Anxiety and fear can be triggered by a lot of things. Fear might be a laughing matter for some people but not for others who have phobias where they are gripped by fear and panic. They become prisoners of their thoughts and terror.
The fear of driving is very crippling. Accidents and traumas leading to very life-changing consequences like death can trigger and develop into a fear causing an individual to avoid and eventually stop driving. Being behind the wheel and realizing the gravity of having someone’s life on your shoulders can also be very terrifying and intimidating for a new driver.
Just like any other opportunities and fears, the fear in driving can also be controlled until the person eventually overcomes it. This process takes a lot of time and patience but coupled with some of the recommended ways of getting over the fear of driving, the once scared can soon enjoy and make the most of driving.
10 Tips For Overcoming The Fear Of Driving
1. Understand your fear
Know that you are not alone and there are other people like you who go through the feeling of dread and anxiety with just the thought of driving and the actual driving activity. Go through a self-assessment to try to find out what might have caused your current predicament. Is it the fear of driving along? Or perhaps the fear of the actual driving?
List your fears and the scale of your fear. Identifying the triggers of your fear will help you understand it. Understanding it and accepting that it is your current reality will push you to change it and slowly overcome the fear.
Talk about it with people you trust. The more you become open about it with a better understanding, the better you can find ways to get past through it. This might be the scariest part of all, acknowledging that there is a problem.
Go through a self-assessment to try to find out what might have caused your current predicament
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2. Exposure test
The most difficult step in overcoming the fear of driving is to actually get behind the wheel. Start from just sitting in the driver’s seat and taking it all in. Create a connection with the steering wheel and just be there. Eventually, move to actually turn on the engine and just sitting there with the battery running. The more you prolong and wait, the harder it is going to be on overcoming the fear.
This is where lots of patience, a good support system, and self-motivation is required. This is the hardest and the longest phase of overcoming the fear as drawbacks are expected. Eventually, you can just start going back and forth on your driveway to the street and back to the roads.
The most difficult step in overcoming the fear of driving is to actually get behind the wheel
3. Yes to support
Always welcome and be thankful support and encouragement from your family and friends. Today, there are a lot of online groups and forums that become one of the biggest support systems – anonymous people from all stages going through the same emotions and circumstances. A little kindness and help always go a long way.
Having someone with you in the car, sending out positive vibes, and knowing you always have someone to talk to and rely on can really be encouraging and can be all the difference that you need. This person or group of friends can help you remain calm and relaxed, focused, and in control.
Always welcome and be thankful support and encouragement from your family and friends
4. Acknowledge Limitations
if you are nervous about driving again after experiencing something bad or maybe you’re just a new driver, accept the fact that you have to start with little steps to overcome the fear. It would be best to limit your driving to familiar routes and only during the day, in good weather and always with a companion.
Challenging yourself too soon might backfire so a slow and steady space complete with limitations is not entirely a negative thing. It builds up the courage and the control and in return, it manages the fear until the fear is completely removed naturally.
Emotional limitations should be accepted too. The feeling of sudden dread, loss of focus and anxiety attacks is part of the journey.
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It would be best to limit your driving to familiar routes and only during the day, in good weather and always with a companion
5. Take charge of what you can
It’s not just the wheel or the fear itself but overcoming any fear or anxiety in driving requires you to be in control of everything including yourself. You shouldn’t let your thoughts and emotions paralyze you and stop you from doing what you want to do. Take deep breaths and calm your heart and mind.
Listen to some low, soothing music before and during driving. If you’re feeling that a little panic attack is about to come your way, stop and park the car safely. Motivate yourself and congratulate yourself for every mile and distance. Go for positive affirmations. If you feel like you can do a few more minutes behind the wheel, go for it. Remember, you are in control.
You shouldn’t let your thoughts and emotions paralyze you and stop you from doing what you want to do
6. Learn progressive muscle relaxation (PMR)
This relaxation technique is highly recommended. It doesn’t require any special equipment and can be done anytime, anywhere. The goal here is to tighten and relax the muscles in your body so you can be made aware of how to hold and eventually release the negative tension. The steps are pretty simple too:
- Tightly clench your fists for 7 to 10 seconds
- Slowly release your fist for 15 to 20 seconds as you focus on the tension slowly leaving the muscles of our hands
- Repeat step 1 and 2 but with other muscles like your stretching your arms, tilting your neck, and curling or flexing your toes.
- Studies show that doing the PMR 20 minutes every day can improve your overall mood, reduce and control panic attacks, and increase your focus.
7. Call the professionals
When the fear gets really bad then maybe it’s time to call in the experts. Seek professional help and share your thoughts and your emotions to address the anxiety and tension. They can provide the suggestions suited for you and the severity of your fear.
Build up your confidence by attending driving seminars and training. A driving certificate or enhancement training certificate might just be a piece of paper but it can boost up a whole lot of self-esteem. Never be afraid or ashamed to ask for help.
Whatever the cause of your fears and anxiety, driving is a safe and fun experience. Slowly let go of the fear and take control not only of the wheel but also of your life.
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