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

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Feel like I'm gonna tip my car or fall out of it
by: Donna

I recently passed my driving test over 2 months ago and have had my car for 7 weeks today. Now I know some may say because I'm a new driver I'm bound to have fears and the more I drive the more I'll get use to it...NO!
I've been on the motorway 3 times going out of London twice alone and once with a relative. I find when driving early from around 7am I don't seem to panic as much as I would if I had gone any later than 9 I'm a complete and utter nightmare. When driving on a motorway I get horrorified I'm going to crash and urgently need to pull over the hard shoulder. I feel as tho when I'm slowling down before the hard shoulder that I'm going to swerve in the middle of the lanes and cause an accident I'm literally on the verge of tears when driving this happens every time I'm on a motorway. Its ridiculous when doing driving lessons that we get no motorway experience what so ever it's mind boogerling. Another thing I really freak myself out with is when driving locally and there's a bend or a turning my body tends to turn as the car is turning and I feel as tho I'm going to crash or tip or fall out of the car its completely terrorfying. Had anyone else been thru the same thing? Is there a cure.. as I said I know I'm a new driver but I had none of this when doing lessons etc..

MDS - Motorist's Disorientation Syndrome
by: Anonymous

I am going to be 49 in 4 days and I have been driving since I was a teenager. I am the guy that always wants to be behind the wheel when going on road trips with family and/or friends. I have driven across the country six times and really enjoy the open road.

Three days ago I drove 30 miles to meet my son for dinner before it was dark. After dinner it was time to drive home so back on the highway I went. About 5 miles into the drive I started to become dizzy and anxious. It felt hard for me to stay in my lane. Turns were the worst but when cars/trucks would come along side me I also felt dizzy and disoriented.

Long story short, I had to stop over and over again on that trip home and I ended up driving 40mph in the right lane of the turnpike all the way home. I was thinking it was the food I ate or that maybe I was having a mild heart attack. In the three days since I have practically been unable to drive certainly not at night. I had to have my wife drive us home on X-Mas eve and for me to allow that it had to be bad! ;-)

Having read many of the posts here I have many of the same symptoms.

So doing research I believe we all have Motorist's Disorientation Syndrome. I am hoping that one treatment that I saw recommended will help or resolve this issue.

SternoCleidoMastoid (SCM) Massage - Some folks have reported that it has cured them. I just started massaging my own SCM and am keeping my fingers crossed that it will help. Good luck everyone!

Losing control driving
by: Joe V

In the past couple of years I've been have a feeling of losing control driving over bridges and down hill.I feel I'm going to lose control and fall off the road.

Miss Understood
by: Kim A.

I'm happy to see I'm not the only one with this condition. The best way to describe it for me is I feel like I am on a rollercoaster when I'm going down a slight incline. My heart races and I get butterflies in my stomach and I have to slam on the breaks and pull over. It's worse when someone is behind me because it feels like they are pushing me and I am out of control. It's mainly when I'm driving, rarely when others are driving. I am on antidepressants and anxiety medications which don't seem to work for this. People who don't suffer from this condition don't seem to understand so I know that trying to explain what's happening is nearly impossible and kind of embarrassing. I feel like such a wuss asking people to drive me long distances. Someone tell me there's a cure to this soon.

Going around curves
by: Sharon

I am so happy I found this site. I lived in New York for many years. I move 2 Georgia 9 years ago I drove in New York for 18 years with no problem at all. For the first 4 months living here in Georgia I had no problems driving after that the last 9 years I don't know what happened whenever I'm driving I feel like the car it's pulling me to my left especially when I'm going around slight curves and probably downhill also. I feel like I feel like I am zoning all around the steering wheel and if I don't stop I feel like the car is going to tip over with me and it's always to my left never to my right. I have been to doctors and they want to put me on antidepressant medication in which I've been on a few but they never really helped. This situation has had me feeling very crippled I have to depend on people to take me where I have to go. Sometimes I feel like it has something to do with my inner ear or my eyesight. I have never had allergies until I moved here to Georgia. I really thought I was going crazy because I thought I was the only one in this world that has this problem until I started hearing people saying things to me and I read on this site here that they are going through similar situations like Minds.

