If you have a fear or phobia of driving, then be safe in the knowledge that you can overcome your fear. Just to be clear, if you are in a car with someone who is speeding, breaking heavily, skidding around corners, et cetera, then your fears are likely justified. But if just the thought of driving, or getting behind a wheel in calm circumstances fills you with dread, the you may have a phobia. Learn to overcome fear of driving, as well as how to deal with any underlying conditions that could be causing it.

How to Overcome Fear of Driving

Follow the advice below if you believe that you have a driving phobia, to help you deal with and overcome your fears:

Learn Well

When learning how to drive, pick a professional instructor who you know will teach you how to drive properly. Getting behind the wheel can be nerve wracking and fear inducing, if there is a professional driving instructor there with you, then such feelings will be lessened as you will be receiving clear guidance. You should also realize that the more lessons you take, the more opportunity you will have to learn and become confident, therefore reducing the likelihood of you being fearful.


Be Confident in Your Abilities

This can be difficult, especially for new drivers, but remember that you know how to drive, if you didn't know how to drive you wouldn't legally be allowed on the road. Be confident in your driving and observational abilities. Know that you can drive, and that you will be aware of your surroundings as you drive. Remember that the more you drive the better and more confident you will become.


Remember That Fear is Common

A fear of driving is said by some to be one of the most common phobias, so you are not alone. There is so much to learn at first that it can seam daunting, remember that this is natural and it will all become much easier in little time.


Drive with a Calming Friend

If you experience fear when driving, then driving with a calming friend can be very beneficial. They can help to talk you through your fears and offer you invaluable reassurance. In some cases, the thought of driving alone can create anxiety, so having someone with you can help to reduce these feelings.


Listen to Music

Whilst some may argue that listening to music is a bad idea when learning how to overcome fear of driving, and in the case of loud intrusive music they would probably be right, but soft calming music can be very relaxing and help reduce anxiety and fear in relation to driving.


Get Used to Your Car

Before you even go for a drive, sit in your car for a while. Ensure that you are comfortable, do all your safety checks and adjust your mirrors and seat so they are perfect for you. Take some time to focus on the task at hand, remember that you can do it. It may even help to visualize yourself driving before you drive, to affirm within your mind that you can do it.


Start Slow

You don't have to immediately jump into a long distance drive, especially if you are fearful of driving short distances. Similarly you can only drive in the daytime at first as you gain experience and confidence. Starting slow and building up as opposed to diving in at the deep end can help to reduce a fear of driving because you are taking small steps towards achievable goals, instead of stacking up pressure.


Learn Calming Techniques

Things like deep breathing can help you to become relaxed very quickly. Simply take a deep breath in, then exhale (ensuring to exhale for longer than you inhale). This will initiate your body’s natural relaxation response. Another method you could try is progressive muscle relaxation, whereby you tense and release certain muscle groups. Start by clenching your fists for around 15 seconds before un-clenching and releasing the tension, as you focus on the tension leaving your muscles and body. Continue to rest for around 20 seconds before going through different muscle groups up the arm.


Plan Your Journey

Not knowing where you are driving can easily add to the stress and fear of the situation. Planning your trip, and possibly using some navigational device, can help to reduce these possible triggers of stress and fear.


Know What to Expect

When driving, you are likely to encounter hazards all throughout the road, so be ready for such things by expecting their occurrence. Don't fear the worst, by no means, but learning how to overcome fear of driving can start by understanding that there will be hazards, and knowing that you will be able to deal with them.


Are There Other Reasons That Can Cause Your Fear of Driving?

In some instances, a fear of driving can be part of what is known as the ‘agoraphobic cluster’, which means that this phobia derives from a group of phobias from which that individual suffers.

  • A driving phobia can also stem from General Anxiety Disorder, wherein an individual suffers anxiety in all situations of life, which can be exacerbated by driving.

  • Depression can also cause individuals to develop phobias, and may be a cause of one’s fear of driving.

  • You may also be getting the fear from claustrophobia because you are confined in a small space when driving.

As there are many reasons you can experience a phobia of driving, it is important to treat such underlying issues, and know when to seek help. If you have tried to learn how to overcome fear of driving, and have still been unable to help yourself, then it may be wise to seek professional help. This could be from a doctor, counselor, psychiatrist or psychologist. All of whom should be able to help you stop this phobia from impeding your everyday life.


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