5 Ways to Reduce Anxiety While Driving:
1 Focus on the Road
While it may be calming to try and envision how your drive is going to go, this only aids in more anxiety. The only thing you can do as a driver is focus on the road ahead of you. Be aware of any road signs and signals you may encounter. Be aware of any pedestrians and other road users that may be using the road as well. You can help keep your focus on the road by removing any potential distractions such as your cell phone.
Getting some extra practice behind the wheel may help you feel a little less anxious. Consider going to an empty parking lot to practice. This way you can focus on safe driving techniques without the fear of other drivers around you. Practicing in a parking lot also allows you to practice different methods of parking (pulling directly in or reverse) and three-point turns. Consider practicing with a trusted, licensed friend or family member, as their familiarity with you may help calm you down and guide you. Or, consider having a certified driving instructor with you while you are practicing. A certified driving instructor can give you all the tools you will need to be a safe and responsible driver.
3 Remember to Relax
With driving, you must come to understand that you only have control of your vehicle and how it moves. You cannot expect yourself to be in control of other drivers, as other drivers don’t always respect the rules of the road. By following the rules of the road yourself, you can demonstrate to other drivers correct driving attitudes.
4 Acknowledge your Emotions
Emotions play an important role in how we live our day-to-day lives. Many people are also surprised to learn that emotions also play a role in our driving. If we are happy and excited, we may find ourselves pushing the gas pedal a bit too hard and resulting in speeding. If we are sad or angry, we might find ourselves engaging in irresponsible driving, such as failing to indicate before switching lanes. Regardless of what emotion you are feeling, it’s important to analyze how you feel and consider how that might impact your driving. If you’re feeling too distressed, angry, or even tired, it’s important to consider putting off driving until you feel more relaxed. That way, you are in control of your driving rather than your emotions.
5 Check Weather Conditions
Driving in inclement weather can make any driver, new or experienced, a bit anxious. Plan to drive during ideal conditions, however, if you must drive during poor conditions be sure to
- Have properly functioning windshield wipers
- Refill your windshield washer fluid
- Follow the 3-second rule BUT increase the distance as necessary
- Slow down and give yourself time
- In winter, clear off any snow and ice so that your license plate, your headlights, and taillights are visible and so that you can see the road better
- In winter, install winter tires to increase the traction your vehicle will have on the road
At Trubicars, we recognize and encourage our students to remember that driving is a big responsibility, and it is your duty as an operator of a motorized vehicle to ensure that you remain safe and responsible behind the wheel. If you are looking for more information on tips to reduce anxiety while driving, check out the Trubicars website!