Never knew there were so many others..!
by: Anonymous

Hey, we could all get together for a reunion or something if we weren't so afraid of driving there. I have not been able to totally narrow my driving phobia down, but maybe in my story, someone can be helped. Mine started when I was 36 years old. Up until that time, I would have driven ANYWHERE. All of a sudden, one day, on my way to a work-related seminar, I had a panic attack on the interstate in between two tractor trailers and it has never been the same since. I am 48. I only take side roads everywhere I go. My first time on a road I am panicky until I get to know it. Until then, hills, driving fast, particularly cresting hills and not knowing what is on the other side, all cause me to become paralyzed with fear, light headed, unable to control my limbs well, and just terrified, freaking out, you name it.

I am now 48 years old. I had hoped in time it would pass or ease up. It eased up some. I can go on short jaunts on the interstate, but not faster than 60 MPH and not on a highway I have not been on before. Additionally, no long stretches. I was diagnosed with agoraphobia by my medical doctor. Stressful situations make it worse. Feeling as if other people have too much control over me makes it worse. Xanax as an anxiety aid worked years ago. I do not take anything, I do not have therapy for this any longer, I just try to keep my stress levels way down. As long as I do that, my road panic does not get so bad.

I am still nowhere near being able to drive to the mountains to see my dad. I wish it wasn't this way. Best of luck to all who read this, and thank you for posting your story - I do not feel so alone.

Fear of driving up high/steep hills or in mountains
by: Judy

I feel glad that I'm not alone. I am surprised so many feel the same way. I can't drive up a steep hill without having anxiety, sweaty palms, shallow breath. Just tonight I had to switch places with my son and have him drive up the hill. Luckily I was able to pull over and change drivers. I wish it wasn't like this. It seems worse since I have gotten older. I am a 53 year old female. Anything high gives me vertigo, whether it is a hill, an open stairway, looking over the edge of a building, sitting up in a name it. I hope that the others who have commented can find some relief...I feel your burden.

I feel like the car is going to tip over and I keep slamming my breaks.
by: Nelly

I am 36 years old and started experiencing similar symptoms for about 2 years now. I feel like the car is going to tip over so I keep slamming my brake. I can only cope with very low speeds and the high way is a no no. This happened suddenly and I have seen many doctors to no avail. The doctors think it's panic attacks and I am currently on antidepressants but have not noticed any improvement after taking it for 2 months. May the good Lord heal us all. I am still believing God for a miracle. I had a check up and changed my glasses but I want to see another ophthalmologist. Good luck to us all.

There is hope
by: John

Hi, my driving phobia started 5 or so years ago. I can relate to everything that has been said. Driving fast especially downhill is the worst for me. Luckely I’ve found Roger Elliot. He is a hypnotherapist he has a hypnosis MP3 to help people deal with this situation. I’ve used his hypnosis program and it’s great.

speed,curves,down hill
by: Elizabeth ngure

Hey am happy to know am not alone in this..i once drove a dead person (mummy)for a long distance for many hours to access a mortury..after that day driving has become a hands sweat,i keep on braking,hidding behind trucks,my hands and legs shake terribly and my heart beats faster...i thought i was bewitched till i found this site today....

Wish I could drive without being sick
by: Anonymous

I am so happy to have found this site. I wish I could just drive without feeling dizzy. I try to not drive (which is impossible) and even when I'm the passenger I'm completely dizzy. I basically can only somewhat control my dizziness while driving if I drive straight don't switch lanes and remain at a slow speed. Driving on the highway is not even an option for me & I'm so depressed about it . When I'm the passenger I just close my eyes sometimes because I feel like that is the only way I can stop feeling like I'm going to crash into something or stop myself from throwing up

by: Anonymous

I have a fear of driving down steep hills and mountains. It's horrible and paralyzing. I plan out trips to avoid hills. I need help with getting over this fear. I have a fear of heights so this could be an effect of that problem. Ironically I don't fear anything else but I'm held hostage to fear of driving downhill. I'm so tired of being scared.

No breath at all, heart pounding really hard
by: Victor

It's terrible...
I don't actually drive, so when my family want to go out to visit friends I usually stay home because of this terrible fear. It seems that I can't trust anyone who is driving.

