3 Tips on How To Overcome Driving Anxiety

I imagine you might find this unexpected, but as of the original posting time of this article I am yet to get a drivers license.

For one thing, it’s really too much of a bother for someone like me, who really can’t exercise any level of concentration.

Things like that are just plain boring.
Whenever I think about Driving I end up feeling all “meh”, but that’s probably because I am no responsible adult.
The less responsibility, such as work or taxes, I have – the better.

The main reason for that problem, however, is that I hate cars. It’s more than just global warming or what not, but the fact that there are so many stupid rules and limitations.

Knowing that a small misstep, a certain nuance to a rule I forgot, could lead to death.
Commanding a 3.5-ton machine that uses horses to measure its power is a frighting thought. about 150 years ago modern cars could very well pass as scary bedtime stories that parents told their children.

“Alright Thomas, Go to school and come back to work on the farm if you don’t the big bad machine will come and ram you down!”

Crazy to think about it that way, yeah?

As it turns out most people aren’t bothered by such thoughts, yet saying that I was the only one would be a lie.
There is no official data, but rough estimations are around 5% of the population are at least somewhat wary of driving a car, being either a passenger or the driver.

In truth, I never minded being in cars, but I never trusted myself to be able enough to actually drive around in a car. As in, actually drive the car by myself, wheel and all.

If you are having a similar problem, however, I got just the solution for you. I wrote a short guide on how to overcome driving anxiety.
So here it is!

What is the fear?

People who fear driving, or simply feel anxious whenever driving, are being weighed down by multiple factors and are wary of specific circumstances.
With them being:

  • Driving in specific places – some people fear driving through highways, bridges, and tunnels.
  • They avoid specific actions – such as turning left or right, overtaking other cars and anything in between.
  • They avoid driving in specific hours – “rush hours” with lots of traffic.
  • Fearing panic attacks – they imagine themselves getting panic attacks while on the wheel, leading to multiple dangerous scenarios.
  • Lack of confidence – some drivers simply don’t believe that they are as qualified as their peers.

Most of these factors actually end up turning them for the worst in terms of driving ability.
Avoiding turns, traffic and some rather common types of roads isn’t exactly wise. Self-doubt and a flat-out phobia of hypothetical scenarios aren’t going to really help you either.

Right, so what can you do to ease your fears?
Fear not, my friends! I wrote a few tips that will make sure that you will become the competent, capable, driver you were meant to be!

Driving with someone

1) Practice makes perfect

Seems kind of obvious, but in actuality, it really isn’t.
Mastering the skills required to become a very able driver will serve to both reassure and protect you.
By being a good driver you can avoid feeling inferior to others, as well as make yourself safer in the long run.

How do you do that?
Simple, get someone that you consider qualified to help you out and then have them sit next to you and offer their support and advice.
You will likely be easily distracted by your fears, they will be there to help you focus.
These are the people who will guide you through it all, step by step. Getting the approval of others will serve to boost your confidence as well.

Start out small, simple driving in tame roads.
After you are okay with that start looking for bigger challenges. This approach might actually take a while, but it is by far the most effective in my opinion.

The other person can be either family and friend, not a stranger or an acquaintance. Heck, you might get to the point where you will be able to strike some conversation and make small talk with them.
Over time you will become more able and confident and able, and that’s where another problem might start.

You might grow dependent!

The other person might be your source of confidence, by simply being there they will give you strength and confidence.

Question is, how will you be able to handle the situation without them? You can’t just drive with other people in your car all the time.

The feeling of being stuck alone inside a metal box of death may awaken a new, not mentioned factor in you driving anxiety.

That’s why I highly advise you to not simply rely on other people. That is, use this piece of advice alongside the others.

Drawing your confidence from others rather than using them to build up confidence is a huge mistake that may end up costing your dearly, once you show no actual improvement after they leave.

2) Be in optimal condition.

Honestly, you have enough factors weighing down on you: anxiety, inferiority, and a phobia, just to name a few.
You really don’t need anything else to put you down.

Don’t drive when you are tired, don’t drive when you aren’t feeling well, and don’t drive when you are about to faint from a panic attack.

You may have to drive once anxious of course – exposure therapy works like that.
Consider practicing breathing techniques and meditation (with an expert guide, of course), these will serve well to calm you down before you start driving.

Another worthwhile piece of advice would be for you to create a pleasant environment for yourself. Avoid dark colors and make sure you always have a light inside the vehicle.

You would do well to avoid distractions as well, that includes noisy passengers.
So unless the person sitting next to you is helping you out with actual advice – you really don’t want them anywhere around you while you are driving.
Focusing on the road ahead may be a very difficult task, particularly if all that’s going through your head is how terrible the situation is, but it’s a skill that’s worth mastering.

Focus your mind, block out stress and do anything in your power to stop this annoying nervous sweating of yours, it won’t do you any good.

If worse comes to worst, and you actually get a panic attack, turn to the side of the road immediately and stop as soon as possible.

Once you do that, stop your panic attack through whatever means and calm down. You won’t do yourself any good if you drive while distorted.

3) Use the power of affirming messages.

The power of your subconscious is great, so much so that just “wanting” to stop feeling anxious won’t do.
Instead, you should point out to yourself how well you are doing.
It might seem kind of idiotic, but bear with me on this one – it worked for myself and others on more than one occasion.

Whenever you do something right, like taking good turns or overtaking other cars, point it out to yourself with a thumbs up.

you will notice how you become more and more competent and relaxed when you see there is nothing to worry about.

Here’s the deal, your brain comes up with excuses all the time to justify why are you feeling in a certain way. In other words, most of your “logical thoughts” are just a tool to justify your impulsive ideas.

Meaning that as long as you keep preventing yourself from “thinking logically” on how you might crash and die you will notice a major improvement in your overall condition and driving.

Heck, I know some people that actually narrate inside their own heads everything that they do. These are some extreme cases, of course, but endlessly pointing out how not incompetent you are has had its fair share of benefits.
You may as well try it out, you really got nothing to lose.
Plus, it’s kind of entertaining, so there’s that.

Driving without fear

Final thoughts and conclusions.

Let’s face it: for most of us, driving is a necessity.
Sure, many people may disagree for one reason or another, be it practical of financial ones, but they aren’t the majority at all.

Most of us have jobs and certain needs (and yeah, wants too) that make having your own car a necessity.
These vehicles are everywhere, fearing them is a very obvious equivalent to fearing the outside world. You just can’t live an entire day in the middle of civilization without being exposed to cars.

May as well make your peace with these speed demons, yeah? I am glad to have shown you how.

So while you go around and re-learn how to drive a car, here’s a quick question for you to think about: Can you live without a car?

Make sure to drop an answer in the comment section below.

If you got any personal questions you would like answered just make sure to drop me a quick email and I’ll come back to you as soon as possible.

Email: [email protected]

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2 thoughts on “3 Tips on How To Overcome Driving Anxiety”

  1. Great article you have here! This is a common problem but not many people really acknowledge it. You really explained it very well. I like that you included tips and suggestions to help us go about it. It’s interesting to read you personal experience with it as well. Thanks for sharing this!

    1. Hello Lily, thank you for the kind words.

      Not many people really bother to consider cars seriously, since they are so used to them.

      Cheers, Vlad

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