It’s not unusual to be nervous when you’re learning to drive. No matter how much you want to get out there in your own car, with all of the freedom that entails. The fact that your car is fast and heavy is a constant reminder of the potential dangers you could face. This is a good thing when it reminds you to take driving seriously, but it can have negative consequences when it makes you so nervous that you can’t perform well.
The good news is, there are lots of things you can do to calm your nerves, make the most out of your lessons and ultimately get that all-important driving license…
DISCUSS YOUR FEARS
It may be embarrassing but discussing your fears is the first step to overcoming them. If you tell your driving instructor how you feel, they will help you. They will be able to tailor lessons more effectively for your anxieties and keep a closer eye on your on the road. If they don’t know, they can’t help you.
This may sound trite, but just breathing can be a big help when you’re nervous behind the wheel of a car. Often, when we are stressed or anxious, we tend to hold our breath, which only makes us feel more panicked. So, next time you’re out on the road and you feel yourself getting wound up, take a deep breath and another, and another until you’re feeling better again.
TRY AN AUTOMATIC
A lot of people find that learning with automatic driving lessons because it gives them one less thing, namely the gearstick, to worry about. Obviously, if you only get an automatic license that will mean you can only drive automatic cars in the future, but if that means the difference between passing your test and not, is it really such a bad thing? Probably not.
SPEND ANXIETY-FREE TIME IN THE CAR
This may sound odd, but it is worth trying because it has helped a lot of people. Basically, instead of getting in the car to drive, spend some time in there reading, watching TV, browsing Facebook or as a passenger on a scenic route. That way, your brain will come to associate the car with positive, soothing memories, which will help to lower your anxieties next time you are behind the wheel for real.
TAKE IT SLOW
If you’re really nervous, you may need to take it slower than you would like. Instead of aiming to have your license in 3 months, aim for six or instead of aiming to never stall the car again, pledge to lower the number of stalls each week. This will help to take the pressure off somewhat, while still pushing you to make progress.
BE MORE REFLECTIVE
Instead of beating yourself up for the mistakes you’ve made, sit down and really think about why they happened. If you can analyse your driving and work out where you went wrong, you’ll feel more confident to correct it next time, which will take the pressure off somewhat.
Photo Credit: Cadillac