Fear of Escalators


Sports stadiums, malls, department stores and airports have them, yet many consumers will not use these common transportation devices. Escalators have become an object of fear and that fear is sometimes known as Escalaphobia although this is not an official designation.

This phobia may be more common than you realize. The line at the elevator and the number of individuals walking down the stairs may be an indicator or the prevalence of this fear.

The Underlying Fear of Escalators

The major source of fear among Escalaphobes may have to do with a more common fear of heights. Many individuals who have a fear of escalators will also say they have very few problems going up an escalator, but they freeze up when it comes to going down. It may well be the height and fear of falling that converge to make this a difficult fear to overcome.

The second primary fear inducer may have its roots in a traumatic childhood experience involving an escalator, or stories that may have been told about an escalator. Many who fear this object of convenience will recall stories of how children got their shoelaces caught in the escalator and were either injured or pulled into the escalator. While there is little in the way of support for this idea (in most cases) it seems to be a common story that provided the initial and growing fear experienced by Escalaphobes.

Fear Symptoms Associated with the Escalator

An individual who fears an escalator may not actually have a problem visiting a mall, airport or other location that may have an escalator as long as there are alternatives to going up or down floors. This may seem surprising to some, but the primary fear is the escalator. If the individual knows they do not have to use it they are typically able to function normally.

More severe symptoms may include…

  • Nausea
  • Increased heart rate
  • Panic attacks
  • Visible trembling
  • Crying or screaming if forced to try

Overcoming Your Fear of Escalators

It may interest you to know that sometimes the fear you experience may be caused by a lack of depth perception. Sometimes individuals who experience this fear can find the courage to try if they can hold the hand of a trusted friend while riding the escalator. Others have experienced success by having a friend directly in front and other directly behind them while riding the escalator. This allows the individual to feel secure while blocking a view that may enhance the fear. A visit with your eye care professional can also assist in improving your depth perception.

It can also be a help to those who fear escalators to hold onto the railing and look straightforward while ascending or descending.

Additionally many experts recommend that consumers not wear Croc type footwear while using the escalator as they can occasionally become entangled.

We have included a video that deals with some of the typical scenarios associated with this type of phobia. This could potentially be a bit frightening for some, but we promise it does end happily and with one individual who found reason enough to ride the escalator.

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