I used to have a terrible fear of driving and it got so I wouldn't drive anywhere unless someone else was in the car with me. I was afraid of getting stuck in traffic and being trapped. Or being in an outside lane and having no where to pull over if I had a panic attack...then if I did pull over everyone would see me and send an ambulance. If I had to travel any distance, I would take a route where I knew people along the way incase I panicked and I could go to their house. Because of my Meniere's Disease I have a restricted license and I am not supposed to drive at all without someone else in the car. I drive alone anyway, but don't go any farther than it would be inconvenient for someone to get me if I had an attack. I got stuck for twenty minutes on a bridge over the river the other day that was letting a barge through the locks and I was fine.
For me, making myself get in the car and driving short distances then adding to the distance every day helped. Panic attacks pass and are not dangerous even though they feel like it. I have a friend with P/A that bought a house she hates right next to a hospital so she can walk there if she has an attack. She listens to sirens and traffic noise all day and night. But it makes her feel safe and I understand it. All we ask from this disorder is to feel safe, and unfortunately, we rarely do until we finally decide it's not going to rule our lives.
I have anxiety thinking of driving the freeway..........my son was killed on one of our major freeways and ever since then I have to really push myself. For 10 months up until April I had to just do it as my sister was in the hosptial in the inner city and I had to drive the freeway to be with her.
I always did fine once I got going but it was going that was my challenge.
Here are a few tips that you may find helpful:
1. Take small steps and you will eventually get to your destination -- A lot of people who have a fear of driving simply give up using their car altogether. This is the way to perpetuate your condition, not to heal yourself. If you feel that you're unable to drive, simply use the car for short periods. Either drive around the block, or to the grocery store, or take frequent pit stops to make sure your fear doesn't build up. By doing so, you're conditioning your mind to gradually overcome your fears.
2. Listen to soothing music while you're driving -- Music has great effect on our mood. Find some music that you can relax to and play it while you're driving. It will lower your overall stress levels and your will enjoy your ride more.
3. Take deep breaths -- If you're ever driving and start to experience one of the many symptoms of your phobia (sweating, stomach aches, nausea), take a few deep breaths. Inhale and exhale slowly. Deep breaths steady the heart beat and help you to relax
Think positive thoughts, leaving no room for failure that you “just can’t do this.”
I wish you peace,