Driving anxiety is a common problem where a person feels hesitant or anxious to drive. This can be simply an irrational fear or anxiety or a full-blown diagnosed phobia. Having this anxiety can be difficult if you don’t live in a large city with a great public transportation system in place. The upside to this fear is that this can be conquered when given some simple tools. Here are 5 such tools to help yourself overcome adult driving anxiety.
1. Don’t Stop Driving
Like all fears and anxieties, avoiding the activity can make the situation worse. This is especially true if you have gotten into a car crash and feel scared to try again. Instead of going to extreme lengths to avoid driving, start small. Get behind the wheel and drive to the nearest grocery store, park, or shopping center. Keep your location close enough that you are driving, but not getting on a freeway or busy highway. Also, try to only drive during daylight hours so you can have a clearer view of your surroundings. As you improve, increase the distances to include roads that have more drivers and higher speed limits. This way, you slowly conquer your fears instead of avoiding it altogether and making it worse.
2. Have a Trusted Passenger
Ask a trusted family member or friend to sit in the front seat while you drive. You can either talk through your fears with this person while you drive or let them offer support and encouragement. Either way, this can help relieve some of the pent-up anxiety when driving.
3. Take an Online Driver’s Ed Course
Whether your fear has kept you from ever having a license or the anxiety has set in later in life, taking a driver’s ed online can help calm some of your nerves. Refreshing your driving skills or learning to drive from a professional can help you feel more confident behind the wheel.
5. Create a Peaceful Driving Environment
External factors like noise smells, and a lot of clutter can increase anxiety and fear, even if it is subconsciously. Try playing peaceful music in the car to help calm the nerves. Find an air freshener that makes you feel calm and happy to use in the vehicle. Another great tool is to keep your car clean. Pick up trash and organize your belongings so that there is less clutter weighing you down mentally.
6. Manage Your Stress
Practice saying positive affirmations out loud while you are driving. Use phrases like “I can do this” and “I am a good driver” to help boost your confidence. Saying it out loud can help fortify these statements in your mind. If you are experiencing a lot of stress in your life outside of driving, work on decreasing those before getting behind the wheel. Typical tools include exercising, taking breaks, and meditating often help control stress.
Keep on Practicing
For many people, anxiety can hit at any time or place, with no way to predict it. Keeping a toolbox of practical tools for dealing with it in your mind is a great way to find a solution for each situation. Practice driving and using these different tools for decreasing anxiety and fear. Soon, you will learn how to manage, cope with, and conquer your fear of driving.