Regular readers of the blog will know that around two years ago I started CBT therapy, and was more or less pushed into it by a crippling and growing fear of driving. Since I’m a mum of four with a husband who works away and various places I need to get to, this driving related anxiety needed to be dealt with. I’d let it go too long; it was starting to interfere with every day life and making the smallest of tasks seem like the hugest mountains that I just could not climb by myself. Long story short, the driving was just the tip of it all, but that’s another post. I made great progress, but there are still some elements of getting behind the wheel that can stress me out, and I know I’m not alone. I’ve learned some great techniques for dealing with anxiety and worry, and today I thought I’d share my tips for my fellow nervous drivers out there. We can do this! Here are three ways to banish driving anxiety.
Tyres, tyres, tyres!
Do you know how to change a tyre? Do you know how to check them for air pressure and wear? Do you know what tyres are right for your car? If you answered no to any of those questions then I want you to get up right now to go and find out. Having the right tyres for your car is vital, and if you’re not sure there are professionals out there who will help and guide you. Go to a reputable place and make sure you have them fitted correctly. For example, Fife Autocentre stocks branded tyres in Stirling. Make sure to book your next tyres with them and you’ll be very good hands. It’s worth it, believe me. Which leads me on to my next tip…
Learn how your car works!
Your car is a very powerful machine, some may even say a potential weapon. Why on earth would you get behind the wheel without the first clue on how to operate it properly? Driving lessons are great, but they only teach you how to manoeuvre the car along the road, and how to reverse park into a tight space amongst other skills. All vital, but where are the car maintenance tips? I’ve been in the position of having a burst tyre with three kids in the car, hundreds of miles from home and clueless. This situation actually triggered the whole driving anxiety, so believe me I know its not a position you want to be in. Take some time to actually learn how your car works, and what it needs to maintain it well. Good places to start:
- Know what your warning lights mean when they light up!
- Know how to change the oil and other fluids.
- Know how to change a tyre, or who to call and where to go when you need to.
- Keep your owner’s manual handy- and read it from time to time.
- Check the tyre pressure regularly.
I’m not saying that you need to take up the study of cars and mechanics, but you need to have at least some clue of what’s going on with your car and when you need to take it in for a service. Think of poor, terrified me- stranded with a burst tyre and no idea what to do. I was so lucky to flag down a helpful stranger, but it could have easily been such a different story.
Don’t be afraid to take refresher lessons
If you are nervous behind the wheel but you need to be able to drive to certain places every day, then it can honestly be crippling and such a strain on your very day life. Planning out your route, obsessing over every roundabout, traffic light or potential wrong turn. But the worst thing you can do is to simply give up and leave your car to gather dust on the driveway. Taking refresher lessons might be the answer for you here, so please don’t feel afraid to do this. We all need a little guiding hand now and then and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
What are your top tips for banishing driving anxiety?
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