Learning to drive can be a stressful experience, involving a lot of pressure and feelings of anxiety. These feelings can be due to many reasons - worrying about the dangers out on the road, feeling anxious about the driving test, the inability to remember all the rules, etc.
Lack of preparation and being taught by your relative as opposed to a qualified driving instructor are some of the most common reasons why many people fail their driving test in the first go. Furthermore, research has revealed that many bad habits while driving are a result of poor tuition.
The stress of learning how to drive can be considerable - it can lead to sweaty palms, an erratic heartbeat and a sinking feeling in your stomach. This leads people to become more nervous than ever, thereby prolonging their learning time and adding to the stress. While feeling daunted about learning how to drive is fairly common, it is important to deal with the stress you are feeling as a new driver.
However, you can considerably control your anxiety and stress by these 8 tips listed below:
1) Learn with a qualified instructor
Usually, people prefer their relatives over qualified instructors. However, this may add to your stress and nervousness as relatives, unless experienced, are not trained to teach people how to drive. This training includes dealing appropriately with a learner's anxiety and stress, teaching him/her the correct rules along with useful tips and tricks. Hence, opting to learn with a qualified instructor can significantly reduce the inevitable stress of learning to drive. The most important thing to remember is that you should always seek out a reputed and qualified instructor who you are comfortable with.
2) Take a crash course with a certified driving school
Crash courses and intensive driving courses allow you to learn more while paying a fraction of the usual costs associated with learning how to drive. These courses also ensure that you learn how to drive in just a week and pass your driving test in the very first go.
Intensive driving courses are also suitable for first time learners and drivers, wanting to brush up on their skills before taking the test. This is the fastest route for learning how to drive and cuts down the stress related to lengthy driving lessons. Hence, if you want to get it all over and done with quickly, then opt for a crash course with a reputable provide such as Momentum Driving School who work throughout England, Scotland and Wales.
3) Ask as many questions as you want
Don't be afraid to ask questions, even if the answers seem to be fairly obvious. You can never learn if you don't learn to communicate your concerns and fears. A qualified instructor will never expect you to know everything straight off the bat and will always encourage you to voice your concerns.
Furthermore, if you are struggling with something specific, then asking for a dedicated lesson could help you deal with issues which could otherwise cost you your licence in the future. If you have good communication with your instructor, it will be easier to discuss the areas you might be struggling with or need extra help in.
4) Be prepared
Being prepared does not necessarily mean that you should know the rule book by heart. Coming in prepared for your intensive lessons or test also means that you are well-rested and are not feeling tired as this can add to the stress and nervousness. Ensure that you have eaten well and have had a good night's sleep before showing up for your lesson in the morning. This will enable you to absorb the lesson more quickly and be at your best while learning.
5) Practice, practice, practice and then practice some more
People are usually comfortable in situations which they have experience in or are familiar with. The same can be said for learning how to drive. If you are only learning for a few hours a week, you are liable to over think or even mix up the rules which can be very stressful. Hence, it is better to keep practicing what you have learnt in your lesson in order to become familiar with the rules of the road and your car.
Driving can almost become a muscle memory if you practice enough, thereby eliminating the stress of having to actively recall many lessons. However, it is important to remember that you should not drive on crowded roads or areas for your own safety.
6) Practice relaxation techniques
People who become extremely stressed during their driving lessons end up learning less. Hence, it is better to practice relaxation techniques such as meditating for a short while to clear your mind of any worries. However, never forget the importance of staying alert and attentive while driving for your safety and that of others. Other techniques which can relax you include doing familiar activities such as watching your favourite show or going through different social media platforms. Practicing relaxation techniques before a driving lesson can help with the fear and anxiety that you may feel before stepping into the car. It can also make you more comfortable so that you are more open and receptive to the lesson being taught.
7) Identify the cause of your stress
Often people report a sense of unease, stress or anxiety while learning how to drive. Hence, identifying the cause of your stress can allow you to deal with the problem and calm yourself. For example, if you feel uncomfortable going downhill, ask your instructor to make you practice more on slopes. Take a deep breath before approaching this section of the road and talk yourself through the entire ride. This will not only calm you, but will also allow you to become familiar with driving in situations which are stressful.
8) Keep your goal in mind
Every time you feel stressed about driving, remind yourself that you are learning for a particular reason - be it that you want to be independent or that you would just like to learn a useful skill. Remembering that you are doing this for a specific reason can help you stay focused and overcome any fears or stress associated with learning a new skill. Taking a crash course may help here as you won't get side-tracked from your goal if you're driving intensively every day.
While these tips can help you in relieving the stress of learning how to drive, it is important to remember that learning any new skill takes practice, patience and persistence.