How To Conquer Driving Anxiety
If you’re scared of driving, you may experience a racing heart when you’re just sitting in the car. Fear of getting into a car accident, losing control of your vehicle, or even harming others can negatively affect your driving experience – and if you’re scared of driving, this can make it a lot harder for you to get your licence.
So, how can anxious drivers take control of their mental health and conquer driving anxiety? Here are a few tips.
1. Start Small In Car Parks & Low-Traffic Areas
First, if you’ve just started driving, you should mostly be driving in car parks for at least a few hours until you feel confident with basic driving manoeuvres like braking, accelerating, parking, avoiding obstacles, reversing, and so on.
Then, move onto rural roads or light industrial areas where there is little traffic. Lots of driving-related anxiety involves other drivers, so practicing where there are few other drivers or complications like bikes or foot traffic will help reduce anxiety.
2. Stay Focused On The Road & Be Proactive
Eliminate all possible distractions. If you focus solely on driving, and do your best to keep your mind occupied with the routine steps you need to take to drive safely, you can avoid negative thoughts and anxiety.
3. Don’t Give Into “Catastrophic Assumptions”
Much anxiety about driving is based on “catastrophic assumptions.” If you get behind the wheel, you’re going to crash, or get a ticket, or even hurt someone else, right?
Wrong. These assumptions are not based in reality. In reality, car accidents are rare and most of them are not serious – and if you drive safely and obey traffic laws, the odds of being involved in a catastrophe are extremely slim.
4. Have A Plan If You Feel Like You’re Going To Panic
Having a panic attack behind the wheel is not something that you want to happen – but the mere idea of panicking while driving can actually cause a panic attack!
The best way to mitigate this is to have a plan. For example, tell yourself that if you’re driving in a suburban area and feel panicky, you’ll pull into a parking lot, turn off the car, and breathe deeply for a few minutes.
When you have a plan in place, you’ll find that you’re much less likely to panic while driving – because you’ll know that if you do, you can take steps to deal with the situation and get back on the road.
5. Avoid Unhealthy Behaviours Related To Driving
If you’re scared of driving, you may do things like Google car accident fatality rates, read articles about crashes, and engage in other such behaviours, partially to justify your driving anxiety.
However, these kinds of behaviours do not help with fear of driving, and will only make it worse. Try to recognize, identify, and stop these kinds of unhealthy behaviours to make it easier to practice driving.
6. Take Lessons From A Driving Instructor
Driving with a professional can be a helpful way to feel more confident behind the wheel. Driving instructors supply dual-control cars, meaning the instructor can control braking and acceleration, which gives you a “safety net” that can be very valuable when learning to drive.
7. Consider Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) For Serious Driving Phobia
If you think you have a serious anxiety disorder and are very scared of driving, you should see a therapist for cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT). Your therapist can help you learn more about your fear, suggest coping strategies and next steps like exposure therapy, and even prescribe anti-anxiety medication that may help you feel more comfortable while driving.
Get The Safety Tips & Instruction You Need From LTrent Driving School
The Safer Driver Course from LTrent Driving School is full of tips, techniques, and strategies that will help you feel safer on the road – and conquer driving anxiety. Book your lessons now, and get the help you need to cope with anxiety and fear and drive safely in NSW.