Passing your driving test will feel good, and it should. You are now armed with your driver’s license and ready to make that solo road trip a reality. However, you can find yourself getting cold feet about driving on your own for the first time. You aren’t alone, and most first-time drivers go through the same thing. The only way to overcome this fear is by building your confidence on the road through practice.
Here are tips to help you overcome your anxiety and become a more confident driver on your first drive alone. But first, what causes fear and anxiety in new drivers?
Many things can cause a new driver to suffer anxiety. Being involved in a traffic accident or being prone to panic attacks can cause a new driver to fear driving. Other things include not knowing how to deal with impatience or drivers experiencing road rage.
How to Overcome New Driver Anxiety
1. Apply What You Learned in School
Consider going back to the lessons you learned at driving school. Find someone to help you practice. Let the person also share their new driver experiences that can help you overcome your fear. They might also give you practical tips for driving in challenging areas such as emergency stops, reverse parking, or parallel parking.
Without proper preparation, you might end up needing a traffic attorney in Denver if you’re driving within the state.
2. Start with Short and Familiar Routes
Instead of starting with a long journey that could build your anxiety even more, start with a trip to your friend’s house a few blocks away or to the local grocery store. There’s minimal risk of causing an accident which then builds your self-reliance.
When you successfully make this drive, your confidence in driving will start to build up, and you can gradually increase your trip distances as you feel increasingly comfortable.
3. Prepare for New Journeys Ahead of Time
Don’t make new journeys a rush; instead, start the trip early so that you don’t feel pressured to get to where you’re going. Also, use the most familiar route because getting lost can add to anxiety and fear.
If you have a choice, pick the least-demanding road to avoid being mixed up and confused on what to do amidst things such as heavy traffic. Also, avoid the rush hour, if possible, as this is when most people are stressed and impatient, which can increase your anxiety.
You should also check the weather so that you’re not caught in unfavorable storms or visibility. Notably, about 21 percent of car crashes are weather-related.
4. Use Relaxation Techniques
Much new-driver fear comes from the fact that you mostly learn how to drive theoretically, and when you practice, you’re with someone else. Being alone can arouse fear, but you can adjust and drive confidently if you learn to remain calm.
Learn to read your body’s signs when you’re getting tense, so that when your heart starts to beat faster you can take a moment to calm yourself down. Each time you notice tension, try and relax.
5. Engage Your Other Senses
Safely distracting your mind from driving can calm your nerves. Listen to music or the radio, eat some spicy candy or gum, or simply sip a cold drink. Any of these can get your mind off your driving anxiety. Whenever you start feeling the tension rising, chew some gum and let your mind focus on something else for a while.
You can also gain the confidence to drive from within. This can be as simple as telling yourself you can do it. Besides, you already passed your driver’s exam, meaning you learned and mastered the basics. Take all safety precautions and use the tips provided above to ease your anxiety.