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Amaxophobia – the Fear of Driving or Being a Passenger in a Car

Although some people assume that it lacks an official name, Amaxophobia, which is the fear of driving or being a passenger in a car, is quite common and may be either mild or severe.

Some individuals are afraid of only particular driving situations, like driving on a freeway or in storms, while others are only afraid of sitting behind the wheel.

Other Phobias that may trigger amaxophobia

Often psychiatrist and other mental health professionals can link other phobias to the fear of driving, mostly one or more of the following:


It is common for fear of driving to be associated with agoraphobia. In case you don’t know what agoraphobia is, it is loosely defined as the phobia of being trapped.

When a panic attack happens in the case of agoraphobia, it prompts people to avoidance situations that make them feel threatened. Driving is one of the leading clusters in which agoraphobia exhibits itself.

Bridges, tunnels, and long deserted roadways are especially tricky for many people who have agoraphobia.


Sometimes, people call fear of driving claustrophobia, but that’s wrong. Amaxophobia can sometimes be related to claustrophobia.

A widespread phobia triggered by being in enclosed spaces, claustrophobia can happen quickly in the relatively small confines of a car.

Some people who have claustrophobia have reported having worse fears as passengers, while many others are more scared of being the driver.

Performance Anxiety

Driving is a very serious responsibility. Not only must a driver manage his or her safety, but he/she must think of the safety of other passengers, pedestrians, and other road users.

People who have from stage fright or other fears related to performance may not be comfortable putting their trust in their driving abilities. The fear may be increased when there are passengers with them, particularly for people with social phobia.

Fear of Accidents

people who have dystychiphobia, also known as the fear of accidents, do all they can to avoid situations that put them at an increased risk of physical danger.

Also, a more general risk aversion may heighten the fear. As a risky activity, driving can potentially trigger some risk-based phobias.

Fear of Travel

The phobia of travel, known as hodophobia, encompasses a dread for all forms of transportation. A lot of people who have this phobia do not have any problems driving to familiar locations but will never make attempts to explore new routes or destinations.

Fear of Authority

A feeling of nervousness when around authority figures is a natural occurrence, but some people are profoundly terrified of any form of contact with authority.

Individuals who have this phobia are often scared when driving around fire trucks, police cars, or ambulances. You may also be somewhat reluctant to negotiate unfamiliar traffic lights, roundabouts, and some other traffic situations out of fear of doing something wrong.

Simple Driving Phobia

It is not all the time or in every case that the fear of driving is linked to another phobia.

Countless people have a pure fear of driving that is not complicated by other phobias. Other factors can cause a simple driving phobia, including:

Bad Experience

For people who have been in a car accident or seen one happen, they may stand an elevated risk for suffering fear of driving.

Some other potential triggers of Amaxiphobia include getting lost, being pulled over, driving through a major storm, or driving in very heavy traffic. The adverse situation doesn’t need to happen to you.

Witnessing a fatal crash in person, watching one on television, or having a close friend or family who went through one, maybe enough to cause this fear.

Family or Friends

How your friends and parents treat driving and other things vehicle related may influence what you think or how you feel about it. If both parents or even one of them are particularly cautious drivers, it is not rare for kids to internalize their concerns.

Some individuals develop a phobia after watching explicitly gruesome drivers’ or other scary accident videos.

Some driving phobias do not have a clear cause. Some people have discovered that their fear shows up suddenly, after several years of successful driving experience.

Some others never have the interest to learn how to drive. Fortunately, it is not essential to find the root cause of a phobia to have it treated.

Treating Driving Phobia


It is always the best bet to seek the help of a professional when it comes to treatment for any driving phobia.

This is to ensure that another illness or mental health issues, such as claustrophobia or agoraphobia, are not there. If left untreated, what may seem like a relatively mild fear of driving may get worse over time.

There are a few treatment options for Amaxophobia. However, simple driving fears run the gamut from one-on-one therapy sessions to several seminars, some group exposure sessions, and even psycho-educational classes.

Exposure therapy may be an excellent way to defeat this phobia. Some individuals have found that working with a personal driving instructor can be of great help, and also complement mental health treatment solutions.

Though not as popular as other phobias, the fear of driving can cause some major negative impact on almost all areas of your life. With some hard word and professional assistance, however, there is not a single reason to let your fears take control of your life.

Leave a comment below if you have any questions or suggestions.

Emmanuella Ekokotu
Ekokotu Emmanuella is a sociologist and Anthropologist, writer, and fashion model who lives in Benin city, Edo state,Nigeria.

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