In many ways, vehicles allow the United States to run. Our lives simply wouldn’t be the same without them. From transporting goods to running errands, dropping the kids off at school, going to work, and going on vacation, most of us spend at least a little bit of time in a car every day.
Spending so much time in a vehicle isn’t a problem for some people. For others, it can be debilitating.
Here are seven common car fears, as well as a few tips that will help you work on getting over them.
Getting Into a Car Accident
One of the most common fears is getting into a car accident. When you can get injured at speeds as low as 2.5 miles per hour, it’s easy to see why this is such a common fear. Feelings of fear and anxiety can be especially heightened if you’re transporting young children.
Not only is there a fear of getting into an accident because you’re worried about injuring yourself or your family, you can also have a fear of getting into an accident because it could result in costly repairs or the need for a vehicle replacement that you can’t afford.
One of the best ways to get over your fear of getting into an accident is to visit with a therapist. Whether you have been in an accident in the past or not, the fear of getting into another one comes with a certain level of irrationality. A therapist can help you work through those feelings, making it easier to get back in the car without fear.
It’s important to think deeply about why you are afraid to get into an accident. If it’s because you’re afraid of driving, but you’re not fearful of being a passenger, you likely have what’s called vehophobia.
In order to overcome your fear of driving, you have to build up your confidence. Getting behind the wheel and driving really is the best way to do this. Practice driving in safe areas where there is very little risk, like a large parking lot.
Defensive driving courses can also be extremely helpful. You can learn driving skills from experts, while practicing things like reaction times and more difficult skills, like correcting a skid, while under supervision.
Driving on the Highway or Interstate
Maybe you don’t have any problems driving around town or getting to and from work. Instead, you might find yourself feeling scared, anxious, or stressed at the thought of driving at high speeds on the highway or the interstate.
You can cause a lot more damage to your vehicle and you’re more likely to be seriously injured in an accident at high speeds, so it makes sense that you may be more worried on the highway or interstate.
The truth is that highway and interstate driving are the safest ways to travel. You’re less likely to get in an accident on an interstate than you are on a rural road.
Practice driving on little-traveled highways and hit the interstate in the early morning hours on the weekend to get practice without too many other drivers around.
Being a Passenger
Not everyone is afraid of driving. For some, that’s where they feel most comfortable because they know they have complete control when they are the one in charge. Instead, some people feel more nervous about being a passenger.
If you live in a large city where you can walk everywhere you go, you may simply need exposure. If your fear is deeper than that, consider hopping in the car with a skilled friend or family member who hasn’t been in any accidents.
Rain and Snow
Driving down the road on a warm, sunny day is a much different experience than driving in the middle of a thunderstorm or down a snowy road. The fear of driving in bad weather may keep you home, but it shouldn’t. You just have to know and practice some tips that will make driving safer in nearly all conditions.
A few safe-driving tips for snow and rain include:
- Reduce your speed by about 10 miles an hour below the speed limit.
- Be especially cautious when driving over bridges.
- Don’t follow other drivers too closely.
- Don’t brake during a turn to avoid a spin-out.
- Have your car serviced regularly to ensure it’s ready for bad weather.
Increasing Automobile Technology
With technology like backup cameras, adaptive cruise control, and automatic emergency braking, cars are safer than ever before. Self-driving cars are getting safer and safer every day, which means it won’t be long until they hit the roads everywhere.
Unfortunately, not everyone feels safe with all this technology. Nearly three in four Americans are afraid of self-driving vehicles. Some are afraid of relying too heavily on tech, like backup cameras, while others are afraid that the technology will fail and they won’t know it.
Disable safety features in your vehicle and start by enabling something small, like lane assist, to get used to it. Servicing your car regularly can help too, as a mechanic can make sure all your systems are functioning properly.
Losing or Locking Your Keys in the Car
Although it’s a little less serious than some of the other fears on this list, losing or locking your keys in your car can still ruin your day! It can make you late to work and it can cost a lot of money to have a locksmith open your door for you.
Have a plan so locking your keys in your car isn’t an emergency. Keep a spare in your purse or a wallet, and keep another spare at home. You can also consider buying a car with a keyless ignition system, as they are impossible to lock when the key fob is inside.
There are many things about cars that can be frightening, but your fear doesn’t have to rule your life. Uncover exactly what it is that scares you about vehicles, put in the work to get over your fear, and get back behind the wheel.