Do your palms start to sweat as soon as you place them on the steering wheel?
Don’t worry. You’re not alone.
In a survey conducted among 1,500 American drivers, it was found that 66% of the respondents have experienced anxiety at the wheel.
So it’s safe to say that it’s common to feel nervous when driving.
However, there are ways to overcome this anxiety.
And today, we’ll help you do just that by giving 10 driving tips for nervous drivers.
So let’s dive in!
10 Helpful Driving Tips for Nervous Drivers
We’ve divided the tips for nervous drivers into 2 parts.
In the first part, we will give tips that will help you improve your skills during practice runs. In turn, this will make you a more confident driver.
Secondly, we’ll give tips to help you feel more relaxed while behind the wheel.
Part 1: Tips to Improve Your Driving Skills
Constant and consistent practice builds your confidence.
So with that in mind, let’s look into these tips to improve your driving skills.
As the saying goes…
…If, at first, you don’t succeed, try and try again.
You don’t develop driving abilities by reading about it or watching others do it. The best way to pick up this skill is with first-hand experience.
And the more you practice, the less nervous you’ll be.
Practice on different vehicles
To gain confidence in your driving abilities, it will be good to practice on different vehicles – stick-shifts and automatic cars, sedans and SUVs, and more.
By experiencing maneuvering and handling a variety of car sizes and driving settings, you’ll be just about ready for anything.
Practice outside your comfort zone
You’re bound to come across different kinds of weather, terrains, and settings in your driving journey. It’s best to be prepared for all types of situations.
Can’t imagine how you’ll go from driving on smooth roads to dirt paths? Or how you’ll transition from driving in the calm suburbs to chaotic cities?
Start slowly. Then, when you feel like you’ve mastered a certain terrain or location, work your way up to the next challenge.
Practice with an experienced driver
Knowing that there’s an experienced driver to help out when things get difficult will make you feel much more relaxed.
On top of that, they can also offer driving advice and point out any improvements you need to make.
Listen to their driving tips and tricks. And don’t be afraid to ask questions!
Get to know your car
Although we’ve mentioned that it’s good to practice driving different cars, it’s also incredibly important to know the car that you’ll be driving most often.
Study its features and capabilities and use it to your driving advantage. You’ll feel more at ease in a car that you know like the back of your hand.
Part 2: Tips to Stay Relax While Driving
Yes, you can be the most skilled driver out there but still feel tense when behind the wheel. If so, here are some tips to stay relaxed while driving.
Keep your vehicle in good condition
One thing people are nervous about is if something goes wrong with their vehicle in the middle of the road.
This kind of stress is very preventable.
Be responsible and keep your car in tip-top shape. Knowing your vehicle is well-maintained will help keep you calm and assured.
Prepare your route
Fear of the unknown can fuel your driving anxiety. Planning your journey before you drive out can lower this anxiety.
Why? Because there will be fewer surprises on the road. Plus, you know where you’re actually going, so you can put all your focus on the road ahead.
Make yourself comfortable
Before starting your car, make sure you’re comfortable in it.
Does your seat feel comfortable? Is the temperature in the car too warm or too cold? Are your mirrors all set?
If something doesn’t feel right, your anxiety and nerves can hit the roof while driving. So it’s important to make sure that everything is set for YOU.
Take your time and be present
Don’t rush yourself when driving. Make sure that you allot enough time for heavy traffic or unexpected detours before a trip.
Slow and steady wins the race. By taking your time, you also allow yourself to stay in the present – another calming technique that brings awareness to your surroundings and improves your driving.
Drive with buddies
We can all get by with a bit of help from our friends. Sometimes, even if you aren’t with an experienced driver, having company while driving can help combat your jitters.
Driving buddies can act as your support system to ease your worries. Just make sure that you won’t have too much fun and get distracted.
Common Reasons Why Drivers Get Nervous on the Road
Why do drivers get nervous when they get behind the wheel?
What are some of the most common reasons for this?
Knowing the answers to these might help you get rid of those nerves.
So let’s look at these common reasons.
New driver jitters
It’s natural for newbies to feel anxious when driving because they’re still inexperienced. There are still many skills to learn, and there are bound to be a few bumps along the way.
Long drives can take a mental and physical toll on drivers. Sitting in a car for hours can be tiring, and having to concentrate on the road can be equally exhausting.
Aside from tiredness, a long drive also entails navigating through more traffic systems or possible unfamiliar roads.
And just the thought of all that can kick up the nerves.
It’s difficult to drive without clear sight of the road. Driving at night affects this visibility, no matter how lit the roads may be. In turn, this may cause many to worry.
Past driving experiences can also cause nervous driving. For instance, a person may be fearful of being back in the driver’s seat after experiencing an accident.
Other unpleasant experiences can make someone into a nervous driver: a car breaking down, getting lost on the road, getting a traffic ticket, and much more.
How Can You Help Nervous Drivers?
What if you know someone that is a nervous driver?
Here are some ways you can help them out.
Help them out in simple ways
Thinking of ways to help? Maybe you can offer directions. Or better yet, you can act as a navigator to allow them to focus on driving.
Is your driver looking a little stressed? Ease the tension by choosing a nice road trip playlist. There are lots of simple ways to show your support.
Stay patient when a driver needs a couple of moments to accomplish a maneuver
Nervous drivers may need more time to make turns, do maneuvers, or park. They can also become even more flustered when they sense that their passengers are growing impatient.
Do not pressure them into something they are not comfortable with
Asking your driver to speed up because you’re in a hurry? Or maybe you’re asking them to try a route they’ve never tried before?
Don’t be a backseat driver. Asking nervous drivers to drive in ways that they’re not comfortable with only adds to the pressure they already place on themselves.
Don’t criticize a nervous driver’s mistakes
Nervous drivers are their own worst critics. Any mistake that you’ll point out, they already know. Instead of harsh criticism, offer them constructive advice calmly and reassuringly.
Keep Calm and Drive On
Being a nervous driver is not something to be ashamed of, nor should it keep you from driving.
This is why we listed these 10 helpful driving tips for nervous drivers.
Always find the technique that works for you and slowly build your confidence. In time, you will get behind the wheel and not feel that tense nerves.
And if you know someone that’s nervous, make sure to follow our tips on how to help them as well.