Comments for Phobia of driving fast, and especially of going down hills

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me too :(
by: clara

Oh lord this happened to me again tonight... this is the fourth time and only happens in the dark. I become disorientated, less focused, struggle to see the lines on the road and churning in my stomache. I have to slow down and pull into the slow lane to prevent traffic wizzing bye. This is so frightening for me as its random and very dangerous!! So pleased i found this forum to assure me that there are others like me out there. Any advice and help would be appreciated.

Flying
by: Anonymous

One of the people who posted here asked about flying. I have had this problem with driving for 13 years. I have no problems at all flying, and have flown to the UK and Japan, plus multiple local flights, with no disorientation.

I thought I was ready for it.
by: Anonymous

I still suffer from Driving and anxiety too mine is long distance and fear of the what if factor. I was in a sever head on collision with a drunk driver. It took me 14 years and some patient friends to help me get back behind the wheel.

Just about over a week ago, I promised someone that is close to me that I would drive from Vegas to Pariss Ca with her. I wanted to so much, But I kept thinking over and over again about the distance, getting in a wreck, not knowing anyone but her near that area and she would be staying somewhere there while I would be in a town 10mi away from her. And if something happened to her I don't know how I would get there to help her. I know this was very important to her she wanted me to meet someone that she has known for 12 years and they wanted to also meet me, but with the anxiety taking over I felt like I was going there to be judged and ridiculed. I don’t know why I feel like this.

And what happened then my subconscious took over, I started to say and do things that I normal would not. The furthest I have made it was to Barstow CA with a group of friends but even then I was shaking , sweating, could not think, could not see straight, heart was pounding, my chest was tightening and shallow breathing. There were so many times that I just wanted to pull over and vomit.


I thought I could do this, but my friend now hates me, and does not understand this problem that I have. She has been in crashes before but never affected her or her ability to drive. I don’t want to live like this anymore. I don’t feel normal, and now I feel like I have lost someone that I would do anything for. I don’t know how to show her or even tell her how this feels when driving a long distance like that. This made me hurt, and depressed that I could not do this I feel and will feel I let her down, and just for that I wanted to commit suicide because of all of this. When “I say I will do it” to help someone out then to me that is a promise I have never broke one till now. I am very upset by that, all because of this condition that I have.

I know when I am in a car for such a long time that I will freak out if I am driving which is what I wanted to do for her. I know if I am doing 65-80 on the 15 to Cali once it kicks in I will lockup the breaks and not move. The reason I know its happened before. I really thought I could do this and be able to drive 251mi +/- . I also have let down others as well by not going which even that does not help the anxiety at all. It has made my life more depressing as well.

HELP!
by: Anonymous

I too am suffering with this driving dizziness. I cannot drive on dual highways, interstates, etc...even if straight. The lines, speed and other vehicles make me so dizzy that I also take back roads wherever I need to go. Now, they can be curvy and it does not bother me. ??? Please help!!! I have been this way for about 10 years. And it is the same whether I'm driving or someone else. It feels like the vehicle is a roller coaster that has left its track.

I only drive 55
by: Anonymous

I use to drive 85mph to 120mph, I had no fear, I speed around every car in the way, I was the boss of the road, then around 25ish I was driving a car load of people doing about 65-80, and I began freaking out, like a panic attack, I became overwhelmingly full of fear and I jammed on the brakes for fear of crashing or turning over & freaked everyone out in the car. Now I can even force myself to drive faster than 55, sometimes If I liston to music and people are talking I catch myself doing 60-65, but when I`m aware i slow down, right curves freak me out most, Im like what is this, what happened to me.

downhill and curvy roads
by: Anonymous

I'm 42 and started to suffer from this terrible feeling since 2010 , it makes me feel crippled because I have to depend on the availability of others to travel long distances however it's much better because for the first 2yrs I couldn't even do short distances I always had to leave my car in the middle of nowhere or call someone to come and take me back home .Oh it's so TERRIBLE let's just keep on praying for each other .

good information
by: Anonymous

Wow this site has really helped me. I have experienced difficulty driving at high speeds and hills or curves; also fear on freeway. Thanks for the great information. Now I have a starting point to get more answers.

Totally humiliated over this fear
by: Anonymously humiliated

I had a few episodes of vertigo a few years back while driving but I never dreamed it could be this bad.
I was amazed that I had no control of the feeling of falling and anxiety. I have never been so terrified in my life.
This feeling occurs mostly on driving up a winding/steep road but still occurs when going down. And if there is a tilt in the road it is even worse.
And the feeling is worse if I am driving.

Will this feeling also happen when I fly? I may have to fly for a new job and I am really worried about this.

Knowing I'm not alone
by: Anonymous

I too have developed a phobia,of heights within the last 10 years of my life. I used to love driving in the mountains and had no problems. Yesterday I had to take my daughter throught the mountains of Maryland and WV on highways 68 and 79 and I had to be in control of the driving because I had a fear that my husband would drive too fast. I started off driving and felt so anxious, I couldn't drive past 60 mph breaking while going down hills. Once I felt a bit more comfortable, by praying and listening to my gospel music, I was able to drive faster and the phobia subsided. Coming back it was raining and I felt I was going to have an anxiety attack. I kept praying for the rain to stop. Thank God it did after an hour or so. I really hate this feeling!!

