about Does anyone suffer from driving anxiety?

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This topic contains 13 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by DorothyWitherell 4 months ago.

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    A couple of years ago, around about the same time I hit the big 40 driving merrily along the M1 (a regular journey), I suddenly and unexpectedly had a panic attack. Sweaty palms, heart palpitations, shaking legs (I couldn’t feel my feet on the pedals!). I pulled over and had to be escorted off the motorway to my mortification. I’ve tried hypnotherapy and also had a bit of therapy but nothing works! Looks like I’m doomed and will have to drive on A roads for the rest of my life ! Previously I’ve been a confident and capable driver going the length and breadth of the country ! Any help ??


    I too sometimes suffer from anxiety about driving, particularly if it is a long journey on busy roads. All I can think about is whether it will be busy and what the other drivers will do. Once I have set off, I’m usually OK, but if I hit trouble along the way such as traffic jams, that can start me off worrying again. I also worry about where I will park when I get there and what I will do if I can’t find a space. This fear has even put me off shopping trips before.


    There is a particular stretch of road that makes me anxious and for me it’s a feeling that I can’t breath, but to date I have just powered through. Mindful that if a pull over I probably won’t start the car again. Also make a point of not choosing other road options. Pretty scary still.


    Yes I had the same thing hit me about 2 years ago after being a perfectly competent motorway driver for years, to be honest I have avoided them ever since, I am lucky I dont have to drive far to work.


    I do! I saw a horrendous accident many years ago on a motorway in Spain from then on I will never drive on a motorway. I do feel a complete failure when my husband says why don’t you drive – I just can’t I am terrified . I do avoid them.


    I struggle with being stuck in traffic. If I can’t move forwards, backwards or to the side, I have a panic attack. I will go out of my way to avoid the Dual carriageway at times when I know it will be busy. My husband says I should use the time, whilst stuck in traffic, to daydream; look out of the window; listen to the radio. My immediate reaction is panic and I can’t distract myself from it. I’ve had this now for 16 years and it’s frustrating. It’s the same in lifts. Can’t get out when i want to, so i panic. I had the most awful 20 minutes of my life after the doors shut on me when on the London Eye. I get angry; frustrated; ashamed; and tired about always needing an exit. Shame i can’t find one for my anxiety!


    It is so refreshing to hear I am not alone, I am terrified of driving. I am a competent driver of 25 years, no accidents, so I am at a loss as to why?
    The mere thought of getting into the car and turning the key provokes an anxiety attack. I bought a lovely new car in March and avoid it like the plague. That “new car” smell that people love so much, gives me palpitations, because it smells too much like a car!!!
    I am afraid to drive any further that the local shops as I am afraid of getting lost. So I invested in a sat nav in the hope I could confidently drive the 70 mile round trip to work. The panick continued. Well I have now done this twice, since March.
    I have tried bonding with my car, wash it, clean out the cobwebs that have accumulated on the dash regularly, yes even a family of spiders get more mileage from my car! Just generally trying to bond with my car to no avail.
    Now I hate it, it sits outside my home, mocking me when I walk by. I want an amicable divorce, but the car company want £3000 to hand it back. Groan


    I have been driving for almost 10 years now. And before I go out, either take the kids to school, go to the supermarket, I have to go to the toilet first. I get so nervous but once I start driving, I’m fine. And I worry about parking. If it’s my first time to go to a place, I have to tell my husband to take me there first then I’ll be confident where I’m going.


    I’m so happy I’m not the only one who suffers from driving anxiety. This started about 4 years ago, I drove the highways all the time. Then one day I got stuck in traffic, no ac and very hot out. I had a panic attack right on the highway and took the first exit I could get to. I have had my husband and my mother talk to down several times while driving. I take back roads… even if it takes me an extra hour. I would love to be able to drive highways again!!


    I can drive around my town and into the neighbouring town, but if I have to go somewhere I’m not sure of or go further afield, as soon as we set off I get bad thoughts that we are going to get lost, have to drive down a lane which i hate or have to give up and explain to everyone why I couldn’t come. My arms go numb, my head gets dizzy, dry mouth. I am even physical sick. I am proud that I went out on Sunday and had all these symptoms and thought through it.


    Totally with you and have so much anxiety about driving. I used to get a bit obsessed over tiny mistakes I made and how they could have led to an accident. I also felt really incapable – like I’m not a proper grown up or not very empowered because my partner drives us everywhere. I’ve since decided that just because I have a licence it doesn’t mean I have to use it. I’ve also got my scuba diving certificate but I don’t feel bad about not using that one ever again…
    I think anxiety around driving is a perfectly valid fear – cars can be so useful but they are also pretty dangerous. I’m fortunate enough to live in a really well connected city so can use public transport and walk everywhere – must be much harder for people who live in more remote locations who suffer from driving anxiety.
    I know there are courses you can go on to restore confidence and calm – the AA offer a free one at certain times.


    This is wonderful to realise I’m not alone. I started driving 2 years ago when I was 64 and had to ferry my mum and sister to hospital appointments but every journey means a sleepless night before. In August I was in motorway pile up (not my fault!) and my car was a write off so now have lovely new car but no pleasure from it which is very sad. Am still trying but it is very stressful.


    I enjoy driving and love my car, as long as i know where i’m going. If facing an unknown route I will check Google maps for the directions, probably several times. In the car I have turned off the voice on the satnav because it is too annoying, interrupting the radio all the time. This means i have to follow the line on the screen, ‘does it mean next left or the one after?’ I ask my daughter in the passenger seat, who calmly tells me. I still get it wrong sometimes and go round the ring road and gyratory system twice before negotiating the correct lane. As for parking in a multi-storey, I usually go to Level 10 on the roof just to avoid other parked cars. Other than that, I am a very calm driver, I think… How did i used to manage with just an A-Z on the passenger seat?


    No, I haven’t suffered from driving anxiety yet. But I have heard about it earlier also.

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