I’ve been driving for about 3 years now and I’m still not confident on the road. I guess me as a person and my edge of anxiety has something to do with it. I hate the unknown and the feeling of not knowing what lies ahead on the journey or whether I’ll be able to park when I get there scares me.
Whilst learning I couldn’t wait to pass my test and be free to explore the places that I grew up in but when my pink card finally arrived I couldn’t have been more anxious to get in the car. I’d make excuses for driving or walk to the shop instead of driving because it was ‘only 10 minutes away’. If me and my friends were going anywhere and they asked for someone to drive in our group chat I’d stay quiet, preferring to come across as rude and selfish than throwing myself out of my comfort zone. I’d get the train to Meadowhall and spend 40 minutes in the cold rather than getting in my nice warm car, putting my favourite songs on and enjoying the drive. Why? I guess I’d overanalysed driving so much that I put a barrier between it and myself.
On new journeys with friends I’d feel more comfortable but I’d still ask questions even though the sat nav was on. ‘Do I turn right here?’, ‘Can I go?’… I always knew the answers but I needed that reassurance.
I’m going to be honest, sometimes I still avoid driving unless it’s a route I do often but here’s how I’m getting better:
- Don’t think about it too much. If I’m going somewhere with Tom it goes without saying that he’ll probably be driving. However lately when we’ve locked up and are walking towards our cars I say ‘I’m driving’ before I even have time to think about it and change my mind.
- If i’m driving home from my parents or a friends etc, I’ll put the sat nav on and I’ll purposely take a wrong turn or something from the way I know. This means I’m throwing myself out of my comfort zone and driving along new streets with new hazards.
- Offer to drive more. Once you’ve told someone you’ll help them or visit them it’s a lot harder to turn them down and even though it might be scary getting in the car, once you’re there you’ll learn to handle anything that comes along
So to round it up, most of these tips are to drive on impulse. Get in your car before you have the chance to change your mind. For me, once I take the exit for the motorway there’s not really any going back is there? Keep practising, some routes I’ve been terrified of and now I could do them in my sleep. Keep adding new journeys to your list of ‘drives I can handle’ and you’ll be a confident driver in no time (or so I’m hoping)!