The freedom that being able to drive gives you is very important to a lot of people. So it can be incredibly frustrating if you find yourself feeling anxious, nervous or stressed when you’re behind the wheel.
Whether you’ve recently passed your test or you’ve had a near-miss that’s knocked your confidence, it can be difficult to just get into a vehicle and drive somewhere without any anxiety. If the thought of driving somewhere new or even getting in your car to go to down the road fills you with dread, you may benefit from a few helpful hints and tips to help combat your fear.
To assist you, we’ve put together some advice and our top tips for building your confidence, so that you feel calm and assured when you’re on the roads.
Go Over the Basics
Going over the driving basics is useful if you’ve just passed, or if you haven’t been driving for a long time. Refreshing your memory of the fundamental principles of driving can help you to feel more comfortable when you get behind the wheel. For this, you might find it useful to have refresher lessons with a qualified instructor, or just get plenty of practice on your own.
While practising, focus on aspects that make you stressed or worried, in order to improve them. Common things nervous drivers like to go over are the rules of the road, hazard perception and the workings of your car.
Check Your Vehicle
Avoiding any incidents due to an issue with your vehicle should help you feel less nervous while you’re on the roads. You can gain peace of mind by knowing that your vehicle is in tip-top shape. To achieve this, test the elements of your car before setting off such as your wipers, lights and fluid levels. If you’re not sure how to do this, check your users manual or seek help from a professional.
Another important part of your vehicle to check is your tyres. Your tyres are the only thing between your car and the road, making them a vital part of every journey you make. You may feel less nervous on the roads if you’re safe in the knowledge that your car is equipped with high-quality tyres from a brand like Dunlop. The premium quality tyres provided by Dunlop have high-quality grip performance, resulting in better stopping distances, fuel economy and more.
Clean Your Vehicle
If you’ve checked your vehicle to ensure all the parts are in good working order, you may also want to clean your vehicle. Having rubbish lying around can cause annoying background noise and if you’re a nervous driver, you will want to minimise any distractions. Plus, dirty windows, dashboards, sat navs, and dials may also be distracting, especially if you’re already anxious behind the wheel.
So, giving your vehicle a good tidy and clean will help ensure that are no external factors that could affect how you feel while you’re driving.
Plan Your Journey
Planning a journey beforehand is essential for reducing anxiety for a nervous driver. Map out your route in advance, so you know where you’re going and avoid busy roundabouts, motorways and tricky roads until you have built up your confidence. Having a plan in place will also help you to avoid heavy traffic and diversions that could make things more difficult for you.
You may also find it useful to check the weather conditions and avoid driving in heavy rain, wind or snow. This will all give you peace of mind that you have plenty of time to get to your destination so that you can stay calm behind the wheel.
This tip may sound a bit obvious. But of course, you must try to remain calm if you feel panicky on the roads. To keep calm you should reduce distractions and worries that can lead to you losing your concentration or your cool. Be sure to switch off your mobile phone before you set off.
It is important to focus on the road but if your nervousness overwhelms you, reduce your speed and find a safe place to pull over. Once you have regained composure you can start driving again.
Practise Good Habits
Perhaps you feel uncomfortable behind the wheel because you aren’t adopting best practises while you are driving and bad habits might be causing your anxiety. Maybe bad habits led to a near miss, which has made you nervous to drive ever since. Making a conscious effort to adopt good habits might eliminate some of your worries.
Try to calm your nerves by refreshing your mind with good driving habits and practising them on the roads. You will be able to remain more in control of the vehicle, safe in the knowledge that you are using your training to drive as safely as you can.
Make Small Goals
Overcoming being a nervous driver is a process that won’t happen overnight. That’s why it’s important to set yourself small goals and build your way to confidence. Break things down into little steps that you can take, instead of going straight in with something difficult. Whether that’s driving down the road by your yourself, or tackling a tricky junction, whatever is a small enough goal that you can build on will help you.
For more motoring advice and information, take a look at the rest of our blog.