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  1. #1

    Advice for Panic Attacks While Driving?

    I started having anxiety while driving and it quickly snowballed into where I literally cannot drive at all. Has anyone experienced this and found anything that helps to overcome it?

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    I put in disk with Jon Kabat Zinn his relaxation or his book, His voice makes me very calm. I also like driving, moving from place to place
    I had some hard time after pack of deer was jumping and totaled my car on highway, It was miracle nothing happen to me and my partner. I was driving passing a huge truck so it was a significant speed. It took me a year to overcome the fear of driving on Highway but still there is a bit of fear , it could happen again, at least i stopped speeding like crazy
    Last edited by Dahila; 01-31-2018 at 11:00 AM.
    ''“If you cry because the sun has gone out of your life, your tears will prevent you from seeing the stars.”
    ― Rabindranath Tagore

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Agree with playing something calming. Jon Kabat Zin's voice is enough for me. : ) Despite claims that talking whilst driving is dangerous, I find talking to my wife or anyone whom may be with me help me very much. When no one is with me I will use hand free on my phone regardless of whatever survey says I am more a risk on my phone. For me I am not. If I am feeling anxious, I am more of a risk not using my hands free.

    Other methods I use to avoid the dreaded traffic anxiety is to plan ahead of time, go the long way around, go early to find a park, park further away and or in a spot that's easy to get out, ware my sunglasses, use driving glasses, sometimes a hat, use the viser to good effect. On long trips on the highway I might use some of the above with having air con but with the windows down. I try not to focus on the white lines lest I fall to sleep. Pull over. Sometimes I even pull over in town. Both to just calm down and or let some tailgater pass on by. The latter I usually just focus on doing the speed limit as I find not sitting band on the mark is what pisses a lot of people off.

    Trying to sit right on the speed limit can be draining for me. Sometimes I find driving a little quicker makes me feel more comfortable as I don't give tailgaters the chance to trigger my angst. I must say that I am only talking a few kms over here and again regardless of trolls and or speed police, that fact is I either do that or become more of a risk via a road rage incident. I'm not stupid about this latter method like some obnoxious P Plater - fact is I can't really afford that fines speeding brings. I only do it for short periods of time and pick appropriate places and times I feel it is sage to do without really breaking the margin where in most cases I would escape being fined.

    I hate driving point blank! It drains me very quickly and brings out the worst in people all round. Not everyone ... but imo it does most. If I could afford it I would rather catch taxis and when I am desperate I would even think about catching a train or bus although that would present new challengers no doubt well worth overcoming. (We don't have train where I live though but used to catch them mostly when homeless living in the cities)

    Another good thing that can help is making sure your car is road worthy ... might sound irrelevant but for me it's not. I like having a smooth quiet ride so I can employ safely some of the above methods plus also not cop more fines. When I see police on the road I just ignore them pretending they are just other road users out to do their shopping. I should probably adopt that tactic with others all round.

    I will also flip my rear view mirror so I don't eye ball those behind me or they me. Flipping my rear view mirror still allows me to see the vehicles behind but only more so a fainter silhouette. It takes practice but I can almost use mine as normal in short range mode. Side mirrors can even be a pain for me as I am ultra sensitive to such things and will on occasion see others using their side mirrors checking other road users out. I don't like to be stared at when butted up in traffic. I don't think many people do. We live in a paranoid society with many road rage incidents and copious amounts of disrespect. I think this is why most people ware sunnys in the dark ... generally I am doing well when not hiding behind sunnies and my hat.

    Put my window up when someone drive along with blaring music - especially crap I don't like. I will instinctively up my windows (if not already closed) turn a little quiet calming music on whilst flipping my rear view mirror down and get ready to make moves in order to distance myself. Basically depending on the scenario I will adopt many of my avoidance/calming techniques all at one ... most like arrive at my destination early with a good spot to get away when need be.

