This is why you fear driving cars

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Fear of driving is an irrational fear

It's totally understood that driving can sometimes be dangerous. After all many people actually make car accidents. But when looking at things this way you must also consider the fact that many people die crossing the street, many others die from smoking and too many people die in their sleep.

Fear of driving is one of the irrational types of fears since driving is something that most people do without problems. And provided that you don't drive recklessly the fear of driving can be more of an irrational fear than a realistic threat.

But why would a person fear driving where as most people drive cars without problems?
And how can such an irrational fear grow so big that it prevents a person from ever driving car?

The causes of Fear of driving

There are many possible causes behind the fear of driving, here are some of them:

  • 1) A bad accident: Many of the fears we experience in our lives are learned. This means that a bad accident , if it affected you emotionally, could result in letting you have the fear of driving. Some people stop driving all together when they go through a bad accident or even when a close person goes through an accident
  • 2) Fear of being in control: The fear of driving can be another form of the fear of being in control. While some people fear losing control others fear being in control. This kind of fear is usually connected to self esteem problems.
  • 3) You have anxiety problems: Fear of driving can sometimes be a reflection of your anxious life style. If you worry often and if you always avoid all possible threats , even the less likely ones, then you might also fear driving. In such a case the problem is with how you see the world and not with anything related to driving. See Understanding anxiety and depression from a different angle
  • 4) You learned the fear: Sometimes we learn to fear things that never harmed us just because we saw someone else reacting with fear towards those things. Your parent could teach you indirectly how to fear driving without saying a word about it. As we notice how the significant others around us react we can easily learn new fears during childhood

Dealing with the fear of driving

Just as you saw fear of driving can happen for different reasons. Getting over the fear of driving requires finding the reason behind your fears so that you can deal with it directly.

Next you need to get gradual exposure to driving in a safe setting. This means that you should bring someone you trust and feel safe around with you while trying to drive a car in a relatively empty place.

When you learn how to control your fears in a relatively safe environment you will be able to move to the next step which is driving in a slightly more difficult setting.

As you progress through those levels you will realize that driving is safe and that you had an irrational belief about it. As time passes the irrational belief will go away and you will find no problems driving a car.

Ignoring your fears however will let them remain the same or ,even worse, grow bigger.

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