Anxiety While Driving- Know More On It!

Anxiety refers to the feeling of eagerness for a future failure and is more linked to muscle tension and escaping behaviour. The anxious person feels tense, nervous and not relaxed all the time. His worst fear makes him more uncomfortable and is associated with the fight or flight reaction. Moreover, this response makes them anxious while driving. Let’s know more on ‘Anxiety While Driving’.

Anxiety while driving

Driving anxiety is the fear or phobia of driving that causes distress and affects everyday life. The anxious person experiences emotional distress and avoids this situation by escaping from driving, avoiding busy routes and bridges and tunnels etc. Some people feel anxiety while driving due to the past symptoms of an anxiety disorder. However, driving anxiety can be overcome by knowing its sign and symptoms, and causes and giving proper treatment.

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Nonetheless, the experience of frequent anxiety while driving reports the following reasons:

  1. Feeling insecure during the drive
  2. Apprehensions of death while driving
  3. Extreme tension whenever driving
  4. Avoidance of busy highways
  5. Excessive sweating and feeling shaky
  6. Suffering anxiety or uneasiness when getting into the car
  7. Driving on side roads only
  8. Concerns about hitting someone while driving

The sign and symptoms of the anxiety while driving

However, the signs and symptoms that make a person more anxious include the feeling of restlessness, tiredness, fatigue, tense muscles and pain in the back and neck. Trouble concentrating and being irritable and short-tempered are also very common. Similarly, restlessness due to the dreams related to driving can disturb your sleep. The symptoms can be seen rapidly or slowly within the span of a few years, their intense fear keeps them away from driving and they avoid their friends, family members and other fun-making activities. Due to the extreme fear of driving, they keep them restricted to their home.

Causes of driving anxiety

Certain situations may involve driving anxiety, such as when you faced a road accident or have seen a dreadful road accident.  However, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) claims that driving phobias do not depend on the facing of an accident. Therefore, some most common causes of driving anxiety are bad weather conditions like storms and fog, getting lost or having a panic attack etc. sometimes people who already suffer from an anxiety disorder, for instance, face the problem of concentrating and decision-making issues can affect the driving ability.

Some people may lose their confidence because of the fear of such incidents as running out of gas when getting lost and no signals available while driving at night alone. Similarly fear of dying during an accident may be a cause of driving anxiety. Additionally, some anxiety disorders like claustrophobia, in which the person has the fear of being inactive in traffic or a previous history of panic attacks, may cause driving anxiety. Some physical causes may also involve this kind of anxiety. The more common are heart palpitation, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, dry mouth and feeling faint etc.

Treatment of anxiety while driving

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)

The best psychological treatment for anxiety while driving is known as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). In this therapy, the anxious person is being encouraged to face the situation that causes panic or anxiety. Here mental health professionals reduce your fears with effective techniques.

Exposure therapy

This therapy is often called as desensitization therapy, used by mental health doctors to treat particular phobias. The treatment involves a direct exposure to the phobia in a safe and protected environment to overcome their anxiety.

Binocular Vision Dysfunction (BVD)

In which the two eyes can’t work together because of misalignment. The body works to align the vision of two eyes by overdoing and straining the eye muscles. If the misalignment is severe it can cause difficulty in driving. During driving the symptoms of BVD may be nausea, dizziness, difficulty keeping balance and equilibrium, and problems seeing the roads, signboards and nearby cars. However, it can be treated through the Neuro Visual Examination or by visiting the visual specialists.

Additionally, some people can reduce driving anxiety personally by walking or the use of public transport. They can talk to their friend or consult with the doctor for necessary treatment.


Driving anxiety is a certain kind of phobia that makes a person unsafe to drive a car and perform everyday activities. There are various symptoms, causes and treatments for this emotional distress. One can overcome this anxiety by consulting his doctor and taking some treatment. However, if you feel that the symptoms are increasing day by day, you should talk to your health care professional for help.

Frequently asked questions

1. How do I recover confidence in driving?

If you want to improve your confidence after an accident, you should start to drive small nearby places, or can talk to someone for help. Similarly, you can join driving classes or take a break for a few days.

2. What is the average time for comfortable driving?

A normal person takes almost six months to feel comfortable for long and even difficult routes. However, you need the patience to get used to it.

Anxiety While Driving- Know More On It!

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