How to Overcome Driving Anxiety (+Infographic)
Do you suffer from driving anxiety?
You’re not alone.
A lot of people feel anxious and worried when they think about getting behind the wheel. Honestly, it’s natural to feel that way. Throughout the world, people die in vehicle crashes. Nobody likes to think about their own mortality… and when you do, it can be a lot to handle.
Breathe. It’s okay.
It’s good to be afraid because it makes you more careful. When you learn to drive with the awareness of danger and a dedication to safety, you will learn the valuable skills that you need to be a good driver. Even though you feel uncomfortable right now, the anxious feelings will decrease over time as you become a more confident and safe driver.
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Tips to Help Overcome Driving Anxiety
There are different things that can cause someone to feel anxious and worried about driving. One of the big worries comes with the thought of “I’m scared I won’t know what to do.” In all honesty, you’re probably pretty knowledgeable by this point, especially if you’re reading this! While there might be a few areas that you really need to work on, you’re really just being held back by what-if’s. Sometimes, people feel this way because they feel like they haven’t had enough practice. Other times, it could be because they feel like the practice they had wasn’t good enough. Did you drive with an anxious parent in the vehicle? Sometimes, even if they had great intentions, their fears, worries and anxieties can rub off on you and make you feel more mistake-prone… even if you aren’t.
Take a professional driving class.
Driving with a professional driving instructor is a great option for you to work on your maneuvering, ask questions about traffic laws, and get some more experience in a safer environment. Most driving schools have closed courses for beginners to practice and get their bearings. Once you’re more comfortable, you can then ease into practicing on the nearby streets.
Drive with someone else in the car.
Sometimes, the idea of driving without company is what makes you feel unsettled. After all, with another person, you might feel like there is someone else who will be there to help watch for danger or call for help if you need it. If you don’t feel comfortable driving alone, that’s okay. Continue building up confidence with someone in the car that makes you feel comfortable. Every so often, take a small drive alone. Over time, you’ll feel more at ease.
Drive in low-traffic areas.
You might feel overwhelmed by all of the different pieces of information that you have to sort out and respond to as a driver. This is a skill that you learn over time. You can ease into it by driving in places with fewer obstacles and during times when there is less traffic. Over time, go to slightly busier areas to build up your experience.
Avoid driving at night until you’re more comfortable.
As you gain experience and confidence, the best thing to do is work within your comfort zone. It’s harder to see road hazards at night, so you should build up to it.
Plan ahead to prevent more anxiety from building.
What’s worse than having anxiety and stress that are related to driving? Adding to it! If you need to get to a destination at a certain time, give yourself extra time to get there. That will prevent you from feeling extra stressed.
Even though it’s hard, keep practicing.
It’s easy to get disheartened. Driving can be a really scary experience. But, if you want to be able to be fully independent, self-reliant and mobile, driving is a skill that you will want to learn. Keep practicing. Over time, your driving anxiety will lessen.
Take your time, there’s not a universal rule for this.
Driving isn’t like anything else that you’ll ever do. Everyone has to figure out how to deal with the inherent risks involved and build the skills. There isn’t a universal rule for how long it takes for someone to learn to drive or to become a good driver. With that in mind, just do what feels right for you. Don’t let other people pressure you out of your comfort zones too quickly. At the same time, don’t stay in your comfort zone forever. Grow and develop your skills so that you can leave your anxiety in the dust!