There are people who experience panic attacks only when driving or behind the wheel of a car. Experiencing panic on the road is extremely hazardous for not only the driver of the vehicle but also other road users. There is always a risk when driving so it's not surprising that some drivers experience anxiety and apprehension at times.

Reasons for panic attacks while driving include fear of having an accident and breaking down. Abusive drivers on the road can also be intimidating and unsettling. Panic attacks may also occur on freeways or on long distance drives.

Driving at high speeds can increase stress, releasing more adrenaline and create symptoms of anxiety. Worrying thoughts may set in such as having a car crash. Typical physical anxiety symptoms include sweating, trembling and a pounding heart.

Hyperventilating only worsens symptoms and makes a driver feel more panicky. This is because during hyperventilation the blood flow is restricted to the head causing giddiness which affects ability to drive. In addition vision may also be affected.

A panic sufferer may feel trapped in a car when spending long hours driving. They are likely to feel apprehensive anxious to get to where they're going. The driver might accelerate as a result, increasing danger to themselves and other road users.

How can a driver overcome their panic attacks behind the wheel? A simple answer is stress reduction. Anxiety and panic only worsen when stress is added to the mix. Always avoid going into a car when highly stressed or anxious. Make sure you are calm and fit enough to drive.

Turn on the radio when driving and tune into something that makes you feel good and relaxed. Choose light and relaxing music to listen to and nothing too heavy or loud. Gangster rap and death metal is probably best avoided, unless you find it calming! Music can serve as a mild distraction to the stresses of driving.

A light snack or drink can be comforting and help you feel more relaxed. Avoid consuming anything that contains too much caffeine and sugar as these can help fuel panic attacks. Some people find sucking on a sweet or chewing gum helps.

Pay attention to your body and how you're sitting. Get yourself in a comfortable and relaxed driving position, dropping your shoulders. You'll find that these simple tips can help with panic attacks. Additionally, therapies such as CBT and hypnosis can help you overcome situational panic by changing specific behaviors and associations in the mind.

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