Driving entails a great deal of responsibility. Naturally, this might lead to some people developing anxiety when driving, especially if they have only just passed their test. How do you manage your anxieties when driving?
We have seven top tips to help when it comes to being prepared for driving and they could help you to reduce or even remove your anxiety as anxious thoughts are often based on a fear of the unknown or as a result of planning for things going wrong. Through planning for success you could find that your anxiety around driving can decrease.
If our tips don't help then it is likely that something more in-depth may be needed but if that is the case we can something that could be a great fit. Read on to learn our 7 Pre-Departure tips for anxious drivers plus our top recommendation for which style of therapy could help you be a more confident driver.
1) Why are you an anxious driver?
It would be helpful if you could first establish why, you are an anxious driver. There could be many reasons you become nervous, or why you experience driver anxiety. Are you a new driver with limited driving experience? Do you dislike driving alone or at night? Are you worried about travelling long distances? Have you had an accident whilst driving before and you’re now nervous about driving?
All these reasons and many others may be why you are experiencing anxiety when you get behind the wheel. Finding out what’s making you nervous may help you prepare yourself better and help you overcome it.
2) Prepare Your Vehicle
Driving anxiety includes a sense of not having control over anything on the road. You have no control over other drivers’ speeds or whether they will pass you at a roundabout. However, you have some control over how safe your own car is.
Make sure your tyres are in good shape by looking for any indications of uneven tyre wear or damage. Learn about tyre safety precautions so that you may drive with less anxiety knowing that your tyres have your back.
According to Caruno, “Having sufficient breakdown cover in place is essential should the worst happen. Keeping some essentials like a blanket, snacks, a hazard warning triangle, and a hi-vis vest can also help to warn other drivers of your presence if you breakdown or need to pull over for one reason or another.”
3) Listen to MusicWhy not try preparing yourself some happy, relaxing music to drive to, before you go? Perhaps use Spotify and create a few playlists of the music that you enjoy. Add additional time onto the playlist, in case of delays. They have shown that music has a beneficial association with relaxing nerves. Make sure the music is playing at a moderate volume so that it will distract you from the stress of driving without being too loud. As an alternative, you could relax your nerves by listening to soothing classical music, which will probably enhance concentration.
4) Use a Satnav/Google Maps
Nowadays, most new cars come equipped with built-in navigation systems, or you should be able to use your phone in a cradle while using a Maps app to guide you.
If you need to drive outside your comfort zone, plan your route the night before. If you were coming to see us for an appointment, for example, your could get directions for how to find the Sheffield Wellness Centre on Google Maps and you would be brought to the door. You could also use Google Maps to familiarise yourself with the journey before you set off as well. Looking at the unfamiliar landscapes so you’re fully aware of your surroundings.
Even if you may know your destination, it may help reduce anxiety if you can picture the road map in your mind. You can see what is approaching, the next turn you need to make, and how much longer your journey is. A good way of doing this would be to check your journey out the day before you plan to go. Another way could be to take someone with you the day before, so you can work out the route that you would feel comfortable taking on your own the day.
Using traffic navigation apps like Google Maps is another excellent technique to maintain control while driving. This programme monitors the roads using real-time data on the traffic situation and is more than just a satnav. So, there won’t be any unexpected lines or waiting in traffic for 30 minutes.
5) Drive with Company
Nervous drivers may experience triggers while driving alone. Driving with a family member or friend can help you overcome your driving anxiety because talking to them can have a similar effect as listening to music because it takes the initial stress out of the situation. It can, however, have the reverse effect on some individuals. For example, it’s possible that driving while carrying passengers can add a layer of pressure and tension.
6) Familiarise Yourself with Your Journey
Drive only in familiar, well-known places and, preferably, during daylight hours as you attempt to calm your anxiety. There will probably be fewer surprises because you’ll be able to expect when to turn right, which exit to take at the roundabout, and where the dual carriageways are.
Even though there can be detours because of construction or temporary traffic lights on your route, at least you’ll be aware of your whereabouts. Attempt to spend at least 20 minutes each time driving through well-known places once a week, and maybe you’ll grow used to it soon!
7) Clean Car, Clean Mind
Similar to the idea of a clean house, and a tidy life, driving a cluttered car may make you feel anxious and out of control. Additionally, having clutter in your car's footwell could be harmful because it could become jammed underneath your brake pedal.
Before your travel, it might be worthwhile to clean the exterior of your car as well, as if it gets too dusty, this could cause issues on the road, such as registration plates that are difficult to read, which is a crime. Your windows may be dusty which would obscure your line of sight. All these things can contribute to helping you feel less anxious.
8) Hypnotherapy could help you reduce your driving anxiety
Out of all the therapies available at the Sheffield Wellness Centre it is possible that hypnotherapy could help you drive confidently and could be the most effective method in helping you achieve your goal. Being in a hypnotic trance is almost identical to daydreaming or being on automatic pilot. In that natural but powerful state it's possible to use your imagination more effectively than usual and to create a sense of your future driving success.
Through becoming increasingly familiar with your ideal state when it comes to driving you are contributing to it becoming a self fulfilling prophesy. Not only will you be spending less time focused on the difficulties or problems of the past but you will also be creating a sense of a more desirable future you who drives calmly and confidently. An added bonus is that hypnotherapy is one of the fastest and most cost effective methods of therapy available.
Here is are the hypnotherapists currently available at the Sheffield Wellness Centre...