How to overcome fear of driving a car

How to overcome fear of driving a car

Fear of driving a car, which many feel, has its reasons and explanations, but to successfully drive a car you need a cool head and a sober calculation. Therefore, it is important to be able to overcome it, otherwise a person either will not sit behind the wheel at all or nervous tension will lead to inadequate reactions to events on the road and eventually increase the risk of an accident.

Fear – a natural feeling, which is provided by nature for our own good. Thanks to it and the resulting biochemical changes in the blood (increased adrenaline, increased concentration of glucose, etc.) the body is ready to react quickly and avoid the danger. But, unfortunately, this feeling often arises even when there is no immediate threat to life and you need to remain calm.

How and who develops fear of driving

Fear may be present initially, before the experience of driving, or it may appear already after the person began to drive (with a teacher or independently).

The main reason and most common is fear of getting into an accident.

It can arise as a result of the following:

  • Psychological personality traits (excessive anxiety or emotionality, insecurity).
  • Negative experiences that have left a deep impression (own or others)
  • Uncertainty at the wheel due to lack of knowledge, skills, unfamiliar road conditions.

An individual’s fear can be explained by one of the reasons, or a combination of them, or all three at once.

Fear of driving for beginners, why it occurs and how to get rid of it

Quite normal fear of getting behind the wheel arises in newcomers during training. This is an adequate reaction to an unfamiliar environment. However, in overly anxious and emotional personalities, this caution can turn into fear. Stories about accidents, which a person has heard in the media or from acquaintances, rude remarks of instructors, lack of solid knowledge of the traffic rules and about the features of the car – all this aggravates the situation.

Useful tips for beginners

For a person who is quite calm and confident by nature, it is quite easy to overcome your fear. But other personality types are also able to cope with it. To do this, a number of conditions should be provided:

  • Knowledge and ability to apply the rules of the road;
  • Attention and concentration at the wheel;
  • understanding and control of the road situation (the driving instructor teaches this);
  • bringing the skills of driving to automatism (this can be achieved by exercising on the driving simulator).

A solid theoretical basis lays the foundation for confident driving. In many driving schools the first lessons begin to tell the order of actions when getting into the car: adjust the seat position, buckle up, remove the handbrake, etc. Do not neglect

The information that teachers give in lectures, thinking that it will be useful only directly in the practical exercises. Even experienced athletes, whose sport involves the ability to maneuver at high speed, have to think through all their actions before the start. Do the same. Learn what you have to do, visualize in your head before you get in the car or perform a maneuver. This, first, will occupy your brain with useful information, not pictures of scary accidents. Second, your muscles will be prepared for the right sequence of actions, which will reduce the risk of mistakes. Third, it all adds up to a greater overall sense of confidence and helps you overcome fear.

You should also intentionally avoid negative fantasies about, “What’s the worst that can happen if I don’t slow down in time, turn in time, etc.” You should think positively: imagine learning to drive and driving confidently up to the parking lot at work, and how your coworkers look at you with wonder and respect. Or think that now you can go on a trip wherever you want, at a convenient time with friends. Picture real pictures of the subject in all the details. Choose something related to your independent driving that you enjoy thinking about.

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At first, nighttime roads seem scary to many people. It’s hard to get rid of the feeling of oncoming cars rushing right into your lane. In this case, take a reasonable idea that the people who drive them know how to drive, control what lane they go in and certainly do not want to collide with you head-on. Drive yourself at a low, comfortable speed to control your position on the roadway.

It is always important for unsure beginners to have experienced driving instructors. Their skill shouldn’t just be in being able to tell you all the nuances or spot and point out mistakes in time. This is also important, but they must choose the right tactics to interact with you. As a rule, for most people who sit behind the wheel for the first time, it is important to talk to them calmly and confidently, tactfully parse the actions and always praise.

If the first teacher – the husband, father, brother, friend, it is important that they do not get annoyed at every point, and instilled confidence in the ultimate success. If loved ones can not give it, well, it is better to find a driving school with a good instructor and go straight to study there. Therefore, if you yourself train with a loved one and realized that after a lesson with him only feel annoyed and insecure, decide to refuse his services.

