How Do I Stop Being Nervous When Driving?

Overcoming Driving Anxiety: Tips and Techniques

As someone who has experienced anxiety while driving, I know how overwhelming and debilitating it can be. The fear of being in control of a powerful machine while sharing the road with other drivers can be a daunting task. However, it’s important to remember that this fear is common and there are ways to overcome it. In this article, I’ll discuss some techniques that have helped me overcome my driving anxiety.

Understanding the Triggers of Your Anxiety

The first step in overcoming driving anxiety is to understand the triggers that cause it. These triggers differ from person to person, but some common ones include:

  • Heavy traffic
  • Driving on highways or bridges
  • Unexpected road conditions or changes in weather
  • Having a passenger or multiple passengers in the car
  • The fear of getting lost or being late

Once you’ve identified your triggers, you can start to work on how to manage and overcome them.

Changing Your Perspective for a Better Driving Experience

One way to overcome driving anxiety is by changing your perspective. Instead of seeing driving as a potential danger, try to see it as a skill that you can develop and improve. Here are some techniques that have helped me change my perspective:

  • Focus on the positive aspects of driving, such as the freedom and independence it provides
  • Practice defensive driving techniques, such as keeping a safe distance from other cars and scanning the road ahead
  • Affirm yourself positively by telling yourself that you are a capable driver and that you can handle any situation that comes your way

Staying Focused on the Present While Driving

Another technique that has helped me overcome driving anxiety is staying focused on the present moment while driving. This means not worrying about what could happen in the future or dwelling on past mistakes. Here are some tips for staying present while driving:

  • Take deep breaths and focus on your breathing when you start to feel anxious
  • Focus on the physical sensations of driving, such as the sound of the engine or the feel of the steering wheel
  • Avoid listening to music or talking on the phone while driving as this can be a distraction from the present moment

Experimenting with Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques can be helpful in managing driving anxiety. Here are some techniques that have worked for me:

  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Meditation and mindfulness
  • Visualizing a peaceful scene, such as a beach or forest

Remember that not all relaxation techniques will work for everyone, so it’s important to experiment and find what works best for you.

Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone to Overcome Your Anxiety

It can be tempting to avoid situations that trigger your driving anxiety, but this can actually make the anxiety worse in the long run. One way to overcome your anxiety is by stepping out of your comfort zone and facing your fears head-on. Here are some ways to do this:

  • Start by driving in low-stress situations and gradually work your way up to more challenging situations
  • Take a new route or drive to a new location to challenge yourself
  • Practice driving with a trusted friend or family member in the car to help build your confidence

Seeking Professional Assistance from a Specialist

If your driving anxiety is severe, it may be helpful to seek assistance from a specialist. Here are some professionals that may be able to help:

  • A therapist or counselor who specializes in anxiety and phobias
  • A driving instructor or coach who can help improve your driving skills and confidence

Could Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Help You Overcome Your Driving Anxiety?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that has been shown to be effective in treating anxiety disorders, including driving anxiety. CBT focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to anxiety. Here are some techniques used in CBT for driving anxiety:

  • Exposure therapy, which involves gradually exposing you to situations that trigger your anxiety and teaching you how to manage your anxiety in those situations
  • Thought restructuring, which involves identifying and changing negative thought patterns related to driving anxiety
  • Breathing and relaxation techniques, which can help manage the physical symptoms of anxiety

Using Virtual Reality to Practice Driving and Gain Confidence

Virtual reality (VR) is a new technology that can be used to help overcome driving anxiety. VR driving simulations allow you to practice driving in a safe and controlled environment, which can help build your confidence before you hit the road. Some benefits of using VR for driving anxiety include:

  • The ability to customize the simulation to your specific anxiety triggers
  • Realistic driving scenarios that mimic real-world situations
  • The ability to practice and improve your driving skills without the risk of actual harm


Driving anxiety may seem daunting, but it’s important to remember that it can be overcome with the right techniques and support. By understanding your triggers, changing your perspective, staying present, practicing relaxation techniques, stepping out of your comfort zone, seeking professional assistance, and exploring new technologies like VR, you can gain the confidence and skills you need to become a more confident and safer driver.

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