In most cases driving phobia injury will have been caused by a car accident. Road traffic accidents are a major cause of traumatic injury and represent more than half of all cases handled by personal injury solicitors. If you have suffered from a pschiatric injury in a car accident and you want to make a compensation claim for personal injury and loss just complete the contact form, email our offices or use the solicitors helpline. Our driving phobia solicitors offer advice at no cost and without further obligation. If our driving phobia solicitors deal with your claim it will be on a no win no fee basis, compensation is paid in full and you do not have to fund or finance your compensation claim.
In some cases this injury will not have been caused by a car accident however there is a significant proportion that is a direct result of motor vehicle collisions. It can be a huge handicap for people who need to drive to get to work.
A driving phobia is a fear of driving. While fear is an important part of life, it is not a good idea to have fears of things you need to do every day in order to have a normal and happy life. Anxiety is a healthy thing to have and is useful when there is actual danger to worry about. Anxiety and fear release adrenaline in order to heighten our awareness and keep us from being complacent about regular fearful things. Driving is generally not one of them.
A phobia is a mental disorder in which the body has fear and anxiety to a specific thing, such as driving. Driving is a situation in which you need to be mentally alert but do not need to be afraid of on a daily basis. The fear is out of proportion to the thing you are doing and no matter how much you mentally know the thing is not to be feared, you are fearful of it anyway and it is not something you can be talked out of. People with driving phobia know their fear is irrational but it makes no difference and they still cannot drive without a great deal of fear.
The anxiety in driving phobia can be very mild or can cause very severe panic or terror from the experience. Panic attacks can happen behind the wheel, which can interfere with driving and can cause accidents. The panic, however, is illogical. The anxiety turns into avoidance of the thing so that the person does not choose to drive under any circumstances.
In early driving phobia, the person continues to drive and tries to tackle the problem head on. They venture out briefly in the vehicle but retreat to home when anxiety arises. This brings on resolution of their symptoms and gradually they avoid driving altogether. The anxiety, in a sense, gets worse and worse so they cannot even get behind the wheel. The person avoids the thing they fear the most and this reinforces the fear, making it worse and making the person more dysfunctional around driving.
It is an automatic response to feel fear, especially around things like driving. Patients cannot control the fear and we lose our ability to feel inquisitive around the environment. Normally, we can train ourselves to work around threat but in phobias, we simply avoid the threat altogether.
The symptoms of drug phobia includes feeling nauseous upon driving, having heart palpitations, dizziness, chest pain, weakness in the legs, difficulty breathing, having feelings of unreality, having fuzzy hearing or vision, feeling like you want to faint, having a dry throat, feeling intense sweating and, in severe cases, people feel as though they are going to die or go insane and do something humiliating or disgusting. They need to escape the situation they are in at all costs in order to avoid these uncomfortable situations.
The symptoms are sometimes so severe that people cannot believe the situation is just anxiety - their bodily response to a stimulus like driving. Some people feel they have a serious physical or mental condition causing their symptoms and do not realize that it is only anxiety they are feeling.
The causes of driving phobia can come on gradually and be unrelated to an accident or "near miss" condition on the road. You can have a bad experience on the road, however, and this tends to exacerbate a bout of driving phobia. It might be useful to know the exact cause of the phobia but it is not necessary in order to treat the problem. Seeing a psychotherapist about driving phobia may uncover the underlying cause but it may not, which is not a problem when it comes to treating the disease.
Overcoming driving phobia is no different from getting over any phobia. Psychotherapists begin by conditioning you to do minor things like sitting behind the wheel or turning on the car. Once those things do not cause anxiety, you move on to moving the car back and forth. Finally you take a short drive and increase the driving time as the anxiety lessens. Biofeedback can be used to control the feelings of anxiety you might experience as you do stepwise increases in the behaviour associated with driving. Medications to control panic attacks have been used to control driving phobias.
If you have suffered physically, mentally or financially, you should consider making an accident compensation claim. For free telephone advice from specialist personal injury solicitors just call the helpline. Our lawyers will assess the strength of your claim and will advise you on your potential award of compensation without any further obligation.LAWYER HELPLINE: ☎ 1800 339 958
The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here