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Surprising characteristics of Vehophobia

April 2, 2023

5 min read

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Author : United We Care
Surprising characteristics of Vehophobia


Driving is an essential skill every person should possess, but what do you do when you are afraid of driving? That means you depend on others; they omit significant professional and personal obligations and cannot engage in their preferred activities. The fear of driving, or vehophobia, is a specific phobia brought on by a traumatic occurrence connected to the action, place, or event that produces extreme anxiety.

What is Vehophobia

Vehophobia, or the fear of driving, can significantly affect a sufferer’s life, and it’s an actual medical disease that can make life less enjoyable and increase medical expenses. Vehophobics have an immediate rise in pulse rate, shallow breathing, and hand sweating when they get behind the wheel of a vehicle. And it does not only affect one person; this person’s family is also severely affected as a person constantly depends on them.

Symptoms of Vehophobia

Understanding the signs of vehophobia is crucial for individuals who suffer from it, and they will be able to recognise it when it occurs and seek help.[2]The symptoms of vehophobia are comparable to those of anxiety disorders and consist of the following:

  • Trembling: Trembling makes it challenging to maintain balance, making it difficult to maintain a firm grasp on the steering wheel when driving.
  • Sweating: Even in frigid temperatures, those who have vehophobia will perspire.
  • Shallow breathing: You can experience difficulty deep breathing, making you more anxious.
  • Increased Heart Rate: Even when you’re sitting still, driving anxiety increases your heart rate.
  • Stiff Muscles: Your shoulder, neck, and facial muscles can be tense, making it difficult to relax.
  • Pain in the chest: Your chest may hurt due to tightening your muscles.
  • Nauseous: You can experience a feeling of impending sickness.
  • Fear: When you have excessive fear, you worry about having a collision, even when driving safely. Your thoughts may get clouded and flooded by these anxieties.
  • Panic attack: When you experience a panic attack, your body enters the fight-flight or freeze state, which causes you to react when driving or just before getting into a car.
  • Avoiding tasks: It could seem like you’re continually coming up with a reason not to drive or ride in a car. You can cling to taking the bus or refuse to leave the house altogether.

Symptoms of Vehophobia

Causes of Vehophobia

Being in a severe accident is the most frequent cause of vehicle anxiety, and someone may get afraid of driving if they are in an accident where they nearly die or believe they might die. Suppose another person is seriously hurt or killed due to the collision. After such a horrific experience, moreover, getting behind the wheel can seem impossible.

  • However, the person with vehophobia was in a car accident not essential; it could be that the person has witnessed a car accident taking the place of a loved one or even a stranger.
  • While growing up, if one witnessed people being reckless while driving can be the reason that one has vehophobia, or it could be the fact that they have seen people being in a very panicked or anxious state while driving.
  • People even get vehophobia if they have a very harsh instructor who taught them to drive and the instructor who reacts exaggeratedly.
  • If someone sees their pet or any other animal being killed in a road accident, they can even get vehophobia.

Effects of Vehophobia

People who have witnessed the above scenarios could set off someone with a driving phobia. Additionally, they may become more anxious when driving in heavy traffic or near aggressive drivers. These occurrences can cause vehophobia at any moment, whether they occur once or repeatedly. People with vehophobia frequently experience anxiety while operating a vehicle in entirely safe situations. They endure driving anxiety because they continually foresee hazardous circumstances. Their bodies react as if they are experiencing a terrible vehicle accident all over again due to the acute flashbacks they experience.A person with vehophobia may also experience other severe phobias, such as claustrophobia, the dread of tight spaces without a clear exit, and hodophobia, the dread of travelling. When the effects of these phobias and their symptoms combine, they may make you less cautious while driving and even create the accident you’re attempting to prevent. So to protect yourself, you must receive the proper vehophobia treatment.

How to Overcome Vehophobia

So does it mean that people with vehophobia can never drive a car? Does it mean that they will always be dependent on others? Public transportation or missing significant events is their only choice. 

Well, no, it does not have to be that vehophobia can be treated in several ways, like defensive driving courses where they provide solutions for everyday driving situations. Therapies one can deal with your fears by beginning counselling because vehophobia is a type of post-traumatic stress disorder. Medication will help to control anxiety and join support groups to deal which the condition.[3]


  1. A. N. Stephens, B. Collette, A. Hidalgo-Munoz, A. Fort, M. Evennou, and C. Jallais, “The impacts of anxiety over driving on self-reported driving avoidance, work performance and quality of life,” J. Transp. Health, vol. 19, no. 100929, p. 100929, 2020.
  2. T. T. R. Chapple and LCSW, “Vehophobia (fear of driving): How to cope — talk space,” Mental Health Conditions, 11-Mar-2022. [Online]. Available: https://www.talkspace.com/mental-health/conditions/vehophobia/. [Accessed: 21-Mar-2023].
  3. Stone, “What is vehophobia, and how do you overcome it?” Shook & Stone Personal Injury Attorneys, 13-Nov-2019

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Author : United We Care

Founded in 2020, United We Care (UWC) is providing mental health and wellness services at a global level, UWC utilizes its team of dedicated and focused professionals with expertise in mental healthcare, to solve 2 essential missing components in the market, sustained user engagement and program efficacy/outcomes.

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