Have you ever driven with a new driver, especially one who is clearly afraid? When you know the person operating a vehicle is anything less than confident, you may find yourself afraid as well. While this fear passes for some, others are plagued by a fear of the road well beyond the duration of a driver’s education course.
Why is this significant?
Simply put, a scared driver is an unsafe driver. While many new drivers are excited to get their license, the thought of actually getting on the road can be terrifying for others. Graduated driver licenses (GDLs) are a requirement for 15- to 18-year-old drivers in many states. But if this fear persists even after practicing with an experienced driver, things can be done to overcome – or help another driver overcome – a fear of driving!
Six Ways to Overcome a Fear of Driving:
- Don’t drive alone. Sometimes people simply feel more confident when another person is with them in the vehicle. New teenage drivers are typically required to drive with an experienced driver for a time when they first get their license. But if those feelings persist, simply driving with another person (licensed or not) may help calm nerves.
- Take at least one (or more) driver’s training courses. New drivers are typically afraid they will be involved in a car accident. Driver’s education training is required for minors to receive a license. As an adult, the same courses aren’t typically required, but this doesn’t mean they are not beneficial. Any driver may take additional driving training courses!
- Drive during the day. According to Forbes, 49 percent of fatal crashes occur at night. Night driving is more difficult because your vision is limited and conditions are often quite different than during the day. If this causes anxiety, try to avoid night driving until your skills sharpen.
- Keep driving even, and especially, after an accident. If you have a poor experience behind the wheel, get back out there. Unless you are willing to resign yourself to alternative transportation forever, it’s very important to make sure that you have an up-to-date driver’s license and that you stay in practice. You never know when you are going to have to drive somewhere in an emergency.
- Don’t dread the highway. If you are terrified of the highway, start by driving on lesser-used highways, and not multilane highways. But this is a fear all drivers must overcome. Simply remain in the right lane, maintain the flow of traffic and stay calm.
- Calm yourself. Not able to quiet your nerves? Try some old-fashioned relaxation techniques. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted, but some find that music can help calm fears, and focus on your breathing.