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What Is Vehophobia?

Posted in Car Accidents on January 25, 2023

Did you know that two-thirds of Americans say they experience anxiety around driving? Barreling down the road at sixty or seventy miles an hour with dozens of other cars whizzing by you isn’t exactly a calming experience. But when does normal driving anxiety morph into something more serious?

Vehophobia can have a serious impact on your life, especially if left unaddressed. Read on to learn more about this condition and when a fear becomes a phobia.

Vehophobia Definition

Vehophobia is defined as an irrational and intense fear of driving or cars. While this fear is irrational, it’s also understandable – after all, dozens of people die in car accidents every day. But vehophobia takes a fairly reasonable worry and blows it out of proportion.

It’s important to note that vehophobia is different from amaxophobia – the fear of riding in any vehicle, not just a car – and hodophobia – the fear of traveling.

Vehophobia specifically centers on a fear of driving cars, while the other two can cover a wide variety of vehicles. An amaxophobic person might be terrified of train travel, while a hodophobe might fear boats and planes.

How Is Vehophobia Diagnosed?

While vehophobia doesn’t have a specific diagnostic process, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM5) does detail how to diagnose specific phobias.

In order to be diagnosed with a phobia, a person must show:

  • Immediate and overwhelming anxiety when they encounter the subject of their phobia: A vehophobe will be visibly panicked at the thought of driving a car.
  • Intense and irrational fear of the subject of the phobia: Normal anxiety about driving is one thing, but a vehophobe may be convinced they’ll die in a fiery crash if they drive even a few feet down the road.
  • At least six consecutive months of the above symptoms: It’s normal to be nervous to drive after a serious crash, but if the fear goes on for long enough, it falls into the phobia category.

A doctor, trained psychologist, or psychiatrist can diagnose you with vehophobia. In some cases, it can be hard to separate this particular phobia from other similar fears, such as claustrophobia or agoraphobia. In fact, this diagnosis may come with a few other overlapping diagnoses that contribute to the condition.

What Separates a Fear from a Phobia?

The line between a normal fear and a phobia can be a little fuzzy, so how do you know which you have?

The main difference between the two is how connected the anxiety is to reality. Phobias are much more irrational, while fears are a healthy response to real threats.

Experiencing intense fear when you see an eighteen-wheeler barreling toward you head-on is normal and healthy. That situation presents a real threat, and you are expected to react with panic.

But experiencing that same level of panic at the thought of driving slowly down a quiet suburban street shows that the phobia is no longer connected to any real and present danger.

Dealing With Vehophobia

Unfortunately, vehophobia isn’t uncommon, thanks in part to the huge number of car accidents that happen in the United States each day. It’s understandable that, if you were hurt in a serious accident, the thought of driving again would frighten you. But there are ways you can deal with vehophobia without giving up driving forever.

Cognitive behavioral therapy and other therapeutic techniques can help to reduce your fear of driving.

Exposure therapy can also be effective, but it is very important to note that this should only be done under the supervision of a qualified professional.

Support groups and education like defensive driving classes can also help you take control of your phobia.

Take Your Life Back After a Car Accident in New York

Being in a car accident can be a terrifying ordeal, and you may find that afterward, the thought of driving is terrifying. Talk to your doctor or a licensed therapist about whether your fear qualifies as vehophobia and how to manage it. It’s also a good idea to sign up for a defensive driving class to learn how to prevent future crashes.

If you’ve been hurt in a collision, a New York City car accident lawyer will help you take your life back. They’ll take on the insurance companies and fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Schedule a free consultation to get justice in your case.

Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in New York, NY

If you need legal assistance, contact the New York City car accident lawyers at Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation.

We have two convenient locations in New York:

Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – New York City Office
450 7th Ave #1605
New York, NY 10123
(212) 564-2800

Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – Brooklyn Office
26 Court St Suite 2511
Brooklyn, NY 11242
(718) 802-1600

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