Friday, 12 August 2016

Driving Anxiety

It makes me laugh to even write this now but I've actually become a confident driver. I drove home today and witnessed so many bad drivers (obviously I'm busy swearing at them because my road rage is shocking) but it makes me feel like I've come a long way.

I passed my test first time, when I was 17. However, I then didn't get behind the wheel for another 4 years and I kid you not, getting back in the drivers seat was the most terrifying thing I'd ever done. It was like I'd forgotten how to drive. My clutch control was shocking, my confidence was rock bottom and I was genuinely a shaking wreck every time I'd even think about driving.

A year on though and times have changed, so I do have a few tips to make it easier for those thinking about learning to drive or those who have refrained from driving for a long time!

1. Feel the fear, and do it anyway. It's the hardest thing to do but once you realise that exposure to something is the best way to reduce anxiety, it's half of the job done. Remembering that you control the car rather than the car controlling you is so useful, and just practicing over and over is honestly the best thing you can do. At the same time as I started to drive again, I got a new job as a carer which meant I had to drive from home to home; being thrown into the deep end was definitely the best thing for me because I had no excuse not to drive.

2. Drive with a trustworthy passenger. Whether that's a parent who can offer reassurance or a professional driving instructor. Having someone who knows what they are doing and who can calm your nerves can make a huge difference.

3. Don't re-teach yourself. If I were to go through it all again, I wouldn't have re-taught myself to drive. I remember stalling the car NINE times at the top of a hill once, with a huge line of traffic behind me and it knocked my confidence so much. I would definitely recommend a few refresher lessons with someone like Book Learn Pass, who can help you to learn to drive as well as refreshing your memory, practice theory and helps with booking driving lessons in your local area.

4. P plates. Ok, so I was mortified when my Mum suggested I get P plates but they really did help. I didn't think people would care but I found that other drivers gave me more space on the road, and more time with parking/turning around etc.

5. Enjoy it! Driving can actually be really enjoyable - music blaring on a hot summers day and independently driving to somewhere new is a really great feeling. I know I'd never want to be without my car now!

This post was written in collaboration with Book Learn Pass but all views are my own!

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