How to be a girl

Women are basically more emotional and cautious creatures. This is inherent in nature. Naturally, they are more likely to have a fear of driving. Here, an important role is played by the opinion formed in the society, that the ladies drive cars badly, behave inadequately behind a wheel. Yes, there are such people. But if a girl plans to learn to drive, she should pay attention to positive examples. Among female drivers there are many of them, who manage the car more virtuoso than many men.

In addition, it is also important for a girl to look beautiful behind the wheel. Often the excitement and failures can be explained by the fact that after getting behind the wheel, a pretty girl has not powdered her nose and thinks not about the road, but about how she looks. Hence the mistakes, dissatisfaction with the instructor and, as a consequence, insecurity. Psychologists advise girls to overcome their fear as follows:

  • Find a positive example: a friend, an acquaintance, a movie heroine, in the end, who is a good driver.
  • Carefully choose a driving school and an instructor, ideally it is guided by the responses of girlfriends or good acquaintances. A good option is a woman instructor. They are usually more lenient, in addition, can serve as a clear positive example. “If she learned, why can’t I?” – This is the argument that can be the turning point in overcoming the fear of driving.
  • Pay attention to makeup, hair, clothes and shoes for driving lessons.

The last point is probably really specific to girls and women. Consider that while driving you can wrinkle your clothes, sweat, hair can get disheveled, and the shoes on heels may be uncomfortable. Wear clothes that will not get hot, make a hairstyle that does not need to be constantly corrected (your hands will be busy), use waterproof makeup, buy a beautiful and comfortable shoes without heels.

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Before driving, it will be quite appropriate to change your beautiful heeled shoes and take off your extra clothes to be more comfortable in the driver’s seat. You will be sure that you look good, you will be able to concentrate on your actions, the progress of your studies will be more noticeable. Another little tip: ask your friend or husband to praise you for your progress, if he doesn’t think to do it himself. This will help you.

“Scary” instructor.

For women, there is still the problem of fear of the instructor. This is due to the fact that their remarks are often too harsh and they have a hard time overcoming the stereotype that a woman does not belong behind the wheel. It is important to ask firmly right away that they talk to you calmly and politely. Here not to make a mistake, it is necessary to listen to acquaintances, to read reviews in the Internet about a driving school and teachers. If in the process of practical lessons you understand that the instructor does not behave with you correctly, ask for another one. Almost in all driving schools replacement is allowed.

Our driving school has responsible and competent teaching staff. And a change of driving instructor is free at the student’s first request.

Fear of busy highways

Reluctance and fear to leave on busy highways happens not only at beginners, but also at drivers with experience, accustomed to roads not with such dense traffic. The reason is the same – the fear of accident, and it is connected, first of all, with lack of experience. Here it is possible to recommend training:

  • practicing the right route during the hours with the least heavy traffic;
  • short trips, with a gradual increase in time;
  • Driving with an experienced driver nearby or with a private instructor.

Regular lessons will surely have an effect: you will become confident in a familiar environment, it will be easier and easier to cope with the jitters, and the fear will disappear.

Fear after an accident

One’s own negative experience undoubtedly causes the strongest fear. Many people experience it for a very long time after getting into a serious traffic accident, and in exceptional cases they never get behind the wheel again. The thing is that the brain is good at remembering bright emotionally colored events. If they were accompanied by trauma, a real threat to life, subsequently the consciousness does everything so that in a similar situation the body, firstly, was ready for the tests, and secondly, did everything to avoid them. Therefore, a person is afraid to get behind the wheel, and if he finds himself in the driver’s seat, this serves as a signal to the brain of the near danger, and the person experiences a fear that is difficult to control.

