How to Get Over the Fear of Driving After an Accident
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Driving after an accident can be overwhelming. Here are our tips for getting back behind the wheel!
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you know just how shaky you can feel behind the wheel as a result. While this fear is perfectly understandable, it can get in the way of your independence and day-to-day life.
This article is aimed at helping accident victims rebuild confidence, overcome their driving anxiety, and reclaim a sense of control. Read on to learn actionable tips.
Need Help After an Accident? Check These:
- What To Do After A Motorcycle Accident
- The Role of Witnesses in Car Accident Cases
- What Is Considered a Low-Speed Accident?
Recognize the Signs
The first step toward overcoming a fear is to understand it. The trauma from the accident, worry over losing control, and fear of it happening again can all be the sources of your anxiety. It can cause stress levels to increase and prevent you from engaging in activities that were once routine.
Here are common physical signs of driving anxiety:
- A sudden, intense feeling of fear
- Nausea or stomach discomfort
- Shortness of breath
Common cognitive symptoms include:
- Imagining the worst-case scenario
- Difficulty concentrating or focusing
- Racing thoughts
Fortunately, there are strategies you can employ to minimize these symptoms and get you back to feeling safe on the road.
How Can You Treat Driving Anxiety?
There are multiple approaches to conquering driving anxiety. Some of the most common include exposure therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and practicing mindfulness techniques.
Exposure therapy focuses on placing individuals in anxiety-provoking situations to gradually make them feel comfortable during the triggering event. One way you can use exposure therapy is to take short drives in a familiar environment, such as your neighborhood or old school.
You can slowly increase the length of your drives, eventually going to the place you fear the most, such as driving on the highway.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy addresses your thought patterns, getting to the root cause of the issue. Working with a licensed professional helps you identify unhelpful thoughts, and retrain your brain to respond to them productively.
Mindfulness is the practice of being in the moment. Certain techniques can help bring you back to it, rather than worrying about the future, or focusing on a traumatic event from the past. Techniques such as deep breathing and grounding can help you reach a state of peace and neutrality. You can read more about mindfulness techniques here.
More on Being a Safe Driver Here:
- Safe Driving Tips for Truck Drivers: Helpful Safety Tips
- How To Stay Safe During a Roadside Breakdown
Strategies for Those with a Fear of Driving
Outside of therapy and mindfulness, sometimes, you have to tackle anxiety as it comes up by leaning on the resources available to you. Call a trusted friend to let them know your concerns. Often, sharing how you’re feeling lets it have less control over you.
Another method is stating positive affirmations. These can help you rebuild confidence until you start to believe the words you’re saying. Examples of these can be found here. You can also listen to music known to give you a calming effect.
Ultimately, these strategies will depend on the individual, so take some time to identify what works for you. A therapist can work with you to help you identify these activities if you are unsure yourself.
Other Methods of Transportation
In addition, you can opt for alternate transportation if it feels overwhelming and unsafe to drive. Remember to be compassionate with yourself. It often takes some time to bounce back and return to a state of normality after an accident.
Driving After an Accident Can Be Done!
A fear of driving is natural after a traumatic event, especially if you suffered injuries in a car accident. Luckily, there are trained professionals and resources you can use that can get you back on the road driving like before.