Dealing With Panic Attacks While Driving
Dealing With Panic Attacks While Driving
The incident that I believe triggered this for me took place about 15 years or so ago. We were living in Bahrain
in the Middle East and I had flown into Heathrow with my two children who were then about 5 and 3 years old. I have
always loved driving and I was happy to hire a car from Heathrow and drive up to my parents home in North
I hired a smallish car, maybe a VW golf or similar, put my suitcases in the boot and buckled my kids into their
car seats in the back seat.
When in Bahrain, I had been used to driving a big 4 wheel drive and the roads there were very wide and very
quiet. The day of my drive up to Wales was a very, very windy day and the motorway, either the M25 or the M6 (I
can’t remember) was very busy and full of lorries which at that time didn’t bother me at all as I had always loved
driving, at that time I had been driving all over the place without a care in the world for over 25
At one point on the motorway we had to drive over a very high bridge, I was in the third lane overtaking two
lorries at the time and a gust of wind caught my car as we drove over the bridge and rocked it so much that I felt
I was being pushed into the side of the lorry. It gave me such a fright at the time because I was very conscious of
having my two young children in the back seat and being in such a small car made me feel quite out of control. I
wanted to pull over but I couldn’t because there was so much traffic on the inside lanes and I had to wait until
there was a space for me to move over. As soon as I could, I left the motorway and had to stop for a while to calm
I drove the rest of the way to Wales on non motorway roads. A few weeks after that I returned to Bahrain after
the summer to my large 4 wheel drive and totally forgot about the incident.
We moved to Surrey, UK in August 2000 and almost straight away I started to feel claustrophobic on the
When I was driving, I always preferred to stay in the slow lane because I had to feel that I could pull over if I
needed to stop, but by staying in the slow lane it usually meant I was surrounded by lorries in front and behind
and I found them to be very intimidating .
If there were road works on the left and the hard shoulder was blocked off and there were lorries in front and
behind me, that would be my worst nightmare, I felt ‘trapped’ and claustrophobic and started to have
panic attacks where I felt so light headed that I used to feel I might faint and this was a truly terrifying
experience for me.
Soon after that I stopped putting myself in that situation at all and would rather drive on minor roads for hours
more than to put myself in a situation where I felt out of control.
I realise now, that I was more terrified of my reaction than of the trucks themselves, it was an unbelievably
scary feeling that you are going to faint in the fast lane of a busy motorway.
If I had to go somewhere with friends I used to persuade them to drive if we had to go on motorways, I used to
feel so embarrassed and stupid that I was limited in such a way because that fear and anxiety of driving was the
only irrational fear that I had. My friends used to reach our destination in half the time that I would
have taken because I would either be crawling along in the 1st or 2nd lane or I would leave the motorway altogether
and get stuck in rush hour traffic which was SO annoying and frustrating.
After seeing how easy it is for most people I realised how bad I had become and decided that I couldn’t stand
feeling so restricted, I HATED having panic attacks while driving and I HAD to find a way to deal with my
I’ve never liked the idea of taking medication for anxiety, I hate the thought of anything potentially messing
with my brain, I was determined to find a way to deal with anxiety and panic attacks through natural methods.
To cut a long story short, I DID find a way, in fact I found several different ways of overcoming panic attacks,
even going so far as to train as a practitioner of NLP and hypnotherapist.
I became fascinated with the workings of the human mind and read and researched as much as I could on different
ways of dealing naturally with stress, anxiety and panic attacks. I’ve met so many people with anxiety issues that
I’ve put this website together to help show some of the ways that have worked for me.
When I was doing my research, I didn’t find everything I needed in one place so I hope that this website will be
of benifit to others who have similar problems.
There are tips on how to deal with panic attacks, how to manage stress, learning how to cope with anxiety and
recommendations for the methods I used to cure myself of my stupid and irrational fear of driving.