I’m continually grateful I chose to study driving anxiety. The reason is because I get to see it from so many different angles. It manifests in such a myriad of ways that it still continues to surprise me. One of those ways is anxiety driving with passengers.
Driving with passengers in the car is anxiety-provoking, even for people without driving anxiety. For example, I used to have enormous levels of anxiety when I drove my children to school. If you do suffer from driving anxiety, driving with passengers in the car may feel completely overwhelming, even terrifying.
One cause of this is hypersensitivity anxiety. Passengers can make a lot of noise, which is hugely stressful and distracting. Passengers can make it hard to concentrate. More noise and distraction makes you more anxious, and makes your driving anxiety even worse.
Another thing drivers are susceptible to from passengers is judgement. We get afraid about what passengers may say/think about us. Lots of people with driving anxiety have other anxiety disorders, including social anxiety. Our other issues with anxiety often play a role in difficulty with passengers in the car.
5 Ways to Overcome Anxiety Driving With Passengers
- Limit time with passengers – Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to avoid it. There’s no shame in keeping your time with passengers in the car short. This may not always be possible, but if you don’t like passengers, try to only have them when absolutely necessary.
- Create a calm driving environment – Make an effort to have your car be a calm, welcoming environment. This is good for calming your own anxiety. It also calms down your passengers. At the very least, your car should be clean and well-kept. Also consider playing calming music or making it smell nice inside.
- Address your issues with self-esteem – One thing anxious drivers worry about is what their passengers might say about them or their driving. Social anxiety and issues with self esteem often bother drivers who are sensitive about criticism. Anything you can do to boost your own self-esteem will make whatever your passengers may think about you matter a lot less. Hypnosis for self-esteem issues is a good way to address this problem.
- Set ground rules about passenger behavior – Remember that as the driver, you have the right to set reasonable ground rules about how your passengers conduct themselves. For example, my children were forbidden to fight with each other in the car, and no electronic devices were allowed.
- Shutdown backseat driving immediately – Speaking of ground rules, one thing I absolutely will not tolerate is backseat driving. And neither should you. It’s the most underhanded, manipulative behavior a passenger can exhibit. I shut it down immediately by stopping the car and threatening to force the backseat driver to take the wheel themselves.
Anxiety driving with passengers in the car doesn’t have to be so stressful. Use the tips above to break free of passenger anxiety.