Driving anxiety is a very common problem faced by people all around the world. Although common, some people tend to have more anxious minds and find it difficult to function normally. People always ask how to overcome driving anxiety ?
Driving anxiety is common and should be appropriately addressed so that you don’t get habituated to driving anxiously.
The number one symptom of anxiety acting up is having short breaths and impulsive movements. While driving, this may show up as being out of breath and driving in a very defensive manner. You could end up taking a wrong turn or be utterly confused about the way. You might get unnecessary thoughts that are completely unrelated. This can make you very distracted, and you become even more self-conscious while driving.
The anxiety that you have while driving can either be due to your instructor. Who was unreasonably strict or aggressive. Or the stress could be something you have been dealing with in different areas of your life. Whatever the case, the only thing you can do is to make sure that you calm your thoughts, mind, and body.
Let us first list down the probable symptoms of anxiety and the reasons why you could have anxiety.
Symptoms of driving anxiety
- You feel a sense of panic or fear. You might feel like you don’t know how to drive a car or the next turn you must take. Confusion gears up in your mind, and you can’t seem to remember how to drive. This is the most obvious symptom of anxiety.
- Rapid breathing and disorientation. Your breaths are shallow and short, and you don’t seem to be focused on one thing. Your mind keeps wandering away, jumping from one thing to the other.
- Dizziness and rapid heartbeat is another symptom. While driving, if you feel like you have a heavy chest, like something is stuck in that area, that is a major sign.
- Confusion. Like said earlier, you doubt everything that you learned. You suspect knowing driving at all. You forget routes or don’t remember places.
The first thing you can do to overcome anxiety is to find out why you developed that anxiety in the first place. It could be because of many or one reason, but pinning them down is what is more important. There is no smoke without fire. So ask yourself, “ Why do I feel nervous/afraid when I am doing everything fine? What pushed me to be so self-conscious and doubt myself ? Does this remind me of something stressful?” And once you are done with this, your mind will come up with an answer, and you will know what the cause of your anxiety is.
Reasons for having driving anxiety
- You have been in a traumatic car accident or injury. So every time you sit in the car, you are reminded of it and the trauma or stress it caused you.
- You have had experiences where you lost your way for some reason and landed in a very troublesome situation.
- You have been driving in heavy traffic, and you have faced consequences that make you very frustrated. Traveling and waiting long hours can cause you to get accustomed to impatience and frustration, which in turn could develop driving anxiety.
- You witnessed a terrible car accident or were responsible for somebody else’s injuries.
- You may have someone close to you that has been through a terrible car accident and/or you have lost someone you love because of that.
- You have had very aggressive or strict teachers who always criticized your work and skills. You have lost confidence in yourself due to the severe criticism and don’t believe you can drive well.
- If you are someone who hasn’t experienced high speed, especially a driver from overseas.
How to overcome driving anxiety ?
- Learn driving from a professional driving instructor – Learning to drive from a professional will make you confident and overcome the driving anxiety.
- Have a trusted family or friend as a passenger – Have a trusted family or friend in the front seat while you drive. You can have a talk with them when you are nervous and they will encourage you while you drive.
- Listen to music – Listening to music, podcasts or radio while you drive can help you focus on something besides your stressful thoughts.
- Practice regularly – Keep driving and practicing regularly. The more you drive it will help you conquer your fears. If required take additional lessons ,do a mock test with a professional driving instructor.
- Turn on the air conditioning – If you are feeling sweaty or dizzy, turn on your air conditioning or roll down your windows. Take a deep breathe and calm down. You can use positive affirmation like “ I am good driver “/ “ I can do this “
So what is the best way to overcome driving anxiety ? The answer is, there are many ways to do that. What method you adopt should depend on the kind of problem you have faced. For example, if you had a very strict or aggressive instructor who was impatient while teaching you to drive. In this case, it is best if you take along somebody you trust while driving who is calm and composed and gives you a feeling of comfort. If that is not possible, then it is better to retake two to three classes with a professional driving instructor who can help you boost confidence in your driving skills.
If you have been through some severe trauma, which involves car accidents and/or traumatic memories, you must put in work towards healing it. If not tackled well, stress slowly takes place in your body, and your body shows symptoms of anxiety in multiple different ways. Thus it is advisable to go to a doctor or mental health expert who could help you recover and heal from the trauma and bring you to your best self.
The only answer to how to overcome driving anxiety is the you need to conquer fear of driving . You might have confidence issues in general that might make you very sensitive to recent driving failures. The only way to improve your overall confidence is to keep working on yourself till you get it right. This means that once you are confident about your driving skills and you know everything that a good driver must know, you will know when to make what decision
Conquer fear of driving .