I’m a big fan of road trips, there’s nothing like feeling the wind in your hair and listening to great music while you relax into the passenger seat and glide along the busy roads.
Up until 1 year ago, if you’d put me in the drivers seat, I’d have been shaking with nerves and I hadn’t touched a motorway until about 3 months ago. Sometimes I’m okay and other times, I approach a roundabout and my mind goes blank.
When I was learning to drive, I’d regularly stop the car, get out and cry. I’d avoid journeys if I didn’t know the route and I often swore I’d never drive again.
However nowadays, I drive on the motorway sometimes up to twice a day every day and have taken friends out on long drives without fear. So here are some of my tips on how to quieten that little anxiety monster when it comes to driving;
- Find your beat.
I have some friends who can’t drive with the radio on, whereas I have to have it nice and loud. For me its all about songs that take your mind off the fear and make you feel good inside. Find what works for you, just make sure you don’t get too distracted.
- Get a road trip buddy.
When I know I have to drive somewhere new (which is usually when I feel anxious) I have a handful of friends who make me feel very safe and relaxed when I’m driving, so I always try to do a trial run with one of them.
- Going somewhere new? Do a trial run.
Like I said above, I always try to do a trial run if I can. I go when the roads are quieter and calmer and let my mind get used to the route and any challenges I might find (i.e sharp turns or roundabouts). Once you’ve done the route, it will be easier to do it again and each time you do it, it’ll get easier.
- Be honest about your weak points.
For me, its roundabouts, the little (or huge) circles of fear. I always panic when I approach them. However things massively improved for me, when I just started being honest and accepted I’m just not confident with them, now my friends and family know if we are approaching one just to give me a heads up so I can get myself sorted. Plus its a little easier to just laugh it off and feel calmer.
- Remember you’re not alone.
‘Phobias are very common – experts believe that one person in ten is affected by a phobia at some time in their life – and driving phobia is one of the most common’ – http://www.anxietycare.org.uk/docs/driving.asp . Lots of my friends and family hate driving, just like lots of them like it. You might feel like you’re the only person who’s scared, but you aren’t.
- Finally, try to remember it’s okay to make mistakes.
We’ve all taken the wrong turn or just got completely lost. Plenty of people do ‘3 point’ turns in 5 or 6 goes. It doesn’t make you a bad driver or worse than anyone else. We just all make mistakes sometimes, invest in a good sat nav and try to laugh it off.
I hope some of this helps, if I can do then you definitely can!