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Driving Fear/ Driving Anxiety

I have the worst driving anxiety. It started a few years ago, then I had no idea what was happening, it was a weird rush that would come over me, hands tingling, head numbing, dizziness and panic. I have been in a few accidents, but I really don't believe that is the reason for it, I don't fear an accident, I could really give a **** anymore who hits me since I've been hit several times It's just Fear. I am not scared of much but this really freaks me out.  Now a days, I try and try and try to drive and it is almost impossible sometimes. Somedays I am somewhat ok and just drive while having an anxiety attack, or just try to stay calm. It doesn't always work so well. There are times when I come to a hault and have someone come get me or i take 966786866455 hrs to get somewhere because I have to keep stopping or take a street that has no traffic but totally out of the way. I start shaking, crying, feeling as if I'll pass out, even though my old doctor told me I would never pass out, I feel if I kept driving with the attack I would definitly pass out. It's crazy. I have had therapy, and taken meds, trust me, it doesn't work for me.  I have tried to overcome this on my own and that's a big no go. I have heard of stupid programs that seem so unrealistic. What should I do I feel like I'll never feel normal again driving and I just can't shake this. I feel like an ***.
7 Responses
404138 tn?1308945256
I know exactly how you feel, I get the same way, mostly everytime I get in the car, If someone;s with me I try to get them to drive instead, and even with that I get nervous but not as bad as when Im behind the wheel,
Try to keep your mind busy while driving, think of positive things and say to yourself "Im ok, Your ok, I'll get througgh this, nothing bad will happen, it will be ok, ill be home soon" Positive self talk can make a big difference, dont give the anxiety a chance to take over, take deep breaths while saying it, and try to do that before you get in the car, just keep reassuring yourself over and over again, I know it helps me.
Your not alone.

*Best wishes*
Avatar universal
Hi Boocatlea,
I to suffer from this type of anxiety also. Some days are good, some are bad. Anxiousgurl is on the money; Positive thoughts and breathing go a long way. My shrink gave me a breathing exercise, which you may want to try. It's called 546.
Breath in for 5 seconds
Hold it for 4 seconds
exhale for 6 seconds.
Repeat for 3 times, I know it sounds silly but honest to god it has worked for me every time I get edgy behind the wheel.
In some senses I am lucky with my car . My vehicle has OnStar, before I said to hell with my driving anxiety, I'd hit the emergency button which would send the police and ambulance. I felt kind of silly after awhile when they said sir it’s just a panic attack. Stay strong, be positive and take baby steps. Start out with driving around the block. then go 2 blocks and so on. I found having someone else in car helps me a lot. Hang in there it gets better I promise.
Avatar universal
I know what you are going through! I have battled anxiety of driving on the interstate for about 4 years.  It all started when I had my very first Panic Attack while driving alone on the interstate.  I thought I was having a heart attack and was going to die alone at the age of 28 yrs old with a yound wife and a 6 month old daughter.  It was terrifying!

I am almost over the driving fear, but it has been a long a process. I have good days and bad days.  The key is you have to keep driving or the fear will over come you. The solution is once you don't care anymore about having a panic attack while driving, you will tend not to have them.  I have spent numerous hours and years researching this topic.  I highly recommend the follwing resources to help you over-come this fear of driving.  In my opinion they are priceless and well worth the money.  If you can afford them, I would order them today so you can get your recovery on the road. They have been instrumental in my recovery and I actually keep them in the car with me, just in case.

1)  The Driving Fear Program - www.drivingfear.com
2)  Embracing the Fear - Learning to Manage Anxiety and Panic Attacks by Judith Bemis and Amr Barrada, ISBN 0-89486-971-x
3) Feel the fear and Do It Anyway, Audio CD by Susan Jeffers

You can overcome this.  I have.  Godspeed!
Avatar universal
well i can totally relate with you,
just this weekend i took my kid's to P.A. i did not think i was gonna make it there.
I've had panic attacks from driving since i was 19 and i am now 35.
i started taking lexapro to help me and it has helped some what but i do believe it is mind over matter, the mind is a powerful weapon.
what helps me is distractions keeping my mind off of the driving.
i'll play with the radio or talk to my kid's anything that will take your mind off the driving.
goodluck, and your not alone
Avatar universal
Well I am having driving anxiety but it's a different kind for me. I am not afraid of driving it seems that my left side near my ribcage seems to hurt like a pressure everytime I drive. I don't know if it's muscular or not or if something is wrong but it seems to get worse when I drive like a pressure that sends pain into my left arm and leg and it  causes me to get scared and then I get the anxiety. I have been to the hospital and had a EKG done and they tell me my heart is fine. I am having lots of problems with my stomach and  and some spinal issues with pinched nerves so it's hard to determine what is causing this. I had one doctor tell me it may be I have a Hiatal Hernia that may be causing this anxiety from stress or it could be the pinched nerves on my back.  . I am going for a Endoscope to see if this is the case.  I  hope it is  because I know I am not crazy when I feel this symptoms. I am tired of feeling this everytime I drive or when I eat the symptoms return.. I am so Irritated I don't know what else to do. Please pray that they find out what is making feel so sick and causing so much anxiety.
Avatar universal
It's good to see that I'm not alone......there are others with this type of difficulty.  I'm 57 and have been a field sales rep for 30 years.  I've driven just about everywhere in Southern California; from the central coast to the San Diego area on business.  Since I'm considered the "expert" driver, friends and relatives take for granted that I'll be the one to drive because I do it so much and my car, actually small SUV since I need to haul catalogs and products with me, is roomy and comfy.  I used to be a car enthusiast.  Went to the auto shows, made performance and cosmetic changes to my cars over the years to "personalize" them.  Around 2000, I started to have a racing heart sensation, tingling in the hands etc that I now understand was anxiety sensations and probably several panic attacks but I didn't know at the time what a panic attack was; still not sure what the signs of a panic attack are.  Anyway, I've gone to my MD for a physical and tests.  All came back normal.  Well, my cholesterol was high but most of them were normal.  Been to a Psychiatrist and Psycologist.  Have taken my share of meds and been to several support groups and positive outlook classes.  None have done much good.  I use a lot of the tips others have suggested above but with varying if little success.  My biggest fear now is to wake up one day and not be able to even get in the car.  I'm not sure if I'll mentally disconnect and not be able to recognize where I am, the people around me or if I'll have such a fear of getting into the thing while envisioning it as some kind of giant fish trying to swallow me whole.  Don't get me wrong, I still drive.  Did it this morning to get to the office.  I'm really beginning to hate it a lot.  Don't know how or what to change.  I've thought about saying to everyone, "I'm not driving anymore.  You want to go somewhere then you drive".  Most likely won't work.  No one will take me seriously.  Rapid transit in LA stinks so using it to get to work isn't much of an alternative.  Jeez, looks like I've rambled on too much; sorry about that.  I'll close for now.
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