It’s a fine day out there. The sun is shinning bright and everyone seems to be happy and smiling. A perfect day to take a day off and run a few errands and then relax a bit may be. So, with that smiling face, you get into the car and start the engine. While you are peacefully driving through the block, the mini bouncy castle world seems like the perfect place to live in. Suddenly, when you take a turn towards a busy road, your hands start to swell, your legs are getting numb and you can feel cold sweat over your brows. This is driving anxiety.
If you suffer from driving anxiety, there is one thing to be happy about- you are not the only one. Surveys have revealed that every one in 23 drivers suffers from driving anxiety and even driving phobias. Considering that there are more than two hundred million cars on American roads, you can sort out the number of your fellow anxious drivers.
Symptoms of driving anxiety
The reason and situation triggering the anxiety varies greatly from person to person. Likewise, the symptoms may also differ in every case. However, most symptoms are the same as encountered in case of fear and nervousness. Some of the most common symptoms of driving anxiety are palpitation, hyperventilation, muscle stress, heavy sweating, dizziness, shivering, and trembling and stomach knots.
What causes Anxiety?
There is no specific reason behind driving anxiety. Knowing what exactly is causing driving anxiety in you is the first major step in finding its cure. One of the major reasons is that the patient has previously suffered or witnessed a horrible road accident. Also, the fear of speed and crowded places may trigger anxiety while driving. Lack of self-confidence may also make a driver fearful about losing control of the car.
Overcoming the anxiety
Once you have discovered the reason behind it, overcoming that anxiety will not require a therapist. The best help you can get is from yourself.
• Before you start driving, sit in your car for a while. Take some time to get comfortable in it. Make the necessary adjustments and keep the music low or turned off if possible.
• If you suffer from a phobia so bad that it keeps you from driving to the nearest block, sit in the car with engine running. Do it as many times as you can. Soon enough you will develop an urge to drive around the block.
• Ask your friend to accompany you while you drive to the next block and the next few blocks eventually.
• Start bit by bit. If you fear driving over bridges, don’t just avoid them altogether. Follow a friend on a small bridge a few times before doing it on your own. Try longer bridges later.
• If you find yourself under an anxiety attack while driving, try to get your car off the road for a while. Pull over and take sometime to relax.
• The most important way to avoid anxiety is to realize that a small amount of fear is natural and in fact essential for a safe drive. Everyone feels it, even the top race car drivers.