People develop a sudden fear of driving sometimes. And they can’t figure out why. What happened to bring it on? Did anything happen? Where did this sudden fear come from?
The fear is often about something driving-related that’s very specific. Like suddenly being afraid to turn left. Or go around curves where part of the road is hidden. One poor woman told me she became frightened of stopping on hills.
She lives in San Francisco. That place is nothing but hills.
A sudden fear of driving can seemingly come out of nowhere. I say seemingly, because these fears almost always have a cause.
But how do you figure out the cause?
Why a Sudden Fear of Driving Can Come Out of Nowhere
The World Health Organization has called stress the “health epidemic of the 21st century.” Most of us live with such high levels of what I call “background stress,” we’re unaware of all the little stressors that pile up over time. Built up stress can come out in strange ways and manifest as a sudden fear of driving. Here’s a few easy relaxation techniques for anxiety and stress.
Certain physical health problems can cause anxiety. Heart disease, diabetes, and IBS can all trigger anxiety attacks. Make sure your anxiety isn’t a symptom of something deeper. Get checked out by a doctor.
Every human being experiences traumatic events at some point. Most move past the emotions associated with those events. However, some develop post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
PTSD causes people to respond as if their past trauma is actually happening. It can be triggered by anything that reminds them of the past traumatic incident. For example, PTSD is a major factor in anxiety after a car accident.
A person’s tendency towards developing an anxiety disorder may be partly inherited from their parents. Some studies indicate that 30% of anxiety disorders are genetically linked.
Fear of having a panic attack
Many driving anxiety sufferers have panic disorder, resulting in panic attacks. Almost anything can trigger a panic attack. And the more panic attacks you have, the more likely you are to have a panic attack. Ironically, the fear of having a panic attack while driving becomes the very thing that triggers a sudden fear of driving.
Generalized anxiety disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterized by consistent, nagging worry and anxiety about events and activities. I have it. It played a big role in my own fear of driving. And it’s exhausting.
A sudden fear of driving can’t be conclusively linked to any one cause. But it’s a good bet that one or more of the above factors are involved.