A panic attack on a motorway can be a scary experience.
Many people are baffled as to why they suddenly got this fear. They’ve never had any kind of driving anxiety or fear of driving before so why now?
I’m a driving anxiety expert who works online with people all over the world so let me explain why you have this problem and how to get over it.
Common symptoms of a panic attack on the motorway
Many people say they experience symptoms such as:
- Sweaty palms
- Feeling dizzy
- Eyesight going blurry or fuzzy
- The need to urgently pull over
- Feeling worse when there is nowhere to stop
- A sudden urge to exit the motorway at any cost
- Feelings of dread, doom or disaster
- Horrible thoughts of death ran through their mind
These can feel very unpleasant but there is rarely anything actually wrong with you physically.
Seeing a doctor or optician is important to rule out anything that could be wrong but the vast majority of people I work with however found that going down that route only led to doctors, psychologists, opticians and many other experts being baffled about what is causing it.
To be clear, it is vital that you rule out physical and medical causes first. I’m not a doctor, I’m just saying don’t be surprised if they can’t find anything and tell you it’s all in your head!
Watch the videos below which explain more about common symptoms you may have experienced.
These videos look at common symptoms of driving anxiety. Use the menu at the top right of the screen to select a video or press play to watch them all.
Are you scared of the panic attack happening again?
Most people say that they aren’t scared of driving at all.
What really scares them is the thought of having another panic attack while they are driving because they might lose control.
This is understandable and what I’m talking about on this page. You can refer to it as a panic attack, driving anxiety, vehophobia or many other things.
Whatever you call it, this problem can have a devastating impact on your life.
The impact it can have on your life
Some people think driving anxiety is funny. They laugh at people who say they’ve got it and tell them to man up, grow a pair and get on with it.
That useless advice only shows that they have no idea what they’re talking about.
Many people I work with report it affecting their life in ways such as:
- Feeling embarrassed and humiliated
- Hiding the problem by making up stories about why they can’t drive
- Having to call someone to come and drive them home
- Losing their job or being unable to get a promotion
- Not wanting to pass it on to their children
Don’t worry though because you can get over this!
What won’t fix a panic attack on a motorway
There are all kinds of “experts” online who think they can fix driving anxiety.
Many of them have no qualifications at all, no experience in teaching people to drive and no idea what they’re talking about.
Everyone is different and everyone has a different cause for their problem. These things may work for some people some of the time but rarely will they do anything for most people.
Exposure therapy is when you go out driving and force yourself to battle through the situation that scares you.
Putting yourself on the road and forcing yourself into danger is a stupid thing to do yet it’s something I hear recommended all the time.
I mean come on, does it even sound like a good idea?!?
Unlike most therapists, I have actually been in a car with hundreds of anxious drivers and I’ve seen the damage exposure therapy can cause – quite literal damage!
Even when people claim a result from using exposure therapy, all they have done is pushed the problem elsewhere. If your mind is making you feel bad when you drive then it’s no good just fighting it head-on.
You need to find out what it’s saying to you otherwise it’ll just think “Oh well if you’re not going to listen to me when I give you this driving anxiety I’ll just start you smoking instead.”
I have worked with many people whose jaws hit the floor when they go back and trace the way they started having other problems when they attempted to push through with exposure therapy. They never before made the link between exposure therapy and other problems starting.
Learn more about this on my page about exposure therapy for driving which has videos explaining it in more detail.
Eating, blood sugar levels and caffeine
I have to laugh when I hear “experts” talking about how eating bananas stops driving anxiety.
You’ve probably also read about how blood sugar levels can cause anxiety. Or maybe you’ve heard the one about how caffeine causes it.
All of those things are nonsense.
Caffeine can actually help to bring on an initial attack but that wasn’t the cause of it. What happens there is that the caffeine put you into a heightened state of alert which then triggered repressed problems in your life to bubble up to the surface.
Not drinking as much caffeine can help reduce stress levels in general but it’s highly unlikely to stop your driving anxiety. There’s an easy way for you to test the caffeine theory for yourself…
Getting a good night’s sleep
Yes, that’s all you need to do. Just have a good sleep the night before and you’ll feel fine, right?
Wrong because it doesn’t work!
This is a pathetic solution for people that are just guessing at what the problem is because they don’t know.
So what does work then?
In order to understand what works and how to truly overcome driving anxiety, you first must understand what the problem really is.
Let’s compare a few theories mentioned on this page to what really works.