Scared at Sixty
by: Anonymous

About 3 years ago, at 57 yrs. old, I was driving a flat stretch on the freeway and suddenly became disoriented and gripped with fear as things rushed by at 70 miles per hour. It was like the road kept rising and falling. If I change directions I also get a sense of disorientation and panic will rise. On the open road, I get lightheaded and feel a loss of control with steering the car and keeping it in my lane. I've been driving for 40 years!! The only problems driving prior to this was through very hilly terrain or mountains or high bridges. With my first occurence as noted above the suddenness really shocked me and I had to pull over, start again, slow down and talk myself through that trip for the next two hours. I was disappointed in this change. Now I avoid freeways and chart my course on secondary roads which affects my ability to visit family. It seems 60 is my max speed. I have been to my doctor who prescribed meclizine but that did not really seem to help. I went to physical therapy for vertigo and they told me I did not appear to have an inner ear problem. I am in control, confident and calm person. Driving above 55-60 changes me. I don't want this affecting my freedom. Very discouraging but I will continue to find ways of dealing with it the best I can. My sons and family who live 2 and 3 hours away have been understanding and try to help as best as they can but I really hate being this way. So glad to find this site and see others are affected and what they've tried. Thanks so much.

Struggling
by: Anonymous

I developed this fear in my late 20s and it continues to get worse.. I am now 42. My wife has to drive over mountains. We live in western pa and have found that if I be come familiar With the road... I can drive it... But if I don't know the road and it becomes a hill... I will freeze up.

I went to college in WV and lived a couple years in Winchester va and did not have such a dramatic fear. ( just a little anxiety). However, now it is crippling...

I see a lot of comments...does any one know what can help?


scared to death
by: Anonymous

yesterday my family and I were coming back from a trip. We went through the Great Smoky Mountains. I have a fear of heights. I realized yesterday that my fear has gotten worse. I never drive around mountains but I do like to look at them. Yesterday I think I had a panic attack. I clutched the seat my hands began to sweat. I had to make myself breath. It was a very bad experience. I told my husband that I can't go through the mountains anymore. We will have to take the long way back.

Me Too!!
by: Anja

What a relief to find this web page. I used to drive up and down the freeway for 15 years to work every day without a problem. But last year when my sister was dying and I had to use the freeway to visit her I started freaking out on the big dipper bridge. It used to feel like a fun roller coaster or getting ready to fly. Now it felt like I was speeding out of control and I would just lose it. I'd think it was ridiculous and that I've done this stretch of road for years and keep doing the trip and then wish I hadn't. It's only just started impacting on me, as I'm now planning ridiculous backways etc to get places. I'm only 41 and have young children. I can't imagine living like this for the rest of my life. Someone mentioned antidepressants helped them, maybe I'll give it that a go.

what's this?
by: Anonymous

used to enjoy driving, and we don't really have mountains here. developed this fear out of the blue - don't even remember how or when. steering wheel feels like it's almost too loose to control and the roads start to feel too slippery when a certain angle is reached driving downhill. feel like a headache as if i'm oppressed by something and i have to stop. turning back is usually a problem too as i start to get something akin to vertigo. any cure, please?

name for symptoms?
by: Anonymous

What is this called? I see many many of the exact same feelings, symptoms. Is it anxiety, vertigo??? Ive been to all kinds of drs and am scheduled to get some dizziness tests done! aagugghhhhh

Good luck
by: Robi

Good luck guys. I am shocked to come across this blog as I have never found anyone else who suffers from this. I have tried Hypnotherapy and it did not work for me. I am thinking about trying NLP, there's nothing to loose. I have been recommended beta blockers but I am quite resistant to the idea. Good luck to you all.

I'm not alone
by: Debbie

I'm not alone. Thank goodness for that! It started about 10 years ago for me. I was on a driving vacation with a friend and suddenly discovered that when I was driving down a steep hill, I kept slowing down until I became a danger on the road. Uphill was the same only worse. Because while I'm driving up a steep hill I'm clinging to the steering wheel to prevent myself from "falling backwards!"

In 2011 I went on a driving vacation in the dessert. No issue right? Well the dessert was between Los Vegas and New Mexico and who knew how many times you could be driving along and have to drive thru mountain ranges, over cliffs and thru canyons. We did 2200 miles and I managed to drive 200 of them. And I like to drive!

I keep hoping it will go away on it's own but that's not happening. This site at least has given me a place to start my discussion with my health professionals. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction and giving me a term to use when talking about it.

Me too
by: Betsy

I have had some of the very same symptoms I've read here. I cannot drive at highway speed as I always feel like I need to stop and I find myself slamming on the brakes which always leads to the other drivers going around me looking at me like I'm an idiot. My own husband cannot understand why I take the back roads to go anywhere. I live in the mountains of Pa. right near the Pa turnpike N.E. Extension which is my enemy. We are scheduled to take a trip to the jersey shore this summer and I already am suffering axiety about it. I find mysel visually taking the trip to plan how to avoid all highways and hills. My life has been ruined by this but I am gad to find out this curse has a name. I tell my husband that of all the things that I could be cursed with ,this is certainly not one I would have chosen. I wish everyone who suffers like I do a way out of this nightmare. God bless all of you.

