How To Get Over Driving Anxiety
Whether you’re a new driver, someone learning to drive, or have been driving for a few years, there may be times that anxiety rears its head. Perhaps it happens when you’re experiencing traffic, traveling at higher speeds, or driving in poor weather. Some people may say they don’t like driving or may be slightly afraid of getting behind the wheel in certain situations.
If you find that you’re nervous about driving to the point that it’s causing you anxiety, it might make you feel your life is in danger when driving. Perhaps you experience panic attacks or rapid breathing. If your anxiety behind the wheel is controlling you and preventing you from remaining calm while driving, it’s important to face the anxiety and not shut it away.
You can do a few things to reduce this anxiety and remain calm behind the wheel, all while you build your confidence as a driver.
Take driver training
One of the main reasons why some people build anxiety while driving is because they are new drivers and may be unsure of their driving skills. It could be a lack of confidence in their decision-making skills. This is a good reason to take a professional driver training course. These courses teach individuals many things they need to know to become competent drivers. Taking these courses means getting actual driving time with a professional instructor beside you. Once you have completed driver training, you will find that some of your driving anxiety has been reduced or even eliminated. This is because you know how to prepare yourself for most situations that can arise while you’re driving.
Have a passenger with you
If you become nervous when driving in certain situations, it may not be that you are nervous about the actual act of driving but more that you are nervous about driving when you are alone in certain areas. For the first few weeks after you are fully licensed, if you still feel anxiety while driving, attempt shorter trips with someone else in the vehicle.
The person you bring does not necessarily have to be another licensed driver. They have to be someone whose job is to help relax you. They shouldn’t tell you how to drive either. Once you reduce anxiety while driving in those areas, you can begin taking those short trips by yourself.
Drive in daylight hours
As a new driver with certain driving anxieties, it is a good idea to avoid driving in unfamiliar areas during nighttime hours if you can avoid it. The risks at night can become different compared to daylight hours, so reducing those risks until your confidence grows and your anxiety reduces is a good idea.
Nighttime risks could include people, animals, and other vehicles. They can become more difficult to see than in the daylight. It is best to remain driving in daylight hours until you feel more comfortable before tackling nighttime driving if at all possible. Once you have overcome your anxieties about driving during the daytime, you can begin to conquer your other anxieties.
Don’t give up
There will be times that certain times when your anxiety builds up and your drive is not pleasant. There may be times that you feel like you want to give up. Considering you’ve spent a long time learning to drive, why give up now?
As a newer driver, you also don’t want to stop driving for long. The longer you wait to get back into the vehicle, the harder it will be for you to lose your anxieties. If you get right back at it and face those anxieties, you will find that you will continue pushing those anxieties away, and you will begin to enjoy driving once again.
Learn to enjoy highway driving
Although you may enjoy driving on local roads, your anxiety may increase whenever you drive on highways, especially multiple-lane highways or freeways. Yes, this cannot be very safe, especially if you are a new driver, but this is something that you would benefit from if you eventually overcome it.
You may want to begin using the highways at quieter times and on less busy sections. Once you become more comfortable with these roads and your confidence has grown, you can start to head out onto the busier ones. After some time and practice, driving on the highways will seem less troublesome, and you will reduce even more of your anxieties.
Listen to your music
Although listening to music can become a big distraction for some, and you should not bother having the stereo on while driving, it can cause relaxation for others. If you feel that you are more relaxed when listening to your favorite tunes, go ahead but keep the volume low so it does not distract you.
Yes, music can become a huge distraction for you, but only if you let it distract you. This would include listening to it at high volume. If you are listening to relaxing music at a low volume, it will help to keep you relaxed while you are driving. If you are feeling some anxiety, music can help you as you work hard to overcome it.
For some people, getting more experience behind the wheel and tackling those fears is simply a matter. One of these things that can also really help is taking a few more lessons from a professional driving instructor. Even though you may have initially taken a complete driver training course, there is nothing wrong with taking additional lessons to help you overcome the anxiety you have to deal with. Their suggestions and guidance will certainly help you in the long run.