While learning to drive can be exhilarating for most individuals, some people get anxious. Several issues can trigger driving lesson anxiety. Most people are afraid that they will end up in a car accident or hit a pedestrian. Others simply have the fear of doing something new. If you are cash-strapped, you may also fear the cost of attending a driving school. Fortunately, all of these fears will disappear if you attend the right driving school, such as Eclipse Driving School.
Even an experienced driver can be struck with driving phobia every now and again. Nevertheless, you can easily overcome panic attacks and other driving anxiety symptoms if you use tried-and-tested strategies. Some of these strategies include:
1. Choose recommended driving instructors
A driving instructor is one of the most important teachers in a person’s life. This is the person that will teach you how to be safe on the road for the rest of your life. Unfortunately, most people choose someone that charges the least amount of money which isn’t the best solution if you are one to experience stress and driving lesson anxiety.
You will be better off with a driving instructor recommended by one of your friends or family members. Once you have received the details of the recommended instructor, you can have a quick meeting with the person who made the recommendation.
During the meeting, you will find out whether the driving instructor takes measures to alleviate panic attacks among trainees and create a positive experience for students.
2. Come up with a plan to alleviate nerves when driving
Just the mere idea of driving can be enough to make people nervous about driving and the cause of devastating anxiety attacks.
Developing a plan beforehand can increase your confidence and provide ways to tackle any fear-related incidents during the driving lesson. For instance, you can identify parking lots on your driving route and include them in your plan. If you’re prone to experience a panic attack while driving, you can always divert into the nearest parking stop, park the car, and take a deep breath.
The existence of a plan increases your confidence level because you know that you have a solution to any unexpected road occurrences. Before heading out on your drive, you might want to try relaxation techniques to help get you in the right mindset.
3. Don’t engage in unhealthy behaviours
People nervous about driving end up engaging in actions that increase their levels of anxiety. For instance, they may search for car crash statistics or read blogs about road fatalities on the internet. You should avoid such behaviours because they will expose you to negative ideas about driving. Plus, it’s not good for your mental health.
The more you interact with road accident information, the more your anxiety or driving phobia gets reinforced. Identifying and staying away from these behaviours can inspire confidence and turn you into a courageous driver.
4. Know the particulars of your first driving lesson
It is easier to control your fear if you know what will happen during the first driving lesson. That is because the thought of doing something is more terrifying than actually engaging in that activity. A friend or relative who already knows how to drive can give you insights into what will happen during your first driving lesson.
Alternatively, if you have already identified a driving instructor, you can request them to send some videos or manuals regarding your first lesson. Having some basic knowledge about your upcoming driving lessons will reduce anxiety and fear.
Some of the things you should know include:
- The type of car that you will use
- The roads that you will pass
- The time that you will start and how long it will take
The most important thing to know is that your instructor will be there to support you throughout the whole learning exercise.
5. Practise with other people
You will get fewer panic attacks while driving as you spend more time behind the steering wheel. Since it is not easy to take part in something that evokes fear, it would help if you practise with somebody that you trust.
During the lessons, try new routes, terrains, driving speeds, and diverse weather conditions. This will not only reduce your nerves when driving but will also increase your confidence levels when you start going for your driving test and when you start driving alone.
6. Begin in low-traffic areas
Your first hours behind the wheel will probably be spent in open car parks and other low-traffic areas. Here, you will learn the basic driving actions, such as braking, acceleration, reversing, and parking without the fear of running into other road users.
Once you are conversant with the core driving manoeuvres, you can take the vehicle to roads with moderate traffic, such as rural roads. Starting your driving lessons at low-traffic areas is a good idea because most panic attacks arise when amateur drivers share the driving space with passengers and other drivers.
7. Ensure you are fully focused
Most road accidents are caused by human errors, especially when people get distracted. As you take your driving lessons, you must pinpoint and stay away from anything that may decrease your concentration levels.
Your full concentration should be on what the instructor says and how you control the vehicle. A fully focused mind will not have space for negative thoughts, driving lesson anxiety or a panic attack while driving.
8. Avoid extreme assumptions
Anxiety and constant worry can give way to unfounded assumptions about driving and can spark anxiety while driving. If you let your brain be occupied with paranoid thoughts of failing your driving test or being involved in car accidents, you are never going to hack your driving lessons. Instead, you should take refuge in the fact that car crashes involving driving students are extremely rare.
Always put your mental health first.
9. Have the right mindset
Constant fear and elevated levels of anxiety can put you in a permanent flight-or-fight mode. This is not the mindset of a person who wants to take part in a relaxed and successful driving lesson. If you have that type of mindset, you will start to sweat during the driving lesson and will get out of the vehicle with an aching body.
Fortunately, there are some simple activities that you can engage in to get your body in the right state.
For instance, you can listen to your favourite music or do some meditation exercises to clear your mind and relax your body. The many meditation apps on the internet as well as hundreds of meditation tutorials on YouTube make this a simple exercise to start. At the same time, you can reduce your anxiety while driving by getting enough sleep. Tiredness and feeling sleepy can increase fear and cause a panic attack while driving.
Also, it would help if you have a sufficient breakfast on the day of your first driving lesson.
10. Seek out professional help to reduce nerves when driving
If you believe you’ve tried it all to overcome your anxiety disorder, maybe it’s time to call in the experts to assess and work through your symptoms. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your doctor or health professional who will be able to provide advice on overcoming driving anxiety and any stress that arises from it.
A doctor may be able to help you with cognitive behavioral therapy or referrals to other healthcare providers who are experts in helping those with a panic disorder or phobia.
It is possible
Don’t let driving anxiety be a reason for you not to learn this important life skill. You are a courageous and self-confident person who has overcome many difficult situations. A simple driving lesson should be a walk in the park if you have the right mindset and choose the right driving school, such as Eclipse Driving School.
Eclipse Driving School offers a safe and supported environment for anyone experiencing driving lesson anxiety.
Nervous About Driving? Eclipse Driving School can help!
Passing your driving test and developing your driving skills is an exciting time in your life. At Eclipse, our team is committed to making your driving lesson experience a positive one by helping you overcome your fear of driving so you can enjoy the freedom that comes with getting your driver’s licence.
Contact us for more information.
Frequently Asked Questions
Driving lesson anxiety is something that many first time drivers go through. However, for those who can work through anxiety surrounding driving lessons, driving can become an enjoyable experience.
Driving lesson anxiety can be reduced by doing the following:
- Choose recommended driving instructors
- Come up with a plan to alleviate nerves when driving
- Don’t engage in unhealthy behaviours
- Know the particulars of your first driving lesson
- Practise with other people
- Begin in low-traffic areas
- Ensure you are fully focused
- Avoid extreme assumptions
- Have the right mindset
- Seek out professional help to reduce nerves when driving
Read our blog post to learn more about reducing driving lesson anxiety.
Many people can overcome their fear of driving and develop the self-confidence to drive independently with driving lessons conducted in a quiet area utilising a qualified driving instructor.
Having an instructor who is patient, supportive, and understanding will go a long way in making your driving lessons enjoyable.
Finding a driving instructor who can create an enjoyable driving lesson is helpful as they are more likely to teach a productive and positive lesson that you will benefit from.
Driving manual cars isn’t necessarily more stressful than driving in automatic cars. However, there is a lot for first-time drivers to learn, so it is common for students to be overwhelmed by the additional steps of driving a manual.
Therefore, it can be useful to learn the basics of driving in an automatic car before progressing to lessons in a manual car.