Driving anxiety: I get such anxiety... - Anxiety and Depre...

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Driving anxiety

I get such anxiety while I’m driving. I barely change lanes because I’m so afraid of changing them. And I also have so much anxiety because whenever I’m backing up or changing lanes everything including cars seem so much closer than they are. I just don’t know how I can get over this anxiety, but I want to.

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I had that phobia for years after a fiery car crash. Exposure is the best way to deal with a fear. Try driving short distances to work on confidence. It does get better.

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I try. But I think I would be fine if I just didn’t feel if everything was so much closer than it actually was. I don’t know if that’s part of my anxiety or my vision. How do I do exposure to show myself that things aren’t as close as I think they are?

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Get your vision checked first and then just drive a bit in easy areas and relax and look around. See how long it takes a car to pass you. Notice the other cars parked and distances.

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I don’t know what I can do to relax when driving. And when you talk about cars passing me, are you talking about changing lanes?

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I had to take deep breaths because I felt like I would pass out. I listened to music, not too loud. Yeah, the cars passing you. You can see how long it takes to get to you to show the distance on time. I know it's hard but just go kinda slow and keep practicing

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When I go on the highway and watch a car pass me should I count. And it’s also hard because I was diagnosed with ADHD in high school and so I’m worried that if I start counting on how long it will take to have the car pass me, I’ll loose my attention and I’ll get in an accident or hit another car?

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Maybe not count, just pay attention that it takes time to catch up and maybe you will see they are farther than you think. You know the mirrors make it appear closer so look behind you too. You are still driving so I think that's pretty good. I haven't been on the highway in four years but once for my dad's funeral. I didn't even see him for a long time before that. It is that bad. I am doing good to drive on the roads for now.

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Are you talk about the side view mirror only or are you including the rear view mirror in that also? Because when I first started driving I would look behind for too long and that’s how I failed my first driving test. So, now I’m a little nervous about looking behind me, but I did it today.

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The side view mirrors are magnified so it looks alot closer, not the back view one. Just peak back and sides before changing lanes. I always wait for a big opening and stay in the lanes I'm gonna need to turn from.

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I do that I just need to figure out a way to do that when there’s a lot of traffic. But, what if there’s not a big opening? And are you talking about the drivers mirror above the stereo/drivers seat? Or the rear view window in the back of the car? I’m bad with remember all the names of the mirrors in a car.

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Just the side ones are magnified. I always check the one in the front and look back also.

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Thank you so much that helps me alot

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Your welcome. I'm proud of you. You're doing great! 😊

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Thanks one day at a time. I think I’m just going to start driving everyday just to get my anxiety under control

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Ok thank you

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While is slightly risky with choking hazard, try chewing gum or mints while you’re driving and put on some nice music. It stimulates concentration in the brain. I recommend going on just because drives during all times of the day maybe throughout the week or something. Getting comfortable and having confidence in yourself is good. Most likely drive alone during this time so you can fully sink into driving. Like the previous person said, exposure is good for driving anxiety. I used to have it bad but I’m ok with it now.

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I get anxiety when driving too

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I'm wondering if hypnosis (not whilst you are driving) might work and help you. I've had hypnosis for a couple of things with good results and usually only took one session..apart from one thing which took 2 sessions and the results have lasted. When I first saw hypnotist I was asked to keep a diary of how I felt using descriptive words of how the situation made you feel, like can't breathe, scared and what you fear most about driving...is it having a crash or being beeped at. Then in the hypnosis session your words you used are put into the script so it feels really personal and tailor made for you and I found 30minutes later my worry had gone!

Could be worth a try or maybe cbt could help but I've not tried that

Or do you actually need your car, is public transport good where you are, I don't drive, gave up trying to learn to drive...maybe I should have had hypnosis for passing my driving test!

Jo

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You need to retrain your mind not be afraid practice in the parking lot or in small neighborhood get your body and mind use too driving. In the mean time maybe take public transit. Breathing exercises will help you your body fight or flight response is stuck on auto correct it by reintroducing driving

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That sounds like a good idea. But, I wish there was a way to retrain my mind that cars aren’t as close to me when they’re next to me in a parking spot and I’m backing up out of a parking spot.

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I used to have this issue too when I first started driving. I've been driving a couple years now, and it has improved.

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Well today was a good day because I made a left turn while takin my nephew to school and there was a car coming. But, it wasn’t as close as I thought and I was able to safely make the turn and it showed me that it’s all in my head with my anxiety or maybe my eyes. But, it’s more in my head as a result of my anxiety

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That's good that you got out and made the turn. With practice, it'll become normal for you.

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Now I have to just work on changing lanes

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I just have a problem figuring out when there’s enough room to change lanes especially with traffic and cars speeding past me. I just wish I knew how to get my brain to see there is enough room with traffic and cars speeding up or slowing down past me.

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See if you can drive behind traffic as much as possible, then you will be able to see traffic move much more easily.

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Also you’ll learn to see the speeds of cars and how others change lanes. Hope this helps

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the word “but” is detrimental to your state of being change your vocabulary. It’s easy to make excuses in the end we all just have to take that first step. Best of luck on your healing journey

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Precisely :) xx

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Thanks. I was able to change lanes today on the highway; I can do that when there isn’t much traffic and I know there is a decent amount of space between cars. It’s just harder when there’s traffic and a lot of cars are backed up and coming because I can’t tell if there’s enough space especially if cars are flying by in the other lane

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I used to feel like that when I first started driving. I ended up putting a Learner sign on my car and drove a lot when there was minimal traffic and practiced changing lanes etc that way. I feel like when other drivers see the "Learner" sign on the car, they become more understanding and don't hoot etc when I'm stalling etc.

