Learning To Drive With Anxiety

3 May 2017

Driving for the first time was really daunting for me. More so especially if you suffer with anxiety or you are overly nervous about driving.

A couple of weeks back I experienced a driving lesson that threw me completely off course. I stalled at least 6 or 7 times, I got stuck at a roundabout, stalling and completely panicked whilst my instructor kept at me telling me to hurry up, I kept going into the wrong gear, I had pull over to get out of the car for a breather and when the driving lesson ended I got myself upset and I almost gave up.

I always knew driving was something that I wanted to be able to do. I didn't learn to drive back in sixth form because I just didn't have the money for it. So after saving up for a while I decided now was the right time to do it. Little did I know that I was going to be so nervous about driving. And what doesn't help is when anxiety makes you overthink about everything and you start to think more about what could go wrong rather than concentrating on what you're doing right. One thing I'm glad I didn't do was give up. Instead I decided to take a week out from driving as well as deciding to change instructors. After having my most recent lesson with my new instructor I feel much more confident than before.

Although I'm not even half way through my driving lessons yet and I still have a lot to learn. There are a few ways that have been helping me along the way.


Anxiety makes you overthink about everything and you start to think more about what could go wrong rather than concentrating on what you're doing right.

Letting your instructor know about your anxiety. As awkward and difficult it was for me to say, I told my instructor before the lesson that I do struggle with anxiety and that I am more than a little nervous about driving. These instructors are professional and they will be able to guide you the right way throughout all of your driving lessons and even help you overcome some of your fears. 

Choose a time and day that suits you best. Choosing a time and day that suits you best is always a good thing to bare in mind. Of course it depends on when your instructor is free and obviously choosing a time when you are also available. But sometimes it can make a big difference if you choose a time that you feel will be best for you. I'm happier with mornings because I like to get the lesson out of the way instead of building up my anxiety throughout the day. Where I live it's rather quiet in the mornings so at the moment I feel less worried when the roads aren't too busy. But you might feel that afternoons/evenings are better for you, it's just all down to personal preference!

It's ok to make mistakes. The worst thing you can do is make yourself feel bad for getting it wrong. It took me a little bit longer than most people to get some of the basics right and I used to get myself so down about it. I would call myself a failure at the end of a lesson because I was disappointed in myself for not getting it right. But making mistakes is all part of the learning process. Everyone has their own different way of learning, the best thing to do is take your time.

Make notes from your lesson. As well as revising for the theory test I've found it really helpful to write down a bunch of notes from each lesson. I make a list of the things I learnt that day as a reminder and then write some sort of reflection on how I think I did that lesson. I write down anything that I know I'm struggling with or if there's anything I want to let my instructor know for the next lesson. It all links in with knowing that it's ok to make mistakes. My best thing to do when I'm feeling anxious is to write everything down rather than letting everything just run through your mind every five minutes. Also reminding yourself that you've achieved something from that day is another step closer to feeling more confident.


Are you learning to drive? Do you
have any tips for becoming a confident learner? 


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