If you’re one of the many people who get nervous behind the wheel, don’t worry: you’re not alone.
Whether it’s anxiety about other drivers, fear of getting lost, or simply not feeling confident in your abilities, there are plenty of things that can make driving a daunting task.
But with the right mindset and a few simple strategies, you can overcome your nerves and ace your driving test. Here are 10 tips to help you do just that:
- Find a patient and supportive instructor. One of the most important things you can do when learning to drive is to find an instructor who understands your needs and is willing to work with you at your own pace. Look for an instructor who is patient, encouraging, and has a good reputation for helping nervous drivers.
- Practice deep breathing and visualisation techniques. When you’re feeling anxious, it’s easy to start hyperventilating and lose focus. By practicing deep breathing and visualisation techniques, you can help calm your mind and regain control of your body. Try taking a deep breath in, holding it for a few seconds, and then slowly exhaling. Repeat this several times, and imagine yourself driving calmly and confidently.
- Gradually build up to longer and more challenging drives. Starting small and gradually increasing the difficulty of your drives can help you build confidence and reduce anxiety. Begin by driving around your neighbourhood, then move on to longer drives on quieter roads. Once you feel comfortable with that, try driving on busier roads and in different weather conditions.
- Take a defensive driving course. Defensive driving is a set of techniques that help you anticipate and respond to potential hazards on the road. By taking a defensive driving course, you’ll learn how to drive in a more relaxed and confident manner, and reduce your risk of accidents.
- Get plenty of practice. The more you practice driving, the more comfortable and confident you’ll become. Try to set aside time each week to practice, and make sure you’re getting a good mix of different types of driving, such as city driving, highway driving, and night driving.
- Make a plan. Before you start driving, make a plan for your route and stick to it. This will help you feel more in control and reduce the chance of getting lost or making a wrong turn.
- Positive self-talk. Your thoughts shape your feelings and actions, so it’s important to be mindful of the language you use when thinking about driving. Instead of telling yourself “I’m a bad driver” or “I’m going to crash”, replace it with positive affirmations such as “I am a confident driver” or “I will stay calm and focused”.
- Get enough sleep. Being well-rested is essential for maintaining focus and reducing stress, so make sure you’re getting enough sleep before you head out on the road.
- Music can help. Play some of your favourite music on your drive, it can help to relax you and reduce anxiety.
- Remember that mistakes happen. No one is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes when driving. If you do make a mistake, don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, focus on what you can learn from the experience and use it to improve your driving.
Remember that everyone learns to drive at their own pace. So don’t rush it, take your time and be patient with yourself.
With the right mindset and a few simple strategies, you can overcome your nerves and ace your driving test.