Just because you’ve passed your driving test doesn’t mean that your journey as a new driver is over and you’re officially part of the club. There are going to be plenty of new drivers who feel confident immediately like they were born to the road. But a huge amount of new auto drivers feel a certain nervousness or trepidation they can’t seem to shake when they start driving. As a sign that you’re taking your new role seriously, that’s not entirely bad. But you can learn to get over those new driver nerves.
Get comfortable driving alone
Once you first pass your driving test, it’s a good idea to keep driving with an experienced hand sitting next to you. However, relying on this too often can be like using a crutch that’s eventually more detrimental than anything. If you never feel comfortable driving alone, it can make it harder to not only believe in your own skill but to catch your own mistakes, as well. Start in empty parking lots and slowly but surely take yourself out alone on simple trips, increasing their duration and giving yourself new finishing lines as you go. Definitely do not start immediately play taxi driver for your friends and when you do start introducing them to the car, be clear your focus has to stay on the road.
You might be more than happy to have seen the back of your driving test, but your learning doesn’t have to, and shouldn’t, end there. The simple fact is that depending on where and when you learned, you probably have experienced a few conditions and situations on the road that you probably should. Click here for an example of some of the specialized courses that can help you learn about highway driving, dealing with bridges and tunnels, merging, night driving, and much more. When the weather changes and you experience your first drive on winter or wet roads, have a more experienced driver with you to help you manage the situation, too.
A big part of the nerves on the road is down to the fact that we, as drivers, can be almost hyper-aware of the dangers involved in driving. We anticipate that anything can happen and, as a result, our body courses with adrenaline. But if you practice genuinely being more aware of the road and practice defensive driving, it can help you make use of that feeling. Focus not only solely on your own driving, but make sure your awareness spreads to the road around you. If you’re watchful, you are much more likely to spot the signs of a reckless driver or a dangerous situation in advance, giving you the extra time to extricate yourself from that stressful situation.
Get ready to relax
How do you feel more relaxed on the road? Your best bet is by simply taking the time to prepare beforehand. Don’t let stressful factor after factor build up after one another. If you feel like you are an innately nervous driver, then keep it cool by never letting yourself get to the point where you feel like you’re short on time or you have to rush down the road. If it’s a brand-new route, then don’t drive it for the first time when the journey actually matters. Practice it first. Don’t make the car a messy, frantic place, either. Keep it free of clutter and full of relaxing, easy-going music. If you’re a nervous driver, definitely don’t let heavy metal be the only music you listen to in there. The tempo of a song can have a lingering effect on your mood as you drive and you don’t need any help getting yourself worked up.
Know your car
You have to be able to trust in your car to some degree to feel comfortable on the road, to know how to know your car, too. Recognize what feels normal and which sounds, signs, and sensations are a sign something might be wrong. If it’s a new car, make sure you know how to test drive it thoroughly before buying it.
Prepare for the worst
As mentioned, a great deal of the stress and nerves involving in driving comes down to the fact that we are all very aware of the fact the road is, indeed, a dangerous place. But it can genuinely be helpful to understand that we are also more than likely to come directly face-to-face with some of those dangers. For instance, statistically, all drivers are going to be involved in an accident at some point. But, as should be obvious, not all of them get seriously hurt. Know that the worst can happen and, what’s more, prepare for it. Click here for an idea of how you should deal with a road accident, so you’re equipped with the right steps in the inevitability it happens. Be ready for breakdowns with an emergency kit at the ready.
Find your Zen
The tips above can all help in making driving a less stressful and nerve-wracking experience. But it’s a good idea to have some tactics to decompress and-de-stress as soon as you get off the road as well. Or if you find yourself getting wound up, you should consider stopping at the next convenient point and taking a moment. There are plenty of ways to make it easier for you to relax, such as taking a brisk walk, employing deep breathing techniques, or even having a quick nap. These techniques work just as well with road rage, as well, so do keep them in mind. Just another reason to give yourself extra time before time sensitive journeys, so you can actually take the time to pull over and chill out.
Besides taking note of the steps above and practicing them, note that it’s almost always going to get better with time. The more used to it you get, the more comfortable you’ll get. Just make sure that comfort doesn’t translate into complacency. You should always have some awareness of the dangers on the road if you want to behave responsibly.