Phobia of driving
by: Anonymous

I got my license in 2003 and I been driving well until 2009. I get so scared when I had to drive in open spaces, around corners and down hill. I cannot even drive on a road that is very long I have to see the end of the road. While driving I fear going to the right so i stay close to the left verge of the road. I have this sudden urge to slam the brakes. Is there any one who can help. I'm staying in South Africa.

driving
by: Anonymous

since few days i am having a problem driving when i am driving i feel like me and the vehicle moving to right side of the road but it is not. it is very difficult feeling and i might hit another vehicle doctor please tell me why

I feel the same way
by: Anonymous

I get scared at the thought of getting in a car and allowing someone else to be in control. This all started in 2001 and got worse from there on. I slowly stopped getting into vehicles. I would walk everywhere and I still do. I feel like I'm on a roller coaster when I'm in a car. I get butterflies in my stomach and I get panic attacks. I feel like I'm going to die. That's a very horrible feeling. I feel like this will never go away. I can't live my life the way I used to and I feel robbed of my life. It's depressing and sad. I wish there was a cure for this.

doctors neen to research this and find a solution for us!!
by: Anonymous - FEMALE - 39YEARS - South Africa

I thought I was the only one who had this sudden problem. Doctors have diagnosed it as depression and put me on antidepressants, Hyper tension tablets and cardicor medication and deep within me I know this is not the correct diagnosis.This problem began 3months after i fell and hurt my tail bone. In 2011 My doctor had admitted me to hospital for this driving problem and did all sorts of tests eg. MRI SCAN,NEUROLOGY TEST, ENT TESTS, and all tests were clear no problem. I cannot drive in open spaces, around corners and down hill. I cannot even drive on a road that is very long I have to see the end of the road. While driving I fear going to the right so i stay close to the left verge of the road. I have this sudden urge to slam the brakes.I get terrified if i see more than 2 cars behind me on the road. I am driving since 1995 and this problem began in 2010. THIS PROBLEM IS RUINING MY LIFE BECAUSE I CANNOT DRIVE MY CAR WHICH I LOVE SO MUCH AND WE HAVE TO BE DEPENDANT ON OTHERS TO DRIVE US. SOMEONE OUT THERE MUST HAVE A CURE FOR THIS. PLEASE HELP. THIS IS NERVE WRECKING.

This is far more common than you know...
by: Anonymous

I have had this problem since 2001. I have tried all sorts of remedies, nothing works other than trying to force myself to drive through bad situations. I even visited Dr. Gresty, who came up with the term "motorists disorientation syndrome", while I was in England.

I am OK now in my regular car on tilting roads, but still avoid freeways. I have problems in my taller LandCruiser on roads with any tilt. Dr. Gresty pointed out that it always seems to be to one side -some people to the right, some to the left, never both and it never switches.

This really affects my life in so many ways, not the least of which is depression. I wish I could find a cure for it.

fear for driving
by: zipho

My husband and I had never drove since we got our licenses 5years and him 4years. We use to take ppls car and move them but that all. We recently bought our car and he doesn't have aproblem. But me I feel so sick my stomach even runs and I won't even sleep thinkink about how I'm going to drive frm home to and fro work. I'm even loosing weight coz I lost apetite . But when I'm driving it takes me about 5mins to get use and ill be fine. The problem is when I am about to drive. I fear that I'm gonna roll on someones car.when is my husband driving. I can't even relax in the car ifind my self coaching him that what he said to me.untill I m out of the car now he doesn't like it becoz I disturb him at some point.I even shake and can't even breath properly the way I feel . Plz help me

motorists vestibular syndrome
by: dillymilly

I real don't think this is a phobia but I too thought I was the only person to experience this. When I am on a motorway I feel as if the road/car is tipping and it's worse on bends. I get disorientated when I have to change lanes or overtake feeling as if I'm going to drive into the vehicle I'm overtaking.
I used to love driving now I avoid speed and motorways and it's really having an impact on my life. I feel totally exhausted at the end of a trip, tense and very anxious. I haven't seen anyone about it but I once took a beta blocker and this seemed to help.
I have so much sympathy/empathy for all you people who have posted. I'm going to try stress counselling. Let you know if it helps.