I feel exactly as many of you guys feel, hands sweating, heart pounding, no breath, blurred vision. After the car get to the end of the cliff, I feel adrenaline. It's so weird.

I really need help, I need people to talk about this and share some experiences and find out a way to overcome this. I'd appreciate that.

Everything thats mentioned i can relate too!
by: Anonymous

I have been driving for 5 years and have enjoyed it untill recently, just got home tonight from what should have been a 3 hour journey took me 5 and a half! I used to be able to drive 70to 90mph on motorways now i can hardly get to 50mph i feel like im losing control of the car.. my hands sweating feel like im on a rollercoaster... breaking when going downhill...cant seem to turn round bends without slowing to nearly a stop, when other cars come up behind me im paralysed with fear and start slowing down even more. Tonight was the worst i have experienced..I am so glad theres others like me..has anyone found anything that helps them??? I really dont know how i will get back home after this weekend!!

Horrible problem with no cure known
by: Anonymous

I am glad that I found this forum. I am 36 years old and have never had issue driving a car. Now all of the sudden, I get this sick feeling like I'm going down on a roller coaster if I'm driving down hill. WTH?! Driving is not like some kind of recreational activity you can just choose to avoid, I need to be able to drive for kids school, activities, work, errands... There's no choice about it, I have to. Every time when this happens while I'm driving, I just feel sick and angry. Why and how did this happen all of a sudden? What's wrong with me. Nobody in my family understand it, and I don't know how to cure it. I hope it goes away soon. If anyone knows that there's something that can help, please let me know.

Fear of speed / travelling downhill / transport
by: Anonymous

I have a phobia of travelling on public transport or in cars with others and sometimes of driving myself.

It is a problem I have only recently been able to share with a few people, but which I have suffered from my whole life, which is why I have questioned if it is a phobia at all or something neurological.

I have only recently started to speak to my GP about it and get other therapy, but nobody understands the problem and I the amount of embarrassment it gives me even trying to talk about makes it even harder to try to overcome.

I have realised that it has totally changed the direction I want my life to be going in and I have missed out on so many life experiences, trips with friends, holidays and work opportunities. It has taken over my life and I would give anything to rid myself of it, so if anyone has any ideas I would love to hear them!

It started when I was a baby. When my parents carried me down the stairs I would tense up and cling to them for dear life (like I was actually falling), this carried on through my childhood but only when going down slides or on fairground rides (which I tried to avoid at all costs). It is still worst of all when going down hill in cars or when a plane is landing. I just feel like I am falling and there is nothing I can do to stop it.

When I started high school I remember getting a lift with my mum’s friend. I felt so out of control that I doubled up (like I was in pain) out of sheer panic. I then wanted to avoid going in cars with friends because of how out of control I felt. This led to having a very limited social life and difficulty maintaining friendships.

This fear developed and involved fear of trains, planes, boats, basially anything that moved that I wasn’t in control of (even lifts and escalators). When I was particularly nervous, it even went on to an intense dislike of even seeing moving objects (cars going past me, repetitive images, repetitive noises) and would send me into sheer panic. The only thing I can liken it to is being on a rollercoaster, tense with fear, but also nearly blacking out, like going into a fit. Sometimes I feel like objects move too fast in front of my eyes for me to process everything and it sends my brain into overdrive. This is why I have wondered if it’s neurological, but my GP has assured me it’s not so they are not willing to look down this avenue.

I am intrigued, but also infuriated by this problem and it is a difficult and lonely process trying to understand and treat it on my own when I am SO embarrassed by it. This is why I am appealing to anyone who has experienced this or knows what it could be to get in touch so that I have some idea what to do next. I have thought that it may be depression-related (when I’m really happy I can rise above it, but that’s not very often) or hormone related (some days I am full of fear, other days I can’t feel the fear at all.)

Thanks in advance!

Good to Know
by: Anonymous

I'm heartened to read the posts here of many who describe what I am going through. I'm reluctant to plan any outings due to my fear of fast driving. It's a bit better when I'm doing the driving but when my husband is driving, I am losing my breath and totally fearful. I never had anything thing like this. It's horrible. Other people do not understand what this feels like.

