With hundreds of millions of registered drivers around the world, we can say that driving is one pretty mundane thing. But, why then are so many people terrified of sitting behind the wheel and joining their ranks? Well, let us start by saying that driving anxiety is perfectly justified. Once we join the traffic, our safety is just as dependent on our skill as it is on thousands of different factors completely beyond our control.
However, it is the way we are approaching this harsh reality that ultimately affects our wellbeing. Awareness of the various dangers can make you a better driver. It can also make you nervous and paralyze your reactions. So, let’s take a look at some of the ways we can change your attitude toward traffic and make you more relaxed once you sit behind the wheel.
Don’t travel alone
Spending too much time chatting while you’re driving is by no means advisable. Still, if you are an inexperienced driver still struggling with anxiety having someone to ease the atmosphere and divert your thoughts from apocalyptic scenarios going through your head doesn’t have to be all that bad. Especially if the passenger is a seasoned traveler who knows what are you going through and can share an advice or two. Ideally, your guardian angel should take the front passenger seat.
Drive only during the day
Overcoming anxiety is all about expanding your comfort zone by gradually making steps out of it. Going too far in advance can be a useful shock therapy, but more often than not it only reinforces your fears. So, until you develop better confidence behind the wheel do your best to avoid the night drives that only put unnecessary pressure upon you. Remember that because of the rapidly changing light and darkness, dusk and dawn can also be considered as the situations of reduced visibility.
Take additional driving classes
There is no shame in admitting that the knowledge you’ve acquired while getting the license is not particularly honed. You are not the only one – most of the active drivers have developed their current skills through post-license practice. Still, if you are afraid to take these exercises alone, you can always look for professional help. If we take a look at Australia as an example, we can see a lot of companies like Ezlicence which offer driving lessons to drivers with similar problems as yours.
Create a pleasant atmosphere
The goal here is to get yourself as relaxed as possible. So, for a start, make sure your seat is properly set up and your climate and the AC unit up and running. You will hardly be able to concentrate on the road ahead if you are constantly sweating or struggling to find a comfortable position. Also, although pumping up the music to the point where it becomes distracting is highly discouraged, playing some soft relaxing tune in the background can do a lot to set you into the right driving mood.
Keep your vehicle in good shape
Knowing that the vehicle you are driving is devoid of hidden failures and perfectly safe to drive can go a long way in improving your road confidence. So, take a look at some the common car inspection and maintenance duties, split them into groups according to their frequency and give your four-wheeler some much-needed love. Let the fact that your brakes are working perfectly fine and your engine is well oiled serve as a positive notion you can use to defuse negative thoughts.
Defuse negative thoughts
The worst thing about negative thoughts is they are absolutely necessary. After all, it is the awareness of all the dangers around you that keeps you alive. So, the negative thoughts can’t be and shouldn’t be surpassed. However, you should try to take these notions only as a useful feedback and don’t let them hijack your feelings.
If you ever feel overwhelmed by these ideas, try to reduce their impact by adding the “I’m having the thoughts of…” in front of them, saying them in a funny voice, singing them to some wacky tune, or any other method that will show you that your thoughts are nothing more than simple words.
We hope these six tips will eliminate your driving anxiety and help you to finally take your place behind the wheel with much-needed confidence. The most important thing is not to look at your concerns regarding traffic safety as the problem, but more as something that can be reshaped into a valuable asset that keeps you safe and vigilant.