Fear of driving takes many different forms, but one of the most common problems of anxious drivers is fear of driving on motorways. These big roads filled with high-speed traffic are called freeways in the United States, but I think the British term “motorway” is much more apt.
I don’t associate snarled, bumper-to-bumper traffic and high levels of stress with having much to do with freedom, so referring to that environment as a “freeway” seems kind of inappropriate. But, the fear of motorway driving is pretty much the same as having anxiety driving on highways.
Why So Many British Drivers Suffer From Fear of Motorway Driving
The British driving school and insurance company AA estimates one in seven drivers in the UK feel lacking in critical motorway driving skills, and thus fear going on “M-roads,” which they avoid at all costs. This even includes some professional motorists like taxi drivers.
Motorway driving is not part of standard driver education in Britain. Student drivers aren’t allowed to drive on them, even though motorways are, at least statistically, the safest roads in England. Is that because so many people fear motorways too much to use them?
A Two Part Solution for Fear of Motorway Driving
People are usually scared of motorways for a couple of reasons: they suffer from driving anxiety and/or they don’t feel confident in their skill level behind the wheel.
- Increase your driving skill level — If you have fear of driving on motorways but are pretty much okay in other situations, brushing up your driving skills may be all you need to do. Check out this list of British driver education books. Note: Driving Peace is not a driver’s ed program. Andrew and I don’t train you how to be a better driver, we train you how to overcome the painful feelings of anxiety that make driving so unpleasant for some people.
- Effectively treat your driving anxiety — If, on the other hand, you often feel panicked, trapped, or uncomfortable about driving in general, there’s a good chance you have driving anxiety and need specialized treatment for your condition. Treating driving anxiety is the focus of the Driving Peace program — something it does very, very well. Driving Peace is so effective because it reprograms neural pathways in the brain that irrationally associate driving with feelings of panic, fear of dying, fear of losing control, going crazy, etc. One of the first things the Driving Peace interview touches on are the most common forms of driving fear. It’s no surprise that fear of driving on large roads like motorways comes up almost right away:
No one enjoys driving on crowded motorways. But motorway (or “freeway”) driving is simply a fact of life for most people that live in populous areas.
Fanatic avoidance of “M-roads” due to fear of motorway driving is not only hugely inconvenient, it’s also unnecessary. Anyone can learn to use motorways with a combination of effective driving anxiety treatment and a good driver education program.
You may never learn to like motorway driving, but you don’t have to be terrified of it, either.