Whether a driver is new to the road or has decades of experience, they might feel nervous every time they sit behind the wheel. This anxious feeling makes perfect sense; other people can forget that they are operating a machine capable of killing someone.
Nervousness, however, does not mean that these drivers make better choices. Fear can cloud a driver’s mind, making it more difficult to process what’s happening around them. Missing their highway exit, for example, could cause them to panic and make risky maneuvers to get back on track.
If you or someone you know is a nervous driver, it might help to understand where this fear comes from. Are you inexperienced and afraid of making a mistake? Do you have an unexplained phobia? Were you traumatized in a bad accident in the past? Figuring out the cause can lead you to finding a solution.
You can also try the following tips for learning to drive with a calm, cool mindset:
- Practice driving in familiar areas to build confidence
- Review traffic laws
- Avoid long trips and bad weather if possible until you’re comfortable
- Remind yourself to relax and pay attention to the road rather than fear
- Use a GPS that quickly recalibrates after a wrong turn
- Speak to a therapist or doctor about any anxiety you may feel
Washington residents who never had driving anxiety in the past may suddenly fear it after a bad experience. The physical wounds from an accident are often the first thing victims think about, but emotional trauma can also leave a deep scar.
Anxiety and panic attacks may play a role in a future collision. Whether you are the nervous driver or they hit you, it’s important to know what to do next as well as your legal options.