How to Conquer Your Fear of Driving After An Accident

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How to Conquer Your Fear of Driving After An Accident

How to Conquer Your Fear of Driving

Every car accident has the potential to be traumatizing. You may find it hard to get back behind the wheel after your crash. Some people may even find themselves paralyzed by fear without ever having gotten into an auto accident at all. This fear is known as vehophobia. Vehophobia can seriously deter you from living your life. In this blog post, we will give a brief overview of how to cope with your fear of driving.

What Is Vehophobia?

Many people have phobias of something or another. Mayo Clinic defines phobias as an  “overwhelming and unreasonable fear of objects or situations […] that provoke anxiety and How to Conquer Your Fear of Drivingavoidance.” Phobias are more than just normal anxiety. They are chronic conditions that can provoke intense physical and psychological reactions. They may even affect your ability to function normally at work, school, or other social settings.

Vehophobia (from Latin veho, “drive”) refers to the fear of driving. Anyone can experience vehophobia, even if they have never been involved in an auto accident before. Everyone experiences phobias differently, and the same is true for vehophobia. Some people may only have debilitating fears regarding certain aspects of driving, such as driving on the freeway. Other people may not be able to ride as a passenger in a car without enduring panic attacks.

Causes of Vehophobia

As we have previously established, vehophobia can affect anyone. In most cases, however, vehophobia develops after being involved in a car crash. It often develops in conjunction with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is so common that one study found that 25 to 33 percent of people experience PTSD at least 30 days following a car accident. The numbers are especially staggering when considering that the U.S. sees an average of about 6 million auto accidents per year.

Still, you may develop vehophobia without having ever been involved in a collision. Perhaps you witnessed a catastrophic accident or have other negative memories associated with driving or riding around in cars. In any case, there are many treatment options available that may help.

Symptoms of Vehophobia

It may be cliche, but it is true: Knowledge really is power. Understanding the symptoms of vehophobia can help you better understand how to manage it. The most common symptoms are very similar to clinical anxiety. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Always finding excuses not to drive
  • Chest pain
  • Excessive fear of losing control or getting into an accident
  • Increased heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Panic attacks while driving
  • Shallow breathing
  • Sweating
  • Tense muscles
  • Trembling

If you find yourself suffering from any of the above, you may be suffering from a fit of vehophobia. Fortunately, there are many treatment options available.

Treating Vehophobia

Vehophobia can seriously impede your day-to-day life. It can be exhausting to do everything in your power to avoid driving. Those living in an area without adequate public transportation may find this particularly difficult (and expensive). But there is no need to give up hope. Many possible treatment options may help you overcome your vehophobia. Some of the most popular include:

  • Defensive driving courses. Often, the fear of driving stems from the fear of losing control. You may not feel comfortable with your driving skills, or you may be afraid of how you will react to any obstacles on the road. Defensive driving courses can help ease those anxieties by equipping you with the skills to raise conscientiousness and avoid accidents before they have the chance to occur. A boost in confidence can do wonders for easing your anxiety.
  • Hypnotherapy. In a hypnotherapy session, you undergo hypnosis to divulge into the thoughts and feelings you associate with your driving-related traumas. Hypnosis may lower your inhibitions enough for you to confront your fear of driving head-on. You may find yourself more willing than you would in your normal waking state.
  • Medication. Nowadays, there are many drugs on the market that pinpoint intense, chronic anxiety. However, the potential for addiction makes it more effective as a short-term treatment. For most people, psychiatry is most beneficial when combined with regular therapy sessions.
  • Support groups. You may feel as though you are the only one who feels this way. Isolation can exacerbate your vehophobia, establishing a self-perpetuating cycle. But you are not alone. There are many support groups out there for those dealing with anxiety and phobias. If you cannot find one near you, then you may even be able to find one online. Speaking about your shared experiences with your peers may feel like lifting a weight off your shoulders.
  •  Therapy. In most cases, the primary method of addressing vehophobia, PTSD, or other anxiety-related disorders is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). When working with a CBT therapist, you aim to alter your thought patterns and behaviors away from the defense mechanisms brought on by your trauma. You may also find it helpful to undergo some form of exposure therapy, which helps you overcome your anxiety by confronting it directly at the source.

No matter which treatment option you choose, be patient with yourself. Recovery does not happen overnight. It happens little by little. It is normal to experience some setbacks along the way. A little hard work, dedication, and the help of a trusted professional can help you overcome your vehophobia.

Seeking Legal Help

Are you experiencing vehophobia as a result of an accident someone else caused? Hiring an auto accident attorney may help expedite your recovery. Taking care of a car accident claim can be overwhelming, especially if you are recovering from injuries, property damage, and emotional distress. In times like these, you need someone you can trust in your corner. Fortunately, we at Injury Victim Law may be able to help. Though we are a Colorado-based firm, our team of experts and investigators is ready and available to assist personal injury victims all across the country. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with one of our trusted nationwide auto accident attorneys. We believe you should never have to pay for somebody else’s mistakes. Let us fight for you and get you the compensation—and peace of mind—you deserve.

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