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How to Treat Driving Anxiety?

Driving Anxiety is a fear of getting injured or harmed while driving a vehicle or traveling as a passenger. 

Driving anxiety is also called Amaxophobia. Most people experience anxiety at higher speeds, but they are comfortable at moderate speeds. So, driving anxiety is very similar to the fear or worry experienced while traveling at fast speeds but with more intense symptoms.

People with driving anxiety issues experience the symptoms even at the thought of driving or traveling through vehicles. They have a fear that they will meet with an accident and could be injured in an accident. They lack confidence in their driving capabilities. But in-depth, they have some past unpleasant experiences related to traveling. So, they develop a phobia of driving.  

Symptoms of Driving Anxiety:

  • Rapid Heart Rate
  • Palpitations
  • Heaviness in Chest
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Nervousness

Some Causes of Driving Anxiety or Amaxophobia

1. Already an Anxiety Patient

Amaxophobia is a kind of anxiety disorder and people who already have some other anxiety issues can develop anxiety about driving too. So, this can be associated with some other anxiety issues.

  • Agoraphobia: Agoraphobia is a fear of being in situations where escape is difficult or help could not be available in such situations. So, a moving vehicle could be ideal for triggering this kind of anxiety.
  • Claustrophobia: A fear of enclosed spaces. So, a car or other vehicle could be an enclosed space which can trigger this issue also.
  • Social Anxiety: People having a social anxiety disorder can also develop amaxophobia while traveling on public transport or social phobia can be the main cause behind it.

2. Past Unpleasant Experience

People who got injured or hospitalized in the past due to any kind of road accident are very prone to develop amaxophobia. Also, people whose close family members are either seriously injured or lost in an accident are prone to amaxophobia.

3. Genetic Disorder

People who have a family history of driving anxiety or even have other kinds of anxiety disorders are more prone to develop amaxophobia. So, it can be a genetic disorder also.

4. Negative Driving Experiences:

If in the past, someone had bad driving experiences, then there are chances of developing amaxophobia. These past bitter experiences can be like this:

  • Traveling in bad weather 
  • Lost control of driving due to some mechanical issue and 
  • Having a road rage incident 

Triggers for Driving Anxiety or Amaxophobia

  • Thinking of driving
  • Watching a fast-running vehicle
  • Sitting in a car driven by an unfamiliar person
  • Planning a long road trip

Treatment of Driving Anxiety or Amaxophobia

1. Medication

You can consult an anxiety disorder specialist. He may be prescribed some medication course for some time to cure the root cause. He can also suggest some medicine to be taken before driving. These medications help you in curing the amaxophobia.

2. Therapy

Your specialist can refer you or you can also consult on your own to a Psychological therapist. The therapist can try to heal you through some popular therapies:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This therapy is beneficial for treating different kinds of anxiety disorders and phobias. This therapy works on treating the root causes and guides you on how to handle adverse situations and stressful conditions like driving.
  • Exposure Therapy: This therapy is mainly about facing the situations and the objects you fear. This helps you to gain control over stressful situations by imagining those situations and gaining your body’s control over those situations.

3. Meditation

Meditation works on increasing your mind’s focus and controlling your body’s reaction. So, it can help you in gaining control over the situation and focus on driving.

4. Taking Small Breaks

You can take short breaks while driving. These small intervals will break the continuity of the anxiety pattern and refresh you. Also taking small breaks will distract your mind from driving experience so helps you to prepare for the next driving sessions. In this way, one can also overcome this issue.

5. Eat Your Favorite Food

You can also eat your favorite snack or have your favorite drink while driving. This will distract your mind from driving anxiety. Eating one’s favorite dish can release a feel-good hormone dopamine in the brain which helps in uplifting the mood. 

Note: Be careful about eating while driving.


Driving Anxiety can be controlled by the way some medications and therapies like CBT & exposure therapy along with yoga can help. Also taking small breaks while driving will distract your mind from driving anxiety and refreshes you for the next driving session. 

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