How to Overcome the Fear of Driving in the Rain
It is not a secret that the fear of driving is one of the most common conditions out there. It comes from numerous roots, mostly revolving around negative thoughts and emotions. If you suffer from driving anxiety, chances are you have another phobia of some kind. It could be related to a fear of open spaces (claustrophobia) or a fear of driving over bridges.
Oh yes, let's not forget one of the most common variations is the fear of driving in the rain. And this one is justified. While we are not saying that you shouldn’t go out when it is rough weather, there are specific facts that make driving in the rain much less safe than on a hot sunny day.
Still, if this is the reason to put out the white flag, then you shouldn’t have gotten that driving license in the first place. There are a number of solutions to this problem, but the first step to how to overcome the fear of driving in the rain is accepting and addressing the issue.
In this case, we are talking about understanding that lousy weather comes and goes, but that shouldn’t make you give up driving in total. It is one of the most valuable skills there is. If you were to cut yourself from the most efficient land transportation method, then it would be nothing but your loss.
Therefore, in order to prevent this from happening, you need to find the root of the problem and learn to cope with that fear. We have prepared a few tips and tricks on how to do it, so let’s go ahead and take a look!
Why Does Fear Of Driving In The Rain Appear?
As we have mentioned above, there are numerous causes of driving anxiety with some being related to past traumatic experiences, and others to negative emotions and thoughts. Now, if we are talking about the particular fear of driving in the rain, it is quite safe to say that it is due to you not having enough confidence in yourself. We know it sounds ridiculous, but on the other hand, it is perfectly normal, especially if on a regular hot sunny day you don’t have a problem stepping on the gas.
You are not to blame. Snowy or rainy weather is not the most preferable of conditions to drive in, which is the reason why your best bet might be to stay home and wait for it to pass. On the other hand, what if there is a big event coming up that you simply can’t miss? Well, in that scenario, you will have to get behind that driving wheel and show the world that you are bigger than your fear.
Now, there are a few things to understand in order to move on and cope with your fear. First of all, while the possibility of losing control while driving in the rain is perfectly realistic, it most likely will not happen as long as you take certain safety precautions. Due to the fact that on a rainy day the road will be more slippery, chances are you will need to focus more and stay in the present moment.
What this means is turning off any kind of electronic device, including your radio. This will allow you to be completely aware of what is happening on the road and prevent any form of distraction; you will be able to focus on nothing but your skill. Once the rough weather has passed, you can comfortably turn the music back on and enjoy your ride.
Another important point is that most drivers fear collisions when driving in the rain, but the fact is that in such weather, traffic jams are going to be unlikely. This is of course if we are not talking about the early morning or afternoon when everyone is going to work or coming back home. But the fact that there are going to be fewer drivers than on your regular day should give you more confidence that a chance of a catastrophic scenario is less likely.
The last common cause of why you have driving anxiety is due to the particular fear of rain. Most people associate rain and rough weather with danger, which is why your brain creates a synapse, and once it connects driving and rain, it gives you a no-no signal. The whole idea here is that while you remain cautious and follow specific safety concerns, you will realize that driving while it is raining doesn’t require much more skill than if you were out on a regular daily practice.
The Symptoms Of Fear Of Driving In The Rain
Before we get into ways to solve this common issue, it is important to detect the specific symptoms that allow you to recognize that you have a fear of driving in the rain.
Now, the first hint are behavioral red flags. Here we are talking about patterns such as avoiding going out in bad weather or waiting till it goes away, even if you are late to that important event or meeting because of it. Also, it could involve you making irrational decisions such as taking the bus or walking on foot, even when the car would clearly be a safer and more efficient method. Last but not least are panic attacks, which are a part of the physical symptoms experienced.
When it comes to physical clues that you have driving anxiety, we are talking about sweaty palms, high levels of perspiration, difficulty breathing, nausea, and dizziness, as well as mumbled talking and uncontrollable shaking and tremors. All of these symptoms are clear signs that you may have a fear of driving in the rain, and that it is something to be addressed as soon as possible.
But how can you do it?
Once the root cause of the fear has been determined, it is all about accepting the problem and moving on to adequate therapy. Therapy either involves group sessions, chatting with your therapist in private, or directly facing the fear through exposure and imagery sessions.
