There are many effective ways to reduce feelings of anxiety related to driving, so fortunately the majority of those with some form of driving anxiety can be helped. By taking steps to understand your very personal anxiety and by exploring strategies that help minimise your symptoms, you can begin to take steps to overcome your anxiety.

Here are five of many ways that may help you cope with feelings of panic and anxiety related to driving

  1. Understanding the root cause associated with your driving related anxiety can help you develop the best coping skills. Understand whether your driving related anxiety is the main problem or a symptom of a larger problem.
  2. Set a realistic goal considering both long and short term consequences.
  3. Relaxation techniques often help when stress and anxiety start. The following are a few of the relaxation techniques that are used to reduce anxiety:
      • Deep breathing
      • Muscle relaxation
      • Guided imagery: Using your imagination to create calm and peaceful images, promoting relaxation
      • Mindfulness
  4. Talking to your family, friends, mentors etc, who will help to:
      • Remind you of your coping skills
      • Recommend new coping skills
      • Keep you on track
      • Drive with you to reduce tension and stress
  5. Start with small steps. Even though you may be tempted to take bold steps to resolve your driving anxiety, stressful situations require time and patience to conquer. By exposing yourself to more and more stressful aspects of driving anxiety in the right way and at the right time, you may cause a temporary increase in anxiety, but a long-term decrease in symptoms. Be careful, as trying to move too quickly can actually increase the driving related anxiety.

Some Final Thoughts…

Driving related anxiety may seem like a unique and socially isolating situation. In reality, many people experience stress, tension or discomfort of some type when driving. While “driving anxiety” is not technically a diagnosable mental health disorder, the symptoms are very real, very powerful, and can get progressively worse if they’re ignored.