Learning to drive takes time and practice, and once you've passed, you'll want to enjoy the freedom and independence that driving gives you. Some people take to the roads like a duck to water, driving with full confidence as soon as the L plates come off. For others, however, striking out on your own can be nerve wracking.
We know it can be disheartening to go through the lessons, pass your test, and still second-guess yourself behind the wheel. That’s why we’ve put together top tips on how to overcome driving anxiety, as well as how to drive with confidence.
One of the biggest realisations you'll have when you first start driving is that you have pretty much no idea how to get anywhere! You’ll soon find out you rarely paid much attention to routes or road names when you travelled as a passenger in someone else's car.
This means you might be tempted to stick on the satnav, but we're challenging you to go old school and find your way using careful planning and road signs - it'll help.
Before heading somewhere new, briefly check your route beforehand and try to get yourself to the location using road signs. The faster you become comfortable with the use of road signs and slowing down to process new information, the easier you'll find it to navigate in different situations.
You might be feeling wary of taking on a multi-storey car park, hitting the motorway, or exploring long distance driving. Our advice is to pick a time and day when traffic will be quiet and give it a go.
If you can tackle these situations in less busy time periods, such as late on a weekday, this can help boost your confidence for normal, daily driving when placed in the same situation. It can even help to take along someone you trust for moral support.
Solo driving will help build your confidence. You've passed your test, so believe in your ability to drive safely and well. The more you drive, the more comfortable you'll get with driving - and getting out there on your own means you can practice specific skills without pressure, helping you become a more self-reliant, intuitive driver.
Sometimes, the pressure of a backseat driver can make you second guess yourself in ways that you wouldn’t if you were on your own, so you might find that you’re actually more confident when you don’t feel like you’re being watched.
One of the best ways to tackle anxiety when driving on motorway, or anywhere else for that matter, is to invest in some P plates. The next-plate-up from L plates, these make other drivers aware that you might need a bit more space on the road, helping you communicate your nervousness from behind the wheel.
You’ll often find that when you have P plates on your car, other drivers will be more responsive to your vehicle, or at the very least have more understanding in the event you don’t do something perfectly.
You don’t have to be a new driver to use P plates, so even if you passed your test a while ago but need to boost your confidence, using these is a great way to grant yourself some understanding on the road.
The beauty of driving is being able to explore new places, so when you're ready, plan a trip and take yourself somewhere unfamiliar. You'll love the freedom and independence being able to drive will give you, so get out there and make the most of it!
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