Driving is an essential skill that can help you to experience a sense of freedom. In fact, in some cities, you can’t get anywhere without a car. You might feel uncomfortable because of your fear of driving.
A driving phobia is common in people involved in a crash. After a traffic accident, some drivers can’t get behind the wheel again. They have panic attacks and might even lose a sense of reality. In this case, psychologists recommend going through behaviour therapy.
Another group of people who don’t feel confident while driving is inexperienced drivers.
Driving alone as a new driver can be terrifying, especially on a highway and in high-traffic areas. If you have the same issue, you should understand that it’s only a matter of time. One day, you will actually be okay with turning on the radio while driving. Meanwhile, use these tips to overcome your fear of driving in less than a month:
Choose the right instructor
Don’t allow anyone to scream at you while you drive. Your perfect instructor should be patient and empathetic. Moreover, this person must have at least ten years of experience on the road.
When choosing an instructor, you should take into consideration a few things: teaching experience, references, demonstrable skills, and personality. If you don’t feel comfortable with your current instructor, it’s better to ask someone else to teach you.
Avoid asking your partner or relatives to teach you driving because they don’t have relevant experience to do so. Moreover, you might have conflicts with your loved ones due to your unrefined instincts and unsure driving practices.
Learn how your car works
Basic knowledge of cars engine and mechanics will always be helpful on the road. Learning more about your car and its features will help you to boost self-confidence. You don’t have to be born with a socket wrench in your hands to know how your car works.
If you don’t know much about mechanics, start with something easy like watching Top Gear or Wheeler Dealers. In order to get visual step-by-step instructions, install the best car diagnostic app, and find Youtube channels for car enthusiasts.
Face you fear
Ignoring your driving phobia can make your fear even bigger in the future. So, make sure to confront your phobia as soon as possible. To do so, you need to go through exposure therapy.
Before you head out to the highway, drive around in an empty area, get used to your car. To become a more confident driver, you should practice as much as possible. One day, you will be able to travel to another city on your own, and it won’t be a big deal to you.
Make yourself feel comfortable
No one expects you to be the second Michael Schumacher. It’s totally fine if you refuse to drive on a highway and choose a longer route instead. Or, if you wouldn’t feel comfortable speaking to your passengers or listening to the radio in the car in the very beginning.
You should feel comfortable while being behind the wheel. So, don’t hesitate to ask your passengers to behave in a certain way while you drive. It’s totally fine to refuse to drive your friends to places where you have never been before.
Whenever you have passengers in your car, you take responsibility for them. So, do everything on your terms!
Learn how to park
A lot of inexperienced drivers feel intimidated while parking, especially in a busy car park. When you park, you should focus on getting into space in the first place. You may make other drivers wait a bit, but you can always thank them for patience later (most people will understand!).
In the very beginning, learn how to park when no one is around. Consider practising on the parking lot in the evening or during the night when there are no cars.
Learn how to relax
If you feel anxious while driving, practice abdominal breathing – your belly should expand when you hold your breath. Also, start speaking to yourself (if you don’t have anyone else in the car) – describe what you see around and how you feel.
You can also use positive affirmations. When you drive alone, keep repeating: “I’m driving carefully, I’m safe’; “driving is easy and pleasant, millions of people do it every day,’ ‘I know where I’m going, I’m well-prepared, so there is nothing to be afraid about.’
The bottom line
Driving can make you more independent. It’s always nice to take a couple of your friends and drive to the seaside whenever you want.
A driving phobia is pretty common in inexperienced drivers. It’s easy to overcome this fear within a month. All you have to do is to admit that there is a problem to work on. Make sure to practice driving as much as possible.
Consider getting a psychological treatment in case you can’t overcome your driving fear on your own.