Throughout their driving lifetime, many drivers may experience anxiety. This can be for a range of reasons – such as if you are new to driving, whether you’ve been involved in an accident or you’re just not confident in your driving skills. This fear is quite normal and the worst thing you can do is berate yourself for it. Our handy guide will offer you some insight into why you might feel this way while offering some expert advice to reduce your stress, helping to make your drive as smooth as possible.
Why am I such a nervous driver?
There are many reasons why you may be a nervous driver, and many people will already know the cause of their anxieties. We've collated some of the most common reasons why you could be a nervous driver:
- New driver - new drivers often find that after first passing their test, driving alone is a daunting experience.
- Night time driving - the darkness of the night can make driving a very nerve-racking experience. Drivers often worry about who or what they may encounter on tight lanes or have general visibility worries.
- Anxiety – suffering with an anxiety disorder in general can cause nervousness when driving. If you are prone to anxious behaviour, driving may be a particularly worrying task especially if you worry about things beyond your control going wrong.
- After an accident – as with all trauma, it can be hard to return to something after it goes terribly wrong. This is completely natural, but it might be worth talking to your GP about the long-lasting effects that your accident has had on your mental wellbeing.
- Uncertainty of routes - many drivers are concerned about getting lost and not being able to get home.
How to stop being a nervous driver
As a nervous driver, you can divide your journey into three distinct stages: the preparation, the drive, and the evaluation. Following our simple advice at each stage will help make your drive slightly less intimidating, and allow you to gain confidence in your abilities. It always helps to remember that you passed a test to be able to drive, one that is not so easy to pass, so you are a competent driver.
Prepare for your journey
The principal cause of nervous driving is worrying about potential consequences. We believe that you are less likely to fear the unknown if you are prepared for every eventuality. Before you embark on your trip, consider the following:
- Check your tyres – make sure your tyre tread is at the legal depth to avoid skidding on the roads. You can always buy tyres online if the tread has worn below the legal limit.
- Regular Services – if you are concerned that something will go wrong with the mechanics of your car while driving, it is worth having your car regularly serviced. Having your car checked by a professional should ease your mind and make your journey less of a worry.
- Clean your car – however futile this sounds, a clean car can calm you. Cleaning and organising your car can allow you to feel more in control when driving, as well as being safer.
- Pre-plan your route – one source of anxiety is getting lost or not making it to your destination on time. A good way to combat this is setting your route beforehand. Google Maps allows you to see any potential disruptions on your route and plan accordingly.
On the road
Now you are well prepared for your journey, it’s time to get in the car. Follow our advice here to reduce any fears and calm you when everything gets a bit too much.
- Listen to music – sometimes you just need to distract yourself from the problem at hand. We recommend making a driving playlist full of feel-good, happy tunes that distract from your anxieties.
- Turn off distractions – some are worried, when driving, about potentially causing an accident. Modern cars all include hands free phone call capabilities and some even display messages. You do not need these distractions, especially as an anxious driver. Simply turn off your phone when driving, and turn down your music if you feel it may also be distracting you.
- Slow and steady – if your primary concern is about accidents, go slow and steady. As long as you aren’t dangerously slow, other drivers will not be affected - and you can take the roads at your own pace.
- P is for Pass – why not keep your green P on your car. If you are nervous about poor treatment from other road users, the green P gives you a similar leeway that the red L offered back in your learning days. The green P is used to indicate to other road users that you are newly passed drivers. However, anyone can have a P on their car. The P plate offers you, as a driver, peace of mind knowing that other road users will have a little more patience with you.
- Stop and breathe – if you are getting particularly stressed or panicked, there are plenty of places along a journey for you to pull up and take a breather. There is nothing wrong with stopping for a short while, grounding yourself, and getting back in the car to carry on.
- Use a Sat Nav – if you’re concerned about losing your way, a Sat Nav is, of course, the best option. A Sat Nav is highly efficient and will get you from point A to B in the most efficient way possible.
After you have driven it’s important to have some time to reflect. Take a moment to consider what you have done well and how you can improve next time you drive. Congratulate yourself for getting through the drive and reflect on your experience.
After reading our tips on dealing with driving anxiety, ensure your vehicle is ready for its next journey. For any motoring queries or advice for nervous drivers, get in touch with a member of our friendly team today.