Plenty of time and experience are required for someone to be confident and comfortable with their driving skills. The thought of driving can be a terrifying thing, especially for new drivers, as it becomes their responsibility to ensure that everyone arrives at the destination safely. This responsibility can be daunting, resulting in anxiety, stress, and feelings of nervousness.
Learning how to drive is a lifelong process. There are too many uncertain scenarios on the road that you need to prepare and look out for. If you experience anxiety behind the wheel, here are some driving tips for nervous drivers.
- Get Accustomed to Driving
This first tip is for beginners. Learning to drive can sometimes be nerve-wracking as you’re probably unsure of your skill or afraid of the challenges you will face on the road.
Jump-start your learning process by taking a Driver’s Training Course. You will learn basic car controls, vehicle safety checks, traffic rules, etiquette, and more. You will also get actual driving time with a professional instructor to help you gain practical experience.
It will take a lot of practice to acquire good driving habits. These habits include signaling with plenty of time for other drivers to react, constantly checking your mirrors when turning or braking, and keeping a safe distance from other drivers.
Once you finish a training course, you will find yourself less anxious because you are better prepared and ready for any situation you will encounter on the road. You can further improve your response to complex driving situations that are causing you stress by driving daily.
2. Prepare Your Vehicle
Making sure your vehicle is always in good condition can alleviate your concerns regarding flat tires, failing engines, and more. Some road mishaps are beyond your control, but you can still avoid potential problems over failing or damaged parts.
Nobody wants to experience the hassle of being stuck in the middle of the road due to common car problems. Checking your engine and tires for any signs of damage can ease your anxiety about being stuck on the road.
If you are using a second-hand car, make sure to replace old and worn-out parts. Install reliable and sturdy tires like Nitto tires that can protect themselves against punctures from unexpected road elements. Regular car service and maintenance can give you some confidence in driving, knowing that your vehicle won’t fail from mechanical issues.
3. Assess Your Mental and Physical State Before Driving
A driver must always consider their state of mental and physical well-being. You can avoid mishaps if your mind is alert and your body is in good shape. Mistakes are more likely to happen when you are feeling worried and stressed. Do something that can help you relax while waiting for your nerves to calm down. A good state of mind can make you feel comfortable and confident to drive.
Avoid driving if you’re feeling tired or on medications for the flu. Cough, cold, and flu medicines and some prescriptions can cause side effects like drowsiness, nausea, blurred vision, and even nervousness. Check and read the labels and warnings on any medications you are taking as you might experience the side effects while driving, putting yourself at risk of accidents.
When you’re a beginner, it’s never a good idea to practice when you feel exhausted or ill. When learning a new skill, you should be in good condition to keep your mind engaged and body active. Be attentive to your state of mind and body, so your nervousness won’t affect your driving.
4. Combat Nerves By Having Company
Some new drivers spent a lot of time with other people in the car. Driving anxiety can happen while driving alone when you are probably not used to it. If you’re still feeling nervous, try to take short trips with someone, either a family member or a friend, to help you remove the initial stress of driving. Choose someone that can serve as extra eyes and ears while you are on the road. Once you feel more comfortable, you can do small drives and even run errands on your own to get you used to driving alone.
Some people prefer to drive alone as passengers might unintentionally add some pressure and stress because their safety is the responsibility of the driver. Although, the pressure can be relieved by the same method of having company. It is better when you feel comfortable having conversations with your companion to help you relax.
5. Stick to Daytime and Familiar Places
If you are a new driver, drive during the day for the first few weeks until you build your confidence. Try to drive around familiar places in daylight a few times a week. You will be able to anticipate every turn and exit, so you are less likely to encounter surprises. There might be some changes like traffic and roadworks, but you won’t be too stressed about it since you know where you are. It is the safest approach while you’re trying to gain more driving experience.
6. Practice Highway Driving
It is common for some people to feel nervous when driving on highways. Multiple-lane highways can be intimidating when you’re not used to them. You can practice driving on highways by choosing a time of day when fewer drivers are on the road. Do this regularly until you feel comfortable even on multi-lane highways at any time of day. You will develop your skills and eventually overcome your fear of driving on highways.
7. Be Ready to Drive in Unexpected Weather Conditions
Many weather-related accidents happen every year, leading to many drivers having anxiety associated with driving in the rain as weather conditions are beyond our control. Sometimes you will experience a sudden downpour in the middle of your trip and roads can get extremely slippery and difficult to drive on. It may cause panic and stress to anyone not accustomed to driving in such weather.
Drive defensively by slowing down. This will help you assess your surroundings and calm your nerves from agitation. Add more distance between your vehicle and those ahead of you.
Increase your visibility by turning your headlights on so that other drivers know your exact location. Be extra cautious of glare from oncoming traffic during the night. Also, note that it is dangerous to use your hazard light during heavy rain. It might confuse drivers leading to potential accidents.
If you own a pickup truck, there are plenty of truck accessories that can help you drive safely during heavy rain. Some wheels and tires provide high wet traction to prevent hydroplaning on wet surfaces. Installing fender flares and mudguards can keep water and mud from entering sensitive areas prone to rust and corrosion like the undercarriage. Make sure that your truck bed is secured with a tonneau cover to keep water from entering.
8. Listen to Music
Many drivers still listen to the radio as a habit. It makes the travel seem faster by providing entertainment during long drives and peak hours of traffic. Listening to music can boost your concentration and soothe your nerves. Try to listen to your favorite songs to uplift your mood by connecting a playlist to your vehicle’s entertainment system. Just make sure that it is not too loud or too distracting.
Driving should be something that you enjoy doing. Daily driving will improve your skills and help you overcome the fear you experience behind the wheel. You will also become more confident at making split-second driving decisions. Do not let your nerves get the better of you. Give these above tips a try and see what works best for you.