Severely disoriented when driving long distances and open spaces :(
by: Danielle

I have recently within the past couple of months been experiencing severe disorientation while driving to and fromwork. I started off thinking that it was due to be being tired, but that seemed not to be the case. It has been very difficult to drive and I find myself either continuously braking, driving around 40 mph, or pulling over. It feels as if the car is veering to either side or that the car is falling over when in a curve. It has been so bad here lately that I have had to get my husband to come and pick me up because I felt like I just could not make it home. I talked my primary physician and he referred me to an ENT. I was able to see the ENT and the audiologist tested my hearing and gave me a positional vertigo test, to which I passed all of my testing. The next thing to be done is for them to check the fluid levels in my inner ear. I have looked up Motorist Vestibular Disorientation, but have not found a lot of useful information. I am praying that someone could let me know their outcome and specifically what they had to do and if it was helpful!!! Here's to driving all over the place like I used to and enjoying it :)

Well, what works?
by: Anonymous

I don't know how old these posts are - I'm just finding them on 10/31/12 after another anxiety-filled ride up & down interstate hills. My palms & feet are still sweaty! I was an overall wreck, thought I would fall off the earth or drive down down down to hell, braking every so often all the way down. Dizzy & nauseous on top of out-of-control feelings, nice.

So I'm very glad to find your posts, but what have you done/ what works to correct the problem? The Motorists Vestibular Disorientation Syndrome doesn't fit me exactly although I'll see my doc about that. This site is selling the NLP "cure" - have you done it? does it work?

Is there another forum where you have found more information and help?

THANKS

Hills and open road
by: Ru

My problem began rather suddenly in early 2009 after 19 years of fearless (but responsible) highway driving. I had just moved to a new apartment and there was this chemical odor in the carpet that I could not get out by any means. I could swear my problems began right after I got used to the smell and forgot about it. Funny thing is that the problem seemed to have gone away for a while after I moved out! Perhaps there is no connection...It is all hindsight speculation, and the problem IS intermittent. Shortly after moving in to that place, I had to take a road trip from New York to Central Massachusetts, a trip I could do half asleep in 3 hours time with my eyes almost closed! On the way there I started to feel a tightness in the back of my neck at the base of my skull. I had taken an energy drink and hadn't slept much, but like I said, I had done this trip on zero rest, many times before so I thought the energy drink was making me loopy and so I stopped and took a powernap. I continued and the problem persisted. I thought I was just overtired but I ended up making it there because the terrain changed often. On the way back, it was worse even though I had slept well! Neck stretches, water splashed on my head, chewing gum, drinking alot of water, even smacking myself in the head did not work. It continued to get worse but I noticed it was mainly on UPHILL and DOWNHILL stretches on OPEN STRETCHES of road with no landmarks. The feeling was like being dazed and unsure if I was going up or down hill and feeling like I was going to fall off the earth. I made it home in a most nerve wracking terrified manner and started researching. I thought it was some inner ear problem, and I learned that neurotoxins could be among the causes, hence my theory about the chemicals in the carpet. I have approached it as a type of car sickness or vertigo and learned to ground myself, establish focal points along the horizon, try to keep my eyes moving forward and to the rear and side view mirrors whenever the feeling comes along. Along with that, I remind myself of what I solid highway driver I've always been. I'm really glad someone put a name to this. I hope to get my full confidence back.

How so i prevent it ?
by: Tom

I get this everyday in the car and all my friends mock me over it. Im 15 years old and it started about two years ago. I used to love going down hills and driving fast but now im terrified.

Anyone know a cure?
by: Anonymous

I'm 14 years old and have had this same fear/feeling for at least the last 5 years. When i'm in the car, i feel like i am falling and my stomach drops(like on a roller-coaster) even at a low speed, but worse on the highway/freeway. I don't know what to do and i'm dreading getting my drivers licence. Please Help!

Glad to know there are alot of us
by: Tony

I am a 47 y/o male and I've had Motorists Vestibular Disorientation Syndrome,Visual Vertigo for many years, although I did'nt know what it was and could'nt find anyone else who had it...until this website. I can rappel and have no fear of heights, but can't drive down a mountain...just can't do it without alot of stress. I'm glad to have taken the first step and that's identifying the problem. I notice it's not as bad in a vehicle that has a low profile (BMW, sports car) and newly serviced brakes.

Is there any way to overcome this?
by: Anonymous

This is exactly what's happened to me since I moved to Montana a few years ago. Every time I go over a mountain pass - particularly on the cliff-side descent - my palms get sweaty, my heart pounds, and my vision gets blurred by a field of dots, and I nearly pass out. Yet, I have to make these trips, like yesterday to drop my child off at sleep away camp. On Friday I have to go back to pick her up, and all I can think about is how I'm going to get over that mountain. It's terrifying. I feel like I'm going to lose control of the car and go flying over a cliff. I tap the brakes before each curve and slow down to 40, 30, sometimes 20 mph. I tell myself all the way down, "you can do this, you can do this" and I take deep breaths, so relieved when I reach the bottom. Is there a way to overcome this? I really don't want to die for no reason because I panicked driving down a mountain pass.

Mainly downhill on the interstate
by: Anonymous...see

I just got my Learner's Permit, and I hate it. I always have this same fear of going too fast, mainly downhill. I really noticed it today when I got sick going downhill in a GOLF CART going like 15-20 MPH. I'm really embarrassed and really afraid to drive. What should I do????

