When you’re learning to drive, there’s always someone else in the car that you can turn to and who will give you helpful advice. But as soon as you’ve passed your test, you’re allowed to drive alone. Most people are happy with that idea but for some people – either soon after they’ve passed their test or later in life due to some other event – the very idea of driving unaccompanied fills them with dread.
If you’re one of those affected, check out these ideas to help reduce your fear.
Turn on the radio
Some shows – especially talk radio – are designed as though they’re almost a two way conversation between the host and the listener.
Doing something as simple as tuning the radio to a talk show could make the difference and could help fool your brain into thinking there’s someone else in the car.
Or, if you prefer, you could always find a channel with a good selection of music or put in a CD or play something via your phone or MP3 player.
Those are all equally good alternatives and will help take your mind off the fact that you’re the only person in the vehicle.
Try short journeys first
Unless it’s unavoidable, it’s best to start with shorter journeys as the first ones where you drive solo.
You should be able to convince yourself that the journey will only take a few minutes so it will be over with almost as soon as it’s started.
Gradually build up to longer journeys as your confidence increases.
If you’re really nervous, start by just driving to the end of the road and back – maybe with someone from your family watching from a distance. The thought that someone is there, watching, may be all that you need to help you get over your fear of driving alone.
Choose your roads carefully
You probably know the different routes you can take for your journey.
Pick roads that you’ve driven along before so that you’re in familiar territory.
Ideally, pick roads that aren’t too quiet (otherwise your mind will turn to those scary movies you’ve seen) but equally aren’t too busy. Some of the problem with driving alone is that you’re running all sorts of thought patterns that contribute to your fear.
Choosing roads that are “just right” in terms of traffic will help a lot.
Choosing the time of day – if you have that luxury – will help even more as you can decide when the best traffic times will be.
And if your route includes traffic lights, that’s probably for the better. They help control the bigger junctions and mean that you’re not turning into big swathes of traffic.
Relaxation is a big part of overcoming any fear or phobia.
Your fear has helped make you tense and probably nervous.
Learning to relax more will help overcome that side of things.
Anything that takes your fancy is a good idea – hypnosis, meditation, yoga, deep breathing. They all work to help you remember how to relax.
Although it should go without saying that most (if not all) of those techniques shouldn’t be used whilst you’re in control of a vehicle!