June 8, 2023

Professionals Convey to Us Their Suggestions for Teenagers with Driving Stress

There is a new epidemic declaring the lives of teens throughout the nation, and it is not what you would anticipate. It is not alcohol or medicines, or even crime that is liable for about 300,000 emergency place visits each and every calendar year. The foremost lead to of dying for U.S. teenagers is a motor auto accident, according to the Facilities for Condition Control and Avoidance (CDC). Each day, 6 teenagers concerning the ages of 16 and 19 years outdated die from crash crashes.

Study also reveals that teenager driver anxiety could be to blame.

Teenagers and driving anxiety

Driver anxiousness is a typical affliction for a lot of People today, but it can be incredibly tough-hitting for teenagers who have minor working experience to drop back again on. Navigating America’s chaotic roadways is challenging sufficient for the mature driver, but it can be downright terrifying for teens.

Driver nervousness is a specialised kind of anxiety marked by periods of pain and pressure, with signs and symptoms various in severity. Some indicators, like an excessive worry assault, could pose a major risk of injury to both you and the drivers around you. Some men and women may well stay away from driving altogether to avoid these damaging thoughts and, really perhaps, a adverse outcome when behind the wheel.

We seem to the specialists to see best methods for living with and conquering teen driver anxiousness on the highway.

What the specialists say

According to the authorities, teen driver nervousness is on the rise.

“I have found much more and a lot more kids and adolescents with stress and anxiety disorders, which might be thanks to a selection of good reasons. Teenagers and millennials face a escalating number of stressors together with school demands, financial troubles, navigating social media, a 24/7 information cycle and growing publicity to panic-provoking visuals and media.” – Dr. Laura Ready, Psychiatrist, Children’s Countrywide Hospital.

And, though she acknowledges that more mature adults also deal with numerous of the very same stressors, she reminds us that these adults “are additional probable to have a life span of expertise with developed coping expertise to help mitigate people stressors.”

Just before mom and dad can help, however, you must 1st know how to identify the signs of anxiety.

Signals of panic

A person space of confusion is the sheer number of anxiety ailments that are present today.

“There are different types of nervousness disorders, ranging from generalized panic dysfunction to obsessive-compulsive problem to social stress and anxiety condition,” Dr. Ready describes. “Each dysfunction has a different established of signs or symptoms.”

These are some indications that your teenager is encountering driver stress.

Indications of Teen Driver Nervousness
Extreme fear
Lack of ability to control fear or anxiousness
Preventing school or other typical actions
Disruption of daily functions
Abnormal fatigue
Edginess and irritability
Trouble slipping asleep

Erica Curtis is a accredited marriage and relatives therapist and the award-profitable author of The Innovative Mother or father: Increasing Connected, Joyful, Effective Children Through Artwork. She clarifies how teen driver panic can impression the healthful progress of quite a few teenagers.

“At a minimum amount, driver anxiety could limit social and function solutions. At worst, driver stress could generalize to anxiousness about going to new locations or engaging in modern society. Driving stress may possibly intensify in teens who do drive, as they might start off to come to feel nervous about getting nervous though driving (or even though undertaking particular operations this kind of as driving on the freeway or above a bridge). This could develop these kinds of an overwhelm that the driver encounters a panic attack whilst on the street, which is not only scary but unsafe.”

Some mothers and fathers may well also find that their teenagers have repeated excuses when it arrives time to apply driving or have no authentic excitement in excess of acquiring one’s license. Some others might prefer to trip with a guardian or with buddies alternatively than understand to drive themselves.

Gurus enable us establish how driver anxiety can impact teenagers in distinctive ways.

Stress and anxiety

Stress and anxiety is a little something that Dr. Deirdre Narcisse, Psy.D., a scientific psychologist at Montclair Point out University, claims is especially commonplace among today’s younger grown ups, with the Stress and Despair Affiliation of The us reporting that about 8% of children and teenagers practical experience an stress and anxiety ailment.

Curtis has found it in her have knowledge. She shares, “There has been an uptick in anxiousness in typical among the teens (despair as properly) around the previous fifteen several years or so. Close to 1 in 3 teens struggles with an nervousness condition today. People who have experienced a distinct, adverse knowledge on the highway may perhaps also unconsciously affiliate driving with the fearful inner thoughts they skilled throughout the past incident. Even seemingly unrelated traumas can exhibit up as distinct anxieties about driving if there are even vague similarities.”

Dr. Narcisse echoes that sentiment. “With stress, the a lot more we steer clear of what would make us nervous, it can exacerbate the situation. To dissipate, you require to offer with it.”


Dealing with emotions of anxiety is just the reverse of what some teenagers do, according to South Florida psychologist Dr. Steve Seay. He clarifies that in some cases driver stress can be expressed in outright avoidance for teenagers when it will come time to get powering the wheel.

“Many young, suitable motorists simply just do not recognize that their driving fears are driven by an nervousness disorder, and they pick out to forgo taking their driving checks simply because of panic. Frequently, their parents never ever even know that nervousness is a factor in their driving avoidance.”

Don’t suppose your teenager is nervous about driving merely because they are unmotivated to generate. Lack of drive can be a sign of nervous avoidance, but it could also stem from other beliefs or thoughts these as environmental worries, the hard work demanded or experience overwhelmed because of to other tasks.”

In its place, she suggests, question open up-finished inquiries about their feelings, emotions, and beliefs about driving.


