Dizziness While Driving
Dizziness & Vertigo
Dizziness is a loss of balance or a sense of spinning. Vertigo, however, is an intensified feeling of dizziness where the world feels off balance and spinning. Vertigo can last from a few seconds to as long as a few hours.
Whenever someone feels dizzy while driving, common sense tells us to find a place to pull over and relax. In most cases, dizziness or vertigo is temporary and will simply pass. From there, you can continue on your way and blame it on lack of sleep. However, not every case of dizziness while driving can be solved in this way.
Common Reasons Behind Dizziness
The most common cause of dizziness is triggered by a rapid head movement, such as when turning over in bed, sitting up too quickly, or after a head injury. This form of dizziness or vertigo is called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). Although dizziness caused by BPPV can begin from when you wake up and last throughout the entire day, this has little to do with a consistent feeling of dizziness while in the car.
Our patients who experience dizziness while driving often report other symptoms like anxiety. Causes behind consistent vertigo-related dizziness are more likely due to medication or diet. In some cases, a patient with a sinus infection can suffer from an inner ear problem, which would also affect their balance.
But what about patients who experience recurring dizziness while driving on a regular basis, regardless of their diet, medications, or allergies? The cause is quite possibly a visual one.
How does my vision cause me to feel dizzy while driving?
Patients with Binocular Vision Dysfunction and vertical heterophoria share similar difficulties while driving: dizziness or anxiety. If one’s vision has a misalignment, they will suffer from a lack of focus, added eye strain, and even a sense of double vision. Without having a proper picture of the road and accurate depth perception of their surroundings, there’s no wonder why their brain becomes exhausted, leading to dizziness and/or anxiety.
Whether driving on a highway or local streets, Binocular Vision Dysfunction often leads to dizziness, which over time, causes feelings of anxiety.
Symptoms from Binocular Vision Dysfunction may include:
- Dizziness while driving
- Anxiety or panic attacks while driving
- Lightheadedness or close to passing out while driving
- A detached feeling from your body / out of body experience / floating feeling
- Cars seem much too close or coming at you while driving
- Inability to discern distances between cars at the sides and/or in front
- Even when fully stopped, you still feel like you’re moving backward
- Feeling like you are moving backward while stopped at a stop light
- Fear of crossing bridges and/or driving along cliffs
- Rounding curves make you feel dizzy and disoriented
- Anxiety over driving on a large highway with multiple lanes
- When your vision places stress on your brain, dizziness and anxiety are sure to follow!
There’s a slim chance that your dizziness or anxiety is due to a brain function disturbance, but the chances are extremely remote. From our experience, anxiety disorders due to a visual problem are far more common and treatable.
Do you identify with these symptoms and want to know if you have Binocular Vision Dysfunction? Take our online questionnaire! Our team will assess your answers and reach out to you with feedback regarding your symptoms.