Fear of Driving – A Surprisingly Common Phobia

A fear of driving is more common than you may realise. In a recent survey, 82% of those asked said that they had felt some degree of anxiety about driving at some point since they first got their driving licence.

Driving Anxiety Survey ResultsWhether the fear of driving is about motorways, town centres, busy roads, parking or anything else, anxiety about driving can be a costly and debilitating affliction.

A driving phobia displays all the classic phobia symptoms; severe anxiety, sweating, accelerated pulse, surreal detachment, trembling, loss of motor control (no pun intended!) and more, although unlike most other phobias there is no officially recognised Latin name for it. (The closest thing is vehophobia, but there is no official designation for this)

Driving phobics will take extreme measures to avoid driving, and it can affect decisions about career, home, social life, schooling arrangements for children, family holidays and many other things.

A fear of driving makes life needlessly difficult in countless ways and can affect the sufferers’ relationships too; many partners and loved ones feel helpless, frustrated and restricted by this situation.

Why do we get phobias?

Most phobias work on a principle of pattern matching. With a spider phobia, for instance, it may start with a spider encounter on a foreign holiday. You see the spider and you know it could be venomous so the Fight or Flight mechanism activates automatically and you choose flight. That’s a reasonable strategy for staying safe in that situation.

Back in the UK you see a completely harmless spider. Your brain matches the pattern and again activates the Fight or Flight reaction.

Surviving this second encounter confirms to your subconscious that this is an effective pattern match, and every subsequent encounter confirms and reinforces the pattern match until it becomes a phobia.

As with most phobias, there is a simple solution…

Hypnosis is one of the major mechanisms by which your brain learns. The Fight or Flight Mechanism (A.K.A. The Orientation Response) is actually a sub-type of the hypnotic trance and is often the culprit in creating phobias.

The range of approaches used in hypnotherapy can exploit the same mechanisms in a much more calm and comfortable manner, to retrain your subconscious mind to respond in a more reasonable way, so hypnotherapy for driving anxiety is a great option for many people.

Whether its a fear of motorways, anxiety about manoeuvring, driving test nerves or other associated difficulties, these fears can all respond very effectively in many cases, and often very rapidly too. Sometimes just a single session can make a significant enough difference that no more work is needed- in the therapy room at least.

Below is a selection of testimonials received from people who came to me with a fear of driving.


“I had been experiencing anxiety about driving from the moment I started to learn how to do it. After finally passing my driving test about a year ago, the anxieties continued and increased despite being qualified and able. I would make excuses not to go out and if I did it would only be to certain places on a specific route, even if it was the long way round! Reasons I would have for not driving would usually be centered around clutch control and the gears, worrying that I would constantly stall the car and generally be an inconvenience to other drivers.

I realised that I really needed to address the issue as it was holding me back in life, and so decided to try hypnotherapy with Ben. I needed to catch two buses to get to the appointment as it was 20 miles away. After one very interesting and relaxing hypnotherapy session, my driving anxieties had decreased significantly, so much so that I was able to drive to a follow up appointment a week later. After two sessions, I feel confident enough to get out there in the car without having a multitude of thoughts racing through my head about what might happen on the journey.

It is a tremendous weight off my shoulders so thank you very much for all of your help, Ben!”



“I went to Ben to seek help with my driving anxieties. I was panicking over the simple thought of driving, even if was a trip to the supermarket. I had tried counselling a year earlier but it didn’t manage to help any of my worries.

Ben put me at ease and assured me that he could help. We chatted at length about my worries & anxieties before the session.Since I have found that my anxieties have reduced dramatically and I no longer worry or panic over simple journeys that I have made many times before. I have also managed to make longer journeys to new places & have happily driven at night also.

Thank you Ben.”