Imagine yourself driving down a nice and quiet, country road. This can be a peaceful experience indeed. There is nothing but you, the road, and the fresh air. There is no fear and no anxiety, only bliss.
Now imagine yourself driving on a six lane highway that is jammed with traffic and the sound of horns blaring. Are you feeling the fear and anxiety now? If so, you may have a fear of driving in heavily populated areas.
What Are Heavily Populated Areas?
- Interstates during rush hour
- Cities with dense people population
- Large cities in general
If you live or work in a large city such as Manhattan, Chicago, or Los Angeles, it is probable that you will be exposed to driving conditions that include heavy populations of vehicles on the roads.
Maybe you do not live or work in such a place but must navigate roads that lead you home or to work which are heavily populated.
No matter why you are driving in these conditions, the fact remains that your anxiety levels and fears come to life when you must face driving in heavily populated areas. This is not however, something that you have to live with.
How To Cope With Fearful Driving Situations
- Build confidence through training
- Listen to relaxing music or self help Cd’s
- Practice deep breathing
- Take your anxiety meds before driving if you have them prescribed
- Pull over if you feel that you cannot handle the heavy traffic
- Find alternate routes when possible
- Drive only during down time hours if possible
Not all people are used to driving in heavily populated areas. If you are one of these people you may fear:
- Hitting a pedestrian
- Hitting another car
- Being hit by another car
- Missing a turn and having to turn around and navigate though the heavy traffic once again
These are valid fears for one who is only experienced in driving in small towns. The above tips can help to lower your anxiety levels and get used to this type of driving experience.
One great tip is to take a class in defensive driving. If you have ever even ridden in a car in a highly populated area, you know that the best offense is a good defense.
Learning defensive driving skills can not only build your confidence about driving in heavy traffic, but can also keep you safe.
If all the other drivers around you are driving defensively and you are not, you are more prone to get into or cause an accident. Along with training, keep things in your car that bring you comfort and help you to relax.
Many people like to listen to relaxing music on the radio. Deep breathing works as well. Do this to keep yourself calm and centered so as not to create a situation where you begin to panic.
If at all possible, do your driving when the traffic is at its lowest. Also if possible, find an alternative route to your destination that does not take you through such heavily populated areas.
Most of all stay alert. Knowing what is going on around you can help you to focus and keep your anxiety levels down. Pay attention to the other drivers as well as pedestrians.
Therapy For Your Fear
Sometimes you just cannot overcome a fear on your own. Going to see a therapist can be very helpful and a good first step at becoming anxiety free while driving in areas with heavy population.
A therapist will be able to provide you with more tips on how to overcome your fears as well.
If therapy is not for you (maybe you are not comfortable sharing with a stranger or maybe cost is an issue) you can find some wonderful self-help programs.
One such program, The Original Driving Fear Program, can be the most helpful tool for helping you to overcome your fear.
If there is no way for you to avoid driving in highly populated areas then you must get the help you need to free yourself of this fear. Once you take that first step towards liberation you will wonder why it took you so long in the first place!