For many of us driving is one of the few times we spend alone. When alone we have time to think and reflect on the day to day issues that effect our lives. This can lead to drivers dwelling on problems that are not related directly to driving yet do have a direct impact on the state of mind of the driver. These problems, real or imaginary become attached to the driving task.
Nobody likes to admit to any kind of fear when driving. This leads to it becoming a hidden problem. It can become a source of embarrassment especially among young men who are expected to have no trouble driving at all. Fear of being mocked by peers makes many suffer in silence. In truth a great many people suffer from these kinds of problems. Usually they have their roots in past negative experience such as witnessing or being involved in an accident. A near miss such as a child running out in front of the car could trigger anxieties, or the root cause may not involve driving at all.
These fears can lead to other life problems such as lack of sleep owing to worry about the daily drive to work. Job prospects can be effected if the person makes the decision to avoid driving altogether. These fears can also spring up from bad learning experiences such as an instructor shouting and being overly critical or using training routes which are too complex for the learning stage of the pupil.
There are three different types of problem. The main ones being simple fear which can give rise to panic attacks. There is anxiety, which causes physical symptoms such as sweating and exhaustion and phobias for which there is no definite root cause. All these can be cured by working through them. Instructors can help in the early stages by being sympathetic and encouraging confidence in a learner.
Drivers need to consider where their sense of unease is coming from. By rethinking and relearning negative past experiences they can be overcome. If it is from one specific memory then concentrate on this and try to detach it from the present time. Think of times when you were successful, remember how good it felt and recall that feeling when starting to drive. Control your breathing so it becomes slow and regular and relax your arms on the steering wheel. Avoid gripping it too tightly. Seek to stay in the moment and deal with the realities of being on the road and planning ahead.
By thinking of the positive benefits of driving and encouraging self belief many fears about driving simply disappear.