You can sustain numerous injuries when you are involved in a car accident. Physical injuries are common. However, you may also experience emotional distress and mental anguish.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common condition accident victims may experience, especially when they are involved in catastrophic car crashes. However, any level of collision could result in PTSD. 

Vehophobia can be a symptom of PTSD. Learning about the signs and how to treat the condition helps accident victims overcome vehophobia.

What Is Vehophobia After a Car Accident?

Vehophobia is the fear of driving a motor vehicle. Individuals involved in a car accident may not be able to drive a car without experiencing panic attacks, flashbacks, and severe anxiety. In addition, they may have a fear of riding in a car because of a car wreck.

People with PTSD will often stay away from places or objects that remind them of the event that caused the traumatic experience. Likewise, they avoid activities and thoughts that relate to the traumatic event.

Signs of vehophobia can include:

  • Panic attacks at the thought of driving a vehicle
  • Extreme anxiety when getting behind the wheel
  • Freezing up when trying to drive
  • Increased heart rate, hyperventilation, nausea, and shaking at the thought of driving a car
  • Excessive fear of losing control of the vehicle or being hit by another vehicle
  • Experiencing phantom brake syndrome (stomping on an imaginary brake while riding in a car as a passenger)
  • Fear of harming someone if they drive a car again
  • Avoiding driving on certain types of roads or specific roads

In addition to a driver, passengers or bystanders can experience vehophobia because of a motor vehicle accident. PTSD can be caused by witnessing a traumatic event. Therefore, someone who witnessed a catastrophic accident could experience vehophobia. 

How Do Doctors Treat Vehophobia?

The treatment for vehophobia depends on the diagnosis and the patient. Because each patient is unique and the circumstances that resulted in the vehophobia are different, medical professionals design a treatment plan based on the patient’s needs.

Some common treatments for vehophobia include:


Medical doctors may prescribe one or more medications to treat the symptoms of vehophobia. For example, they may prescribe anti-anxiety medications or anti-depressants. In addition, doctors may combine medication with other forms of therapy.

Counseling and Therapy

Mental health professionals may advise individuals to undergo private counseling sessions. They may also advise patients to attend a support group or group therapy sessions. Psychotherapy is used to treat anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy

CBT is one of the most common forms of psychotherapy. It combines cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy. It examines how our thoughts and behavior are connected.

A therapist helps the patient reframe thoughts and change thinking patterns. The therapist also focuses on changing behavioral patterns. The patient learns to recognize triggers and develop coping skills to change how they think and behave in certain circumstances or react to specific thoughts or stimuli. 

Prolonged Exposure 

This type of therapy helps a person overcome the fear of driving by exposing the person to increasingly stronger stimuli over time. For example, the therapist might have the person visualize driving. In time, the therapist might have the person act out driving behaviors in the office.

The goal is to desensitize the person to the negative stimulus and the overwhelming feelings the memory of the car crash causes. Over time, the person can face driving without fear and anxiety, even though they remember the car accident.

Defensive Driving Courses

After a car accident, a victim may feel helpless. They might feel as if they have no control when they are behind the wheel of a vehicle. Defensive driving courses might give the person confidence and a sense of control.

Vehophobia Is a Real Condition That Requires Treatment

Vehophobia is not a “made up” or “fake” condition. It is a psychological disorder. There are treatments individuals can take to help them overcome vehophobia.

If you or a loved one is experiencing the signs of vehophobia or PTSD after a car accident, seek mental health treatment immediately. A mental healthcare professional can develop an appropriate treatment plan.

When you speak with a Fort Worth car accident lawyer, tell the attorney you are seeking treatment for vehophobia. Your attorney needs this information to include these damages in your car accident claim.

The insurance company might try to downplay the condition or deny coverage. However, you are entitled to receive reimbursement for your economic damages related to vehophobia, including medical bills, lost wages, and out-of-pocket expenses.

You are also entitled to non-economic damages for vehophobia. Those damages could include mental anguish, emotional distress, and decreased quality of life. Your personal injury lawyer knows how to handle this type of car accident injury when preparing a settlement demand. 

Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in Fort Worth, TX

If you’ve been injured in an accident in Fort Worth and need legal help, contact our Fort Worth car accident lawyers at Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents to schedule a free consultation.

Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents
1300 S University Dr # 300
Fort Worth, TX 76107
(817) 420-7000