VEHOPHOBIA- The Fear of Driving

Vehophobia, or the fear of driving is a very real issue suffered by many people. In fact it is quite common both in people who have been involved in serious accidents and those who have not.

The fear of driving after a car accident is technically a form of post-traumatic stress disorder, (PTSD). This can be set off by the trauma of almost dying, or thinking that you could have died. This can then spread to the fear of the what ifs, what if the children had been in the car, what if I had been driving faster? If anyone has been involved in a road traffic accident,  you will be aware of the violence of the event, the shock, noise and the aftermath of dealing with physical injuries. The physical injuries can overtime mend, but the mental injuries can take much longer and in most cases need specialised intervention.

It’s human nature to feel the burden of responsibility, especially when safety is at play. As well as your own wellbeing, you’re taking on the pressure of looking after any passengers in your vehicle. For many who suffer from vehophobia this can become too much to handle. Many people struggle to cope as they feel uncomfortable trusting in their own abilities behind the wheel. No incident is too minor to have an effect.

The symptoms of driving phobias or anxieties manifest differently with each unique person, but typically they can be similar to other forms of anxiety. The more common symptoms are confusion, disorientation, sweaty palms, shortness of breath, dizziness. Others will simply avoid driving, make excuses so they don’t have to drive, potentially keeping their fear a secret.

The fear of driving can persist for many reasons, each one as unique as the individual. However some of the more common ones are:

  • The fear of being involved in another accident, even if they have drove for years accident free.
  • Not having control over how other drivers conduct themselves while on the road.
  • Guilt around other passengers being injured as a result of their driving.
  • A fear of their children getting injured.
  • Dying and leaving their children without a mother/ father.
  • Feeling trapped in a traffic jam and having a panic attack.


In addition to the crippling fear and stress of the phobia, anyone who has suffered anxiety or a panic attack before will understand how scary the whole situation can be.

Imagine for a moment how this could limit your everyday life, having to get someone to pick up the kids from school, having to get a taxi to do the weekly shop, even popping out to the shop at night for bread, milk. Then consider for a moment how your job, career could be affected.

The good news is with the beautiful process of HYPNOSIS with one of our specialised advanced clinical hypnotherapists those suffering anxiety can explore the painful thoughts, feelings and emotions in a relaxed, compassionate , non-judgmental way. We will work to help bring about a positive outcome.

If you know somebody who you’ve noticed hasn’t been behind a wheel for a long time- or maybe never followed through on their goal to learn to drive it might be an idea to have a quiet word with them just to check things are ok.

Peter Loughrey – NI Hypnosis Londonderry/Derry