Driving Lessons for Anxious Drivers

Written by Viv Man

Driving Lessons for anxious drivers

Getting behind the wheel for the first time for anyone can be as frightful as bungee jumping. And yes, even after a few years of driving, although many may not say it, it could still be stressful. Did you know that the fear of driving a car and meeting with an accident is the second most feared in Australia? But the good news is, you’re not alone about the fear of getting behind the wheel and roaring off. Getting over your fears and anxiety is a line every learner driver must cross.

Here are some pointers that could and should make your first driving experience a little less stressful and probably fun too.

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.

  1. A recent accident: This might be the number one reason many drivers are anxious or nervous when they are behind the wheel. Encountering an accident causes indelible stress and memories that make a person nervous when they have drive again. While some accidents can be very slight and a ‘fender bender’ while others could be more drastic where even a life is lost. Whatever the situation, people respond in different ways and this may cause you to respond with anxiety.
  2. Feeling inexperienced even after passing the driving test: Maybe you’ve just passed your driving test with flying colours 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 feel as though you’re not good enough for the road. You are not alone in this situation, many new drivers are faced with this during their first drive or drives after qualifying.
  3. Criticism: If you’re in the company of others while driving, someone among them might not be the best person to share a car with. Criticizing a person who is driving, most often a new driver, is not only distracting, but also causes mental distress that can cause undue stress and lasting negativity where driving in concerned. Although not much is mentioned, this comes as a unpleasant and undeniable reality in some cases of anxiety when driving.
  4. Effects of aging: As we age, our reflexes, eye sight and hearing may be slightly or profoundly impaired. This may cause a nervousness to affect the way you drive.
  5. Other physical conditions: Disabilities or differently abled persons may be prone to anxieties when it comes to driving. This is of course a very obvious reason and it is only proper if some indication on the outside of the car denotes that the driver is having such a physical condition, so that other drivers can give preference when overtaking or making other manoeuvres.

Overcoming anxiousness

How do we overcome anxiousness when driving? A few but very valuable tips can make your trip a little less stressful.

  1. 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 lesser populated roads, such as outlining ones. They might be a little longer of a route, but yet will save you the stress of driving.
  2. Try relaxing exercises. Forms of meditation, relaxing music and even having a warm beverage before driving could calm your nerves.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.


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