What to do to get rid of fear after an accident

  1. Realize and accept what has happened. Recollect details of the accident.
  2. Stop blaming yourself. Feelings of guilt can be strong if the passengers are hurt.
  3. Imagine in your mind all the details of how things happen, but you avoid the accident. Do this more often, creating more and more details in your imagination. A picture in your brain where everything ends safely will help trick it and the car’s interior environment will cease to be a danger signal.
  4. Recover your skills gradually. Sometimes you have to start by just walking up to the car. Then sit down, then drive a few meters, drive to a selected point in the quarter without traffic lights, etc. Each step should be performed until the fear is gone. It helps to have an experienced driver nearby in the car.
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It will be difficult for someone to cope without a psychologist. Find a good specialist. He himself will choose the right tactics based on personality type and help get back behind the wheel. In addition, some driving schools have driving recovery courses, specialized for those who have survived an accident and classes in extreme driving. You can also choose these options.

Table 1: The main types of fears in different categories of people and ways to eliminate them.

How to overcome fear of driving a car

Most often, what is frightening is what is unknown and unfamiliar. Getting behind the wheel of a car for the first time a person experiences only mild embarrassment and timidity, and someone may be seriously frightened. However, without overcoming his fear, a person is unlikely to be able to move from the category of pedestrians in the status of the driver. Moreover, with the right approach, the fear of driving a car, as well as other human phobias, is surmountable.

Who is more afraid?

Regardless of gender or age, a large category of people, after taking a driver’s education course, can never get behind the wheel because of a banal fear of driving a car . Not coping with their fear, having a car in their luggage and a driving license in their wallet, a person remains frightened both by the sight of the car itself and by the thought of getting into it and driving down the street.

There is another category of novice drivers who manage to force themselves to get behind the wheel, but drive with great indecision and hide their fear of driving. This incompatibility of a person with the car, stiff behavior on the road will never allow such a person to become a full-fledged driver and improve their driving skills.

More often women traditionally belong to such category. It is typical for them not only to hardly learn the wisdom of the driving profession, but also to be indecisive and slow at the wheel. By and large, such behavior is primarily determined by the biological characteristics of the female body, particularly the brain, vision. But when to such properties, characteristic of the female body and psyche, is added directly the fear of driving, then there are jokes about the blonde behind the wheel. However, it is safe to say that if a woman coped with her fear and began to “feel” the road and the car, then the chance to become an experienced driver is definitely guaranteed.

But do not think that the “driving” fear bypasses men. Stress associated with driving a car, and subjected to the stronger sex. It is believed that a man is not destined to demonstrate his fear, emotions and worries. Such a judgment from the category of delusion plays a cruel joke, because the mentality of such containment has a very harmful effect. Having no outlet, emotions “hit” the physical health, endangering the digestive and nervous systems, heart function. It is no coincidence, and for this reason among others, life expectancy among men is much lower than among women.

What are most often feared

Fears are individual and may arise where you least expect them, and continue to live as long as you want. Fears associated with driving a car are also varied: from the fear of the car itself, to the fear of the possibility of getting into an accident, of making a hit-and-run. And remember also that the novice driver has to endure stress associated with the beginning of training, perception of new information, mastering of driving skills. The subsequent stress arises during the exam.

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Being behind the wheel of the car for the first time without an instructor, the freshman driver can be simply scared even to start the car and move from the place. The car is the means of transportation, which usage is connected with the risk for life. It is quite logical that realizing it, a person also understands the whole measure of responsibility, which he bears for his life and the life of his passengers.

This fear is sometimes reinforced by the fact that during practical lessons the instructor could make harsh remarks about driving errors. Thus, being left alone at the wheel, the driver may feel insecure, not the least of which is the instructor’s previous negative evaluation.

Nervousness can also increase the strong reaction of other drivers to unsure driving actions of the beginner. Having hesitated at a traffic light or a turn, such driver may hear behind his back “unhappy” beeps of neighboring cars. In addition to annoyance at his sluggishness, this indecisive driver is afraid to hear reproaches and unflattering words from others, which may also shake his self-esteem.

Fear of driving may easily appear in a driver who has not sat behind the wheel for several years. Doubting their strength and skill, this person is just as likely to be overly cautious on the road.

