Whether you caused an accident or it was someone else’s fault, getting back in the car after a traumatic experience can be really tough. It’s entirely natural to feel worried or even panicked after an accident because we are basically programmed to avoid situations that put us at risk.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can never drive – or even get in a car – again. Just as you would get back on the horse, you can get back in a car after an accident; it’s just a case of regaining your confidence.
Take Some Driving Lessons
You might know how to drive and have been driving for years but if your confidence has been knocked then taking a couple of lessons will really help. Driving instructors are more than happy to do a refresher course with you and teach you how to drive defensively as well as safely.
The other great thing about taking some driving lessons is that you will feel much safer on your return to driving. They have their controls too so you know that no matter what happens on the road, they will be able to help and support you.
Talk to Someone About Your Worries
It is entirely understandable that you would be worried about getting in the car again but talking it through can be a really big help. Rather than letting the issue get on top of you, talk about the accident and what happened to create a strategy for avoiding the same thing happening again. A friend or close family member can often provide a good listening ear but if you have more serious issues, you should seek professional help.
Anxiety, PTSD, memory loss, sleep issues and depression are all common mental health issues triggered by an accident. Getting treatment for any of these issues as soon as possible is the best thing to do. There are plenty of therapists who will be able to see you and treat your condition. It might take some time but be patient with yourself. These things don’t come easy.
Drive Slowly and Carefully in a Quiet Area
When you are ready to go driving alone again, be kind to yourself. Don’t go on a stressful journey or feel as though you need to rush to get somewhere. Instead, choose a quiet location like an empty car park or some quiet streets to re-familiarize yourself with your driving technique. This is a chance to learn new techniques that make you a better driver too.
As you slowly rebuild your confidence, try taking new routes on busier roads. Just as a learner would gradually increase the difficulty of the driving situation, you should do the same. Don’t feel pressured to bounce back – this is a very personal thing so please go at your own pace. There is absolutely no need to rush.
Getting back into the driver’s seat after an accident can be tough but it is not impossible. Take your time, make sure you feel safe as you progress and you will be back to normal in no time.