For some people, driving is the most natural thing in the world. They get into their car and can tackle any journey or situation on the roads with ease. But it’s not that easy for everyone, and for others driving can be anything between a little scary and absolutely terrifying. Maybe you’re a new driver, or perhaps you haven’t been behind the wheel in a while. You might have had an accident in the past that’s put you a little on edge, or you might be attempting a journey that’s further than you’ve been before. Either way, there are lots of reasons why you could get into your car and not feel the most confident. If this sounds like you, here are a few ideas to build your confidence and put your mind at ease so you can get out there and enjoy all of the independence that a car brings.
One thing you could consider is having a friend who’s an experienced driver come along with you at first, so they can give you any hints or answer questions you have along the way. Once you’ve driven along with them a few times without issues, chances are you’ll have the confidence to go it alone. Bring someone who’s patient and understanding, who will give you advice when needed but without putting pressure on you or stressing you out. If you’re a new driver, taking a pass plus course can be helpful as you can drive places like motorways where you’ll never have been on your lessons. It’s just an extra bit of experience and guidance when you’re first starting out that can give you a boost and help you to realize that you really can do it. If you’ve had a license for a while but are still struggling, speak to a driving instructor (or your old instructor) and have some refresher driving lessons. They can help you to work through the things that are specifically bothering you.
If it’s your first time driving by yourself after passing your test, or the first time you’ve driven in a long time then it makes sense to start small. Do short, easy journeys that will build your confidence. Avoid bigger roads and rush hour until you’re comfortable in the car and feel as though you can handle it well. Don’t think you need to get out there and tackle everything in one day, do a bit each day perhaps at different times of day and work your way up.
Be prepared for breakdowns and emergencies
If it’s a breakdown that gets you feeling anxious, have your car serviced so you know that it’s up to scratch. Companies like Holden service offer this while you wait, this gives you peace of mind that your car is in the best condition it can be. Not only will they spot any small issues that could turn into larger ones, but they will ensure all fluids are topped up, bulbs are working and everything else. Knowing that you’re out on the roads with a car that’s in good condition can give you confidence. Just in case, it’s always worth having breakdown cover. It’s only a small amount each month, and you know that if you do break down then you’ll have assistance without having to pay large costs. Be prepared for emergencies too, some supplies in the back of the car such as a torch, warning triangle, warm coat and some food/ water again can give you peace of mind ‘just in case.’ If you’re already a bit stressed out about the idea of driving, worrying about what you’d do if something went wrong will be fuelling the fire. So be proactive and do what you can to prevent this or help the situation if it were to happen.
Consider professional help
If driving is a major source of anxiety to you, maybe because of your confidence in general or a past trauma like a crash then it could be worth getting some professional help. Speak to a therapist who can help you to work through these challenges. This could be gaining confidence in your decision making (which is essential to driving) or coming to terms with a previous accident you might have had either as a driver, passenger or pedestrian. Working through whatever is holding you back will not only allow you to drive but it could help you to feel better in the rest of your life too.