This is a particularly sensitive topic and has so many levels to it that we at LDrivers.ie can only begin to scrape the surface on. What we are trying to do here is not solve or claim to have a solution for nervous drivers, but to bring to their attention that they are not alone and there is hope. If you are patient you can improve your driving skills. Our team would have experienced teaching drivers who were very nervous or in extreme cases suffered from ‘Hodophobia’ – The fear of travel, with varying degrees of success.
There are many what we like to call reluctant or nervous drivers on the roads. These people range in age from 17 to 107 and even beyond. Each individual driver has a different degree of fear or anxiety. Many can trace these feelings back to when they started driving or to after an incident involving driving. As there are so many reasons for this condition it would be impossible for anyone to claim they have a simple cure. What we are trying to do here is first of all let anyone who has either a fear of driving or a fear of the driving test to know that they are not alone! There are many drivers who feel embarrassed or ashamed that they are to date unable to master driving a vehicle without suffering from anxiety, or nervousness which is enhanced by the added pressure from friends or family mostly in a jovial manner, but nonetheless has a negative impact.These feelings are the some of the reasons nervous drivers find driving so frustrating and so stressful.
Below we have listed some of the more common potential causes of such anxiety for some drivers.
Being a passsenger - This is a common problem which does ultimalety lead to a confident driver losing their confidence and ability to drive correctly. As driving is not a natural skill but one which must be learned and continously corrected and improved, long spells of absense will cause not only skill levels to drop but confidence also. Some people choose to be driven around by a partner or friend or family member, and eventually forget their driving skills and become reluctant to drive and in some cases stop driving completely. Unlike riding a bicycle you can become a rusty driver quite quickly and it is far more dangerous to drive a mechanical vehicle incorrectly than a bicycle.
Poor training at the beginning – This is another problem which is quite common. It is true to say that some individuals learn how to drive very quickly and become competent before others. These individuals are rare. It is also true to say that some individuals are very sensitive to critisism and feel it is a personal attack on their person if critisised when they are learning to drive. The instructor or trainer may not have been as patient as was required for a particular individual. Some persons require more intensive training or different methods of learning to be used. There are different techniques which can be used to train or coach a new or nervous driver, but it is up to the individual driver to find a suitable trainer to suit their own abilities. The RSA has a list of qualified Driving Instructors, but it is trial and error as to which Instructor will suit you best.
A bad experience – Unfortunately we all know, or know of someone who has been involved in an accident on the road or worse again killed. If you have also been involved in an incident on the road it can have a very damaging effect on your confidence. It does not matter if you are the passenger, the driver, or just a witness, the lasting effect on your subconscious can effect the way you feel in a vehicle in the future. Many people say to get back into the vehicle and drive again as soon as possible after an accident. There is probably a certain amount of truth in this, but this might not suit everyone.
A good start is half the battle and getting proper tuition at the very beginning of your driving career can increase your confidence greatly. If you were unlucky to have been shouted at or slapped on the knee when learning to drive, and you were already very anxious, then this training was not suitable for you. It may have damaged your confidence, leading to a reluctance to ever want to drive again or be taught correctly. You may mistrust any new Instructor and also doubt your own ablities from then on. This could hinder your progress even more and can add to the problem
So, can anything be done to help?
If you have never driven before and are very apprehensive about starting to drive (this is a very common emotion for all drivers beginning or learning to drive) you could begin with using driving simulators. These simulators are becoming more and more available to learner drivers, and could also be useful for someone whose confidence has dropped, as they have not driven for a long period of time. What the simulator does is allow a new or nervous driver to experience in a safe environment what they could or should expect on the road. After completion of this aspect of training you can then advance to the real thing. If after you complete a course of driving lessons and you still feel you are uncomfortable in the car maybe try another qualified driving instructor . If that fails then there are alternative methods of training to help you to cope with the responsibilty of driving the vehicle. These alternatives range from hypnotherapy, to cognative behaviour therapy. These therapies have varying levels of success and can be expensive.
The best advice LDrivers.ie can offer is to find an environment where positive re-enforcement exists. Always talk yourself up, not down Try calming yourself before you try anything new. Being anxious will hinder progress as you are unable to digest new information properly. Listen to good advice from a professional driver or driving instructor and allow yourself more time to absorb new information. It will take an anxious driver longer to become confident on the road and an anxious driver needs understanding and patience when being taught to drive. Not everyone will or wants to drive a vehicle but for those individuals who wish or need too, perseverence and a ‘can do’ attitude will serve you well.
LDrivers.ie would like to wish you well and hope you achieve your goal of becoming a safe confident driver. Trust your instincts and always drive with due care and consideration for other road users. Drive only when fully alert and awake. Drive only where you feel comfortable until your skills are competent. Drive with an experienced driver or driving instructor who understands your needs. Confidence takes time, driving safely takes time, so give yourself time, and hopefully one day you will become a safe and confident driver.
nervous driver, nervous drivers, driving schools, nervous driver tips, nervous driver learning to drive.