Many people don’t think twice before sliding into the driver’s seat. For others, however, getting behind the wheel can be a nerve-wracking experience. If you have driving anxiety, even simple trips across town or to the grocery store can become stressful. Fortunately, driving anxiety doesn’t have to last forever. With a little practice and a confident mindset, you can overcome your fears and grow more comfortable with every drive. Tackle the source of your stress with these tips for how to boost your confidence behind the wheel.
Moreover, these times specific to driving anxiety can be applied to other areas of your life, causing you stress or anxiety. See what areas of your life in which these skills can be useful to you! For me, they are helpful in driving and doing new, scary activities!
Brush Up On Your Skills
When you know you’re a good driver, it’s easier to feel confident on the road. The good news is that there are endless ways to improve your driving habits. Defensive driving classes and other DMV courses can help you brush up on your skills behind the wheel. You can also take the time to become more familiar with your vehicle. Do you know where all the controls are on your center console? Would you recognize every button that lights up on your dashboard? While time and experience are the keys to confidence, knowledge, and practice will also help you along the way.
Let's apply these skills also to going to the Doctor for the first time on your own. The process may be new and scary, so ask for help, research, and practice your questions (or come prepared with a question flashcard)! Becoming more aware of the process of a new situation is sure to prove useful!
Drive Outside Your Comfort Zone
When driving makes you anxious, it can be tempting to stick to what you know. That said, one of the best ways to boost your confidence behind the wheel is to do something outside of your comfort zone. Use this opportunity to tackle driving challenges that make you particularly nervous. Pick a good time and place, head out to practice driving on the freeway, parallel parking in the city, or any other skills that make you particularly anxious. When you face these challenges on your own terms, you have more control over the situation. This makes it easier to practice—and eventually master— more difficult driving skills that you’ll likely need in the future.
Now, let's talk about comfort zones with our other example of going to the Doctor for the first time alone. Avoiding this new and scary situation will not make your ailment better. Remember why you are going and how it can benefit you more than avoiding your fear.
Be Patient With Yourself
Confidence comes from practice, experience, and time. Even if you’re a great driver, you can’t make your anxiety disappear overnight. Give yourself the space you need to grow gradually more comfortable in the driver’s seat. Be gentle with yourself, and remember that progress isn’t always linear. Do your best to remember the positives, even when you don’t think you’re improving much. If setbacks occur, try to focus on how much you’ve grown in your skills and comfort levels. That progress doesn’t go away, even when it feels like you’ve taken a step back. If you can remember that, then you can use that positive outlook to face and overcome the negativity that holds you back from enjoying your time on the road.
Finally, being forgiving and patient with yourself for not knowing everything about a doctor visit is okay; remember that. The staff is often more than willing to answer your questions or explain more to you. That is their job. Be patient and forgiving with yourself; everyone else will be!
What do you do to increase your confidence behind the wheel? Let us know in the comments below!