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Fear Of Highway Driving

Dear Sugar,
I have a fear of being on the highway even when I am not the one who is driving the car. I trust my friends and family, but I am scared of the other drivers on the road. I can't seem to shake the feeling that we could get into a horrible accident and die. I make myself sick when I think about getting onto a highway or a freeway. I sweat and my hands clam up. How can I stop living in fear? Back Road Bettina

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear Back Road Bettina,
Think of the facts. Only 4% of serious or fatal accidents occur on interstates nationwide. These are the safest roads in the nation.

Only about 1.48% (for every 100 million vehicle miles travelled) get into fatal accidents. This is a statistic from 2003 when this was a particularly HIGH year for highway deaths. Out of those fatalities, 40% were alcohol related. What this information tells you is that this is a very low percentage.

So now that you understand the facts, you should feel much calmer knowing that the likelihood of you getting into an accident on a highway is slim. Here are some things that you can do to make yourself feel even more comfortable.

  • Do your best to drive in safe conditions. It is more common for accidents to occur during rain and snow so try and stay off of the highways during bad weather.
  • Always wear your seat belt. More than half (56%) of people who are killed on the road were not using seat belts.
  • If possible, try not to look at the road when you are in the car. Be the DJ, read, or do something to distract yourself when you are the passenger.
  • Make sure the driver isn't driving recklessly or doing something to sidetrack them from focusing on the road (i.e. putting on make-up or talking on their cell phone).
  • Ask the driver not to speed, not to switch lanes and to please stay in the right lane where cars drive more slowly. This way if you are panicked, you can take the next exit and get off of the highway more quickly.
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