Hi. It’s Jenny at AnxietyBoss.com. Our question today comes to us from Genevieve in Lexington, Kentucky. I have driving anxiety. What can I do about it?
Anxiety when driving can be especially frightening. Driving is necessary for most people. Whether it’s to get to work or to drive the kids, driving is an important part of most adult’s lives. Sometimes anxiety when driving occurs due to a specific incident such as an accident or a near accident. At other times, anxiety can occur at any time and without identified triggers. Driving in itself can be overwhelming. There are many uncontrollable factors. These are hazards relating to the road, to other drivers, and the environment, but there are ways to control anxiety when driving.
First, learn how to use deep breathing. Deep breathing needs to be done before driving. So before getting ready to drive, take five minutes to relax using deep breathing. This can also be done during driving if needed. Meditating or using visualization is also helpful, but meditation and visualization can be done before driving, but not during driving.
Self-talk during driving is also helpful. Reminders that you are safe and using defensive driving can help decrease your anxiety. After every trip you can write in a journal. Write down success of driving. Having visual reminders that you were able to drive safely without incidence and that you were able to return home without an accident or a panic attack, can help build on your success. You could also put a note in the car by the radio that reminds you that you’re safe. An example would be something simple like “I am safe.”
Driving anxious can actually be more dangerous than driving while not anxious, as you will have more on your mind than planned. Your reflexes might be slower. Your mind is preoccupied. It’s like driving while you’re on the phone.
You can look at other tips for reducing anxiety at AnxietyBoss.com, so that you can hopefully be safer the next time that you get behind the wheel.