We all have fears and phobias. Common phobias include heights, drowning, spiders and just about anything you can imagine. While it is human nature to fear something, some phobias are more debilitating than others.
A fear of snakes for example, is not that big of a deal for someone who lives in the city. How often will you encounter a slithering snake in the streets?
There are some fears however, that can really keep you from functioning normally. A fear of driving can be really debilitating for a city dweller. Everyone who lives in the city is expected to be able to drive.
We rely on a car to get to work, to buy groceries and to pick up the kids from school. How are we supposed to accomplish these tasks when we panic the minute we get behind the wheel?
How to Manage a Driving Phobia
There are some tips that you can follow to make driving a little less nerve-racking. Visualization is a powerful tool that may help. Just find a place to sit or lay down. When you feel relaxed, picture yourself commuting on the road.
It is a good idea to rehearse in your mind before each road trip you need to make. A short visualization while relaxed will help soothe your nerves when getting ready for the real thing.
Another good idea is to have a relative or friend accompany you. This should be someone you can trust and could confide in. This should be a person that will encourage you every step of the way.
Do not select someone who will yell or berate you if you make a wrong move. Bringing along a trusted passenger will make the process easier until you are ready to get behind the wheel on your own.
Taking it One Step at a Time
Like any other phobia, you’re not going to overcome your fear by avoiding it. You need to confront it on a gradual basis. Take one step at a time and only move on when you are ready.
The following steps outline a routine for you to follow. If you do have some level of comfort when driving, then you could skip the first few steps.
- Begin by getting behind the wheel and starting the engine. This is all you will do for step one. Just sit in the driver’s seat with the engine running. Does the sound of the engine make you tense?
- Put the car in reverse and pull out of the driveway. Now switch to drive and move back in. That is all. You are just moving back and forth in and out of the driveway. The idea is to get comfortable with the car in motion.
- Now drive slowly around your neighborhood. Just circle around the block.
- Now drive a little farther. Try driving to a nearby store that you are familiar with.
- Try driving even farther. Commute to a location that you may not be familiar with.
- Drive on the freeway.
- Repeat the process starting back from step four. This time, go at a time when there is more traffic. Try driving on weekday mornings and afternoons when traffic is bumper to bumper.
Putting the Steps Together
It is important to follow these steps at your own pace. Do not rush it; only proceed to the next step when you are truly ready.
You may also feel free to repeat a step as often as you wish. You can modify or add additional steps as well. This may include night time driving or driving under heavy weather conditions.
A Final Thought
Remember that a phobia exists completely in the mind. Do not let a fear imprison you from living a normal life. Confronting a phobia takes tremendous courage and willpower. However, it can be done if your determination is stronger than your fear.