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Try to do meditation exercises, before driving do deep. Breaths

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Hi Christine. When I am having a bout of anxiety I hate driving. I just stay very local and don’t go on Motorways. Once the anxiety passes about 6 weeks I feel ok. But I am not a confident driver so always drive in slow lane at correct speed. Unfortunately the driving in U.K has deteriorated so much in the last few years. Accidents all the time. Had hypnotherapy with different therapists and never worked. Good luck x

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I, too, have anxiety when I drive. I had a panic attack while driving on the interstate about two months ago. Then another one a month after that while approaching a busy intersection. It felt like all the cars were closing in on me and I couldn’t escape. Both times, it took me a very long time to get home as I drove very slow, and avoided highways, busy roads, etc. I have only driven a handful of times since then: One or two miles at a time. I’ve been doing mediation every day for the last week or so and was able to drive ten miles one day. I think the best thing to do is get out every day even if it’s just a short distance. Luckily school is out for the summer, so I don’t have to drive my son to school for the next couple of months. I will have to get control of my anxiety by the time school starts again. I’m fine if there weren’t too many cars around me, but once they’re around me I get freaked out. I hate it.

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What type of meditation do you do?

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I’ve been using the Insight Timer app. There are a lot of free guided meditations and some specifically for anxiety. It has helped me relax and learn to breathe more intently.

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That’s weird because i got the app and it said 7 - day free trial so I thought it was free

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I think the 7 day free trial is for an upgraded version of the app. I didn’t sign up for the 7 day trial, I just use the regular version. I’m on my 9th day and it’s free unless I want to sign up for the other version.

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Is there any other apps that you use for your anxiety?

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The only other one I’ve tried is Calm. It only has a handful of free meditations if you don’t sign up for the 7day trial. I suppose we could try to find things on YouTube. So far I like Insight Timer. Let me know if you come across any other good ones!

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Well I was able to change lanes on the highway as I was coming home from shopping. I can do it when I know there’s a decent amount of space present, it’s just harder when there is traffic and a lot of cars backed up. And I don’t know if there is much space because of all the cars

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I have suffered from driving anxiety for the past 7 years. I no longer drive on highway which is very depressing.....dictor says in did use medication.

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Me too! I’m lucky because I can avoid highways. Most of the time. Well, I figure if I don’t have confidence in anything else what should I with driving?

Some of the posts below seem to make sense.

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I have terrible driving anxiety. (I even posted about it around a week and a half ago.) I've got an upcoming drive that has to be done on the highway. I'm dreading it so much. People advised me to take gradual "steps" up to driving on the highway, but in the city I live in there are NO gradual steps. It's the neighborhood then -- boom -- heavy, fast traffic then the highway. Also, the highways around my city are really scary, again heavy, fast traffic and really reckless drivers. I wish I had a solution for both of us.

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That’s so hard. I truly understand. I can see and hear the highway from my house. I look at it every day and wonder when I’ll be able to get back out there and drive on it. The last time I was on the highway, I stayed in the right lane and just tried to focus my attention forward. If I looked around at all the traffic, it made it worse. Focusing my eyes forward and taking deep breaths helped me get through it. Allow yourself plenty of time, so that you can pull off and take breaks if you need them. When is your upcoming drive?

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It's less than two weeks away. A big problem is I CAN'T stay in the right lane. A lot of the right lanes around here become "exit only" lanes. I think I'm about to "crater" and ride with the rest of the family... which is less than optimal... as well as "defeating." I've GOT to "expose" myself to it, like I did last year, by making a short trip. The biggest problem is that I was working from home, mostly, and drove less. Now I'm unemployed and rarely drive at all -- only once or twice a week. I use to drive everyday and had much less anxiety. I've never been in a major accident but... one never knows what might happen; and, even if I'm a safe driver there's all the unsafe ones around me.

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That does make it hard not to be able to stay in the right lane. If you decide to ride with your family, don’t beat yourself up about it. Just think if it as a way to alleviate the possibility of having panic attacks for that trip. In the mean time, you can keep trying to make short trips on your own. Sending good vibes your way. I have to go to the bank and grocery store today...here’s hoping I can drive myself. If not, I will have my daughter drive me and I’ll accept that it’s ok.

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I have really bad driving anxiety. I didn’t have a trigger like a car accident or anything, it just happened. The first year I had my license I didn’t drive much. I didn’t want to but I also didn’t really have to. But the second year I had to drive myself to school and it really helped me. I was able to drive more places and feel more confident. I’m still not eager to drive and I never drive people besides my brother or cousins but I can do it. When I have to drive somewhere new and unknown I get really sick beforehand. Upset stomach, headaches, too hot/cold, etc.

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Has anyone had any success seeing a psychologist? I have been dragging my feet going down this route due to the time commitment and cost. When I first started experiencing this i had no clue what was going one since I wasn't in an accident or anything. I read somewhere that it might be constant shallow breathing that increases the the anxiety. I'm at the point where I dread driving anywhere but work since I have no choice.

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Have been struggling with this since 1976! I can drive locally, but no bridges or expressway unless someone else is driving. I had a bad accident and that is what triggered this. Fortunately my family understands. I went through some classes that really helped.

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Even though I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, it’s nice to know we are not alone in our struggles and that there are others who understand how we are feeling.

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Hi I feel for you. I have a lot driving anxiety especially when I haven’t in a long time. What helps me is always googling satellite before I go anywhere just so I know and am prepared for what the roads look like what to expect. I don’t do freeways though . You’re not alone it’s scary when having anxiety remember to breathe .

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