strategy for reducing overall anxiety is to add calming foods or herbal remedies to your diet.
Complex carbohydrates, yogurt, bananas, chamomile tea, and valerian supplements are all examples of foods and herbs that are known for their calming effects.
If you are able to manage generalized anxiety, you will probably find that you are less anxious when you drive in traffic or on freeways. In fact, managing generalized anxiety will reduce any type of driving fear.