Do your hands shake when you sit behind the wheel? Does your heart start beating too fast when you’re in traffic? Are you too terrified to even try driving? Although it might not seem like it, fear of driving is more common than you think. According to a survey, more than half the population experiences some form of driving anxiety, whether they already have a license or not. It’s prevalent among new, inexperienced drivers or those who experienced some kind of driving-related accident. However, the good news is that this fear can be overcome. All you have to do is take certain precautions and face your fear of driving head-on. To get you started, we compiled a list of tips to help you overcome your fear of driving.
Tip #1 Don’t Start Alone
Most people feel more comfortable doing something they’re afraid of when they’re with someone they trust. So, if you want to start driving (again or for the first time), you should always have someone in the vehicle with you. If you don’t have a license, it might be best to start by hiring a driving instructor to help you learn how to drive and keep you calm on the road. On the other hand, if you already have a license but haven’t been diving in a while, you can invite one of your friends or someone from your family to keep you company.
After some time, you’ll grow accustomed to driving. Once that happens, you should slowly start taking more and more short trips independently.
Tip #2 Refresh Your Memory on the Rules of the Road
If you don’t have a license yet, you should probably learn all the rules of the road before stepping into the driver’s seat. However, if you’ve already passed your driving test some time ago and want to start driving, you should probably get reacquainted with all the highway rules. You will feel a lot more at ease in traffic if you know what to do in every situation you encounter and if you can guess how others will behave as a reaction. A usual mistake made by novice drivers is that they only study with the primary goal of passing their test. This means they cram the night before, but they don’t learn enough to comprehend all the driving rules and techniques they’ll need on the road.
You should know it’s not just about cramming and acing the test. Instead, it would be best if you focused on learning and understanding all the rules and how they can apply to you. Even if you fail the driving test the first time, you shouldn’t worry. Some of the best drivers out there failed multiple times; it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Tip #3 Take Driving Lessons
If your inexperience is the leading cause of your driving anxiety, one of the best tips to help you overcome your fear of driving is to sign up for refresher driving lessons. Many driving schools specialise in teaching students who don’t have much experience or feel all that comfortable behind the wheel.
After receiving the driver’s instructions, you’ll no longer have the same anxieties as you did before. This is because the driving instructor will prepare you for any situation that may arise while you’re on the road.
Tip #4 Make Sure You’re Comfortable
To ease your driving anxiety, it’s critical to ensure you feel as comfortable as possible before you start driving. Make any necessary adjustments to your mirrors, seat, and turn on the music. Many people will tell you that music is a distraction when driving, but if you keep it on low volume, you will find it more relaxing.
If you ever start feeling overwhelmed, pull over. Find the nearest exit or a parking spot and take a breather. Try practising meditation and controlled breathing. Take as much time as you need until you feel comfortable getting back out there again.
Tip #5 Only Drive During the Day
If you are a rookie driver, too worried to get started, or even an experienced driver who sometimes feels nervous, it is a good idea to avoid driving at night, at least until you get more comfortable and overcome your anxieties. It’s much more difficult to see animals, people, and other vehicles when it’s dark out than during the day. When driving at night, you have to be concerned about more things than when driving during the day.
However, there are situations where you feel like you have to drive during the night – for example, during a long-distance move across the UK. If you’re still unsure about your driving, we recommend you skip such a big and stressful obligation. Instead, you can find and hire movers to help you with the transfer. Having a reliable team by your side is much better than doing it all by yourself.
Tip #6 Don’t try to rush it
It takes time to learn to drive and let go of your anxiety. If you observe other drivers slipping between vehicles or performing calculation manoeuvres with ease and think you won’t ever be able to do it, don’t worry. You will be able to drive just like that in no time. Don’t try to rush it.
Furthermore, you need to realise you can’t control other drivers, and you can only control what you do. You’ll never be entirely in control, and you should understand that as you keep practising.
If you struggle with driving anxiety, you will have to put in a lot of effort to overcome it. These tips to help you overcome your fear of driving are just the start, and the rest is up to you. For some folks, it’s simply a matter of gaining more driving experience, with or without a driver instructor. Others may require therapy to determine why they are so fearful and to learn how to deal with it. By now, you should figure out which group you belong to and start planning your next steps to get into the driver’s seat. Ultimately, driving should be something you look forward to, not something you dread.