    Finally counter to upping my speed when safe to do so I practice sitting bang on the speed limit so it becomes second nature to me ... as well as like making it a game like a simulation on a PC. I find this works good for me. I get where I want to go with relatively ease ... as I am focused on the road, lights, signs and other things as opposed to the demeanor of other folks. Only other things Is I like to drive slow when I can ... but sadly that only pisses everyone off. Unlike others I don't do it to piss others off, I just like to drive slow and enjoy the scenery. Fact is I rarely drive like that because I know it's a ploy often used to trigger others which often ends badly.

    That's pretty much my story. Hope you found something useful in that.

    My mother, sister, one of my sons, plus one of my daughters do not drive. Many people just don't get that driving is a major trigger and there are actually many people for good reason find it that they can not drive. Society is so fickle with this fact that such an expectation required my youngest daughter to get a letter from a psychologist to give reason why she could not (re family law case/child visitation) That requirement from the Law of the land gives reason to why people suffer as they do.

    There's nothing wrong with you if you don't drive (I think your smarter than those of us that do) ... driving drives people crazy. It's such a stupid and toxic way to get around ... especially given our current technology. Transport could be so much safer and way way cheaper. Once again ... it's all about the $$$$.

    Anyways ... just my 2 cents as usual.
    Last edited by Ponder; 01-31-2018 at 02:28 PM.

  4. #4
    Thank you both! That is a lot of great advice!! I really appreciate it.

  5. #5
    How to Control Panic Attacks While Driving
    Driving panic attacks are obviously very difficult to live with. You drive everywhere, and if you're also dealing with severe panic attacks, then you're going to be extremely scared while on the road.The key to preventing these car attacks is to learn to prevent all panic attacks. It's hard to cure panic attacks in only one location since panic attacks can occur anywhere, and any time you have a panic attack you put yourself at risk for associating the attack with the location and having these attacks more often. You can try the following:
    Driving With Distractions
    Give yourself something to listen to so that you can get out of your own head. Music can help, but it may be better to listen to something like talk radio or podcasts in order to give yourself something to think about. That will make it harder to focus on the attack and how you feel.
    Driving Anyway
    Depending on how severe your attacks are, you may want to try driving anyway. Those that get very dizzy during their panic attacks may find driving to be too difficult. But those that can still drive should strongly consider facing their fear and driving anyway. The more you fear driving with panic attacks and the more you avoid driving because of them, the more likely you'll get a panic attack in the future when you do hit the road.
    Drive Safely
    All stress is bad stress when you suffer from panic attacks, so make sure you're not contributing to anything that will cause you anxiety. Drive the speed limit, take very few risks, keep a GPS in the car so that you're not worried about getting lost, and don't try to swerve around traffic. All of those behaviors increase stress, and stress increases panic attack risk.
    Breathe Controlled
    While driving, the tendency to breathe too quickly increases. When you feel like you're having a panic attack, don't try to take in as much air as possible. Instead, try to fight the urge and simply slow down your breathing so that each breath takes as long as 15 seconds or more. You should breathe in for 5 seconds, hold for 2 or 3, and breathe out for 7. This will prevent hyperventilation and improve carbon dioxide levels in the blood stream.
    Practice Driving for Extended Periods of Time
    Finally, while it may not be pleasant, sometimes the cure for driving panic attacks is to drive for so long that you find driving boring. You may get a panic attack while driving, but if you keep driving, you'll find that you start to worry about it less. See if you can drive in some area near your home, going no more than 20 or 30 miles per hour, and drive until you're so bored of driving that it becomes relaxing. Normally, the constant starting and stopping of driving reinforces your fear and allows you to run away from your anxiety before you feel calmer. This acts as a solution.None of these are going to act as some type of rapid anxiety cure, nor are they going to provide you with a way to preventing all of your anxiety and all of your panic attacks. But they may reduce either the frequency or severity of your anxiety attacks while driving, so that hopefully you'll find it easier to be on the road.Ultimately, the cure is going to be learning how to control the attacks themselves. Only then will you give yourself the best opportunity to prevent any and all panic attacks while in the car.



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