Teen driver anxiousness can manifest alone in other techniques, says Dr. Fredric Neuman, Director of the Anxiousness and Phobia Clinic. He identifies driver anxiety as a particular ailment referred to as vehohobia and warns that driver stress could also be expressed as agoraphobia. The very best way to deal with these fears, he states, is to confront them specifically.

Continue to, it can be very discouraging to wishful moms and dads who want their kids to encounter the independence and advantage of driving.

Says Seay, “Never panic, although. If you or your little one has abnormal driving-connected anxiousness or driving fears, there IS successful therapy obtainable.”

Aiding teens cope

Just since a teen is anxious about driving currently does not necessarily mean that it is a lasting affliction that your teen have to battle forever.

“Helping our teenagers and millennials build the applications to understand, system and cope with these stressors is an vital phase in combating anxiety and tension,” explains Dr. Keen.

Teenager driver stress can effortlessly and correctly be dealt with in various means, these as these.

Produce a plan

Dr. John Duffy is a psychologist and author of the very best-marketing guide Parenting the New Teenager in the Age of Anxiousness. He stresses the significance of producing a routine, a thing he suggests to his purchasers.

“The adolescents I’m functioning with who are wholly unstructured are listless, anxious and discouraged, and no one desires to sense that way. Even if your teenager opposes a rigid timetable, it is a good concept to have them settle into a regimen that is effective for them.”

Consider coping mechanisms

The use of coping mechanisms is one more way to assist teens obtain tranquil powering the wheel, suggests Dr. Inclined. “There are a good deal of excellent coping techniques that perform nicely for little ones and teens with anxiety,” she suggests.

She indicates the pursuing tactics:

  • Deep respiration
  • Progressive muscle leisure
  • Grounding methods
  • Mindfulness

Dr. Eager also endorses the use of distraction strategies. “Distraction strategies can include things like a range of activities like work out, listening to new music and producing artwork,” she states. “Rehearsing and working towards in advance of an nervousness-provoking undertaking can also support minimize anxiety and boost a perception of preparedness and self-efficacy.”

Use useful expertise

Dr. Keen implies employing functional skills to beat teen driver stress. She explains, “Practical skills these as using a calendar for preparing in advance, breaking massive jobs down into scaled-down jobs and having breaks in involving pursuits can aid lower nervousness and worry from frustrating obligations.

Give reminders

Elise Aronov, MSW, is a clinical social employee with relatives techniques in equally New York Metropolis and New Jersey. She suggests that mom and dad remind teenagers why a driver’s license is important in the extended run. It can go significantly past a easy journey to school or perform and can instead serve as a existence-conserving transport if an older relative or mate has an emergency.

Nevertheless, Dr. Aronov suggests, be careful not to utilize pressure. “Say, ‘You don’t have to travel. You can get your license and not use it proper absent. [But] it’s very good to have selections.”

Be arms-on

“Parents are their teens’ No. 1 driving teacher and coach, but they normally really do not understand this or seek out supplemental guidance,” describes Pam Shadel Fischer, a teen driving protection specialist with the Governors Freeway Safety Association (GHSA).

“As a father or mother, it’s crucial to ensure your teenager is driving a secure vehicle, that you are proficient about your state’s teenager licensing demands and the regulations of the street, and that you request out sources to support you assistance your teenager driver create skills. This is significant as engineering, licensing and driving regulations and ideal procedures continue to evolve.”

Teenagers can also profit from job model actions. “It’s significant to product conduct that will assuage your teen,” Dr. Narcisse reminds mothers and fathers. “Demonstrate positive and calm behavior when you can.”

Come across a assistance team

Teenagers can advantage considerably from a aid method, says Dr. Duffy. “I uncover that teenagers who communicate with their mates day-to-day by using Zoom, Skype or FaceTime feel far more validated and acknowledged than these who do not. It is a way to make certain our kids identify that they are not by itself in the suffering or decline affiliated with this time.”

Take into consideration exposure treatment

Dr. Narcisse also recommends that teens think about exposure remedy to overcome driver panic.

“Parents can choose modest steps to get their teenagers cozy with the notion of driving, this kind of as introducing distant exposure,” she clarifies. “Online tutorials are an quick way to learn about driving with no possessing to go anywhere close to the highway.”

She highlights mini-exposures, like only sitting down in the driver’s seat devoid of the auto managing. “When they get comfortable with that, tutorial them by way of moving the automobile up and down the driveway.”

“The publicity is a way to get them snug with out forcing them on to the highway,” states Dr. Narcisse. “And it lets you see if they’re fascinated in having out on to the road or not.”

Find skilled assist

You just can’t assist if you don’t know what is mistaken.

“Talking with your anxious teen or little one about their worries can be extremely beneficial,” advises Dr. Inclined. “If you are worried that their anxieties are producing a problem, it might be a fantastic strategy to have them evaluated for panic. You could start off by going to your pediatrician, observing a therapist or going to see a child psychiatrist.”

Erica Curtis has assisted several teens with driver anxiousness. “Anxiety is ordinarily accompanied by a adverse perception about one’s self, these kinds of as, ‘I’m not safe’ or ‘I can’t cope with it.’ A proficient therapist can assistance folks gently problem and swap anxious feelings and primal battle/flight dread impulses with a lot more empowering thoughts, thoughts, and sensations by a variety of tactics,” she shares. “These may consist of visualization or other types of publicity, rest techniques, trauma-educated techniques, and extra.”

Earlier mentioned all, have endurance. Driving is a heady duty that can make even professional older people nervous. Just after all, claims Dr. Narcisse, “Just since they can, doesn’t necessarily mean this is the suitable time for them.”