Driving Lessons for Anxious Drivers

By Viv
Anxious Drivers

Did you know that driving a car is one of the riskiest things a human can do? In the year 2021 an accurate figure of 1,123 car crash deaths were reported in Australia by www.bitre.gov.au. More shocking than that is the fact, this figure comes as an increase of 2.6% in car crashes compared to the previous year. In another article published by www.anxietyaustralia.com.au, a survey carried out in 2014 discovered that over 79%  Australians out of a thousand, had fears about driving. This has resulted in some age groups not willing to take up any form of driving. And finally, meeting with a motor car accident is among the second most feared things in Australia. However dire this may seem, there is a silver lining behind the fear factor. And it comes in the form of proper driver training. Lets look at this later on, but for now, the most important factor is getting over the fears and anxiety. This is a line every learner driver must learn to cross.

What can we do to overcome our fears?

If you’re feeling nervous about getting behind the wheel, have you actually thought about why you feel that way? Lets explore some of the more often reasons that people feel anxious.

  • A recent accident: This could be the number one reason why many drivers are anxious or nervous when they are behind the wheel. Encountering an accident causes indelible stress and memories that make a person feel nervous when they are behind the wheel again. While some accidents can be amount to a slight ‘fender bender’  incident, others might of a more drastic nature where even fatalities occur. However minor or horrendous the accident may have been, the follow up sentiments relating to the crash might affect the driver on different levels. It is reported that 22% of  people who had encountered a car crash experienced way  more worry and stress as well as a drop in confidence after a  collision. Women in particular who had  a car crash were more susceptible than their male counterparts who had faced a similar incident.
  • Inexperienced even after passing the driving test: Maybe you’ve just passed your driving test with flying colors and you’re ready to hit the road on your own. The day comes when you belt yourself in and you throw the car into gear and start moving. But then it hits you…you freeze! This set of symptoms affects thousands of new drivers every year around the globe. Many new drivers face this situation during their first drive after qualifying. It is in most instances related to the lack of confidence to drive the vehicle alone.
  • Criticism: If you’re in the company of others while driving, and someone among them begins to share their thoughts on driving and even worse, criticize the way you’re driving, then that’s not be the best person to  be sharing car space with. Being critical of a new driver is not only distracting, but also causes mental distress that can lead to  meeting with an accident or simply cause undue stress and lasting negativity. Although not spoken about much, this comes as an unpleasant and undeniable reality in some cases of anxiety.
  • Aging: As we age, our reflexes, eye sight and hearing may be slightly or profoundly impaired. This may cause anxiety to set in. Being unsure about ones physical capabilities can be unnerving and certainly affect the way a person drives.
  • Other physical conditions: Disabilities or differently abled persons may also be prone to anxieties when it comes to driving. Based on their history of physical or mental capabilities, independent observation and regular follow-up should be monitored. Recommendations by a physician will provide insight to the disabled persons ability to cope with driving.

Overcoming anxiousness

How do we overcome anxiousness when driving? The number one key to this question, is ‘starting early’ and ‘start learning with the right instructor’. As we get older, our adaptability wears down. Starting to learn driving at an early age can really instill the confidence a student needs to have. As a beginner, pick the right instructor for the job. There are many driving lesson schools out there, but do your research, search the internet for the best reviews and customer testimonials which will provide superb insight as well as give you the perspective of other learner drivers too. Picking the right instructor is critical in creating a confidence enriched attitude for driving.

Over crowded roads and too many traffic lights in city traffic causes much of the already anxious to be even more excited. Instead try to use less populated roads, such as outlining ones. They might be a little longer of a route, but yet will save you the stress of driving. Try relaxing exercises. Forms of meditation, relaxing music and even having a warm beverage before driving could calm your nerves. Plan your journey ahead. Early planning and looking at a map before driving will give you the confidence to arrive at your destination without worry. Keep away from distractions. This is very important, especially for new drivers. Keep your phone on silent or better still, switch it off till you complete your trip. A ringing phone or message notification can distract and make you lose concentration. Another form of distraction can be overly vocal passengers. If you’ve got ‘loud’ passengers, tell them politely that you would like to concentrate on your driving and a little quietness would be appreciated. On the contrary a relaxing chat might even help, but not loud, noisy distracting talk. If you’re a person with disabilities or differently abled, a notification on the outside of the car to let others know, would be a good way to notify other drivers who are unaware of a differently abled person is at the wheel and may try to horn and make it difficult for you on the road.

Obnoxious drivers who aren’t courteous might cut in or swerve intentionally if they are not notified of a person who is just getting used to their vehicle. These are some tips that will help nervous drivers overcome their anxiety and fear. Hope these will help you to start driving better and more relaxed. Wish you all the best and a fun drive to arrive at your destination safely.

These are some tips that will help nervous drivers overcome their anxiety and fear. Hope these will help you to start driving better and more relaxed. Wish you all the best and a fun drive to arrive at your destination safely.


It is evident that stress and anxiety can and will be a part of the driving experience. How it affects people is debatable on many levels, even if evaluated professionally. Dr Joanne Taylor in her post on www.smh.com.au says ‘driving anxiety is very treatable but many people would not seek help because of shame’. This is a fact that stays true to this day. Remember anxiety is treatable and can be easily overcome, if the person concerned takes the appropriate steps to correct it.


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