Driving is an integral part of modern life. As much as 85% of the British public has a car permanently available to help them get around and complete their daily activities.
But for some people, getting behind the wheel of a car can be incredibly stressful.
If you experience driving anxiety, you might feel that the onlysolution is to stop driving altogether. But you shouldn’t lose hope. There are several ways you can become better equipped to handle driving and take back your power.
In this article, we’ll share five strategies for overcoming driving anxiety.
1. Understand your anxiety better
Understanding the root causes of your driving anxiety is the first step to overcoming it, as this informs which coping strategies will be the most appropriate. There are many reasons why you might experience driving anxiety, including but not limited to:
• Witnessing or being involved in an accident
• Past negative experiences while driving
• Driving alone in unfamiliar places
• Adverse weather conditions
• Existing anxiety disorders
Take some time to reflect on your experiences with driving anxiety and try to identify when and how it began, as well as what situations trigger you.
2. Boost your confidence with practice
If you experience anxiety because you aren’t confident in your driving skills, then the best way to overcome it is to practice in a safe environment.
If you still haven’t passed your test, then consider taking out learner driver insurance to get some extra practice with a trusted family member or friend.
And even if you’ve been driving for years, there are courses like Pass Plus that can help you gain more confidence in your driving skills.
3. Calm your mind
When you’re experiencing a bout of anxiety while driving, you need a way to calm yourself down. It’s important you learn how to soothe your mental and physical feelings so that you can better cope with what’s happening on the road.
Meditation and mindfulness practice is an effective way to clear your mind and keep your thoughts in the present moment. They can help you stay grounded if you practice them before or after driving – or after pulling over if you need to.
4. Get gradual exposure
As with any kind of anxiety, overcoming anxiety takes patience. Although you may want to resolve it quickly, it will likely take you some time to build up to being comfortable with the scenarios that trigger you.
You need to expose yourself to manageable situations, tackling increasingly challenging ones at your own pace. Youshould experience smaller amount of stress each time you get out of your comfort zone. But without this stress, there’s no way to grow.
5. Talk to someone
If you’re struggling to work on your driving anxiety on your own, then you might benefit from enlisting the help of others.You may be able to get something the experiences and insights of those close to you. Alternatively, a professional counsellor or therapist could help you work through the different emotions, thoughts and behaviours you associate with driving.
Which of the above strategies can you try using to overcome your driving anxiety?