Six Ways To Overcome Driving Anxiety After Little Road Time In The Past Year
If the coronavirus pandemic reduced your annual mileage in 2020, you are far from alone. However, as you now find yourself needing to get back on the road, there’s a strong chance that you will feel a little less confident than you once did.
Driving anxiety may be a common theme right now, but only you regain control of the situation. While the road ahead may be packed with several bumps, a winning strategy will allow you to reach your intended destination. Here are six of the best features to include in your plans.
#1. Ensure That Your Vehicle Is Safe
Nothing causes concern behind the wheel quite like fears about the quality of the vehicle. While you conducted valuable research before purchasing the car, it may have undergone wear and tear over the years. Moreover, you’ve probably failed to give it the TLC it deserves in recent times due to the lack of journeys.
Completing basic maintenance is one of several ways to ensure that your vehicle is ready for the roads. Meanwhile, you should probably go for a drive in the local area just to check that the driving height and other elements have remained untouched. Of course, you may wish to consider switching the car tires or other features to suit the harsh weather.
Even if you don’t know the exact figures (cough, 38,000 deaths), you know road safety is a serious subject. Heading out in a vehicle that hasn’t been verified as safe will naturally put you at great risk of feeling anxious.
#2. Be Ready For The Worst
Prevention is always the best form of protection. It is just one of the reasons to check your vehicle safety. Sadly, even the safest car and best driver cannot avoid all accidents. If you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, you could be dragged into a situation due to another driver. The knowledge of this can naturally cause anxiety.
You cannot allow this to play on your mind, though. The best way to stop it from taking control is to prepare yourself for all possible situations. Setting up a good insurance policy is vital while the best car accident lawyers will deliver further reassurance. By removing the fear or financial or legal worries, you can focus on actually driving once more.
While the vehicle preparations are likely to reduce the dangers, you must also recognize that breakdowns can still occur. Jumper cables and a comprehensive roadside recovery package should put your mind at ease.
#3. Take An Advanced Driving Course
As mentioned, you are constantly relying on the competence of other drivers. Sadly, you cannot allow this to become an issue. Instead, you must focus on controlling the controllable. In addition to the safety of your car, then, it’s imperative that you invest in your own driving capabilities. Especially as you probably feel a little rusty.
There are plenty of advanced defensive driving schools located coast-to-coast. Essentially, they will allow you to regain your confidence in a safe driving environment. Moreover, you will learn to heighten your senses to spot signs of potential danger. Likewise, you will discover how to respond in different situations.
Taking this type of driving certification can actually lower your insurance premiums too. Right now, though, the main reward stems from becoming a better and more confident driver. Your confidence boost will see anxiety levels fade.
#4. Plan Ahead Of All Journeys
For many motorists, the loss of road familiarity is the leading contributor to driving anxiety. Therefore, overcoming the sense of not knowing what to expect from those trips could be key to regaining your confidence. The great news is that you can restore your mental comfort behind the wheel in a very short space of time.
Thanks to the use of Google Maps, you can plan new journeys in advance. Likewise, your satellite navigation system will provide guidance when you’re actually in the car. When coupled with the habit of leaving yourself extra time to reach the destination, your journeys will be calmer. On a similar note, you may prefer to use daytime driving.
Even when returning to routes you’ve completed thousands of times before, the long break will impact your confidence. After a few weeks of getting used to the journey, traffic, and any new developments, you will be back to your best in no time.
#5. Make Improvements Away From Driving
Your anxiety behind the wheel isn’t influenced solely by issues directly linked to driving. Your entire lifestyle can make a difference. The right choices can, therefore, make a big impact on your mindset before you’ve even got in the car. First and foremost, you should get your eyes and ears tested as your senses will instantly make you a better driver.
There are many other contributing factors that can make you feel anxious or nauseous behind the wheel. As such, you must stay hydrated and ensure that your stomach is neither empty nor too full. Meanwhile, cutting back on the caffeine intake in the hour or so leading up to a journey may make a positive impact.
Anxiety is often caused by stress too, in driving and other life situations. So, if you can keep stress levels from other aspects down in the moments before you start a journey, it will show. It won’t remove anxiety altogether, but it’ll certainly help.
Finally, and as harsh as it sounds, you just have to push through it. Thousands of motorists will be in a similar boat right now. In most cases, spending more time on the road will improve the situation with telling results. Even if you experience a slight improvement each day, your circumstances will change greatly over the course of a month.
In severe cases, you may wish to seek professional help. This can come from registered mental health workers. Alternatively, it may stem from virtual reality scenarios that replicate the triggers. So, if you’re currently worried about tunnels or traffic jams, for example, the content can focus on those issues.
When you are already supported by the above plans, perseverance will get you through this difficult period. Once it does, be sure to maintain the winning habits. When you do, you’ll be able to contain those negative thoughts for life.