Anxiety for Driving


Firstly if learning to drive was easy you would not need someone trained to help you through the process. Sometimes though people hold back from learning to drive because they suffer from anxiety.

 This can affect how you learn and then there’s the big day to deal with when you take the Practical test.  There are several reasons why anxiety is triggered by the process of learning to drive and taking that test at the end of it.

1:  a fear of failure and making mistakes.  With some the fear of making mistakes on lessons can be a fear of embarrassment,  humiliation,  not being able to do something first time that looks so easy when others do it. 

Let’s answer that one first …. For starters you don’t need to feel embarrassed at all because I to have suffered bouts of anxiety through my life and it is nothing to be ashamed of. It can be conquered.  When watching your parents, family or friends drive it looks easy doesn’t it, but what you have to remember is they have been driving for a while and had to go through the same process. Mistakes are how you learn and in a dual controlled car with a qualified instructor is the best place to make them.

2:  the fear of succeeding, yes succeeding. Once you pass your driving test, you are legally allowed to drive unsupervised on the public roads. That’s a double edged sword these days. When I passed my test there was less traffic on the roads and in the last 15 years I have noticed that there is more and more aggressive driving going on. That said, a driving licence gives you the freedom to go where you want and when you want.  So many doors open when you are independent and have the freedom to take up opportunities that you could not have otherwise taken.

There are many ways of conquering anxiety. One of them is the feeling of achievement and we will talk about that in more detail but you have to get to the achievement first.

You can have hypnotherapy, meditation, cognitive therapy.

From my observations over the years, the quickest way to trigger anxiety when in the car is to overthink. Anxiety triggers an emotional response which then causes the symptoms of anxiety which could be a panic attack, brain fog and lose of co ordination.  When you are in a moving classroom there is not time to analyse the thought process that got you in the state of panic. So the answer is don’t engage with the thought in the first place. This takes practice, but if you have the patience, so do I