You overcome panic attacks when driving by:
- Eating bananas.
- Forcing yourself to drive no matter how dangerous it is.
- Having a good sleep.
- Finding the cause of it and working on that.
Notice how point four sounds very different to the others!
Let’s leave behind what doesn’t work and move on with what does.
It’s nothing to do with driving
The first thing to understand is that your panic attack has nothing to do with driving.
Driving is only what triggers these feelings. What you’re experiencing is actually a problem from many years ago, usually something from your childhood.
I know this can sound strange if you are just starting to look into this so let me explain.
I have been one of the UK’s top driving instructors for over 20 years. I’m a down-to-earth person who doesn’t believe in magic and people who claim to have healing powers etc.
Lots of people came to me with driving anxiety and I was frustrated that after many failed attempts with exposure therapy for driving anxiety, I couldn’t help people.
This led me to go and spend several years studying hypnosis, hypnotherapy and how the mind works. When I was first told that driving problems went back to childhood events I scoffed!
“How can a problem from someone’s childhood cause them a problem driving?” I thought. Over the next few years I learnt exactly how it works so let me share that knowledge with you now.
What a panic attack on a motorway really is
You may be wondering why a problem like this has suddenly come on. The answer is that it hasn’t!
The panic you feel now when you driving on a motorway is an old problem from years ago that is stuck. Your mind has no concept of time so it doesn’t understand that today isn’t 30 years ago.
It’s like how when you listen to an old song and it takes you back to a younger age. You start to smile and say “I remember when this song came out!”
There you go: your mind thinks it’s still that time and that’s why you’re smiling and reliving those old emotions and feelings in the present.
Your panic attack on a motorway is an old emotion that once served a purpose. The problem is that you have no need for this today yet it’s still faithfully doing its job all these years later, thinking that it’s helping you. Watch the video at the top of this page to learn more about this.
How to overcome a panic attack on the motorway
The way you overcome panic attacks on a motorway is to find what the problem really is.
Once you find this memory or event from years ago and work through it, your problem will be gone and you’ll be free to drive on motorways again!
I recommend you do this with a professional therapist such as myself who specialises in this exact problem. Some therapists have a huge menu of things they do from a fear of spiders to public speaking. They are what we call generalists and just have a go at fixing anything.
Driving anxiety is all I work with all of the time. I can often get to the root cause of the problem faster than someone that doesn’t have my years of experience. In some cases, I have helped people overcome this issue in as little as 20 minutes!
How do I find out what the problem really is?
There are many ways you can do it and most use hypnosis.
Before you think of stage hypnosis where people forget their names and are made to bark like dogs, this isn’t like that. I’m talking about hypnosis used in a therapeutic way which is called hypnotherapy.
It isn’t like people think. You don’t have to lie down, close your eyes and listen to soft music. That is nonsense from amateurs who don’t understand what they’re doing.
The way I mainly do it is in conversation and it’s known as conversational hypnosis. It’s far more natural and allows you to easily come up with relevant thoughts and memories without having to do anything mystical or magical.
Hypnotherapy is not about mind control and nobody can make you do anything. In fact, you have all of the power and control and you do all of the work! My job is to guide you and help you find what matters.
If you want to know more then read my pages on how hypnosis works and why can’t I be hypnotised?
The videos below explain more about finding the root cause of your panic attacks on motorways.
Can’t I just do it myself?
Although it’s possible to overcome the problem on your own, it’s very unlikely.
This is because you’re too trapped in the problem and can’t see the wood for the trees. You also probably aren’t a trained hypnotherapist and don’t know how the mind works.
Even if you are (like me) then it’s still virtually impossible to solve your own issues. That’s because you have to act as both the therapist and client at the same time which is not easy!
We live in an age where lots of people think they can just jump online and find the answer to anything.
Need some open-heart surgery? Why pay for the operation or wait months when you can just learn how to do it yourself online?
If you’re serious about overcoming panic attacks on the motorway then you need to work with an expert to give yourself the best chance of success.
Contact me for help
Contact me now for help overcoming your fear.
I work online so it doesn’t matter where you are in the world. All you need is a phone or computer so we can have a video call and I will help you through the problem.
If you’re not ready just yet and want to learn more then Visit my YouTube channel to see more videos on driving anxiety or visit my page on the fear of driving on motorways for more help.
Take a look at some of my driving anxiety success stories for testimonials from past clients.