Dealing With Panic Attacks While Driving

By Lawrence Rodrigues

Aside from being a health issue, panic attacks is also a safety concern since they happen unexpectedly and instantaneously. Panic attacks sufferers are placing themselves, their passengers and other motorists at risk when they are behind the wheel. Sufferers who really need to drive must be aware of the triggers and signs of panic attacks to prevent accidents. Some signs include dizziness, loss of concentration, rapid heartbeat, and excessive sweating. Here are some guidelines that a panic attack sufferer can follow to ensure the safety of himself and others:

1. Stop on the shoulder. Pull over immediately to the side if you feel a panic attack is inevitable. If you're on the highway, you can stop at the nearest exit instead. It is better to stop for a few minutes and let the condition pass. Do the sensible thing and stop to avoid any untoward incidents.

2. Turn on some soothing music. When you can't pull over right away, you can lower your stress levels naturally by turning on some soothing music and giving your mind a break. Focus less on what is happening to you, and just hone in on the music. This is a safe distraction that will help you stay on course and lower your risk of having a full-blown panic attack.

3. Open the windows. If you don't have the opportunity to pull over, get some fresh oxygen into the car by opening all of the windows and taking a few deep breaths. Breathing deeply is important for maintaining mental clarity when you start to feel anxious, and some fresh air can help to clear your head as well.

4. Stop and call someone. If you feel like talking to someone, stop over first before using your phone. Sharing what you are feeling can have a comforting effect on you and reduce the effects of a panic attack.

5. Practice affirmations. Telling yourself that you are going to be just fine and that you are a good driver can help to make you feel more empowered and in control of the situation. Say affirmations out loud if you need to, or just write them down and post them somewhere on your dashboard as a constant reminder. Getting into the habit of saying positive affirmations can help you take control over your mental state at the most critical moments.

6. Take someone with you when you drive. If the act of driving is what is causing the anxiety that might trigger a panic attack, always plan to take someone with you. If the stress of driving from Point A to Point B becomes too much, you can always ask this other person to do the driving for you.

7. Bring healthy foods. In addition to the stress brought about by driving, dehydration and hunger can also set in, specially during long drives. Bring along some healthy foods with you to keep your body and mind at optimum condition. - 31520

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