Possible cure to driving in mountains.
by: Anonymous

Today I faced my fear driving down a steep mountain. 3 years ago my wife and I moved to phoenix. We drove both our ford taruss's to flag staff. We had to drive down 16 miles of 6% grades. I had no worries at that time. We started down the mountain, and i had to hit my brakes hard, because traffic was beside me and the trucker was going slow. After that my card wobbled everytime I hit the brakes. Thankfully i got stopped at the bottom of one section. My car died, and I was totally freaked out. I got my car worked on and had to drive down the rest of the mountain the next day. White knuckled, stressed and completely exhausted. I made it. 3 years i was scared to return into the mountains. My wife's taruss bit it a year ago. So she bought a new explorer with the mountain decelleration package. We just drove across the country to Missouri and returned today. I had no choice to face my fear and come down that mountain once again. My wife drove us. The car literally slowed down comind down the steep grades. I never once got nervous, and enjoyed the scenary. I am believing that I can get back into the drivers seat and drive down mountains once again. Many newer cars have the decelleration packages available! Not sure when this excisted in vehicles. I am much happier and ready to go out to other places to explore in more mountains! Hope this can help some of you!

Out of control
by: Anonymous

I never used to be this way, but over the last few years I have had a problem that is steadily getting worse. When another person is driving & we go around bends in the road I become an anxious mess. I get heart palpitations, sweat,
most of the time I let out a screech because in my mind I am sure we are going to crash. It is absolutely horrible. Last night was the worst. It has become almost unbearable at night. The darkness messes with my eyesight & I can hardly stand it. I cried & clenched my hands the entire trip. I am much better driving myself but even then I do get a weird vertigo feeling sometimes when I am driving around bends. I feel so weird about this & don't know what to do.

You are not alone
by: Anonymous

I am so sorry you are dealing with this. I realize a lot of You have had accidents in the past that may contribute to the anxiety while driving, but please do yourself a favor and get eyes and ears checked. The anxiety actually follows the dizziness in my case, not the other way around. i was a truck driver for over a decade. loved driving cross country with friends. Would get in my car for a scenic drive, to listen to music or just get away. For the past year i have felt complety trapped, unable to drive anywhere without such intense dizziness that it feels you will go unconscious. the first time it happened i had my two children in the back seat on the highway and had to pull over couldnt move. My husband had to come get us, and drive me around all year. I found out that it was from two different vestibular disorders that occurred at different times that year. My system adjusted to the disorders and I had to go to PT to try and right my system. PT for your inner ear sounds ridiculous, i know. but I am finally driving short distances. Terrifying at first because that dizziness can cause absolute fear and panic. Still can't do highways or fast speeds- need to keep doing the exercises (which make you feel pretty bad at first too but stick with it). I just keep telling myself "get your freedom back". I still need to get my eyes checked but one problem at a time for now. I wish you all the best. You can find a way to fix it- try different doctors too. It's so terrible to live that way and have no control or freedom.

feel sick after driving on a motorway
by: Anonymous

I have just driven on the motorway for the first time I went from hull to Bradford at it seemed to be going okay but now I'm home I feel sick and very dizzy this was over three hours ago what's wrong with me

drive phobia
by: Lati

I read recently that Lupus can cause fear, I have Lupus and started feeling so scared to drive with normal speeed so I am going to check with my doctar if Lupus has to do with the fear I have.

Driving downhill my downfall
by: Anonymous

Ive been driving for 22 yrs and always prefer to be the one behind the wheel. On a recent vacation to the beach with the family, I found out that driving downhill on I77 southbound past the wv/va line, that a very cool view happens. At least the wife and kids think so. They all are excited to look down this cliff, as i call it, I look, and i instantly get dizzy. Not sure if its that the northbound lane with cars going the other way that are part way down this hill, or the curves and traffic at high speed, but i now know why they say white knuckle driving. It seemed like forever to get to bottom of that. Weird thing is, while driving back home, got to same spot, and no problem at all going up hill. Back to normal routine now and no problems, but my wife will take over the driving of that section of road next time.

