Well, some of the main symptoms are becoming lightheaded, with sweaty palms, dizzy and with your heart pumping adrenaline like an overdosed drug addict, especially while driving a car. These signs are usually symptoms of Panic Attack While Driving, also called driving anxiety or anxiety when driving.
One important thing to understand is that anyone driving a car, pretty much any type of car, on any road, at any time, can experience this - it happens pretty much suddenly, with very little forewarning.
A few tips on how to deal with your driving anxiety and what to do when it happens - and before it does, along with listing of useful books and places to visit that will help
Panic and anxiety is not something a person has to live with for the rest of their lives, and even if it does come back now and then, its occurrence will definitely be minimized to a level that is much easier to bear - until one day you realize that you haven't had an attack in ages.
What is common in many cases is a strong memory of a driving accident - the person doesn't need to have been driving, it was enough to simply be in the car as a passenger.
At times symptoms of post traumatic stress can manifest themselves as driving panic attacks. Or the fact that the partner has just passed away, or a nasty divorce has just gone through...there are any numbers of triggers for it. It can even manifest itself when the person moves to another location.
Or jus the natural fears of icy blizzard conditions.
Great Book: How to Stop Anxiety & Panic Attacks: A Simple Guide to using a specific set of Techniques to Stop Panic Attacks, Agoraphobia, Social Phobia, Fear of Driving or Flying and Stress Paperback
by Geert Verschaeve
# Listen to music you enjoy to help ease the stress of driving, and take your mind away from the possible stress. Also it is important because you are falling back to known ground, to what you are familiar with, and this is important when having driving panic attacks on the highway.
# Have some fruit or light snack around to give your body something to do besides release adrenaline into your body.
# Don't think about the action of driving the car. This is very important. Don't focus on it!
Look out the window at the scenery; look over the car directly in front of you.
# If you have a car radio, search for some interesting music channels, or put on a CD, or an audio book, to take your mind away from the thought that you're driving a car.
# Have always a cell/mobile phone with you, it will give you a sense of security and safety. It's amazing how much we got to rely on the cellphone these days. Put this to your advantage!
# First thing, pull over. You will know the first signs of a panic attack, as they usually are accelerated breathing and heart beat. Get out of the car and walk around a bit, take a deep and slow breath, one at a time, slowly, until you have calmed down.
If you can't get out of the car (not optimal conditions on the road), then recline your seat, close your eyes and focus on calming yourself down.
# Have a bottle of water with you in your car. Although I am usually against it, in this case, if you feel a panic attack coming on while you are driving, you can either take some anti-anxiety medication or just drink a bit water, to calm down those rapid heart beats.
# Have soothing music in your radio, or have a CD handy with reiki, healing, soothing music, and make sure it's turned on when you feel a panic attack is on its way. Try to listen intently to the music, focus on it and just breathe deeply and slowly.
# Have a brown paper bag in your car in case you hyperventilate (for emergency breathing help)
# Don't try to fight it! Be aware that you are experiencing a panic attack, and know that it will pass.
# Take deep slow breaths. Imagine yourself going in slow motion. If you are going in slow motion (even if in your mind), you won't be hyperventilating, which just fuels your anxiety.
# Use the following affirmations:
"I am a competent driver and always arrive at my destination safely."
"I am calm, alert and in full control while driving."
The Clark Institute: Private Practice Psychotherapy
for Children, Adolescents, and Adults
Human Resource Associates
Matthew Clark, Psy.D.