Fear of driving (fear in the car)

A busy intersection, a sudden traffic jam or a speed maniac; behind the wheel we are on our guard. This is important, because our alertness means that we drive carefully and do not take unnecessary risks. If the fear becomes excessive, for example in people who avoid highways or tunnels entirely, we speak of a phobia.

Driving anxiety is one of the most commonly treated fears at Kindt Clinics. The success rate is approx. 80% in 1 session.

On this page you can read more about the characteristics of driving anxiety and its treatment. Also, people who have been treated for anxiety in the car share their experience.

Symptoms of anxiety in the car

Fear of driving comes in different forms. In many cases, it ultimately revolves around fear of the fear, or fear of a panic attack. This can give a feeling of loss of control, while behind the wheel it is important to have control. A moving car is also a place where you cannot easily leave, which can intensify the fear. For some, the fear only occurs on motorways and / or in tunnels, for others as a co-driver in built-up areas.

For example, it can happen that at the first signals of tension someone immediately thinks 'I'm having a panic attack', causing it from bad to worse goes. It often starts with a feeling of tension in the abdomen, becoming warm and restless and sweating. The heart rate and breathing increase. To prevent worse, a strong one is created tendency to quit. If there is no exit nearby, if necessary on the emergency lane.

Although driving is relatively easy to avoid, the fear is often very hindering, for example if it is a limitation in the area of ​​work.

Would you like to know more or a non-binding intake?

Does the fear of driving hinder you? Then plan one intake interview without obligation to learn more about the treatment.

How does the fear of driving arise?

The fear of driving can develop gradually or suddenly. A one-time panic attack in the car, which in the first instance does not even have to be directly related to driving, can be enough. Another bad experience, such as an accident of yourself or someone you know, can also trigger the fear. Sometimes there is no concrete reason. In the brain, connections arise between driving (or sometimes more specifically: tunnels or highways) and one great sense of threat.

This fear creates the tendency to avoid driving (on certain roads). While you rationally know that this can amplify anxiety, it is difficult to argue.

Some people with a fear of driving experience the same fear in other places where they cannot get out easily, such as a crowded theater, a bus, or an elevator. For others it is really about the driving itself; for example, they overestimate the risk of an accident or doubt their ability to drive the car safely.

For the treatment at Kindt Clinics it doesn't matter how the fear arose. The main thing is that we can properly evoke the fear during the treatment. In people who experience the fear only when they do on their own sitting in the car, this unfortunately does not work.

It is not always clear how you get anxiety in the car, but more importantly: how do you get rid of it?

More than 80% of the treatments for driving anxiety are successful.

Treatment of driving anxiety

At Kindt Clinics we treat the fear of driving with the Memrec method. The discovery of the method generated a lot of attention in the scientific world at the time, and fortunately we have been achieving the same results in practice for years. If we are able to evoke fear during the treatment, more than 80% of the treatments are successful.

While the treatment is short (we're basically going to ride once), it's not an easy one. The most important success factors are: we must be able to generate the fear of driving properly, and then we must succeed in dealing with that fear, and thus not giving in to the urge to quit. Of course we help with that.

Because the motivation to overcome the fear is important for treatment to be successful, the intake interview at Kindt Clinics is without obligation. This way, a conscious choice can be made for the treatment.

Does the fear in the car hinder you? Then sign up for a no-obligation intake interview.


The intake interview follows after registration. We do this via Skype or similar software, or at our clinic. The intake is without obligation, and intended to determine whether the Memrec method is suitable, and whether or not you want the treatment.


Treatment usually consists of one treatment session. We are going to drive in this. We always do this in a training car. What exactly we are going to do differs per person. After the confrontation, you take the pill (a beta blocker) and stay with us for another 2 hours.


You will return for the test one or a few days later. We go to the same place, and you immediately notice whether the treatment has had an effect. We take all the time to practice so that you can trust the fear will not come back.

Join the treatment of other fears

The treatment of driving anxiety has not yet been filmed. To get an idea of ​​the approach to the treatment, you can see images of two other treatments in this video; of heights and chicken phobia.

It is an excerpt from the Canadian documentary program The Nature of Things. Last year they were at Kindt Clinics to interview Merel Kindt and to film a number of treatments.

Experiences of others

Victor - Panic when driving

“Very happy with the surprising results of the treatment of my anxiety disorder.
After a long period of panic attacks while driving, super help from the Kindt Clinics team!
I feel the freedom again to be able to come and go where I want.
Can recommend to everyone!
If you are unsure whether you can also be helped, the Skype or personal intake on location offers a solution! ”

Louise - Panic when driving

“What wonderful days I have had. Little by little, I am starting to realize how much impact the fear has had on my life. The fear was mainly expressed in the car, but I think that the fear of going 'out' was also woven into many small other things. Maartje and Merel are skilled people who have a to the point method that is confrontational, but if you have the guts to really go for it, it is groundbreaking.

Read more

What could be better? Slightly more attention to aftercare. It is so bizarre how your own ideas have to adapt to your 'new' ability and your thoughts can get in your way. The only remedy is to keep surprising yourself, but that is quite intensive and exciting.

Keep up the good work beautiful people! ”

Treatment approach

Although it would be easier to do treatments in a driving simulator, in principle we choose to actually go the (fast) road. This increases the chance that we can trigger the fear in a targeted manner. We work together with a local driving school for this. This means that there will be both a driving instructor and a practitioner in the car during the treatment. The driving instructor is familiar with the treatment method and only intervenes in real emergencies. However, in people whose anxiety is mainly when they are alone in the car, this design can dampen the anxiety, making the treatment ineffective. In that case, we would like to check whether there is another way to trigger the fear in a targeted manner.

Are you considering a Memrec treatment now or in the future? Contact us or plan an intake interview without obligation

Is Memrec suitable for my driving anxiety?

You may have doubts whether the Memrec method is suitable for your fear. Please feel free to contact us to share your situation. All our employees are psychologists, so you will be immediately contacted by someone who can answer your questions.

Or register immediately for an intake interview without obligation. Based on this interview, we know whether Memrec is suitable for you, and you can decide whether or not to opt for the treatment.