When Will I Stop Feeling Paranoid & Upset After My Car Accident?

Walking away from a car accident without physical injuries is a relief — but every person handles the emotional impact differently. Some people seem to be unfazed by a near brush with death, while others take longer to recover from the scary situation. 

Not everyone feels paranoid or upset after a car crash, but these are common feelings. Understanding why they happen and how to relieve them can help you get back behind the wheel with confidence.

Common Emotions After a Car Accident

Emotions are complex, and the specific feelings a person experiences after a frightening event like a car accident vary by individual. Identifying the feelings you’re experiencing can help you learn how you’re coping and understand what tips might best help you regulate your nervous system. 

Anxiety or Fear

Anxiety is one of the most common responses to a car accident. Feeling anxious or afraid is a natural reaction to being involved in a potentially life-threatening situation. 

Anxiety might take the form of: 

  • Feeling paranoid
  • Feeling unsafe in or around cars
  • Feeling ungrounded
  • Being easily startled
  • Having intrusive thoughts 
  • Experiencing changes to sleep, diet, or mood

Anxiety can take many forms, but it’s generally regarded as a fear of what might happen in the future, especially in specific situations like while driving in a car.

Shock or Numbness

Shock is another of the most common emotions people experience after a car accident. Shock can involve numbness or denial over what happened. Often shock is an indication that a person is having a hard time processing the event.


Anger and irritability can be common emotions after a car accident. Anger is often a way of masking fear — it can be an attempt to push away feelings of fear or powerlessness over what happened. 


Some individuals struggle with feelings of guilt or shame after an accident. This is most common if you feel that the accident was your fault or that it could have been avoided had you been more careful. 

Tips for Moving Past a Car Accident

Healing the emotions associated with a car accident is a process. How long it takes and what specific tips help with healing are different for everyone. However, some actions can benefit anyone by supporting mental, emotional, and physical health. 


Talking is one of the best ways to process difficult feelings. Let your family members and close friends know what you’re going through and discuss the events of the accident rather than trying to push them away. 

Name Your Feelings

Learning to identify feelings is highly beneficial. This practice lends a sense of control as you understand what you’re feeling and why. 

Ease Back into Driving

Trying to force yourself to ignore challenging emotions can be counterproductive. Helpful practices include: 

  • Practice driving in a parking lot
  • Start on side roads with little traffic
  • Drive in daytime
  • Take a driving course

Easing back into driving in low-stress situations can help you slowly rebuild feelings of confidence and safety. 

Knowing When To Ask for Professional Help After a Car Accident

The feelings associated with a car accident can be jolting, and they may interfere with your daily life and emotional well-being in the immediate aftermath of the accident. However, it’s not normal for them to remain the same or worsen over time, especially if they’re having an impact on your health or quality of life

When an accident leaves a lasting emotional impact, it’s a sign you’ve developed trauma. When trauma is left untreated, it can develop into post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) — and PTSD can have a serious negative impact. 

If you experience an extreme emotional reaction after a car accident or find yourself unable to move forward, it’s a sign you should seek professional support. 

Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm – Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys

Contact a St. Petersburg car accident lawyer at Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys and schedule a free case review today.

Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys

700 7th Ave N Suite B
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 933-0015