Motorists Vestibular Disorientation Syndrome
by: Grateful

Thank you "GrippedWhileDriving" for finding the name ("Motorists Vestibular Disorientation Syndrome,Visual Vertigo) to this new driving disability that many of us have suddenly developed. I've been searching the internet for 9 years trying to find a name for this "disability" that both terrifies and embarasses me. My doctor said it could be "benign positional vertigo" because I've had injury to my inner ear and have mild vertigo, however, there is also a visual element to what I've experienced when driving. I will google the new term and I hope that someday someone will write about (publicize) this disabling experience that has suddenly gripped some motorists who had no prior problems with driving. Thank you!

Just blew an entire trip due to fear of hills
by: Tom

I just came back after only being 80 miles outside of an event in PA after driving 8 hours!!! I couldn't take it anymore the steep inclines were killing me, making me sick, shake with extreme fear and sick to my stomach. I ended up turning around an driving to a hotel for the night due to the extreme exhaustion of both the long drive and the extreme stressful toll that my body had been put through. I absolutely hate this! My palms and feet are sweating even as I speak about it! Totally killed my fun weekend I had planned and I feel like such a loser because of this phobia.

Driving home today was just as awful coming down the huge inclines. The fear of helplessness and that the car will pick up speed and that you'll not be able to stop just grips me with absolute fear! That is why I can't travel to PA and so I missed tis weekend's reenactment because of it... I know those guys will all have fun while I cower at home afraid of the hills of PA and Connecticut...


panic attack driving down hill 60MPH
by: Anonymous

I'm freaked out and sad, I just developed the fear of driving down the hill in the freeway going at 60MPH. Yesterday was the third time that happened so I know the problem is real and not the caffeine nor just a fluke. It's real and reading these comments let's me know I'm not the only one, but it doesn't give me comfort. The feeling is so horrific and terrifying. I'm scared to death I will act out of impulse how I feel when I'm driving down the hill between Sausalito to Tiburon. I feel out of control, like I'm free falling, and I fight the urge to close my eyes, HIT the breaks (in the middle of my lane) and cry cry cry.
The fear of a FATAL ACCIDENT is the only thing that allow me SO HARD to grip the wheel and STAY IN MY LANE, and to "focus" on what my hands and feet are doing. Because I just want to SLAM the breaks! Knowing that all my focus and energy is going to my hands and feet, and not in the road, exacerbates my anxiety. I do hit the breaks slowly all the way down the hill down to 40pmh or less risking that someone might hit me from behind and the feeling is no more comforting. And the whole way down I tell myself "I'm okay, I'm okay, I'm okay; I will be fine I will be fine I will be fine; I have babies, I have babies that need me; This too shall pass; Please please God let me get through this; Steady... steady... steady. Breath, breath, breath; focus, focus, focus. And then Thank God I'm at the bottom of the hill. I've made it!
I have no idea what brought this on. At first I thought it was drinking too many espressos- there were days when I was doing 2 to 4 shots of espresso a day. I've never been in an accident (knock on wood) I learned how to drive when I was 26 I just turned 40, and although I've never learned to love to drive I felt comfortable, and we lived in Marin for about 7 years and I would go back and forth from and to San Francisco all the time without hesitating. There were times when I even loved going down the hill because I would not hit the breaks and I would smoothly sailed through getting home faster. A year ago we moved back to SF, I do a lot of city driving and I'm comfortable.
My kids preschool is in the presidio and there are hills, and there is some construction going around. The speed limit is 20MPH or 25MPH. I always drive the speed limit and there have been times when I'm coming down the hill and there will be a construction truck blocking the road right in front of my eyes (because there's a bend) or a broken down vehicle, or a construction worker on the road. Everytime I have encountered these scenarios, I have Thank God that I'm driving slow allowing me to comfortably stop on time to avoid a fatality and I feel this might have triggered my anxiety now every time I drive down the hill in Marin.
AAAhhh I don't need this crap but I also don't need to kill anyone or kill myself. I never want to drive myself over to Marin

Fear of fast or downhill driving help
by: Anonymous

I'm eighteen years old and would like to learn to drive however my fear of being in a car while it is being driven fast or going down hill has put me off of learning. Much like what others have described when I am in a car that is going fast or down hill I experience something similar to ar panic attack and it's a very uncomfortable feeling and particularly embarrassing if I am on a bus or in a car full of people. It also seems to be getting worst as I experience the feeling even if I close my eyes or even before the car is going downhill as even the thought of it as the car is driving towards the hill I start to feel panic and fear wash over me. This has started to effect my life in a negative way as I have said it has stopped me from driving and I sometimes make up excuses to people as I don't want to go in their cars. Does anyone have any advice on helpingme deal with my phobia
thanks Sophie

Loss of Breath....
by: Anonymous

I actually lose my breath when someone else is driving really fast or down a hill at high speeds. I almost have to stop the driver and have him slow down, otherwise feel I will pass out. I have had this all my life, I am now 44 years old. Anyone else have similar issues? Thanks, Joe

Scared of Interstates and Going Fast
by: Anonymous

Ever since having to drive 11 hours during a hurricane evacuation, I have a fear of driving fast and fear of Interstate driving...I absolutely hate both, to the point of borderline panic attack. I cannot go over 60 mph and even that is too fast for me. 55 mph is a comfortable "fast" speed. Being on the Interstate, whether I'm driving or not, is very stressful, more so when I'm behind the wheel. High bridges also stress me out, most especially when I'm the one driving. I hate this. Is there anything I can do to help ease this fear?

