Tips for working through driving fears
Fear of driving is one of the most common fears people face. You may feel anxious about getting behind the wheel, or worry that an accident may happen while you are behind the wheel.
For most people, the condition is best described as driving anxiety, which is normal and treatable. Read on to know how you can get over driving anxiety with these 5 tips.
1. Identify your specific fear
Knowing what is causing you to feel anxious when you think about driving can help you find the right way to deal with that anxiety.
For example, if you are anxious because you think you might stall on the road and incur the ire of impatient drivers, you can concentrate on making sure that you know how to press on the clutch (if you are driving a stick shift) and gas to avoid this scenario.
Make sure that you go slowly so you can easily react and take the proper steps to stop without stalling.
2. Sit in the driver’s seat and turn the car on
If taking the first step is what is causing you to be anxious, sit inside the car and turn it on. Be familiar with how it feels, how it smells and how it sounds.
Being familiar with the environment inside the car can help you feel more relaxed and less anxious if and when you do drive.
3. Take deep breaths
Taking deep breaths can do wonders for an anxious and tense mind. It can help take your mind off the anxiety-inducing thoughts and make you more able to concentrate on what’s in front of you.
The goal is to breath mindfully. If you have never practiced mindfulness, consider conducting a body scan as a starting point.
4. Concentrate on the road
Concentrating on the road is crucial, especially if you are prone to anxiety while driving.
Concentrating on the vehicle in front of you, pedestrians, potholes and your proximity to various obstacles on the road can help take your mind off your anxious thoughts and keeps you safe.
5. Face your fear
If the level of anxiety you have is not enough to be debilitating, the best thing you can do is expose yourself to your fear. Get behind the wheel and start driving. You can stick to comfortable locations to build your confidence and venture to more difficult waters once you feel more confident.
Driving anxiety can be helpful because it causes you to be careful and vigilant. However, it can also become so intense that you start to avoid driving altogether or even trigger bad car dreams.
If you are looking for more insight, tips, and suggestions on overcoming anxiety behind the wheel, consider picking up this book on How to Overcome Fear of Driving (see Amazon).
If nothing else seems to work, you may need to work with a specialist who is trained in helping people work through various forms of fear. The decision to do so may be one of the smartest you’ll ever make.