Motorway Driving Phobia

Sarah JonsStuff about Fear Issues

What type of Driving Phobia do you have?


There is not a lot of research done on driving phobias. One study in Spain suggests nearly a third of drivers are fearful of driving in certain situations.

Motorway driving might not be an issue for you; perhaps it’s an associated fear such as driving across bridges?

Do you feel nervous when driving up mountains with cliff edges? Maybe it’s the roundabouts that send you in a spin? Or perhaps driving into busy city centres makes you panic?

What about passing your driving test? Have you re taken it so many times you are now in double digits?

I learned to drive on an intensive driving course with a close friend.  Our tests were scheduled close together. Within 2 minutes of leaving the centre my friend drove straight across the the roundabout. He struggled through the rest of the test knowing inside he had failed at the beginning.

My friend didn’t pass his driving test for many years, his failure was something he  remembered each time he went to retake his test.

For many years I struggled to feel confident when driving.  I put it now down to childhood experiences of being in various car accidents.

I once believed that I had predicted an accident at the age of 7 driving through the  barren Yorkshire moors. “There is going to be an accident shortly”. Yes I was right. A car swerved  and tumbled down the hillside, my mother gave first aid and we waited hours for the emergency services to arrive.

My first car, a tiny Suzuki  broke down in an enormous box junction in Central London during rush hour. My friends alighted to safety on the embankment laughing at the smoke billowing from my car bonnet. I was terrified.

Another time driving back from a day’s skiing at Ben Nevis, unexpected heavy  snow closed the mountain roads early. Just me, my Fiesta, my 10 year old son and no snow chains.  Cars far better equipped than mine careering into ditches and brick walls. I asked my son if he could drive at one point because I was so terrified. His little voice “Come on Mum you can do it”. We did it.

I became aware of how I held my breath when overtaking large trucks on the motorway. Each time I passed one safely, I felt grateful for being spared as I had imagined the truck pulling out and not seeing me and dying in those few moments. Driving for me used to be stressful.

Thankfully this is now in the past, as being a Hypnotherapist you get to do a lot of work on yourself as you train.

There isn’t actually a medical name for driving phobia. It’s not always necessarily directly related to a previous life episode, although in many cases there is a sensitising event. What that means is that something happened which created fear in the body. My list above are examples of sensitising events that can trigger driving phobias. This fear manifests itself when the situation arises again. The mind/body always remembers everything that happens to it. Even getting in a car can be difficult for those who have been in accident, let alone in a driving seat.

So how can hypnosis help with Driving Phobias?

Hypnosis can locate the fear in the subconscious.  Once the trigger(s) are identified,  they can be modified which has the effect of switching off, or quietening physical and emotional responses.  This can be immediate or gradual. It does require calibration which means you need to get back in the driving seat.

Less stress in the body is a good thing.  Too much stress can impair thinking and judgement.  So you are actually a safer driver when less stressed.

If you’re suffering with any form driving phobia and want some help do get in touch.

By Sarah Jons