Why do people suffer with a fear of driving in tunnels?

Probably up to 3% of the population suffer from tunnel phobia. This is a broad popular term for a feeling that can vary from being a very real phobia where motorists will drive kilometres out of their way to avoid tunnels right down to various degrees of discomfort when passing through one.

People generally can feel uncomfortable when driving in tunnels especially if they are long or under water. These are usually people who have suffered with claustrophobia in varying degrees.

Some drivers also mistakenly believe that it is dangerous to drive in tunnels, even though it is statistically safer to drive in the tunnel rather than outside. This is because there is no oncoming traffic, no winds, no storms and the tunnels are always under constant surveillance.

The University of Florida published a study some time ago showing that increased anxiety leads to performance deterioration behind the wheel as we become more easily distracted and scatterbrained.

It's amazing how many forums are advising people with any fear of driving to 'just get on with it'. Bit like the 'feel the fear and do it anyway'. If only it was so easy, right? If only these people had even a bare minimum of understanding about what you're experiencing they probably wouldn't be quite so flippant.

The reality is that when you're really fearful about doing something your normal response is to stay away from it. In some cases your fear of driving is very rational. Perhaps you've been involved in an accident either as a passenger or as the driver. Maybe you have a lousy sense of direction and are always getting lost so your anxiety while driving increases. That all makes sense.

However it may be that you are fine on the road unless you have to drive or through a tunnel - or over a bridge - but you have no idea why you're feeling this way. Not all of our fears are logical. In some cases the anxiety can increase to such an extent that you start to experience panic attacks when driving and that's really scary!

If you're experiencing any of these difficulties:

  • feeling anxious when on a main highway or motorway

  • losing concentration and becoming flustered when driving

  • anxious when in heavy traffic

  • panicky and claustrophobic when stuck in a traffic jam

  • refusing to drive if the weather isn't perfect (when it's raining for example)

  • fear of being in an accident

  • panic when driving in a tunnel

  • refusing to drive over a bridge - or feeling incredibly anxious if you do

  • having a panic attack when behind the wheel of a car

  • refusing to get behind the wheel at all

  • any other anxieties

... it's time to consider seeking help.

So... how to overcome the fear of driving in a tunnel?

The good news is that you can be helped. And it doesn't take very long at all to sort out your phobia of driving in a tunnel.

I have successfully conducted many sessions via Skype so regardless of where you are in the world I can help you. All you need is an iPad, laptop or PC, a good internet connection, a Skype account (it’s free) and some privacy. Skype can be downloaded for a PC or Mac by clicking on the Skype logo immediately below or, if you have an iPad, going to iTunes and downloading the app. Sessions can also be conducted via FaceTime or Messenger.

If you would like to finally feel in control, calm and peaceful, please either email or call me on 0409 254 500 and we can arrange for you to come in for a free no obligation consultation or a chat via Skype. We can discuss your options and you will be able to get clear answers on any questions you may have. There is no obligation on either your part or mine!

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