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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger

Overcoming the Fear of Driving After a Car Crash - What to Know

A traumatic event can include an auto accident, which can severely impact those involved. Typically, accident witnesses and victims could develop vehophobia, which is the fear of driving. This makes it much harder for them to live their lives effectively.

If one does fear head-on collisions, there are ways to overcome driving anxiety. However, it's also important to determine if there's a personal injury case by contacting Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys. These vehicle accident attorneys in Houston go to war for Hou!

This article will describe vehophobia, explore its causes, and describe strategies for overcoming fear of driving issues. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also help with questions such as what does a personal injury lawyer do?

What's Vehophobia?

What's Vehophobia?

Vehophobia is a common anxiety disorder that victims often experience after being involved or injured in a motor vehicle accident. It's usually caused by post-traumatic stress disorder, which can lead to flashbacks of that moment. The victim then has intrusive thoughts that cause the blood pressure to increase, which leads to panic attacks.

Accident victims often suffer from vehophobia. However, it can also affect people who witness an accident, either on the news, in a movie, or in person.

Physical Symptoms of Vehophobia

If one suffers from a fear of driving, they might experience symptoms while preparing to drive or in the midst of the action. The symptoms can include:

  • Trembling

  • Sweating

  • Shallow breathing

  • Increased heart rate

  • Muscle tension

  • Chest pain

  • Nausea

If the fear is intense enough, victims might be scared about getting into a car accident and will look for any excuse not to drive.

Causes of Vehophobia

Being in a bad car accident, especially when one was killed or seriously injured, is the prime cause of vehophobia. However, it can result from many things, such as:

  • Driving in traffic

  • Growing up with adults who were anxious in or around vehicles

  • Traveling in dangerous conditions, such as snow, rain, or intense wind

  • Having an overly strict driving instructor

  • Being around significantly aggressive drivers

  • Watching and reading about bad accidents in the news, on TV, or in movies

  • Witnessing a car accident

Vehophobia could be triggered by one of the factors above. However, victims might get anxious even when they're driving in safe and calm conditions.

Other Related Fears

If a person suffers from a serious fear of driving, they might also deal with:

  • Hodophobia - This is the general fear of traveling in all capacities.

  • Claustrophobia - This is the fear of confined spaces without an accessible or clear exit.

  • Amaxophobia - This is the fear of being inside a vehicle.

How to Overcome Fear After a Car Accident

People with vehophobia will find ways to avoid confronting that fear of driving. For example, they might only use public transportation or ride-sharing services. That's one way to deal with it, but there are other things a victim can do to protect their mental health and start driving again. These include:

Therapy Options for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and More

Enrolling in therapy can assist victims and ensure they gain insight into what causes their anxieties. This will help them address their fears and develop coping strategies. There are many therapy types available, such as:


Called hypnosis, hypnotherapy can help patients process thoughts and tasks through guided relaxation and intense concentration. It's quite effective when used with psychotherapy because it lets patients explore painful thoughts, feelings, and memories while in a relaxed state.

Prolonged Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy is one type of cognitive behavioral therapy used to treat PTSD, anxiety disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. With it, patients confront their fears by reliving the thing that leads to fear or anxiety. For example, the victim might recount the details of the car accident or try to drive on their own by using a parking lot and progressing to the backroads and then the highway.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

This is one type of psychotherapy, and it's a common way to treat vehophobia and PTSD. Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on making the victim's thought patterns and behaviors more manageable, allowing them to move past the anxiety and trauma. In a sense, patients will learn to recognize things and change what contributes to the anxiety.


Medication can also help reduce the impact of driving anxiety or its intensity. Though it's helpful alone, it offers more benefits when paired with therapy. Therapists often try other solutions first, though anti-anxiety medications are ideal when the issue is extreme, constant, or debilitating. Here are the two most common drugs used for vehophobia:


These will reduce the patient's feelings of anxiety so that they can relax. Though helpful, they can have adverse side effects, such as a high dependence risk or drowsiness.


The body releases adrenaline when someone experiences anxiety. Therefore, they might deal with shaking, high blood pressure, or an increased heart rate. Beta-blockers can block the stimulating effects of the adrenaline.

Deep Breathing and Other Relaxation Techniques

Performing deep breathing techniques, progressive muscle relaxation, and meditation can help people manage their anxiety. They will learn to stay calm during the fear.

Support Groups

A support group is full of a community of people who understand the fear of driving and how it can change a person's life. Some are in-person, while others are online. Therefore, victims have many options.

Defensive Driving Classes

Most people overcome their fear of driving and reduce car accident anxiety by taking defensive driving courses. In these classes, the instructor will provide students with strategies and skills to help them avoid or react safely to various road conditions. Therefore, students regain confidence and control in their abilities.

Contact a Lawyer After a Traumatic Car Accident

Contact a Lawyer After a Traumatic Car Accident

Driving is a huge part of everyday life for many people. Therefore, it can be very disruptive to the victim or a family member when there is a fear of driving. Thankfully, there are some steps to take to work past those fears. One accident could change the lives of everyone involved. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also advise in situations like a car accident other driver has no insurance.

If a car accident victim develops vehophobia, they should get legal advice quickly. Treating the condition can be expensive, and each person must work at their own pace to move forward. However, it might be possible to receive compensation to cover those medical expenses.

It's wise to hire a personal injury lawyer, and Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can assist. Please call or use the contact form to request a free case review today!


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