Open space and hills
by: Maxine

My stomach knots so tight when I see a hill or open space on a motorway or dual carriage way I keep breaking and feel like crying.I even stick behind a wagon so I can't see the open road in front of me!! I take back roads now but they seem to be more hilly!! I would love to get my confidence back and feel more at ease when driving. Reading these posts have helped to know that I'm not alone.

phobia of fast motion
by: Anonymous

I'm 64 now and all of my life have had almost a panic fear of riding in a car down hill. If I feel the drivers foot on the brake, exerting some control, it's not as bad. Sometimes I'm okay, other times, it feels like I'm going into a panic, like I'm falling through the air with no control. If I'm driving, the problem is not near as severe. I can control the brake. Some days it's much worse than other days; have no idea why this has persisted all these years.

Part 2: Motorists Vestibular Disorientation Syndrome
by: GrippedWhileDriving

Part 2

It’s true, some of us may just be suffering a panic attack or phobia, but many of us have vision and/or vestibular issues that should really be thoroughly tested and checked out. After learning that this may not all be in my head, I went and had a complete auditory test done. My hearing is fine, but severe seasonal allergies(aka hayfever) do keep my hearing canals inflamed a bit above normal and also cause some increased wax and blockages. Very minor, but a contributor. I also noticed that the problem began after my long distance vision suddenly got much worse. I have always been near-sighted, but now my distance vision is so bad that the difference between my distance and close range vision is very extreme, creating a loss of ability to process visual stimuli at fast speeds while driving. Even with glasses. All of these things are contributing to me losing the ability to processes my physical environment when travelling in a car, and it is intensified in hilly terrain, where a good sense of depth perception is also required. All of these symptoms are so subtle for me that other than my eyesight-- I would never have even given it a second thought. Everyone’s situation is unique, but I highly recommend Googling Motorists Vestibular Disorientation Syndrome, Visual Vertigo, etc. and to get yourself tested. There is treatment. First step is to rule out any degenerative illness of the vestibular system, which often demonstrate no other symptoms. The second to clear up any physical conditions, such as vision, auditory etc. The with that all in check, they use a form of Vestibular Physical Therapy, which consist mainly of desensitization to various trigger conditions. Starting out with mild, static environments, and then working your way up to big triggers such as driving. I am personally still working on correcting my vision. Have been to several optometrist trying to get the right prescription. Looking into multifocal contacts which work better in some cases, as glasses obscure your periphery. Lasik is also an option. Once I have my vision in check I’ll likely look for someone familiar enough with this syndrome to treat it. Will post back if I can give a reference. Good luck everyone. Here’s to one day being able to drive over hills again!! Soon I hope.


It's Called Motorists Vestibular Disorientation Syndrome
by: GrippedWhileDriving

After 30 years of trouble free driving, all over the world, on road, off road, and in every type of terrain and every road condition possible, I suddenly found myself suffering for this problem. It is the most intense when driving downhill and at speed.
I originally posted to this site over a year ago, and have been actively searching for a proper diagnosis. Some are quick to call this a phobia, and treat it like any other type of panic attack or nervous syndrome--and for some this may actually be the case. However for others, including myself, it is a very real physiological problem that then triggers the panic. I have learned that this type of problem does indeed have a name. It is call Motorists Vestibular Disorientation Syndrome. It has many causes, including problems with the vestibular system (ear/balance), problems with the visual system (poor vision, lack of depth perception, etc). Some sufferers who are tested may initially check out fine, not auditory/hearing problems, no severe visual problems, etc. Some may never have had a history of any of these problems. This may lead to a diagnosis of phobia (clinically diagnosed as a form of agoraphobia), however many sufferers simple have suck minor issues in one or more of these very critical sensory interpretation systems of the body that they simple go undetected. If you are having even a small amount of trouble with your sensory perception, then poor vision will exacerbate this problem. The physical imbalances for each of us is unique, but the end result is always the same. A complete inability to process the visual stimuli that is required for driving, which offers only a very narrow field of view, especially going downhill and/or at high speeds.



Part 1 of two (Read Pt. 2 Below)

Speed fear
by: chiara

I am so glad there are others like me out there! I live 20 miles from work, and my son's school is 20 miles from home. I drive to work at 5:30 am, then pick him up from school and then we ride home. I drive about 70 miles a day. In the last few years, I can't drive past 60, I can't drive in the dark, and I get very anxious when someone else is driving. I have reached a comfort zone in my SUV, but when I try to drive a sedan, I feel close to the ground and start getting panic attacks. I NEED to do this amount of driving, or else I wouldn't do it. I don't know what to do! I'm afraid if I try hypnosis, it might actually affect my regular driving performance. I need to solve this problem! Help!

Freak about driving on the crowded highway, I will drive 90 on a back road.
by: Anonymous

I know how this happened....it was 25 years ago, when a guy in a pick up truck came up from behind me going 90 in a construction zone on I-95 in Florida. Since then, I moved to Colorado and I did get back on the highway for a brief time, when I had to do it for work.