How to Overcome the Fear of Driving in the Rain
Now, there are a few essential strategies that you might want to consider in order to become a better driver in rainy conditions. Our first strategy involves exposure to your fear. You should go about finding an experienced driver, whether it is a relative or a friend and letting them drive with you in the car. If they are comfortable and skilled driving in these conditions, all that you have to do is carefully follow their tips. And be sure to take notes in order to better cope with the bad weather the next time it comes around.
Once you have regained your confidence, it is time to give yourself a go. Still, we do recommend that this is done in the presence of someone experienced who can instruct you on how to effectively handle a storm and go through this experience without a panic attack. Do you know what the worst strategy of all is? Yes, you have guessed right – avoiding driving until the bad weather is gone.
Apart from this, there are a few other tips that you might find handy in order to cope with and overcome your fear. First of all, it is all about practicing meditation and mindfulness while you are driving in the rain. You can use guided meditation in order to get a hold of the good mantras that you need and thus establish your confidence and calmness.
Repeat sentences such as “I am driving in the storm because I am confident and I have a driver’s license,” or “I am driving in the rain because I have the same confidence as when driving on a sunny day.” This positive reinforcement should help create a positive association with driving (no matter the weather) in your brain. So, the next time it rains, you will be giving yourself the green light to get in your car and have a pleasant experience.
Along with positive self-talk, other good practices are focusing on proper breathing and playing some relaxing music even if we suggested that it is best to stay away from any distractions. Oh yes, if none of these seem to work, you might try your chances with hypnosis or high-intensity exposure therapy, but that is a story for a whole nother article.
The Desensitization Process
As always, we like to emphasize the key to overcoming any fear is desensitization. Now, it is not as complicated as it seems. In fact, it involves behavioral tricks and exposure therapy that will lead you into regaining confidence and finally overcoming your fear of driving in the rain. You should be starting off by playing movies of people sitting in their car or driving in the rain. This way, you will trick your brain into understanding that it is perfectly safe and normal behavior.
Once you are comfortable with that, it is time to move a step further by getting into the car yourself and enduring a storm or heavy rain without driving the vehicle. When you are comfortable with that kind of experience, call in a favor from your friend or a family member and ask them to start by driving you through mild, rainy weather. Drive for a short distance and move on to a longer distance as you get more comfortable. After that take a car ride in heavier snow or rain.
When you have finally developed a sense of understanding, and you recognize that driving in the rain doesn’t differ that much from a regular dry day, it is time to get behind that wheel. Once again, start by going short distances in mild weather. As your confidence increases, move on to driving in heavier rain and for longer distances. Over the course of a few weeks, you will be confident in your ability to drive safely to that important far-distance event, even when the weather is not your favorite.
Replace Anxiety With A Positive Mindset
As we have mentioned above, it is all about replacing the anxiety and overwhelming fear with a positive mindset. In our opinion, it is something that you can do on your own, but if you feel like it, feel free to seek the help of professionals. They may instruct you on the essential techniques and methods on how to cope with the anxiety and connect with positive suggestions rather than negative thoughts and emotions.
The whole idea is to achieve inner calm and actually learn to enjoy the entire experience of driving in the bad weather. This is why meditation and mindfulness are great, as these practices teach us to appreciate the present moment and live with it. Instead of trying to find a solution on how to escape it, roll with the current situation and get the most experience out of it. Driving in the rain is the perfect example of how a seemingly catastrophic scenario can turn into something perfectly normal and enjoyable.
It is perfectly normal to have some kind of presumption when it comes to driving in the rain, but there is no need to predict an adverse scenario before you even set foot in the car. There are numerous reasons why driving in the rain can actually be safer than on your regular traffic jam day.
This is the reason why you should address the existing driving anxiety and gain back your skills and confidence. By following the methods mentioned above and having a supportive group of people around you, fast progress is sure to come.
And remember - there is nothing to be ashamed of. With the high accident rates that occur in the rain and other bad weather conditions, it is hardly surprising that you may have a fear of driving in the rain. But with the above methods, you can slowly start working your way through the problem to get you back on the road without feeling afraid or anxious.