How to deal with stress behind the wheel

If you often feel anxious or stressed whilst driving, this can not only affect your confidence behind the wheel, but also affect your safety and concentration leading you to be put off driving altogether.


Here are some helpful tips for making you feel a little more relaxed:

1. Take?time to prepare for your journey

Knowing you’re prepared for a journey can really help with your anxiety. From things like getting the right insurance and breakdown cover?to put your mind at ease, to familiarising yourself with the warning lights on your car?and planning your route, including a backup route.

  • If you’re using a Sat Nav, make sure the route is set and saved. You can even set it to avoid motorways if these unnerve you.

  • Having insurance and breakdown cover that you can trust will be there in a time of need can be very comforting?–?having?their number written down in your vehicle?along with the numbers of your nearest and?dearest?will help ease fears about losing mobile reception?in rural areas. Pack an extra phone charger or charging bank too to ease your fears about running out of battery during long journeys.

  • Carry basic essentials with you like a warm blanket, torch, ice scraper, first aid kit,?food and drink and sunglasses?for low sun.

  • Doing?the proper checks on your car?will fill you with confidence that your vehicle is as safe as it can be -?including?tyre?pressure and tread?depth,?windscreen wipers and wash, antifreeze, fuel,?lights,?brakes and oil.??

  • Get to know your vehicle, not only with all the buttons and dials but also what?all the?warning lights mean.

2.Increase?your driving knowledge in different road conditions?

Whether you’ve just passed your driving test or you’ve been driving for years, don’t feel ashamed if you could do with a refresher course or some extra learning. There are many situations that you might not have dealt with either on your lessons or just over the years, like extreme weather conditions or rural roads.

Driving in the dark?is all about visibility:

  • Try not to look at the headlights of oncoming vehicles as this can dazzle you, try to use the white lines in the road to navigate.

  • Keep windows clean 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 a 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 warm yourself up?with a drive?around a familiar area.

  • Try to get out and?practice?in areas you know well and feel comfortable in?to build up your confidence.?Practice makes perfect?-?take a friend or family member with you for support.

  • Don’t let other drivers intimidate you – focus on yourself and take your time. Remember this works both ways so always be kind to other drivers as they may be feeling anxious too.?

  • Learn from your mistakes and don’t let them bring you down.

  • And don’t pressure yourself to take long journeys, wait until you’ve built up the confidence.

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