Lots of people look forward to turning 17 and booking their first driving lesson. However, others are petrified by the thought of being in control of a car. Anxiety among learner drivers isn’t uncommon and it’s something that many experience at some point in their driving journey. This is particularly true in bustling cities like London, where busy streets and fast-paced traffic can intensify nervousness. You shouldn’t let your nerves put you off booking driving lessons though and once you’ve passed your driving test, you will have the confidence and freedom to drive independently whenever and wherever you want.
Here at Wimbledon Driving School, we understand how nervous some learners can be and we are committed to helping our students become confident, safe drivers. With some advice and guidance from our expert driving instructors, you will be well on your way to overcoming your driving anxiety, enjoying your lessons and passing your test the first time.
Table of Contents
Common Causes of Driving Anxiety
Before you learn how to calm your nerves, it’s beneficial to understand why you feel anxious about driving. For some, it’s the fear of the unknown or the pressure of handling a car in busy traffic. For others, past experiences like a car accident or near-miss, can trigger anxious feelings. In cities like London, the hustle and bustle of urban driving can add an extra layer of stress for learners during their driving lessons.
Practical Tips for Anxious Drivers
If you want to be able to drive independently but you’re dreading getting behind the wheel, there are a few things you can do to make your driving lessons more enjoyable. Here are a few tips from our driving instructors;
Find a Supportive Driving Instructor
The importance of a supportive driving instructor can’t be overstated. At Wimbledon Driving School, all of our driving instructors are trained to provide a calm and encouraging learning environment. They hold prestigious awards and have a wealth of experience teaching different types of learners. They understand the unique challenges faced by anxious drivers and will tailor their teaching methods to suit your individual needs.
Familiarise Yourself with the Vehicle
Before you start driving, take the time to get to know every aspect of the vehicle you’re learning in. Whether it’s a manual or automatic car, learn where all of the controls and buttons are, how they work and when you might need to use them. Adjust your seat, steering wheel and mirrors to ensure maximum comfort and visibility too. This familiarity will make you feel more in control when you start driving. Every car is different, so learning more about the vehicle you’re driving can help to alleviate anxiety.
Start in a Quiet Area
Choosing to start your driving lessons in a quieter, less congested area can help ease initial anxiety. This less intimidating environment is perfect for mastering the car’s controls and basic driving techniques without the added pressure of heavy traffic. When you start in a quiet area, by the time you get to driving on busier roads, you will already have a solid foundation of skills which can help to boost your confidence.
Set Small, Achievable Goals
Setting small, realistic goals for each lesson can help you focus and maintain motivation. It’s also an effective way to track your progress and feel a sense of achievement. These goals can range from learning to parallel park to feeling comfortable driving at a certain speed. Celebrate every milestone, no matter how small it may seem. Each goal achieved is a step closer to becoming a confident driver, reducing the anxiety of more challenging driving tasks.
Take Breaks as Needed
It’s essential to listen to your body and mind when you’re in control of a vehicle. If you start feeling overwhelmed or anxious during a lesson, it’s perfectly okay to ask your instructor for a short break. Use this time to take deep breaths, relax and refocus. Remember, learning to drive is not a race, it’s about building skill and confidence at a pace that suits you.
Gradually Face Your Fears
Overcoming driving anxiety often involves gradually facing and mastering difficult situations that cause fear. As you become more comfortable with the basics of driving, ask your instructor to introduce more challenging driving scenarios. This could be as simple as driving in a slightly busier area or at a time of day that you find more stressful. This gradual exposure, under the careful guidance of your instructor, can effectively reduce anxiety.
Reflect on Your Progress
After each driving lesson, spend a few moments reflecting on what you’ve achieved. Focus on the positive aspects and how you’ve improved since your previous lesson. This reflection not only reinforces what you’ve learned but also helps you realise how far you’ve come in your driving journey. Use these achievements as motivation for your next lesson.
Get Lots of Experience
One of the best ways to overcome driving anxiety is through experience. The more you drive, the more comfortable you become with various situations. You may find that intensive driving courses aren’t right for you and you would benefit from more time behind the wheel over a few months. Regular driving lessons will provide you with a safe and structured environment to build on your driving experience. You can gain confidence through consistent practice and trust in your ability when you eventually book your practical test.
Learn to Manage Distractions
Distractions can make you more anxious when driving, especially when you’re a new learner. Finding ways to manage distractions effectively is crucial. This includes understanding how to deal with external distractions like traffic and pedestrians, as well as internal distractions like your own thoughts and emotions. During your driving lessons, your instructor will guide you on how to stay focused on the road and maintain calmness, even in distracting environments.
Develop a Pre-Driving Routine
Creating a pre-driving routine can help to set the right tone for your driving lesson, ensuring you are calm and focused when you get behind the wheel. This might involve checking the vehicle, adjusting your seat and mirrors or doing a few minutes of relaxation exercises. A consistent routine can signal to your brain that it’s time to focus on driving, helping to ease anxiety. It will also be very useful when it comes to the day of your test and you’re feeling extra nervous.
Booking Driving Lessons in Clapham
Overcoming driving anxiety can be a long process, but it’s very rewarding. It’s essential to be patient with yourself and remember that feeling nervous is normal. With the right support and strategies, you can become a confident and safe driver. Here at Wimbledon Driving School, we are here to help learner drivers in Clapham or the surrounding areas who want to pass their driving test and become more confident behind the wheel.
Our experienced driving instructors in Clapham are dedicated to assisting you every step of the way, from your first lesson to the day of your test. Over the years, we have become known for our dedication to excellence and we guarantee the highest level of service. With our proven methods, lessons tailored to your learning style and impressive pass rates, you can turn to us in confidence for driving lessons in Clapham.