Thursday 17th January 2013
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The fear of driving can be quite a common phobia, and although there is no Latin name, it is closely related to hodophobia, which is the fear of travelling; people with this phobia dislike travelling on roads and aeroplanes.

We all experience the fear of driving at some point in our lives, but to how much of a degree can this happen?

For most motorists, the phobia is temporary and can be overcome fairly quickly. It can be triggered by a recent accident, or even returning from holiday and not having to drive for a period of time. Triggers can also arise by simply driving through new towns, areas or cities, or even if there is a sudden weather change such as bad snow, gale force winds etc.

Just recently, where I live in Southend-on-Sea we had a sudden snow storm. The road on a slight hill that leads up to the local leisure centre would normally take 3 minutes to drive up. It now had a stranded lorry on the inside lane with very slippery slow moving traffic trying to get past. Literally 5 or 6 drivers where panic stricken and simply abandoned their vehicles on the inside lane when actually they could have kept going with the rest of the traffic.

All motorists have different panic levels in bad weather, and these can really bring out an underlying phobia of driving. Facing difficult situations like I’ve mentioned, will depend a lot on your experience and confidence as a motorist to overcome them, but if you have a phobia, this will not be easily accomplished.

The fear of driving can mainly occur when a person has not driven for a long time. With plenty of driving, confidence will build up again, and the phobia can be overcome in no time at all. However, some people have a fear of driving on a daily basis, and will always struggle to defeat this phobia.

If you have a fear of driving, you will probably need to make sure you fully plan the route in advance. For some drivers the fear is so bad it can be debilitating, and so avoid driving altogether.

What can the fear of driving encompass?

This type of phobia can encompass all, or some of these traits.

Staying away from certain locations
Keeping away from roundabouts
Avoidance of turning left or right
Worried about opening the driver's door
Avoiding areas where there are too many cars
Shunning pedestrians

The list can be endless.

Dealing with the fear of driving

It is agreed that many motorists believe they are on their own with this phobia, but actually they are not. This fear is bigger than firstly believed, although no statistics have ever been fully recorded, drivers do live with this phobia quietly.

You could read the following recommended books on ‘How to Overcome the Fear of Driving’ and ‘The Road to Driving Confidence’ by Joanne Mallon.

Sometimes the causes of the phobia are unexplained, but if you can pin-point it that would help. Having a passenger with you is always very supportive, and avoiding as many distractions as possible, including keeping the music low is a good start. Alternatively, take a driver refreshers course that specializes in the fear of driving.

Do you know anyone who has had this phobia? Or, experienced this phobia yourself and overcome it? Please publish your comments below today.