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Help guide for anxious learner drivers

Learning to drive with anxiety If you feel anxious about learning to drive, then you’re not alone. Any new and unfamiliar experience can cause anxiety, and that certainly includes learning to drive a car during a global pandemic. Experienced drivers aren’t immune…

Simon Jones
by Simon Jones

Learning to drive with anxiety


If you feel anxious about learning to drive, then you’re not alone. Any new and unfamiliar
experience can cause anxiety, and that certainly includes learning to drive a car during a
global pandemic.

Experienced drivers aren’t immune from anxiety behind the wheel either, and Anxiety UK
says a fear of driving is one of the most common phobias in the UK. But there are some simple steps you can take to build your confidence and reduce your anxiety while driving.

Find the right instructor for you

Choosing a good, supportive driving instructor can make a big difference. You’ll be spending a lot of time together so it’s important to choose carefully and find someone who’s a good match for your personality. Try to find someone who seems supportive, patient and understanding – someone you can talk to openly if you’re nervous or suffer from anxiety in general.

If you’re unlucky enough to choose an instructor who tuts and rolls their eyes whenever you
make a mistake – instead of showing you where you went wrong and encouraging you – then
you’ve probably got the wrong person for the job. It’s them, not you – try someone else!

Focus on the positive

Feelings of anxiety can come about when you imagine things going wrong. You might do
that without even consciously realising it. So next time you find your mind replaying worst case scenarios on loop, try and flip that thinking and instead imagine yourself having a successful, positive driving experience, whether that’s a regular lesson or your test.

Drive….and lots!

Being prepared can help reduce anxiety, and any extra time in the car will help. So drive, drive and drive some more! Lessons are expensive – and instructors in high demand – so get as much practice in as possible with another experienced driver, such as one of your parents. 
But, as any learner driver will tell you, you’ll need to choose someone who doesn’t stress
you out even more.

Remember, you aren’t alone

There can’t be many learner drivers who haven’t felt some level of angst; and that probably
included your instructor or practical tester, back when they were pursuing their L-plates. 
And that’s even more true now, at a time when the pandemic has heightened mental health
problems. There are likely to be even more anxious learner drivers out there.
 
In short, it’s normal to be worried. Perhaps you can take some solace from the fact that
countless learners have been in your shoes, and overcome their nerves and passed.
Don’t be afraid to fail Roughly half of practical driving test results are fails. So it’s really common not to pass the first time, or second or third time…. in other words, you shouldn’t feel under pressure to pass straight away.
 
In fact, some people try to go into their first test with the mindset that it’s a practice run, that
they can learn from. This doesn’t mean they don’t give it their best, just that they don’t heap
too much pressure on themselves.If they pass, then that’s a bonus.
 

If you fail, keep working hard and practicing – it will happen!

Be in the know

Often the great unknown can make you feel more anxious. Finding out as much as possible
about what lies ahead might just help you better manage your anxiety.

Be sure to plan ahead and find out what to expect. Before your first driving lesson, talk to
other people about their experiences and ask your driving instructor what will happen. 

The same goes for your test: chat to your instructor about how you feel if you need
reassurance. They’ll know to take you through any manoeuvres that need more practice.
Look after yourself on test day and beyond. Taking good care of yourself before and during test day can really help. If you are tired and ragged, then it’s not going to help your mindset. 

Think about basics like trying to get enough sleep, eating properly and staying hydrated.
Then allow yourself plenty of time, so you’re not rushing around getting ready at the last
minute.

And remember, if you don’t pass this time round, there’ll always be another chance. Good
luck!

Learner driver insurance

Don’t forget, if you’re looking to get some extra practice in, we might be able to help you with cover from just 2 hours to 180 days. 

 

Simon Jones
Simon Jones

Brand manager at Veygo. I've been driving for 17 years and I used to enjoy driving home from work listening to 90s music.

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