Statistics suggest more than 12 percent of the population suffers from some type of phobia. Thousands experience the fear of driving, which is also known as vehophobia. The disorder produces symptoms of anxiety and may develop secondary to being in a motor vehicle collision, seeing a motor vehicle collision, or experiencing a complex set of factors. Vehophobia may be mild or severe. However, there are ways to alleviate the anxiety. The friendly team from Altra Insurance, a premier provider of auto insurance San Diego residents, offer some tips for nervous drivers.
1. Don’t Let the Fear Control You
For some, the anxiety might become so overwhelming that getting behind the wheel isn’t possible. However, the only way to overcome the stress involves facing and pushing through the fear. By avoiding driving, the anxiety increases, which makes it harder to overcome the problem. Although painful at first, continuing to drive decreases the ability of the body and the mind to produce nervous symptoms.
2. Practice Conscious Mindfulness
Drivers must make themselves aware of the thoughts and feelings they experience as nervousness, stress, and tension begin to arise. Be aware of when you’re beginning to grip the steering wheel too tightly, and consciously make the correction. Avoid thinking about potentially dangerous situations. Take deep, relaxing breaths. Try self-talk using positive affirmations. Individuals with extreme anxiety and stress might consider consulting with professional counselors.
3. Stay Focused
Stay focused on the location and the mechanics of driving to inhibit negative thoughts from producing physical symptoms. Watch the road ahead and pay attention to the immediate surroundings without obsessing about “what ifs” and scenarios that could possibly go wrong.
4. Stick with Familiarity
The distance and location driven during a session depend on the level of anxiety. Some might initially prefer to practice their skills in large parking lots. Others might be comfortable running simple errands around town. In any event, drive during daylight hours at first to become more familiar with the surroundings. Plan the session’s route in advance. Avoid times during the day when traffic is heavier until specific locations no longer produce stress. Similarly, until you’ve gained more experience or feel more comfortable behind the wheel, avoid driving during inclement weather.
5. Practice Often
For both new and experienced drivers, practice is helpful for overcoming anxiety. Therapists recommend practicing two to five days a week, with each practice session lasting 60 to 90 minutes. The more frequently drivers get behind the wheel, the better acquainted they become with their vehicles. Skill and experience increase, and the activity eventually becomes second nature.
6. Enlist a Companion
Having a companion come along for the ride to offer positive feedback and moral support can boost a driver’s confidence. A driving buddy might also offer suggestions along the way based on his or her observations. Engaging in casual conversation may distract drivers’ minds from focusing on feeling anxious or stressed. However, drivers shouldn’t allow themselves to become dangerously distracted.
Taking it slowly is one of the best ways to relieve nervousness and get comfortable behind the wheel. You’ll also get peace of mind if you know you’re covered by high-quality auto insurance if you’re in an accident. Reach out to us at Altra Insurance Services for affordable, reliable insurance and unmatched service. We offer a variety of insurance products, including auto, motorcycle, and homeowners insurance San Diego. Local residents should give us a call today at (800) 719-9972.