Fear of driving (amaxophobia) – after an accident and on the freeway

There are a number of causes of fear of driving, including amaxophobia. But there are also many approaches to cope better with it and, in the end, perhaps even to completely overcome such a fear. If you suffer from fear of driving, it can manifest itself in many ways. The possible symptoms range from trembling hands and sweating to severe panic attacks when driving. Our fears protect us from dangerous situations, but they can also become so great that we literally feel paralyzed. In road traffic, where unconditional attention is required, dangerous situations can easily arise. If you notice yourself that you are limiting or getting in the way of your own fears or even reducing your well-being, you should try to work on them. With this article, we want to give you food for thought as to why you are afraid and show you ways that will allow you to reduce these fears. Our explanations cannot replace any medical-therapeutic advice and should therefore only be regarded as a guide.

How is it that you are afraid of driving despite having a license?

Of course we all know very well and we have also learned this socially that moving around on the road is by no means harmless. Unfortunately, there are still almost 4,000 fatal accidents in The United Kingdom every year. Therefore, caution and prudence in road traffic are of particular importance. However, if this turns into real panic when driving, this is in many cases irrational. Amaxophobia is particularly common in accident participants. In addition, it happens again and again that people haven't driven a car for a long time or, for example, have tended to avoid motorways up to now. As with real novice drivers, this lack of driving experience can also lead to anxiety. There are now special offers, especially for those returning to driving, to overcome the fear and/or insecurity when driving.

The fear of driving on the highway

This is the most common form of amaxophobia. In many cases, this has to do with a great deal of respect for the higher speeds and thus a perceived greater risk. As a rule, the autobahn is particularly threatening for people who do not or only rarely use these expressways. To ensure that this does not happen in the first place, learner drivers must also provide evidence of a certain number of driving hours on motorways in order to be admitted to the practical driving test. Nevertheless, these hours are of course not enough to drive on the freeway in a completely relaxed manner like a pro. If you do not use expressways for a long time after you have passed your driving test, you may still be afraid of driving on the freeway. This applies in a similar way if you acquire a driver's license and subsequently have little or no driving experience. Therefore, there are now even courses in the driving school against driving anxiety. Offers like this can be helpful in overcoming your fear of driving.

First tips for overcoming your fear of driving

There are different forms of amaxophobia, with which different courses of action or psychological tricks can help. For example, it is advisable to approach it slowly and use routes or times of day for practice rides where there is less traffic. This allows you to focus first on yourself, your vehicle and the route. Therefore, our first tip is: Use short, clear and little-used routes for practice rides. It only plays a subordinate role whether you have a general fear of driving or whether you are afraid of driving in big cities or on freeways. On expressways, it is advisable, especially for unsafe drivers, to strictly adhere to the right-hand drive requirement so that you do not come into contact with unrelenting pushers. You can also take advantage of the fact that you can stop at motorway service stations and parking lots. In this way, you will quickly learn how to build up speed even on short acceleration lanes and how to position yourself properly in traffic. If you are afraid of busy routes, such as in big cities, it is important to remain as relaxed as possible. Breathing exercises can be a good help here (just a few deep breaths can work wonders). In addition, there are various other relaxation techniques that are also suitable for such situations. We recommend consulting a therapist in this regard to find out the best strategy that suits you. Another special form is the fear of parking. As a rule, the motto here is: practice makes perfect. Quiet traffic practice areas are particularly suitable for appropriate training.

The fear of driving after an accident

Accidents, especially in traffic, can be traumatic experiences. Such a trauma often leads to an anxiety disorder, especially if it is not dealt with. In order to avoid this, it is advisable to seek psychological support as early as possible. In this way, you can also enjoy having a contact person who will help you to cope with this drastic experience.


There is no need to be ashamed of the fear of driving. There is a wide range of causes that can trigger them. While our fears have evolved to protect us from danger and ensure our survival, they can become a real burden in modern everyday life. As a rule, the best way to reduce fear of driving on the road is to do regular exercises, because over time you will develop the necessary (self-)confidence. You can obtain further information from your driving school or the psychotherapist you trust.

A tip from CarTipsandmore:

A therapy can be used for amaxophobia in help many cases. The background of such an anxiety disorder is much better understood today than it was a few decades ago, and patients are taken seriously. Therefore, if you find yourself struggling with certain driving situations or driving a car in general, don't be afraid to seek professional help. If you shy away from going to a psychotherapist, you can first try to overcome your fear of driving with the help of a driving school.

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