Driving stress is the result of many factors. And everyone's experience may be different.
However, research has shown that more than 60% of drivers (PDF) get stressed when driving during peak driving hours, so it's far from a small problem.
The first step to getting ahead of your driving stress and anxiety is to be aware of why driving stresses you out and causes anxiety. Then, you can tackle the root of the problem.
The Most Common Causes of Driving Stress
Here's a list of the most common causes of driving stress. Which can you relate to?
- Inconsiderate parking
- Being forced to brake hard
- Lack of signaling
- Being abused by other drivers
- Perceived overregulation involving speed restrictions, road works, traffic signs on roads that appear largely free of traffic and open
- Drivers incorrectly setting their headlights
- Pressure to drive faster by following vehicles
- Jumping lights
- Unpredictable events
- Being caught in traffic flow
- Start-stop driving associated with congestion or being stuck in traffic
What About Driving Anxiety?
Anything that causes stress may end up causing anxiety. Since driving is clearly stressful, anxiety is a likely outcome.
Anxiety may come when you drive at high speeds and try dodging drivers who are not as talented or skilled.
Other causes may be seeing news reports of accidents or having a past frightening experience while driving.
In one study, 70% of participants showed (PDF) elevated stress levels when driving after watching a documentary on roads accidents.
We gave you a list of common causes of driving stress. But here are the two most common causes of driving anxiety:
Dangerous experiences, perceived or not, are known to cause anxiety. For instance, several near accidents or just one accident may promote the fear of driving.
Additionally, seeing an accident or hearing about accidents can also lead to that fear.
There is also the possibility of experiencing anxiety on the road that builds up over time. Small quantities of stress spread out over a period of time will create anxiety that can completely scare you away from driving.
Since driving will never cease to cause stress, it can be difficult to get back on the road after a traumatic incident. But we'll give you some tips in a bit to help make it easier, as well as our top suggestion for ending driving anxiety.
Panic Attack When Driving
One of the most common driving anxiety causes is when you have a panic attack when you are driving.
Your entire body and mind is controlled by the panic attack. This makes it hard for you to concentrate on anything else.
If you happen to be driving, you may feel like the panic attack is putting your life in danger because you feel like there is no escape. Eventually, you get afraid of getting into a car again because you fear that another panic attack will occur when you drive.
No matter what the source of your driving stress or anxiety is, you don't have just "accept" it and never drive again. There are solutions and ways to get you comfortable enough to start driving.
How to Prevent Driving Stress
We have all heard of the mantra prevention is better than cure. In a study, of 1,672 bus drivers who left their profession, 25.6% did so due to stress associated with driving.
If you suffer from driving stress, here are some proven tips and tactics to help prevent anxiety from keeping you off the road:
Make sure you set aside some extra time for your journey. Additionally, check the traffic conditions before you start driving. This way, you can arrive on time even when there are delays.
When you leave for your destination early or on time, you will not feel the pressure of time ticking by.
Turn Off Your Phone
Studies show the number of drivers using mobile phones has increased from 1% - 11% over the last 5 - 10 years.
Switch off your phone or put it into the "do not disturb" setting to avoid any distractions.
When the phone is on and it rings, there is a high possibility that you'll want to read the text or message. When it is a call, you may feel obliged to answer. Trying to reply to the messages or emails, and picking up calls when driving may cause driving stress.
Lead by Example
Reduce driving stress by setting an example. Allow traffic to merge into your lane or give way at busy junctions or when it is necessary. This habit will make you feel less stressed when you are in such situations.
Look at the Road Ahead of You
The best way to predict the reaction of drivers in front of you is by looking ahead of you.
Planning in advance will allow you to cope with the reactions of other drivers easily.
Did someone cut you off by mistake? Sometimes the things other drivers do that make you mad are not deliberate.
Give others the space you would like if you were in a similar situation. Always remember courtesy will not cost you anything. In fact, being polite can defuse a situation even when you were in the wrong.
The purpose of the horn is let people know of your existence by getting their attention. If another driver uses it as an expression of their anger or annoyance, do not join in.
Letting it pass will reduce the chances of getting driving stress and avoid unnecessary confrontations.
Steer Clear of Aggressive Drivers
Try to maintain extra distance between your car and people who drive in a threatening or aggressive manner.
Avoid reacting by swerving, braking or accelerating suddenly. Such a move will probably enrage the other driver even more and reduce your car control.
If you notice a driver who seems to be aggressive, just let them pass and keep a healthy distance from them.
The Best "Cure" for Driving Stress
Apart from the solutions mentioned above, there are programs on the market specifically for driving stress.
For example, the Driving Fear Program was been designed to help people who suffer from severe driving stress and anxiety.
- Doesn't involve using medication and drugs.
- No weird "new-age" tactics like hypnosis or wishing the fear away
- No long drawn-out therapy sessions
- Has helped thousands of people overcome driving stress and anxiety
- Includes a 100% money-back guarantee
- Uses the R.O.A.D. Technique™
A NO-NONSENSE SOLUTION TO DRIVING DRESS
Driving stress is a real problem that millions of people suffer from. You need a real solution to the problem. Not "talking it out" or just wishing the fear away. That simply doesn't work. Get started in less than five minutes and experience it for yourself.
Driving stress can usually be prevented once you know the cause. Unfortunately, there are times when you can't avoid it.
This is attributed to the fact that you may not be the cause of the stress. If stress is caused by other drivers, then you need to find a way to prevent the situation.
When driving stress isn't prevented, it leads to anxiety which may lead to other serious conditions.