Photo from a dashcam

Driving anxiety all of a sudden can be frustrating.

How come you’ve been driving for years with no problems and now suddenly you’ve developed a fear of driving?

You haven’t just developed it, the feeling has been trapped inside you for a long time. Let me explain how this happens and your problem will start to make sense.

Why do I suddenly have driving anxiety?

Because you have linked a feeling from your past to driving.

This can happen because you saw or heard something when driving that reminded you of an event from the past. The thoughts and feelings from that time fire up and you experience them as you’re driving which then links them to driving.

This is why it makes no sense and feels strange; the driving anxiety you’re experiencing has nothing to do with driving. It just activates when you drive.

An example from clients I’ve worked with is that they see a couple arguing in a car one day. That brings up old emotions from their childhood of their parents arguing in a car and they start reliving those old feelings of panic and fear right now.

This is why I say your driving anxiety hasn’t suddenly started. You’ve actually had the feeling trapped inside for years.

How can an old memory cause sudden driving anxiety?

Your mind has no concept of time so it can’t tell the difference between past, present and future.

The panic you feel when driving could be because you dropped an ice cream in the playground as a child and your mind is replaying that feeling now. Yes, you panic when you drive because you dropped an ice cream 30 years ago and are now reliving that emotion!

It isn’t quite that simple and there is more to it but that’s basically what’s happening.

The thing that makes the old memory play is called a trigger. The memory is called an anchor.

A great example of triggers and anchors is music. Think of a song that takes you back in time whenever you hear it. Maybe to a wedding, a night out where something happened or a time in your childhood.

There are other reasons driving anxiety starts such as an accumulation of stress throughout your life. If you watch my YouTube videos and read other pages on this site, you’ll see more about the various causes of anxiety.

A big thing to remember however is that you only ever have to find the cause subconsciously. This is not about sitting there listing all the things that have happened in your life! Many of my clients get the result they want without ever even knowing what the cause was. You’ll only know if your subconscious chooses to share it with your conscious.

What could the memory be?

It could be anything.

Examples from the hundreds of clients I have worked with include:

  • Being locked in a cupboard
  • Teachers shouting at them
  • Losing a toy
  • Being dared to go on a rollercoaster

The memory itself can seem really daft but that’s because of one thing you must understand:

Driving anxiety has nothing to do with driving!

Your driving anxiety is just a symptom of another problem, it’s not the real problem itself.

This is why the memory that comes up will have nothing to do with driving. It isn’t usually about car crashes or an incident when driving. It can be sometimes but even then there will be much more to it than that and just stopping at the memory of the crash won’t solve anything.

People waste years having driving lessons for anxiety or going through ineffective therapies like CBT for driving anxiety. They don’t work because they focus directly on fixing the driving anxiety itself or they just teach you how to cope with it instead of getting rid of it.

I spent over 20 years as a driving instructor and became frustrated at not being able to crack driving anxiety. No matter what I did in the car, it just wouldn’t go or kept coming back.

That’s why I spent 3 years training and working as a therapist. I now understand what driving anxiety really is and use a mix of hypnosis, NLP, counselling, psychotherapy and many other things to get rid of it.

Let’s look at how you really do overcome driving anxiety that came on all of a sudden.

How to get rid of sudden driving anxiety

To overcome a fear of driving you have to find this misplaced memory.

Your mind will do the rest by realising the emotion from that event does not link to driving and then the problem will just stop.

I work online with people all over the world to help them overcome their sudden driving anxiety and although I make it sound simple, there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes.

There’s very often more than one event and there is a bit more to do than just finding it.

Everyone wants a quick-fix solution these days but Yoube hypnosis videos and exposure therapy for driving anxiety won’t work.

The easiest way to truly rid yourself of driving anxiety is to take professional therapy with a driving anxiety specialist.

Contact me for help

Contact me now for help overcoming your fear of driving.

Watch my YouTube videos to learn more or check out many of my other pages about different types of driving anxiety such as the fear of traffic lights and the fear of highways.