Experiencing anxiety while driving is very real and a very debilitating issue. You may let your fear of driving influence your everyday life. A question we often hear from new cannabidiol users is: is it safe to drive after taking CBD oil? The great news is…
How to Recognize and Reduce Anxiety while Driving
For some, there’s nothing more panic-inducing than sitting behind the wheel of a car. For others, that feeling of anxiety sets in when they’re in the passenger’s seat. Either way, experiencing anxiety while driving is very real and a very debilitating issue.
You may let your fear of driving influence your everyday life, avoiding the task at all costs. If so, you’re probably familiar with the sweaty palms, accelerated breathing, and invasive thoughts of losing control of the vehicle while driving.
As with other triggers of anxiety, it’s important to pinpoint the root cause of these symptoms. Here we take a look at what causes driver anxiety, and some ways you can reduce it.
Why Does Driving Cause Anxiety?
From speaking in public to moving to a new apartment, even seemingly normal everyday experiences can trigger an anxiety attack. Driving is no different; it’s an inherently stressful activity. Whether it’s traveling at high speeds on the highways or worrying about the less-competent drivers sharing the roads, driving can be an incredibly nerve-racking experience for many.
But you should also know that feeling anxious when driving is entirely normal.
Types of Driving Anxiety
Driving anxiety comes in many different forms. It may be panic attacks, it may be performance anxiety, or it may even be worries over perceived perilous situations when you’re behind the wheel or in the passenger seat. It’s therefore crucial that you determine which one is triggering your symptoms so you can act accordingly.
Panic Attacks While Driving
One of the most common, and most disconcerting, causes of driving anxiety arises when you suffer a panic attack while at the wheel. Panic attacks can cause heart palpitations, sweating, and hyperventilation, and can even make you feel detached from your surroundings, all of which will make it difficult to concentrate on the road.
This leads to concern about putting yourself or others in danger, which in turn leads to a reluctance to drive again. Also, because you’re worried that driving will trigger another panic attack, that in and of itself can cause an attack. And on the cycle goes.
Performance Anxiety When Driving
Suffering performance anxiety (the fear of doing something in front of others) is quite common in drivers who don’t gain much experience driving once they’ve received their license.
If you lack the practical experience of the open road, it can result in a reduction in confidence and an increase in symptoms of anxiety. You may worry about causing, or being the victim of, a traffic accident, or you may feel your driving is coming under the scrutiny of other drivers or law enforcement.
All of this worry can build to a point where you no longer wish to drive and seek an alternative means of transport, therefore limiting your ability to get around.
Responding to Past Experiences
Driver anxiety can also come about as a response to a past bad experience when driving. Whether you have been involved in an accident or a near miss, these experiences tend to play on the mind and reinforce a fear of driving.
If you’re prone to reliving bad experiences and letting them cloud your judgment, this can result in increased anxiety every time you need to get in a car.
Tips to Reduce Driving Fear
As with other causes of anxiety, overcoming a fear of driving takes time. It’s important, however, to realize that it’s nearly impossible, and inadvisable, to completely remove anxiety from the equation when it comes to driving. You should still feel a small amount of anxiety when in control of a motor vehicle, as this is what will keep you alert to your surroundings and ultimately make you a better, safer driver.
Rather, you must focus on reducing your anxiety and fear to a reasonable level so it doesn’t interfere with your ability to drive from A to B.
Here are a few things you can do to start getting your symptoms under control:
Face Your Fear
Not the easiest thing in the world, and you may require some professional intervention to even get to this stage, but facing your fear head on is often the most effective approach to reducing the fear and anxiety caused by driving.
If you wish to overcome your fear and control your symptoms of anxiety, you must get behind the wheel at every reasonable opportunity. By continually avoiding driving, you’ll only reinforce your fear.
Don’t Contribute to Your Own Anxiety
As obvious as this may sound, when you’re out on the highway, you have to appreciate that the only car you can control is the one you’re driving. Therefore you need to ensure that you’re not making your anxiety worse by taking unnecessary risks. If you keep within the speed limit, check your blind spots, and always signal before turning, you’ll be less likely to run into issues.
As you continue to drive without incident, then your confidence will increase, your fear will decrease, and you’ll have more control over your symptoms of anxiety.
Drive in Safe/Slow Areas
Increasing your time behind the wheel can only be beneficial, and it’s a great idea to do this in a low-stress environment, such as a quiet stretch of road or an empty parking lot with no other cars around.
The more driving time you can get under your belt, the better you’ll feel about your own ability, and the more likely your feelings of anxiety will dissipate.
Be Mindful of Your Symptoms
When you recognize that you are feeling stressed and anxious, try to do something about it. Practicing mindfulness helps you take control over your emotions and become more present in the moment.
Ultimately, there’s no magic wand that you can wave to eliminate fear and stress in one fell swoop. Rather, it takes time and work to recognize what’s causing these feelings. You must then learn how to control them, increase your confidence on the road, and reduce your anxiety to a comfortable level when behind the wheel.
Only then will you start to feel better about driving or traveling in a car.
Have you experienced driver anxiety? How did you overcome it? Tell us in the comments.
FDA Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products sold by Healthy Hemp Oil are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on our website is intended to provide general information regarding our products and is not to be construed as medical advice or instruction. Read more
CBD Oil and Driving: Is It Safe?
