Whether you’ve recently passed your test or simply find the entire driving experience incredibly daunting, you’re not alone. Taking complete control of a vehicle can be scary and it’s easy for our nerves to get the better of us.
However, there are so many ways you can learn to become a confident driver. In this article, we’ll be providing our top tips on how to take control of your emotions and remain calm when behind the wheel.
Understanding driving anxiety
Firstly, it’s important to understand where the anxieties are coming from. Try to identify what triggers you when starting the engine. Perhaps you’re nervous about the following:
- Driving alone
- Fear of accidents
- Unfamiliar routes
- Busy roads and traffic
- Performing specific manoeuvres
- Driving in the dark
Severe anxiety can naturally impact your driving performance and potentially put you in a dangerous situation. If driving is an essential part of your daily life, you must address these concerns as soon as possible.
Preparation is key
Feeling stressed behind the wheel is a recipe for disaster. If being prepared helps calm you down, we recommend always giving yourself enough time before making your journey.
To feel your most comfortable, you should wear appropriate clothing and nothing that feels too restrictive. Flat soles are a must so you can feel the pedals, and don’t wear anything too warm as you may likely start to sweat if you’re feeling particularly nervous.
The fear of getting lost is common among many inexperienced drivers. Wherever you’re headed, take the time to plan your route and check where you can park. It’s worth having a backup option, too, in case the first place is unavailable.
Ensure your smartphone or sat nav is fully charged so you can receive clear directions to your destination, meaning you won’t have to worry about getting lost.
Know your vehicle
If you’re unfamiliar with the features and controls of your car, put some time aside to learn where everything is before hitting the road. For instance, you don’t want to get caught in the rain and not know how to operate your window wipers!
You should always ensure your vehicle is in good condition by carrying out a pre-driving inspection, especially before making a long journey. Your fuel tank should always be at least a quarter full and your tyres should meet the legal minimum tread depth of 1.6mm.
Don’t forget to check your oil, brake, coolant and screen wash levels and check that all lights are working as they should.
The best way to improve your driving and confidence skills is by practicing regularly. That way, you’ll feel more comfortable with the vehicle’s controls and you’ll know exactly how it feels to drive. If you haven’t bought your own car yet but still want to practice, you can take out short-term car insurance to do just that.
Practice also helps to build up your driving knowledge and helps you develop experience in certain situations. We suggest you start with short, stress-free drives and gradually progress to more challenging routes, including driving at night.