When you first start driving, the chances are that panic will come on every trip you take. If you thought the driving test was the worst part, think again. Each solo trip in those first weeks will be worse. With the instructor beside you, at least you knew you couldn’t crash the car. When you go it alone, there’s no such guarantee.
But, if you panic every time you’re behind the wheel, you put yourself and others at risk. As well as rocketing your stress levels, panic can cause excessive adrenaline. This could impact your ability to make wise decisions. In the worst case scenario, it could even lead to accidents.
So, how can you overcome the panic and find your zen on the road? To help you work it out, we’re going to look at three significant causes, and the solutions to each.
Stop looking at me
When you’re driving solo, it’s easy to feel over-exposed. All of a sudden, it’ll feel like the whole world is watching. Even cars with small windows leave you visible to other drivers. In reality, they aren’t even looking. But, the idea that they are can lead to performance anxiety. And, this can result in mistakes.
There are a few ways to overcome this issue. The easiest would be to talk your way through the feeling. Think about it logically. You don’t stare at other drivers, right? So, why would they look at you? Remind yourself, every time you feel the panic, that everyone’s just going about their business. If you find it impossible to talk yourself down, it’s worth opting for custom tinting on your windows. As well as looking bad-ass, this is sure to put your mind at ease. There’s no chance of panicking about being watched when you know no-one can see in!
Cars all around
Every driver knows that other drivers are the biggest hazard. And, of course, it’s crucial you’re aware of the risks. But, if you panic on busy roads, you could become a risk yourself. In many ways, practice is the only answer here. During lessons, the chances are that you stuck to the quiet areas. So, it’s no surprise that busy roads and fast cars are a bit much for you at the moment. Force yourself to face the fear, and you’ll get past it in no time. If it helps, take someone along who can keep you calm when you start spiralling into that panic.
Too much going on
That said, passengers can be another cause for panic. When someone else is in the car, they may try to talk to you or blast out music. All this could be too much for a new driver. And, guess what; overstimulation leads to panic. Make sure passengers know that you’re still learning, and need to concentrate. If they’re playing music too loud, ask them to turn it down. Other than that, practice breathing exercises which help you keep your mind on the task at hand.