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Reviewing the rules of the road, bringing a friend with you, and even listening to calming music are a few ways you can reduce your anxiety about driving.
Whether you’re a new driver, a recent car-crash survivor, or a victim of general anxiety, feeling anxious while behind the wheel is a serious issue. There’s no one-and-done solution, but there are some things you can do to mitigate those anxious feelings.
To help you through it all, the car insurance comparison and broker app Jerry is breaking down how to get over driving anxiety.
Overcoming driving anxiety as a new driver
Many new drivers feel anxious about getting behind the wheel—especially on the highway. Knowing you can handle your vehicle without trouble will help you get more comfortable while on the road.
Review the rules of the road
Whether you just got your license or you’re practicing driving for the very first time, it’s important to feel comfortable with the rules of the road.
Should you signal when exiting the highway? When can you pass another car on the road? What should you do if an emergency vehicle is coming up behind you?
The DMV provides a comprehensive handbook and you can even take quizzes online to help you test your knowledge. Practice until you feel comfortable in your ability to make the correct decisions behind the wheel.
Hire a driving instructor
Bringing along a driving instructor is a good choice for any new driver. Not only can driving instructors educate you about the basics of driving, but they can also alleviate your worry by taking over the wheel if things go wrong.
Many driving instructors’ vehicles come equipped with an extra wheel and brake pedal on the passenger’s side—so even if you make a mistake, you don’t need to feel anxious about crashing. It’s a good way of getting driving experience in a safe setting.
For many new drivers, getting over the anxiety of driving on the highway is a big hurdle. The responsibility of piloting a two-ton hunk of metal at high speeds is nothing to scoff at, and it’s normal to feel overwhelmed by the fast-moving vehicles around you.
The best advice for how to get over the anxiety of driving on the highway is to start slow. Begin with a series of shorter, easier drives, then work your way up to higher speeds on non-highway roads. Eventually, try driving on the highway.
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Overcoming driving anxiety after a car crash
A car crash can be traumatic—especially if you were the one behind the wheel. If you find yourself feeling anxious about driving again after a crash, try these tips for how to drive again after a car crash.
Don’t avoid the crash site
A common mistake people make after they are involved in a serious incident is avoiding the site of the car crash. It may seem counterintuitive, but it’s been proven that revisiting the location of a traumatic incident can help you work through the negative emotions.
For example, if you got into an accident on the exit ramp of your local highway, try taking that same exit again—whenever you feel ready. Building your experience of safely driving in the location of your crash will help reduce your driving anxiety in the future.
Bring a friend with you
Especially if you were alone during your car crash, try bringing along a friend on your first few drives. Having someone there can trick your brain into feeling like things are different this time around. Conversation can also distract you from your worry.
Expect to feel anxiety
No matter how long you’ve been licensed, there’s nothing wrong with getting anxious about driving again after a car crash. It can be discouraging to notice the effects of trauma—but if you expect to feel anxiety beforehand, then beginning to work through it can feel less scary.
Don’t force yourself to drive as though everything is fine. Try and take steps to ease yourself back into your usual driving habits.
Key Takeaway Feeling anxiety after an accident is normal, but moving past it means getting back on the road in ways that make you feel safe.
Overcoming general driving anxiety
For some, driving anxiety doesn’t stem from any particular source. Here are several general strategies that can help you feel more relaxed on the road.
Express your fears
What is it about driving that makes you feel anxious? What are you worried will happen? Naming your worries can help you realize that they aren’t as scary as you thought.
Equip yourself with logical arguments to talk yourself down when you begin to feel anxious behind the wheel.
Try calming distractions
Sometimes, your brain may just need a distraction. Experiment with playing calming music, rolling down the window, or listening to podcasts while driving. Even a simple conversation with a passenger can help you feel less anxious about what could happen during the drive.
Talk to a therapist
If your driving anxiety continues to be an issue, try talking to a therapist. Those who suffer from general anxiety are often affected by anxiety in other areas of their lives, too. Therapy is an invaluable resource for anyone trying to work through anxiety issues or improve their general mental health.
Key Takeaway Figuring out what exactly you’re worried about or finding calming distractions can help you reduce your driving anxiety.
Finding the right car insurance (without all the usual anxiety!)
Finding the right insurance can be an anxiety-inducing process. Thankfully, with Jerry, you can find great policies and competitive prices without the hassle.
Jerry is the super app that helps you save time and money on your car expenses, including insurance. It’s as simple as downloading the app and in less than 45 seconds, Jerry collects all of your information from your existing insurer.
Choose from competitive quotes from 50+ top insurance companies and let Jerry take care of the rest—securing your new policy and canceling your old one. No long forms, no calling around, no worries.
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Why do I get so anxious about driving?
Driving anxiety is usually caused by a traumatic incident or a lack of experience. However, those who suffer from general anxiety may also find that the high-speed nature of driving makes them worry that something will go wrong.
Having healthy awareness about the dangers of driving is important. When this awareness begins to affect your emotional state when you drive, be sure to seek help.
What happens if I have a panic attack while driving?
Try to guide your vehicle to the side of the road. Once you’re safely out of the flow of traffic, there are many methods to calm down from a panic attack.
If you’re alone, it’s a good idea to call a friend. If you don’t feel comfortable driving again, ask if they can pick you up or call a taxi or rideshare service to take you home.