Dealing with Driving AnxietyOct 19th, 2018
Whether the reason is from other drivers, construction, or city driving; driving can make us a little anxious. Driving anxiety can affect your overall performance while on the road as well as your stress level in your everyday life. You actually project your life’s stress upon the road and become more stressed yourself while doing so, which in turn interferes with logical thinking, making you a danger to yourself and others. Most driving anxiety comes from stressful encounters with something new or different on the road. Throughout some encounters we will show you how to combat your anxious nerves and keep your wits about you.
Having to watch for more obstacles in your driving path can be nerve wracking; people walking, heavy machinery, everything orange telling you to slow your car down and the slow cars in front of you are easy examples. All you need to do is be aware, check your surroundings for changes in the flow of traffic as well as rely on your rationality. It’s also shown to be better to move through the traffic of construction than try to plan an even more unfamiliar, stressful route.
Rush hour traffic
The bumper to bumper traffic can make anyone go crazy. Some drivers are more impatient than others, some are too slow, and some you don’t know how they got their license. Rush hour can turn into a zoo of a time, which is why we need to be cool, calm and collected and not give into any driving anxiety. What you can do to combat this be cautious with your surrounding of vehicles and stay with the flow of traffic. It also helps to have more highway or driving experience with less populated roads to build experience in stressful conditions.
Unwanted backseat driving
When you have a passenger who gives advice on your driving, it can get old fast. The best way to deal with the unwanted remarks is to not respond to them, which then descalates a stressful encounter with them. Breathing exercises also help reduce blood pressure and allows you to keep a cool head. Breathe in with your mouth for 3 seconds, then exhale through your nose for 4 seconds, then inhale for 7 seconds and then exhale for 7 seconds. Repeat until you think it’s helped you calm down.
Someone texts or calls you
Checking your phone while driving is still illegal to do in Canada, as you should know. But if your phone gets a call or text from someone you’ve been expecting, or dreading, it can feel unbearable to not answer it immediately. Instead of being overwhelmed with wanting to answer, simply turn off your phone, turn on a do not disturb mode, invest in an app that blocks calls and texts while driving, or if you have Nissans NissanConnect service, you can answer the call or text while being completely hands free. The more things on your mind while driving means the more reasons to be distracted and stressed.
Everyone gets lost once in a while, the main thing is to focus on how to get back on track. Pull over and try and relax a bit, you’re stressed out about being somewhere you don’t know and it’s not going to get you anywhere by being upset. If applicable, use your GPS to recalculate a new route or ask someone for directions to areas you are more familiar with. Try and cool down with your breathing techniques or stretch it out if you need to.
Moving too fast
While on the highway you’re going upwards to 100 kms or even faster with drivers coming fast behind you. The feeling can be very scary and make most people anxious about the new speeds they’re experiencing. Ways to combat this is to stay in the right hand lane where you can go slower than if you were in the far left lane. Plus, more practice on highways and roads with high speed limits when there aren’t as many cars around can build up a confidence level in your skills and allow you to feel more comfortable while driving faster.
Driving anxiety comes to us all from time to time. The main thing to remember is to not panic and overreact to something that can be overcome with a little confidence and and clear headedness. The best exercises to use are breathing techniques and to scan your surroundings, they will keep you calm and aware of what is happening around you. Remember, everyone gets stressed on the road, it’s just a matter of how you deal with it so you can be a better driver.
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