How to Deal With Driving Anxiety

How to Deal With Driving Anxiety

It is natural to feel nervous about driving. Whether you have a day-to-day commute or are taking your driving test in the near future, it can be difficult to keep your nerves under control.

What causes driving anxiety?

There are a number of causes for driving anxiety.

The first and most common cause is the fear of getting into an accident or causing injury to yourself or others while driving. Other forms of anxiety include: not knowing your way around town, being intimidated by other drivers on the road, or feeling embarrassed behind the wheel.

What are the symptoms of driving anxiety?

People who are struggling with driving anxiety often have physical symptoms such as sweating, shortness of breath, and muscle tension. Some people feel nauseous or even vomit when they become anxious behind the wheel.

Other symptoms include:

  • shortness of breath
  • dizziness
  • panic and fear, which is often excessive, persistent, and unreasonable
  • strong desire to get away from the car
  • racing heartbeat
  • rapid breathing
  • sweaty palms
  • disorientation

However, there are many ways that you can manage and overcome anxiety when it comes to driving! Here are some of our top tips for dealing with driving anxiety:

1) Practice makes perfect! 

The more time you spend on the road practicing different scenarios with an instructor or parent present, the more confident and comfortable you will become. 

It doesn’t matter if this means going out at night so that they can help spot hazards for you – just as long as they’re there with you in case anything goes wrong.

2) Make sure you eat well and get plenty of rest the night before your test. 

Driving can be a stressful experience, so if you’re low on energy or haven’t gotten much sleep it will only make things worse for you in the long run!

Don’t be tempted to indulge in energy drinks or caffeine before your test either. While it will give you a little bit of extra pep in your step, but the jitteriness, lack of attention, and the crash afterward are not worth it!

3) Try to desensitize yourself to driving situations that make you anxious

If you know that driving in the dark or on busy highways tends to make your palms sweaty and stomach churn, surround yourself with those elements before taking your test.

Remember to introduce yourself to these situations a little at a time, don’t throw yourself in at the deep end.

It can help if you take a few minutes during each drive to relax your muscles and calm down, even focus on breathing deeply for short periods of time until you feel less anxious.

4) Reduce the number of distractions in your car 

Driving on your own with no distractions is going to be much less anxiety-inducing than driving in a car full of people who are all talking at the same time.

So try and plan ahead so you can go for a quick drive before you leave, or perhaps bring along one friend rather than four!

If you struggle to concentrate during driving, turn the radio off, put your phone on silent, and try to remove any other visual distractions from your eyeline.

5) Consider ride-sharing 

If driving in a car on your own is just too much for you to handle, then involving yourself in ride-sharing can be one of the best ways to make your life easier.

You might not have that option if you need to drive anyway (for example during your driving test), but otherwise it’s definitely worth considering!

Having someone else take the wheel for a while can be a great way to help your driving anxiety and improve your all-around confidence.

6) Talk to someone about your anxiety

This might seem like an obvious thing to do, but it can be easy to get caught up in our own heads and not communicate issues like driving anxiety to the people who can help

It’s also worth remembering that many people experience anxiety in driving tests too – perhaps even more so than the average person!

Talking about your anxiety with someone, like a parent, driving instructor, or even a therapist, can help to discover the root of the anxiety and help you overcome it.

Learn to Drive in Nevada Today!

The Northwest Driving School and Traffic School provides the Las Vegas community with live driving and traffic classes taught by seasoned instructors. 

All of our driving instructors have passed background checks.

Each automobile is DMV safety-approved, and every member of the Northwest family is committed to providing excellent driver’s education and behind-the-wheel instruction.

At Northwest, you can expect to find outstanding classes, both on campus and behind the wheel, that are engaging, fact-filled, entertaining, and geared toward success. 

We make no bones about it, we believe that Northwest provides the best driving lessons in Las Vegas, no matter your age or background. We are proud of the fact that 98% of our students pass their test on the first try. Call us at (702) 403-1592 to start your driving adventure with one of our expert instructors.

Written by:
Rich Heinrich
Master Instructor / General Manager

Instructor and Office Administrator

Frankie works and karaoke's in Las Vegas but his out-of-doors-heart is still out East. Born in Boston, Frankie loves the snow and mountains. As an avid snowboarder, Frankie has never seen a snow day he didn't LOVE! A graduate from…Read More