A question we often hear from new cannabidiol users is: is it safe to drive after taking CBD oil? The answer to that is good news: recent evidence shows that even high levels of CBD do not impair driving ability. Furthermore, CBD could offer some benefits to drivers. But before you grab your highest strength CBD oil and jump behind the wheel, it’s essential to understand how to use CBD oil and remain a safe and confident driver.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the latest evidence linked to CBD oil and driving, legality surrounding cannabis compounds CBD and THC, and how CBD can affect your ability to operate a motor vehicle.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a cannabis-derived compound that is often extracted from the hemp plant and used for medicinal purposes. A closely related famous cannabis-derived compound is THC; this is the substance that causes a high when ingested and is most commonly associated with marijuana.
The use of CBD is soaring in popularity in the UK. Many people enjoy it for its calming and soothing benefits. Cannabidiol, unlike THC, is capable of enhancing wellness without causing any psychoactive effects. CBD interacts with the human endocannabinoid system (ECS) to potentially induce feelings of calm, reduced anxiety and stress, pain relief, inflammation relief and improvements in focus and concentration.
Despite the significant well-being benefits that CBD can offer, there remains a great deal of misinformation surrounding the safety and legality of CBD in the UK which leaves many people reluctant to drive after taking CBD oil.
CBD Oil and Driving UK: Is it Safe?
Safe driving is, quite rightly, a top priority for most people. Complete concentration and focus are critical for driving to the best of your ability every time you get behind the wheel, in order to keep yourself, other drivers and pedestrians, safe.
Since CBD is closely linked to the intoxicating substance THC, it’s natural to wonder whether CBD could harm your driving ability. It’s important to remember, however, that CBD is both non-addictive and non-psychoactive. So while THC alters the mind, affecting reaction times and judgement and ultimately potentially impairing your ability to drive safely and responsibly, CBD does not cause these effects. Provided your CBD oil or gummies contain extremely low or trace quantities of THC, they will not have such adverse effects on the body and mind.
CBD and Driving: The Latest Study
A new study published in May 2022 on the effects of cannabidiol on driving showed that CBD does not impair driving or cognitive ability, even at its highest medicinal dose. Simulated driving performance was monitored in 17 healthy adults across four sessions; each session consisted of oral administration of CBD (in either 15, 300 and 1500 mg doses) or a placebo. It was concluded that no dose of CBD – even the highest daily dose of 1500 mg – impaired driving ability and cognitive function or caused intoxicating effects.
Is It Legal to Drive in the UK After Taking CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol has been classified as a legal substance in the UK as long as it does not contain more than 0.2% THC. When purchasing a CBD-infused product, always do your research to ensure the supplier is trusted and reputable. A responsible supplier will be able to provide third-party laboratory reports to confirm legal concentrations of THC and assure product safety.
Since CBD is not listed as a controlled substance, using CBD oil and driving in the UK is completely legal. However, it is crucial to ensure you are using a trusted CBD product that doesn’t exceed 0.2% THC if you are driving. THC remains a controlled substance in the UK.
CBD Driving Laws UK
Strict restrictions are imposed, quite rightly, on driving while under the influence of alcohol and narcotics in the UK. However, when using a legal CBD product in the UK, you should encounter no issues while driving. UK drug tests are designed for THC detection, rather than CBD, so legal CBD oil will not cause you to fail a test.
In short, as long as your product does not exceed 0.2% THC, you can drive legally after using it. You will not feel intoxicated and you are highly unlikely to fail a drug test. Additionally, you do not need to disclose the fact that you have used CBD oil if you are stopped by an officer while driving.
Will CBD Make Me Sleepy While Driving?
Since CBD is often used to promote sleep, it’s natural to question whether the compound could induce drowsiness and impair driving ability. Studies into whether CBD induces sleep are ongoing and require further investigation, but evidence indicates that CBD can, in fact, promote daytime wakefulness. Though CBD can be effective for sleep, it is more likely that CBD indirectly induces healthier sleep by reducing symptoms of anxiety and stress and promoting relaxation, rather than by directly inducing sleepiness. It may also help you achieve better quality, deeper sleep.
This could, in fact, benefit driving ability. Getting a good night’s sleep will leave you feeling fresh, alert and potentially better focused when driving.
Could CBD Oil Help Reduce My Anxiety While Driving?
Yes. One of the most popular reasons people use CBD is to reduce anxiety, and one of the most anxiety-inducing activities for a lot of people in the UK is driving, especially on motorways. If you feel nervous behind the wheel, CBD could help promote relaxation and feelings of calm.
This may be especially beneficial for learner drivers and those anxious about taking their driving test. The more relaxed you feel behind the wheel, the more alert and focused you are likely to be.
However, if you are trying CBD for the first time to help calm your nerves while driving, we strongly recommend starting with a low dose and gradually building up as you observe your body’s tolerance for cannabidiol.
Final Thoughts on CBD Oil and Driving
We now know that it’s safe and legal to drive after using CBD in the UK. Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that cannabinoids such as CBD and THC affect people differently. When purchasing CBD always buy a quality CBD product from a reputable supplier. A legal product will contain less than 0.2% THC ensuring that the product is non-psychoactive.
Begin with a low dose and pay very close attention to how it makes you feel. Should you feel unwell or notice any adverse side effects, do not attempt to drive. If you feel well, you may find that CBD improves your driving ability by improving cognition, focus and concentration and reducing symptoms of anxiety.
BECOME A CBD EXPERT
CBD is one of the most talked about topics on the planet. We believe many more could benefit from CBD if given access to better information. Our role isn’t to overpromise or to underplay, but to encourage a balanced perspective on CBD.