Travel phobia is a particular form of anxiety that may occur
after a person has been involved in some kind of accident, maybe
a road or rail crash. They may have escaped physically unscathed
from the incident, however they might well have perceived it as
a potential threat to their well being, physical health or
Anyone suffering from travel phobia is likely to avoid
travelling as much as is possible. If forced to travel by car,
they are likely to prefer to be in control of the car, rather
than be a passenger. During the journey they will be perpetually
alert, scanning the road for potential accident causing
situations. By the time they arrive at their destination, they
are often irritable, tense and exhausted. This only serves to
reinforce the phobic response.
Some individuals will refuse to even travel by car, bus or rail
despite the drastic upheaval this will cause in their day-to-day
lives. This avoidance is one of the reasons phobias are
maintained as the sufferer is not exposed to the situations they
fear and therefore cannot come to terms with their phobia.
Fear of driving or Hodophobia can be triggered by a variety of
different factors and can manifest itself as anything from mild
nervousness to an incapacitating full-blown panic attack. These
responses are learned behaviours and they are all highly
Some people are simply terrified of even being in a car, whether
driving themselves or being driven by others. Perhaps they once
had a panic or anxiety attack while driving and suffer under the
perpetual fear that it will happen again. On the other hand,
they may fear that other drivers are going to lose control.
Many drivers feel comfortable driving on familiar roads, close
to where they live for example, but grow scared that they might
lose control in unfamiliar territory. Others may be happy to
drive on ordinary roads but have a fear of driving on motorways
or dual carriageways.
There are also those who are afraid of getting caught in heavy
traffic, or driving at night or in difficult weather (sleet,
snow or fog) or of driving down narrow lanes.