For many of us, going for a long drive is an epic escape from the hectic lifestyle. As soon as our mind is choked with everyday trivialities, we can’t help going out on a highway. That’s why people stay excited during the driving lessons because they want to make the most of this new venture.  

However, some people don’t have access to this profound luxury. So much so, the mere thought of driving changes their facial expressions for worst.   In technical terms, the fear of driving is dubbed as a freeway phobia. Not only this irrational fear keeps you at bay from experiencing joys of the long drive, but it also makes you extremely vulnerable to accidents. 

There could be many reasons why someone ends up being so terrified of driving. Yet, the good news is that the phobia can be curbed effectively. 

The following tips are considered as the antidote for the fear of driving:  

1. Get in touch with a driving instructor

Sometimes drivers are so overawed with anxiety that they can’t figure out the actual cause of stress. Experts believe that one of the common factors that trigger fear is the lack of driving skills. You may have been possessing a driving license for quite some time, but that does not necessarily mean you have complete command over the steering. 

Getting hooked up with a driving mentor is the best way to enhance your driving skills. As you drive with him, he will unveil your weaknesses bit by bit and educate you about how to eventually get them out of the system. Being an expert in the field, the instructor will be well aware of the potential dangers of driving. So he will pass all the necessary tips to cope up with uncalled-for situations. 

Needless to say, knowing all these insights will prove to be a solid confidence booster for you. One week down the road, if you notice that the instructor is not interfering in your driving as much as he did initially, you can take it as a healthy sign of progress. 

2. Stick to the daytime driving initially 

Driving in the night is far more challenging than the daytime. When it comes to urban settings, things get even more problematic, owing to the heavy traffic. This is one reason why as much as 49 percent of the fatal accidents occur in the night – nearly three times more than the number of fatal crashes take place in broad daylight. 

So if you happen to be a new driver, you can conquer the fear factor by driving during the daytime in the initial phase. That way, as time goes by, you are sure to grow in confidence because you will become familiar with roads, other vehicles’ driving patterns, traffic obligations and so on. Undoubtedly, a better understanding of all these things will gradually lead you towards fearlessness.  

3. Create an air of calmness in the car 

The environment of your car can play a key role in either stimulating or controlling your stress level. For example, an unclean dashboard might make it harder for you to get a clear view of the road. As a result, panic will keep on gaining grounds in your mind because you are constantly worried about bumping your car into another vehicle. 

Therefore, it is very important to create an air of calmness inside your car. Keep it as clean as possible. If you need something while driving, such as a USB cable, you must be one hundred percent sure where it is placed. 

Apart from that, staying on top of fuel and gas also adds more to your keep your anxiety under control. Make no mistake, noisy passengers can be equally distracting. So don’t travel with chatterboxes until you have gained a significant grip on the driving. 

4. Exploit exposure therapy  

A sizeable majority of people start to fear driving after they meet an accident. They don’t want to hold the steering again because they are horrified by the memory. This is not only applicable to driving. We can relate this to so many things in our life. That’s where exposure therapy swings into action. 

As they say, the attack is the best form of defense. This is exactly what this therapy is all about. According to the mechanics of exposure therapy, you have to take your driving phobia head-on. Instead of retrieving yourself from sitting behind the wheel, you should start your driving practice step by step.

For example, you can begin your therapy by spending some time in the car. Next up, you may prolong the duration of sitting and eventually making it to the driving seat. Of course, it will take time before you finally drive on a highway, but, at the end of the day, you will overcome the driving phobia quite comprehensively. 

It is mandatory to involve a therapist and driving instructor in the whole process. 

5. Neatly jot down your fears

Oftentimes, people enjoy driving until they reach a sudden point where fear starts creeping in their minds. Depending on the driver, that triggering-spot could be a traffic signal, completely unknown location or main road. You need to write all the places that generate the feeling of fear. 

If you are scared of facing all the said locations, you need to write them in a hierarchical order. The one that scares you the least must be listed on top because, by the time you reach your worst fear, you will be already oozing with self-belief.    

6. Play music 

As far as driving is concerned, there is so much misconception about music. Some driving mentors even strictly prohibit learners from listening to music while driving. Frankly, you may pass such a remark for noisy music but relaxing music, coupled with low volume, is a tonic for your mind. Such kind of music has the potential to make your fear jump out of the rear window. 

7. Make the most of coping statements 

Saying things to oneself over and over again has an incredible effect on the mind. Sometimes we are not facing a tough situation but we tend to create a mountain out of a molehill just by repeating the negative stuff. In the same way, we can confront an irrational fear by repeating positive coping statements like the ones mentioned below: 

  • I will be home in the next 15 minutes anyway so why should I entertain this feeling? 
  • Who makes the fuss of a temporary feeling like this?
  • I’m not giving in because I have been through the worst situation than this. 

The final verdict 

There is nothing worse than not being able to drive knowing what fun it is to be on the driving seat. However, there is no dearth of people who have already triumphed over the driving phobia. You can also break the shackles by sticking to the above measures. After all, if others can do it why can’t you?