“Help! I’m Afraid of Driving!” Review of Driving Fear and its Treatment

  • Carolin FischerEmail author
  • Jens Heider
  • Annette Schröder
  • Joanne E. Taylor


Fear of driving is common in the general population and can lead to serious constraints in everyday life. There has been increased attention to this area of research and clinical practice over the past few decades, and a summary of the literature on treatment approaches is timely. This article gives an overview of the current state of research on driving fear and its treatment. First, the main findings about the construct and diagnosis are summarized, including understandings of the epidemiology and etiology of driving fear. Second, existing treatment studies of cognitive and behavioral therapy, virtual reality therapy, trauma-focused and hypnosis-based interventions and treatment approaches using technological aids such as driving-simulators are presented. Until now, no randomized controlled trials (RCT) on the treatment of driving fear have been conducted. Suggestions for future research are made, especially with regard to further exploration of diagnostic features of driving fear and the need for RCTs and robust treatment procedures.


Driving fear Treatment of driving fear Review 


Author Contributions

This research article was written as the first author’s dissertation process. She had the idea for the article, conducted the literature search and data analysis. The other three authors contributed to the writing process, drafted and critically revised the work. All authors contributed to and have approved the final manuscript.


This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of interest

Carolin Fischer, Jens Heider, Annette Schröder and Joanne E. Taylor declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical Psychology and PsychotherapyUniversity of Koblenz-LandauLandauGermany
  2. 2.Outpatient Clinic for PsychotherapyUniversity of Koblenz-LandauLandauGermany
  3. 3.School of PsychologyMassey UniversityPalmerston NorthNew Zealand

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