Amaxophobia: When Riding Vehicles Becomes Terrifying

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Amaxophobia: When Riding Vehicles Becomes Terrifying

The fear of being a passenger is called Amaxophobia wherein an individual is having difficulty in riding vehicles. / Photo by: Rommel Canlas via 123rf


Amaxophobia is defined by Verywell Mind as the fear of being a passenger. Phobics of this type have difficulty in riding cars and other transportation such as airplanes, buses, and trains.

It is categorized as a specific phobia and is also known as Hamaxophobia. states that is derived from the two Greek terms “amaxo” which means “vehicle” and “phobia” meaning “fear”. It is shown to be prevalent among children who are younger than ten years old.



Those who are affected by Amaxophobia may experience general symptoms of having a phobia as well as symptoms that are only limited to their fear of being a passenger.

Signs that a person is suffering from a phobia:

1. Automatic and fearful reactions which include shaking, shortness of breath and problems with digestion

2. Making efforts to stay away from their trigger, in this case, cars or other transportation

3. Having extreme reactions which are not proportional to their source of fear

4. It lasts for at least six months

Symptoms specific to Amaxophobia:

1. Being extremely afraid of getting involved in an accident

2. Being fearful of getting injured or dying from the accident

3. Being afraid of getting trapped inside the vehicle

4. Aggressive backseat driving

Other symptoms that may manifest are excessive sweating, feeling dizzy and nauseous, feeling confused, dry mouth, delirium, having a fast heartbeat, feeling uneasy and feeling like they have no control over the situation.




According to Epain Assist, a person is likely to develop this phobia if they have had a traumatic or bad experience relating to cars. A situation involving the use of cars or other vehicles can cause them to have panic attacks. Being able to read about car accidents may also cause them to be afraid of driving.  Seeing tragic photos of people who have had were part of a car accident may increase their fear.

If their family has a record of being affected by amaxophobia, or if they are able to see one of their relatives react abnormally to vehicles, they are also prone to acquiring it. Their disposition, which includes their attitude and sensitivity to the circumstances they are in can also trigger them to have this phobia. Facing a traumatic situation may also lead them to be afraid of the objects or situations associated with the trauma.


A person with Amaxophobia can have panic attacks when it involves the use of vehicles. / Photo by: nobilior via 123rf


Effects of Amaxophobia

If left untreated, their fear of riding transportation may become an extreme case. The severity of their phobia may prevent them from living a normal life. Having a serious case of Amaxophobia may cause them to isolate themselves from the society. This isolation may cause them to have feelings of loneliness which can impact their performance in their school, college or their workplace.

For instance, this may restrict their earning potential in their career because they would only seek jobs which are near enough to walk to. They may do this in order to avoid using a transportation to get to their job location. This may also cause them to refrain from going on family trips or going out with their friends. In turn, they may feel that they are all alone.

When the phobic starts to feel an intense loneliness, they will become more prone to suffering from depression. They may also start to develop unhealthy coping habits such as taking drugs to deal with their depression. As their fear gradually increases, this may lead to having suicidal thoughts.



To prevent Amaxophobia from further developing complications, phobics are advised to consult a mental health expert. They may also try different therapies to help reduce or remove their fear of being a passenger. Some of the recommended therapies include:

Cognitive "Tapping" Therapy

When a person suffering from amaxophobia decides to go through this therapy, the mental health professional helps take away the negative memories that caused them to develop this intense fear.

Behavioral Therapy

Under this therapy, the patient may be able to learn how to respond normally when confronted by their phobia. The mental health professional discusses the fear to them that will help them stop panicking when they encounter their source of fear. It also helps in eliminating negative thoughts from their brain. This treatment is said to be very effective.


The mental health professional can help the patient by discussing the fear that will help them stop panicking and eliminates negative thoughts. / Photo by: georgerudy via 123rf



In psychotherapy, the therapist talks to them about their fear and how to be ready to face their phobia. This is also one of the preferred approaches to treating amaxophobia.


Aside from the suggested therapies, doctors may prescribe medication to the phobics. They may be given antidepressants to ease their fear.

Seek Professional Help

With proper diagnosis and treatment, individuals who suffer from amaxophobia may be able to reduce their feelings of fear. Most treatments used for addressing different types of phobia are often successful and are short-term. It is revealed that in treating specific phobias, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most helpful, and its effects can usually be after going through one to three sessions.



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