Should I overcome my fear of driving?

Fear of driving a car (amaxaphobia)

What is the fear of driving a car?

According to ADAC estimates, the fear of driving, also known as driving anxiety or amaxaphobia, affects one million people in Germany. The number of unreported cases is probably even higher, especially if you include lighter forms of driving fear. Women are said to be six times more likely to be affected than men. Driving a car is indispensable for most people nowadays. The fear of driving a car is particularly widespread among novice drivers if they do not continue practicing immediately after passing their driving test. Sometimes fear of driving arises as a result of a bad experience, such as after an accident. Fearful thoughts about driving can also contribute to the development of fear.

How is the fear of driving expressed?

The fear relates to a situation that is assessed as dangerous - such as driving on the motorway, driving in city traffic or driving in the dark. Symptoms of anxiety include sweating, tremors, nausea, and a dry mouth. The constant muscle tension is noticeable in fear of driving. The physical symptoms are accompanied by thoughts of disasters, accidents and injuries. The fear often occurs before driving in the form of what is known as the fear of anticipation or "fear of fear".

Initial attempts to face the situation can increase from nervousness to severe physical symptoms of anxiety and panic attack. While the fear of specific traffic situations sometimes remains, it can also generalize to all driving situations - this can lead to a driving phobia and driving a car is completely stopped.

How can I overcome the fear of driving?

Above all, it is important to break through the avoidance behavior. Additional driving lessons can help to achieve greater safety. The decisive factor in the type of intervention is the intensity of the fear experienced. Slight nervousness can be overcome through thinking aloud, targeted muscle relaxation and, ultimately, through driving experience. However, if you are very anxious or even have panic attacks, it is advisable to seek psychological help.

What does a treatment for Phobius look like?

Phobius specializes, among other things, in the treatment of fear of driving. By providing information on the psychological and physical processes as well as using innovative techniques, we ensure that you can go through your everyday life again without fear. Parts of our treatment make use of the tried and tested technique of confronting the fear-inducing stimulus - with the help of a virtual world. The big advantage: You are one hundred percent on safe ground and in good hands with our psychologists, who will guide you step by step out of the circling thoughts and fears.

During the course of treatment, you will learn what exactly fear is, how it arises and why it has become a constant companion. You will also learn effective strategies of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that will soon make your fear a thing of the past. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a therapy that is especially suitable for anxiety and requires your active cooperation. It is most effective when it is tailored to your individual fear of driving and when you practice the methods you have learned on a regular basis. These include physical calming techniques, mental strategies, and behavioral exercises, and will help you successfully counter your fear of driving.

1st unitGetting to know each other, exploration
2-4 unit Building knowledge, learning techniques to cope with fear, trying out strategies
5-9 unit(Virtual) exposure
10. UnityFinal meeting and success planning for the future
A fear of driving does not go away on its own - on the contrary, it can get worse over time and lead to a variety of secondary diseases. Nevertheless, most of those affected cannot be treated, although this could be successfully done within a few sessions.