Some drivers feel a lot of anxiety whenever they’re on the road. This is common for new drivers who are still building their driving skills and confidence. There are also some individuals who may have had bad experiences while in a car, that’s why driving for them became a stressful activity rather than an enjoyable one.
If you’re an anxious driver, here are some tips on how you can stop worrying and start having fun while you’re behind the wheel.
How to Drive on a Motorway
Motorways may seem scary for some drivers but they’re actually well-designed to be safe. Actually, they’re even safer compared to single carriageway A roads. One of the main reasons why motorways make some drivers anxious is because of the required speed to drive on it, thinking that they’re more likely to get involved in an accident there.
You can improve your confidence to drive on a motorway by practising. You may choose to have driving lessons on motorways so you’ll have the right advice and instruction from a driving expert. You can get such lessons when you take the Pass Plus course. Passing this course can also help lower the costs of your car insurance.
Reverse and Parallel Parking
You may have tried parallel parking at some point and found it to be tricky, if not nearly impossible to do. But just like driving on a motorway, you can improve your skills with practice.
Whenever you have time, go to an empty car park where you can try the manoeuvre a number of times or for as long as you feel more confident. You can increase the difficulty level by choosing busier areas with more cars to see how you’ll do when there’s a bit of time pressure.
Unfamiliar or Busy Roads
Another thing that makes some drivers anxious is getting lost, especially on a busy road. Here’s where your sat nav or smartphone comes in handy. However, just in case they lose signal or run out of battery, it would be advantageous to have a good old fashioned map in your car.
A tip to remember is to give yourself extra time if you’re driving to a destination through an unfamiliar road. This way, if you ever get lost or get stuck in traffic, you will have sufficient time to figure things out and you won’t get even more stressed at the fact that you’re running late.
Driving in the Dark
Before you hit the road when it’s nighttime, do all the necessary checks on your car. Make sure that the lights are all working well and your mirrors and windows are clean. Knowing that you won’t likely be encountering any issues with your vehicle will give you peace of mind and confidence while driving in the dark. Don't look directly into the lights of oncoming vehicles, but look to your left for the white line at the edge of the road.
Having Passengers Onboard
Having other people in the car while you’re driving might make you nervous because you feel you have a big responsibility to keep them safe. If you’re with other adults, then it’s much easier to communicate with them in case they’re distracting you in any way. However, if your passengers are children, then, first of all, make sure that you have the right car seats for them so that they’re comfortable and safe.
It might be difficult to make children behave properly and not distract you but there’s something you can do about it. Plan activities so that they’ll be entertained as you’re on the road. If it’s a long ride, prepare car games and also make sure you stop for breaks so they can go to the bathroom or stretch their legs.
Heavy Rain or Snow
Driving during heavy rain or snow can be challenging for even experienced drivers. It’s perfectly normal to feel anxious in this situation. When you can’t see the road clearly or the car is more difficult to control, that could cause you to panic. Whenever you start to feel that, do your best to keep calm because panicking won’t help you at all.
Whenever you go out for a long drive, check the weather forecast first so you’ll know if you should be expecting bad weather conditions on the road. If it’s expected to rain or snow heavily, you can delay or reschedule your trip until conditions improve. If you really have to go, then give yourself ample time to get to your destination.
Also, before you hit the road, check your car to see if it needs to be de-iced. Check all your car lights as well so you’re sure you’ll be able to see the road and other road users won’t have trouble spotting you even in heavy rain, fog or snow. If they're dirty give them a clean before you set off. If the weather gets worse while you’re driving, remember that you can always choose to pull over at a safe spot and wait for things to improve.
Dealing with driving anxiety is important if you want to make your driving experience more enjoyable. Having a car brings a lot of freedom because you can drive to any place you want at any time. It would be a shame if you aren't able to have fun while you’re behind the wheel.
Increase your confidence and improve your driving skills by spending time practising different manoeuvres, driving on unfamiliar roads until you’re more at ease, and checking your car regularly and whenever you go for a drive so you’ll have peace of mind while you’re on the road. Preparation is key! 👍