Now, I choose to drive the backroads. I am so embarrassed about this. I want to get help. I will drive like a maniac on the backroads - so speed doesn't bother me. Not even cars all around me...what freaks me out is the possibility of a construction zone ahead that I am unaware of.... OR, driving on a highway and knowing I cannot stop!

How do I get help?????

There are so many of us!!
by: rtm

As many of you said, I used to enjoy driving downhill and freeways. Six years ago,during a cross country trip from the east to the west, I started a fear and somewhere in Utahwhen we approached a steep downhill at 75 miles/hr. I put a sudden break out of fear and since then I developed this terrible fear. However, a year after this incident, I went to see a psychiatrist and he gave me lexapro. Within 3 months, I regained my cofidence and stopped taking the medicine. So, for the next 3 years I was alright. Beginning of this year I started feeling that anxiety again, and I have gone back to lexapro. Like last time I regained my confidence in two months,but my psyciatrist wants me to take the medicine for an year. I can drive almost like before although when I approach cliffs, I do have a hesitation for a few seconds. I hope this will help you to know that, you too can regain your freedom if you like to try some medicine.

Highways/ Curves
by: Anonymous

Am relieved to find that other people are sailing on the same boat as me. I am a learner, however, i noticed that i freak out driving at high speeds especially on winding roads on the highway. Just today, i was driving on the highway on the bridge and going down into a curve and i almost got a seizure. I felt as though i was totally going to lose control luckily the instructor held the steer wheel for a min. It was an awful experience. I thought i was the only one. am shocked to hear even people who have been driving for years go through that feeling.

Phew!
by: Anonymous

I thought i was the only one. I developed this phobia too and I so wish there was a cure for it. I am terrified of travelling downwards be it an escalator, lift, etc. I have actually stopped driving because of it. I rarely fly too because when the plane tilts downwards especially at high speeds, I feel like Im going to faint.

What do we do people?

Driving fast & around curves
by: Laft of Caddo Al

When I was 18 I had a tie-rod-end brake on my car while going around a curve. I'm 44 now & driving or riding with someone going around curves totally terrifies me. It feels like I'm going to die. I don't know how to cope & get over it. This is something I deal with on a weekly basis if not more often since I live in the country...I'd love to be able to just relax and enjoy the scenery especially since I live in a beautiful part of the south. I never really considered it a phobia until googling it and realizing I wasn't alone.

Hills
by: Anonymous

I've actually just started having this fear of driving down hills/mountains since this past winter. Even if the roads aren't wet or slick I'm still scared to drive down them. I've always been scared of heights but never while driving unless its over bridges. I'm not sure what happened recently or why but it's soo completely frustrating. I'm hoping that I can get my brain to think differently since it's my brain that got me into this thought pattern in the first place. I will also pray that God make this better for me as well. Glad to see I'm not alone. Best wishes to everyone.....

Need to change
by: Linda

I have read all of these and have to chime in...I am the exact same way and I was not like this before...driving relaxed me...now I am terrified that I will lose control on hills or curves... I don't like being on the freeway if there is a long lane of merging cars coming on going fast. I have recently found out from the eye doc that I have no depth perception. We just went to Tennessee and my husband drove all 8 hours and I feel like such a schmuck...At night it is better...I can't see the high hills and crevices... The more I avoid it the worse it is going to get...

36 and phobic
by: Rachel

So, recently on our way to Aspen from Denver I noticed my palms getting sweaty and was feeling a bit anxious when climbing the mountain to Eisenhower tunnel, so I pulled over and let my friend drive. This allowed me to enjoy the rest of the ride... The view was absolutely beautiful! However, on our way home, it was dark and my friend was tired, so I volunteered to drive. After only a half an hour, I felt nauseated and dizzy, I became really anxious and broke out into a full body sweat. I pulled over at a gas staion and pretty much freaked out and started crying. So, my friend went and got a coffee and drove again. The roads were dark because of the dirty salt from recent snows and he was even having a difficult time seeing the lines of the road. I was a tense passenger for the next hour and a half with my eyes glued to the road, watching for any slick spots that weren't even there. I could see the headlights up ahead far away in the mountains, and I knew we had to go up that high. I became disoriented and couldn't tell whether we were going up or down. I feel like a complete idiot for reacting this way and I am upset that I can't handle this. I've never been in an accident and I consider myself a safe driver. So why after all this time of driving am I wigging out? I don't understand it and it's affecting my quality of life. I feel like I need medication right now! Any suggestions or ideas about what I can do? I have no real fear of heights, but am phobic about driving in snow. However, the roads were clear in this instance. I'm frustrated! SOS

