Fall for many people stands for a new beginning; a harbinger of things to come. Hot cider and donuts. Pumpkins and colorful decorations. Football. The holidays.
 Others, however, are anchored quite differently to the trumpets of fall: Cold, damp weather, driving. Wet leaves, driving. Snow and ice, driving.
 Does the anticipation of driving on slippery roads drive you up a wall? Many individuals harbor a fear of driving in any inclement weather. This can seriously affect a person's lifestyle, as there is work, shopping, doctor's appointments and other activities to perform; and the knowledge that in order to maintain these commitments, it is necessary to venture out there in the cold, wet, slippery weather. If you are one of these victims, perhaps you can relate to this predicament: The need to drive countered by the drive to do anything else!
 A well-organized fear, replete with vivid internal pictures of, "What if..." scenes such as: Accidents, flat tires, mechanical problems and traffic. Accompanying these pictures may be intense feelings of panic, nausea, headache and tremors or sweating. Then, the endless nagging voice in your head reminding you of the various consequences which could result from asserting yourself and putting your best wheel forward.
 Winter is coming. Let's face it, we are looking at several months of less than perfect weather. You can't change Mother Nature. But perhaps you can fool her--or at least tame her-- by learning to co-exist. In some instances, this may require an elaborate course of treatment, due to extenuating circumstances that have contributed to the fear, such as death of a loved one, serious injury or the witnessing of such events in another. However, there are many individuals who acquire this and other fears under comparatively neutral and somewhat removed circumstances. For example, through media coverage of danger and disaster or the recants of friends. If you fall in this category, perhaps you would care to try something unusual but often effective:

  1. First, rather than seeing doom before venturing out, try a new perspective. Take a few deep breaths and make yourself comfortable. Pretend you can see another "you" sitting in a comfortable chair, watching a blank screen.
  2. Now, consider any time in your life when you had to be courageous, confident and consistent in order to achieve something of value; a creative and successful accomplishment-- no matter how small! Allow those feelings of comfort and strength to emerge once more, as you sit comfortably, watching the other "you" also sitting comfortably in the chair, about to watch a movie.
  3. Now project onto that screen a "movie" of yourself-in black and white--a scene in which you see still another "you" about to engage in a drive during inclement weather. First see that "you" checking your vehicle to make sure it is drive-worthy before entering. Have that include clearing any ice and snow from all viewing areas and the wheels.
  4. Watch the "you" with comfort and strength as he watches the "you" in the movie beginning to drive someplace with caution, good judgment and regard for safely. Observe the "you" doing what is necessary to achieve his destination during this situation. Keep watching until you reach the end of the movie.
  5. Rewind the movie and run the situation again, but twice as fast as normal. Be sure to remember to take those feelings of comfort and strength you accessed with you throughout the duration of this fast-track movie.
  6. Finished? Try it again, twice as fast as the last time. By now, the situation may begin to acquire a new dimension: A confusion of time and space. Strange? Let's continue. Watch with those powerful feelings as the "you" in the comfortable chair watches the "you" on the screen at the end of the movie.
  7. Run the entire movie backwards! Go to the end and repeat the process, twice as fast.
  8. Finally, taking feelings of comfort and strength with you, step into the ending of the movie, colorize it and run the entire sequence backwards in less than three seconds!

 Now consider deciding to venture outside and drive in bad weather. Pay attention to anything that has changed. If you feel inclined, go out and drive, slowly, paying attention to the previous feelings of comfort and strength you had when picturing yourself driving safely.
 Finally, keep a level head. It is not necessary to drive yourself to extremes in order tolerate driving in bad weather. Weigh the relative importance of any driving errand against the severity of the weather conditions. Could something be postponed until tomorrow? If so give yourself-- and perhaps someone else-- a break. Stay home and...relax.