by: Síle

Hurray I don't feel so odd- I'm not aggro phobic so could never engage with their problems- but Jesus motorways and the highs and lows and the unknown FREAK me out - so glad to find this group- I'm sort if Norwalk-yessss - ideas to overcome this yes please!! U avoid and add mega mikes to my travels

Only Goin Downhill
by: Tesla

My problem is goin downhill and downhill only, I can't watch the road or anything when it comes to bein in a vehicle with people and I'm not driving. According to my father, my mother was in a wreck when I was a baby, there were no hills, but it felt like I was goin downhill. Ever since then I've been terrified of goin downhill, including when the person is goin the speed limit. I'm 21 and I'm starting to think I'll never be over this fear of goin downhill before I get my license. How does someone conquer this fear??

Vacations are hard to plan
by: A.M.

I too have a horrible fear of falling off cliffs. No windy roads or sharp curves & the worst ever are roads without barriers. I used to drive OK on small hills (like Santa Cruz). We want to take a vacation for a few days and so many parks sounds lovely, but all up in mountains. I don't think this fear will subside. I also do much better when I am driving (control issue I guess).

by: Anonymous

Great to know that other people have this problem but does anyone know of a cure that works?

My wife thinks I am mutating
by: Mr. Funt

I first experienced this horrible feeling when my wife and I drove to Las Vegas from Los Angeles at night time. At first I thought it was due to the fact that I was driving at night time and that I was driving an SUV. When I started slowing down, my wife asked me if I was ok and started laughing out loud saying that I was beginning to mutate.

Me too, please help
by: Anonymous

My past 2 long car journeys whilst I have been driving have resulted in me feeling like I am going to tip over. I get panicked and feel like I'm leaning in my seat. This causes me to really slow down when I reach a corner to the point if being dangerous, once it starts it hard to get rid of it until I completely end my journey. I'm so scared of feeling like this

After 20 years I found a cure
by: Anonymous

1/25/2014 Like many have described I had the problem of "vertigo" when driving in the mountains. The feeling of panic was overwhelming. After many MD's and specialists I pretty much came to the conclusion it was mental. I tried a physiologist but that didn't help either. I just happened to mention my problem to my new Optometrist. He said simply "Oh I can fix that". His thing is called "vision training" but I think it may go under names too. My understanding of the general idea is that there are many other parts to the process of seeing, not just the part that glasses fix. There is the whole process of the how the brain assembles and processes the image. My problem was convergence insufficiency. There are many other conditions; VT can also help kids with reading/comprehension/etc. Through simple classroom exercises the problem was fixed. It is simply a miracle. Try to find optometrist in your area who knows something about vision training. I put a date on my post so you will know this is current. If you have questions I will watch this post and reply. Good Luck

Hope someone finds an answer
by: Anonymous

So happy I'm not the only one. Just wish someone had an answer. Has anyone tried anti anxiety meds?? This phobia is killing my life. I starting to feel trapped. I wish you all the best.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Had it But Cured It
by: Anonymous

I was so thankful to find this thread as overnight I developed this driving fear known as Motorists Vestibular Disorientation Syndrome. I felt I was being pulled by something and that I would drive over the side of the road. I also felt that the car was going to turn over. I over corrected by driving on the wrong side of the road which was terrifying. This mainly happened on high points in a road or the open highway, never in town. It was even happening to me when others drove so I had to hide my eyes and grit my teeth.

Everything I read about it said it was incurable which freaked me out as I am in the car a lot and live outside of town. It would mean big changes in my life to not be able to drive. Anyway I kept thinking of triggers and realized I had stopped taking my migraine tablets 3 weeks prior. The tablets were Sandomigrain. I asked the pharmacist and he said they have a half life so could present withdrawal symptoms 3 weeks after finishing. Anyhow I thought there was hope so started taking them again. This morning has been 2 days and I did not freak out when someone else drove me so I had a go and had no problems at all. I still have not driven on highway as I can feel a bit of fear left over from the memories of the feeling but I think I will be fine as I specifically drove on some higher points that were freaking me out prior and had no problems. Maybe some of you stopped taking medication that is taking a while to kick in. I hope you all find a cure because I was so scared about not being able to drive and feel your pain. Hope my post has helped some of you.

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?


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 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.

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.

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 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


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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