Conquering Your Driving Anxiety

Posted by Ben Davidson about 6 months ago
Driving is fantastic. Cars are fantastic. But, we don’t all automatically take to it. In fact, many people spend years, not to mention a lot of money, learning to drive, only to find that once they buy their own car and are able to get out on to the road, they are terrified of it. 

Many of these people loved learning to drive, but find driving alone very different. Without the security of someone next to you to help and advise, or even to take over when you need them to, it’s different. Suddenly you are making all of the decisions. You are on your own on the road. Surrounded by other road users who you have no control over. Having to think quickly and make the right choices to keep you safe. Suddenly drivers feel like they’ve got no control. 
Many people find that even though they’ve never suffered from anxiety, the idea of getting behind the wheel of their own car fills them with dread. They worry about the car breaking down and not knowing what to do. They are frightened of having an accident and having to read more here about legal assistance. They worry about not being in control, not knowing what to do if something unexpected happens and feeling lost. 

When this happens, you can find yourself making excuses not to drive. You can start avoiding your car and find that when you do have to drive you feel so ill that you can barely get behind the wheel. 

But, driving is fantastic. Being able to drive and owning your own car gives you freedom and independence in a way that nothing else can. It means that you can go where you want to when you want to. That you don’t have to rely on anyone else for help or spend money on public transport. You are free. This independence can be a significant confidence boost, especially if you are conquering anxiety to get there. 
Practice

You’ll never feel better about driving if you don’t do it. Practice makes everything more comfortable, and more natural. Get in your car and go for a drive. Practice driving on roads that you are familiar with, get to know your vehicle and how it feels and try to become more comfortable. Try to go for a short drive every day, even if you have nowhere you need to be. 

Plan Your Routes

Many of us are scared of the unknown. So, eliminate the unknown. If you are comfortable driving to work, but terrified of new routes, start planning them more. Look at a map, use street view on Google Maps, and have a sat nav on in the car. Learn your route before you set off so that you know what lanes you need to be in and what’s coming up long before you get there. 

Educate Yourself

Again, it’s the unknown that scares us. So, learn. Not just about routes, but also about your car and how it works, and the laws of the road. Know what you should do if you have an accident or if you get lost. Learn basic repair skills, and make sure you’ve always got the phone numbers of anyone you might need on the road. 

Push Yourself Out of Your Comfort Zone

On our usual day to day drives, we always do the same things. You could easily go for months without needing to perform a turn in the road or a parallel park. Then, suddenly you’ve got to do it, and it causes panic. 

The best way to avoid this is to practice and to push yourself out of your comfort zone as often as you can. Don’t avoid things because they are hard, force yourself to tackle them head on, even if there’s an easy way out. 

Figure Out What Scares You

Sometimes, there’s a specific part of driving that scares us. If you are bad with directions, you might be afraid of getting lost. You might be scared because of a negative experience in the past. Try to identify what it is about driving that scares you, and face up to it. 

You might be thinking that you don’t need to do this. You don’t need to drive. You are happy getting the bus and don’t mind that you’ve wasted time and money getting on the road in the first place. But, look into the future. When you’ve got kids, or when you are older and have to travel for work. Or, even the more distant future when you are elderly and need to travel to healthcare providers. Wouldn’t your life be easier if you could drive? Leave it, allow your anxiety to win, and you might never beat it. So, conquer it now, even if you don’t need it yet. 
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