It is possible to be afraid of a meeting with the traffic police, especially when it comes to the driver’s shy and indecisive by nature. However, such people may experience difficulties in communicating with any other unfamiliar to them people.

But perhaps the most “popular” fears are the fear of getting into an accident or of hitting a pedestrian.

Fears do not go away without a trace. By intensifying and aggravating, the fear leads to a state of constant stress. A person who can not cope with such phobias, staying all the time in a stressful state, most likely to “earn” himself more than one disease, will become nervous, maybe even aggressive or vice versa will close in itself. And most likely, behind the wheel of a car such a driver will never sit.

How to overcome your fear of driving?

What should such a distressed driver do? To begin with it is necessary to understand and realize whether you really want to drive a car, or all the same at the level of subconsciousness you have the aversion of the very fact of driving. After all, the appearance of such a contradiction: “I want” (from the side of the mind) and “I do not want” (from the side of the subconscious) just leads to the fact that the psyche responds with a reaction of rejection, fear or stress.

Psychologists associate fear of driving with low self-esteem of the driver. Of course, as a person grows up, it becomes more and more difficult to change his/her vision of himself/herself, but it is possible and necessary to raise self-esteem regardless of age.

Tip 1: Go the way of the little dinners. Your accomplishments, visible sometimes only to you, can create an overall positive mood and enable you to boost your self-esteem. Psychologists also advise to smile to yourself in the mirror more often and to do auto-training.

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You should start to work with your fear by admitting to yourself that this fear exists, that this specific fear of driving, and no other. After this, you can already change your attitude to the situation and work on cultivating confidence in yourself.

Tip 2: Talking to yourself mentally, try to avoid using the negative particle “not”. Scientists believe that our psyche does not perceive such a word, and then the seemingly negative phrase “I am not afraid” becomes quite affirmative “I am afraid. Try to find the right attitudes for yourself. Perhaps, for your own greater confidence, say them by ear; if you are shy, do it alone with yourself.

Tip 3: Change the background of your thoughts from decadent-negative to positive and try to maintain it in this tone for as long as possible.

Tip 4: If you’re afraid of a particular event, say, a car accident, try resorting to a method of visualization. Mentally “staging” a dangerous moment on the road and imagine that you act accurately and correctly, skillfully exit the situation. And, however, for “prevention” it is better to visualize the moments of your confident and masterful driving, and it will become such later.

Advice 5: the method of visualization, implemented directly in the “scenery” will also help you. That is, you can sit behind the wheel of the car, without turning on the gas, try to imagine yourself directly in the process of driving, see how to switch gearboxes, pick up speed, slow down at the right moment.

Tip 6: If you are already quite tight and you can not get rid of fear, ask a skilled driver, someone from your family or friends to accompany you on a trip by car. Perhaps the presence of an experienced person will help you consolidate the skills gained in the driving school, and the words of approval will raise your self-esteem and inspire new strength in you. Only get used to such an escort is still not worth it, because you will now need to rely only on their strength and skill.

Tip 7: Try to change the angle of perception of yourself and learn to present yourself correctly. Even if you have just begun to learn how to drive, talk about yourself not as an inexperienced driver, but as a driver gaining experience. Your own self-confidence will be transmitted to the people around you, who, seeing such calmness, will treat you respectfully, regardless of your occasional mistakes.

Tip 8: Driving, even for an experienced driver, is often stressful. Alas, there are enough stress factors on our roads. Not giving in to stress is not an easy task, and it may even be futile. But the ability to get out of such a nervous state as quickly as possible is a very real skill, mastering which is in your own interest. The main thing to learn to listen to their feelings, and when the situation on the road strongly “strained” your nerves, stop, if possible, calm down and continue driving. After all, a stressed-out psyche is a bad advisor and helper.

Understand the problem – this most often means almost solving it. Having understood the cause of your fear of driving, you are more likely to find an adequate, acceptable exclusively for you prescription to eliminate this “enemy”. In certain cases, the qualified help of a skilled psychologist can also help you.

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