There are several words to describe the anxiety or fear you may feel when driving or riding in a vehicle. Amaxophobia, ochophobia, and motorphobia mean similar things — the fear of driving. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, these phobias are typically intense and irrational. Unfortunately, driving anxiety is a serious problem that can cause severe accident injuries and require a car accident attorney’s intervention.
Driving-related panic attacks are similar to driving anxiety, especially as they expose road users to similar risks. However, they’re different, even though fear can be a symptom of panic attacks.
According to Healthline, a panic attack can happen out of the blues for no obvious reason. Again, anxiety isn’t as overwhelming and may develop much slower than panic attacks. Driving anxiety and panic attacks may also occur together, and fear of driving predisposes you to panic attacks.
We’ll let you in on everything you need to know about overcoming driving phobias and panic attacks in this article.
Essential Tips for Overcoming Driving-Related Anxiety and Panic Attacks
You can overcome your driving anxiety and panic attacks if you put your mind to it. Here’s how:
Understand Your Triggers
There are many things that could trigger your fear of driving. For example, your driving anxiety could heighten when passing through tunnels or bridges. It could also result from stress.
Understanding your triggers helps you understand your anxiety better and develop the correct coping strategies for your condition. Also, learn to distinguish between intense anxiety and panic attacks.
Take Deep Breaths
Specific relaxation techniques and breathing exercises can help you cope with your fear of driving. You can practice deep breathing, guided imagery, mindful meditations, progressive muscle relaxation, and autogenic training. Avoid negative coping skills like drugs and alcohol, as they can cause more problems for you.
Push Through It (or Pull Over Immediately)
One of the best ways to fight your driving anxiety is to keep moving while exercising caution. This can help you realize that there’s truly nothing to be worried about.
However, if you can’t safely continue your driving, you must pull over as soon as it’s okay to do so. You wouldn’t want to cause an accident while dealing with your anxiety or panic attack.
Seek Help From a Mental Health Specialist
From psychiatrists to psychologists and therapists, numerous mental health experts can help you deal with your driving panic. They’ll diagnose your condition and provide the best treatment for you.
Why Do Motorists Develop Driving Anxiety and Panic Attacks?
The following factors may cause your fear of driving or driving-related panic attacks:
A Traumatic Experience
Your driving phobia may result from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following a traffic accident.
Harsh Weather Conditions
Inclement weather like heavy rains, snow, and fog can make you develop driving anxiety.
People with a family history of panic attacks are at higher risk of developing them.
Lack of Confidence
Your driving phobia may also result from your inability to trust your driving skills.
Can Severe Anxiety and Panic Attacks Cause a Traffic Crash?
Driving is one activity that requires the motorist’s full attention. Even the slightest distractions on the road can cause the most devastating accident injuries and lead to death. That’s why driving anxiety and panic attacks can be extremely dangerous.
Driving anxiety/panic symptoms can cause visual, manual, and cognitive distractions, making the driver lose control and make erratic decisions. They include the following:
- Dizziness and lightheadedness
- Sweaty palms
- Fear and tension
- Intense desire to get out of the vehicle
- Increased heart palpitations, etc.
Any of the symptoms above will put the motorist and nearby road users at high risk of accidents. CDC reports 2,800 fatalities and 400,000 injured persons in distracted driving accidents in 2018. As such, anyone experiencing panic attacks or motorphobia must seek help as soon as possible to avoid causing a road crash.
Schedule a Consultation With Us Right Away!
You deserve adequate financial compensation if you’ve suffered traffic accident injuries due to distracted driving in Maryland. If the crash was due to their panic attack and anxiety, consult your car accident lawyer to understand your options.
Our Maryland personal injury attorneys at Pinder Plotkin LLC are always ready to listen to you. As our top priority, we’ll tailor our legal services to suit your peculiar needs. We also work on a contingency fee basis to enable you to get justice regardless of your financial standing. Book a free consultation with us today.