Lowering Driving Stress
If you suffer from anxiety behind the wheel, you can do something about it: here’s how.
Should you suffer from anxiety whilst driving, these three important pieces of advice might help:
1. Take additional care in vehicle and journey preparation – plan your journey ahead of time, get the right insurance and breakdown cover , familiarise yourself with the warning lights on your car and do all the proper checks
· Plan your journey ahead: you can set your navigation system or sort your route planning to avoid motorways if these unnerve you. Certainly, knowing roughly where you’re going will help ease nerves
· Having insurance and breakdown cover that you can trust will be there in a time of need can be very comforting. We’d suggest you have their number written down in your vehicle to ease fears about losing mobile reception in rural areas
· Carry basic essentials with you like sunglasses for low sun , a warm blanket, torch, ice scraper, first aid kit, food and drink
· Doing the proper checks on your car will fill you with confidence that your vehicle is as safe as it can be - things like tyre pressure and tread depth, windscreen wipers and wash, antifreeze, fuel, lights, brakes, oil and lights.
· Get to know your vehicle and what all the warning lights mean
2. Increase your driving knowledge over different road conditions - If you’re nervous of driving in the dark or in icy weather, ask someone to help you, do research on the internet or think about booking a driving refresher course to help you be more confident.
Basically, driving in the dark is all about visibility
· Try not to look at the headlamps of oncoming vehicles as this can dazzle you. And try to use the white lines in the road to navigate
· Keep windows clear of grime to avoid glare and condensation
· Give yourself and other drivers more space to cope with lower visibility, and allow more time for your journey so you’re not under pressure
Driving in ice and snow is about maintaining control of the vehicle:
· Stay in as high as gear as possible on slippery roads — alongside keeping your revs low, this reduces the chance of spinning your wheels and losing control.
· Don't use cruise control — slippery surfaces such as ice and snow can cause your tyres to lose traction and spin, cruise control can make it harder to register and negotiate this happening
· Be aware of specific conditions — even if you think a frost has thawed, areas such as roads under bridges are often the first to freeze and take longer to thaw.
3. Be kind to yourself and invest in you – remember that confidence isn’t something you can buy and it doesn’t happen overnight. The best drivers learn from their mistakes, so don’t pressure yourself. Practice makes perfect. so if you haven’t driven for a bit, warm yourself up with a drive around a familiar area. Get your eyes tested and consider an advanced driving course.
· If you need a bit of a driving refresher, try to get out and practice in areas you know well and feel comfortable in to build up your confidence. Maybe take a friend or family member with you for support
· Don’t let other drivers intimidate you – focus on yourself and take your time (and vice versa, be kind to other drivers as we know from the research that most people get nervous at some point)
· Learn from your mistakes – that’s what makes a good driver
· And don’t pressure yourself to take lengthy journeys; wait until you’ve built up the confidence