Me Too...
by: Anonymous

About 16 years ago I was involved in a wreck where I hit from the side going through an intersection. Several months after that accident I was driving on a somewhat busy road when I noticed a car on a side road waiting to pull out on o the main road. I found myself noticeably slowing down- worried he would pull out in front of me. That was the first time I felt uncomfortable driving the accident and has escalated. At first I would drive with sweaty palms fearful to go over 35 miles an hour. Then I slowed when I noticed cars waiting to pullout onto the road. Sometimes the problem would ease up. In the past 6 months or so, the problem has intensified. Going down hills or around curves causes extreme apprehension and dread. I end pulling over every 20 feet or less going 10-20 mils an hour which causes me to pull over often because I am afraid someone will hit me. I also brake out of the blue if the car starts to 'excelerate' because I feel like I am going to lose control. I have to leave an hour early for a 5 mile commute because I have anticipate I 'll have to pull over an sit and wait for the road to be clear of cars. Probably like many of you, I plan my route through neighborhoods to avoid the road as much as possible.
I used to enjoy driving now its filled intense anxiety and dread.Has anyone found a program or medication that helps?

I thought I was alone
by: Anonymous

I'm 53 and in great physical and mental health except when driving, or riding, in a car. The first time I felt this strange "panic" was about 7 years ago. First, I thought my car was tipping, then, I felt the fear when I would drive down steep hills that weren't familiar. Later, panic would set in when there was a drop on the right side of the road that was not protected (large gardrail, wall,etc). And, today, I was driving home via the city (I have taken myself off the interstates)and I slammed on my brakes because the road "tilted" to the right for a few yards and I felt I was about to tip over. What's happened to me? I drove down the east coast and back, 9 years ago, at 75 miles an hour! I've been searching the internet for 7 years, trying to find anyone with a similar problem... Who can help? I want to regain my control. Panic crazy.

Gripped With Fear
by: GrippedWhileDriving

I am so glad that I found this site. I have the exact same problem and it's so bad that on a recent trip over a mountain pass I got so gripped with fear that I actually had to pull over and call for a tow truck because I absolutely could not drive any further down the mountain pass any longer. In the end I actually aborted the call for towing and was alble to make it down the hill by shifing in a ridiuclously low gear, driving 5-10 miles per hour and ONLY looking at the center line of the road. I can't belive this is actually happening to me. Like so many others this was nver a problem for me. I am 47 years old and love the mountains. I have driven all over the country and done extensive off road driving never thinking twice about hills or mountain passes. This problem seems to have started a couple of years ago and is no so severe that I have to seek help or find a solution. I do believe it is a form of fear of heights and/or fear of falling that seems to manifest behind the wheel, which may mean that the vehicle is the trigger, causing a fear of falling/los of control of the vehicle. If anyone has found effective treatment for this please post it here for others.

me three
by: Anonymous

okay yipee i thought i was a freak
the first time i ever went skiing was when i first got it
i refuse to go down hills and freakout while crying trying to make it down on skis haha
well now my friend is going to give me snowboarding lesson good luck with that.
does anyone even know the name of the phobia

Phobia of Hills...
by: Andy

Shaun,

I laughed so hard when I read your post that I had tears in my eyes. Not that it was funny, but, just reading descriptive writing of the hills evoked my profound fear, and laughing is my nervous reaction.I have tried to figure it out. Is it a fear of heights? Is it a fear of the force of gravity?

I have tried to no avail to find a name for my fear of hills (I don't mind looking at them at a distance) just going up or down them. I guess at the end of the day, a phobia is a phobia and they are all treated the same way.

Same fear..
by: Anonymous

I have the same fear.. exact fear..

When I was younger (early 20s I would cross the mountains near my home in PA) without issue.. at some point in my mid-twenties I began having this fear..

1. Going down hills.. not always if I know the hill, but always on hills I don't know.. and/or if there is traffic around me.

2. Even light rain.. or snow.. and I can freak out.

At times its so bad I have to pull over and my wife will drive.

Don't understand.

I'm not the only one.
by: Anonymous

I get this too, but not limited to driving. Have since I was a kid. I get the same, terrible, tingly feeling up my spine on amusement park rides, bike riding, even swinging if I go too high. It seems to get worse when there's an up or down motion, like a hump in a ride or a hill in the road. I'm actually very surprised to hear I'm not the only one.

Is there a name for this phobia? What can be done to stop it?

sick and tired
by: Anonymous

I just can't stand it any more but I am afraid to take the first step and just get out on the highway and DRIVE. I am a good driver -- just the fear is in my way. What is the next step?>

me too
by: Anonymous

I also have panic attacks related to fast driving, but usually only when another person is in control of the car. When I'm driving and I know I can stop at any time, I'm okay. When someone else is driving and we enter a highway, I sometimes feel like we're moving too quickly or I focus for an instant on the lines on the road and I get all tense and panicky.

In the dark, if I can't see very far ahead, I have to travel at a slow speed otherwise I can't handle it. I'm astonished to hear that other people have experienced this. Has anyone found a solution?

I thought I wrote this
by: Ashleigh

This has been exactly my problem for the last year. I am trying to deal with it. Never happened before...and I thought something was wrong with my brakes and there was nothing wrong at all...even bought a new car...and the same anxiety and fear happens, especially down long or steep hills...its absolutely terrify and torturous. When I arrive at my destination, I am soaking wet from sweating....I wish I could stop this!

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