Coping with Driving Anxiety – InsureLearnerDriver
May 17, 2018
Learning to drive is a huge milestone and for some, a huge obstacle. Many of those learning to drive for the first time can find it quite nerve-racking to get behind the wheel.
It’s Mental Health Awareness week, and we want to share our tips for anyone who suffers from feelings of anxiety when it comes learning to drive.
Communicate with Your Driving Instructor
If you feel particularly anxious about learning to drive, discussing your concerns with your driving instructor will help them help you.
Driving instructors are professionals who should know how to deal with your driving anxiety. If you feel they don’t understand your concerns, you don’t have to stay with that instructor.
When we took to Twitter to seek advice for dealing with driving anxiety and a few driving instructors highlighted the importance of communication when overcoming it:
Keep your students relaxed as posssible, get them to talk through what part of Driving makes them nervous / anxious. Self analysis and commentary driving make students more aware of their strengths and weaknesses. When it gets too much then get them to pull up safely and chill.
— PAUL SAVAGE (@paulgreenhill37) May 16, 2018
If you don’t explain and discuss what is happening in a way that each individual understands how will they overcome their concerns. Clear objectives and reviewing these are always helpful in easing anxiety. Building trust and rapport will help the learner develop confidence.
— Mark Carroll Driving (@ukdriving4life) May 16, 2018
Anxiety is often based on concerns about future events, most of which never happen. Focusing their mind on the process and not the outcome helps reduce these worries.
— Stu Walker (@studidit) May 16, 2018
Prepare for your Driving Lessons
As driving instructor Stu Walker pointed out, anxiety comes from fears of future events – so one of the best ways to counteract this is with preparation.
Familiarising yourself with the format of driving lessons and speaking to friends about their experiences can massively help. You can even watch YouTube videos that walk you through the various parts of driving lessons. Here’s just a few channels:
To sum up the importance of getting familiar with the format of driving, here’s some brilliant advice from Ollie, a driving instructor from Teddington:
Very simply, it’s having a deep understanding of the environment your in. Driving without understanding is like being stuck in a dark room, rather scary. The anxiety & understandable concern soon goes once someone can piece together the ebb & flow of the road & how react to it.
— Ollie (@Totallydriving) May 16, 2018
Practising your driving in your own time allows you to take things at your own pace. If the only time you’re driving is in your lessons, it means you’re only doing it a couple of hours a week. This might give you more time to overthink things, leaving you stressed out.
By practising your driving outside of lessons, you can take it at your own pace in quiet areas to help with the nerves.
Invest in Self-Care
It can be easy for driving anxiety to go from 0-100 when you’re behind the wheel. There are a few ways to help you relax.
- Rest and a full stomach – It’s no surprise that we perform at our best when we’ve had a good night’s sleep and have eaten well. This is something we advise to all learner drivers to avoid any fatigue.
- Meditation – This is a great way to manage your stress levels and the best part is that it’s available at your fingertips. Just do a quick search for “meditation” apps on your smart phone and pick one that takes your fancy.
- Positive sensory anchors – If your anxiety is triggered by driving, it can be helpful to associate something positive into that. This can be something as simple as wearing your favourite outfit or perfume to your driving lessons.
John Lendrum, a driving instructor from Southampton, expressed how hypnosis could help driving anxiety:
I have advised pupils to try Hypnosis by a professional who helps to input positive mindfulness techniques and has had good results.
— John Lendrum (@LendrumsDriving) May 16, 2018
If you are experiencing driving nerves and you feel that they are having a negative impact on your well-being, then talk to someone close to you about it. It could be a friend, family member or even your driving instructor.