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Reinforcing Your Child's Education

Nearing 40 And Still Not Behind The Wheel? Tips For Getting Past Driving-Related Anxiety

by Maico Paling

According to an article published by National Public Radio, fewer Americans are getting their driver's license than ever before. For some, their reasons are quite simple: they can't afford a car or have access to public transportation. However, if you've put off getting a driver's license for decades, your reason might be quite different: anxiety. If you've always suffered from driving-related anxiety and are ready to put it behind you, here are a few strategies to help you get behind the wheel:

Learn Your Driving-Related Triggers

Are you anxious to drive because you were in a car accident as a child? Do you feel overwhelmed in heavy traffic or when you ride over a bridge? Before you place your hands on the wheel, it is important to pinpoint the exact reason why you're anxious to drive.

Begin by writing down a list of all the reasons why you're scared to drive. For example, you may have had a bad experience during driving school while you were a teenager, or you may have lost a loved one in an accident. Once you have all the reasons why you're scared written down, go through each and verbally tell yourself why each shouldn't keep you from the freedom associated with driving.

For instance, you could tell yourself that cars have gotten a lot safer since you were a child, and that your overly cautious nature actually makes you a more attentive driver.

If you are truly having trouble getting past these fears, don't hesitate to contact a professional therapist to help you work through the root causes of your anxiety.

Take Small Steps

Another simple strategy that you might find effective is to take the entire process of getting behind the wheel and driving in very small steps. Here is one strategy that you could utilize to help you get over your driving anxiety:

  • Begin by simply holding the keys and looking at your car in the driveway. If you feel anxious, take a minute and let it pass before moving on.
  • Next, sit down in the car and turn on the ignition. Sit with the engine running for a few minutes. If you are anxious and feel overwhelmed, it's okay to step out. Give yourself a minute and try again.
  • Once you feel comfortable, drive around the block once. Remember to have another driver with you to take over. Continue to drive around the block once or twice every day.
  • Now that you're comfortable driving around your neighborhood, take a chance and drive down a main street, a road with stop lights and other areas where the traffic is heavier. You might also be ready to drive at night.

Only drive in situations where you feel comfortable, and if you begin to feel anxiety, don't hesitate to stop, take a breath and compose yourself before hitting the road.

Take a Class

Finally, one of the most effective strategies you can use is something that has been available since you were in high school: driver's education. There are many independently-operated driver's education instructors who can help you get past your anxiety.

Before you begin your first course, let your instructor know about your anxiety and fears. Your instructor can help you create a strategy and talk you through all the aspects of driving.

Additionally, an instructor can teach you how to drive in every condition – including heavy traffic, at night and in bad weather – and valuable information about staying safe behind the wheel. If you're looking to take driver's education classes, check out websites like http://www.a1peckdrivingschool.com for more information.

Whether you were in an accident or have a fear of handling a vehicle, there are several simple strategies you can use to help get over your driving anxiety. 

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