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Travel Phobia and Fear Of Driving

By Steve Hill

Travel phobia is a particular form of anxiety that may occur after a person has been involved in some kind of accident, maybe a road or rail crash. They may have escaped physically unscathed from the incident, however they might well have perceived it as a potential threat to their well being, physical health or indeed life.

Anyone suffering from travel phobia is likely to avoid travelling as much as is possible. If forced to travel by car, they are likely to prefer to be in control of the car, rather than be a passenger. During the journey they will be perpetually alert, scanning the road for potential accident causing situations. By the time they arrive at their destination, they are often irritable, tense and exhausted. This only serves to reinforce the phobic response.

Some individuals will refuse to even travel by car, bus or rail despite the drastic upheaval this will cause in their day-to-day lives. This avoidance is one of the reasons phobias are maintained as the sufferer is not exposed to the situations they fear and therefore cannot come to terms with their phobia.

Fear of driving or Hodophobia can be triggered by a variety of different factors and can manifest itself as anything from mild nervousness to an incapacitating full-blown panic attack. These responses are learned behaviours and they are all highly treatable.

Some people are simply terrified of even being in a car, whether driving themselves or being driven by others. Perhaps they once had a panic or anxiety attack while driving and suffer under the perpetual fear that it will happen again. On the other hand, they may fear that other drivers are going to lose control.

Many drivers feel comfortable driving on familiar roads, close to where they live for example, but grow scared that they might lose control in unfamiliar territory. Others may be happy to drive on ordinary roads but have a fear of driving on motorways or dual carriageways.

There are also those who are afraid of getting caught in heavy traffic, or driving at night or in difficult weather (sleet, snow or fog) or of driving down narrow lanes.

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