Lots of things can make people nervous drivers. Learners and new drivers are often nervous behind the wheel, as when you’re inexperienced everything’s new and scary. But more experienced drivers can become nervous drivers too. You might feel too scared to drive again following an accident. Or maybe you’re just starting to drive again after a long period spent not driving.
The good news is that, whatever the cause of your nerves, there are things you can do to help.
Help Is There if You Need It!
You don’t have to do this by yourself.
If you’ve just recently passed your test, then it’s only natural that you’ll be a nervous driver. Up until now you’ve always had expert supervision in the car. But now you’re on your own. Of course you’re going to feel nervous!
Read our guide to driving alone for the first time for some tips on building up your confidence. As we say in this guide, if you’re a nervous new driver then there’s no shame in getting a few extra lessons to help you find your feet.
Pass Plus Lessons for New Drivers
You could take the government’s Pass Plus scheme. This is a series of advanced driving lessons in a number of driving situations that you might not have covered before. As well as helping you build up your confidence, passing this course could also help you save money on car insurance.
Refresher Lessons for Experienced Drivers
But even if you passed your test years ago, it can’t hurt to book in a few driving lessons. Explain to the instructor that you’re an experienced driver who needs a refresher. They’ll then tailor their lessons to help you conquer your nerves and get back on the road.
Nervous About Driving After an Accident?
If you’ve had a road accident and you feel too nervous to drive, then it might be that you’re still feeling traumatised. So if you’ve not done already, consider speaking to a trauma specialist to help you process your feelings. Head here to read the NHS guide and find the help you need.
Driving Nerves After You’ve Passed – How to Practice
There’s no better way to build up your confidence as a driver than by driving as often as you can, in as many different situations as you can. Many nervous drivers are nervous just because they’re inexperienced – either because you’re completely new to driving, or because you haven’t driven in years.
Driving more to gain experience
But the more you drive, the more experienced you’ll get. The more you drive, the better you’ll be able to read and react to road conditions. And the more you drive, the less you’ll worry about high speeds, busy junctions, complicated lane systems, and other challenges.
Commit to short, regular journeys
It’s a good idea to commit to driving as often as you can. This might be easier said than done. Think about the regular or daily journeys you could commit to – driving yourself or partner to work every day, school runs, the weekly shop or picking up a friend from the train station.
Look for opportunities to try new journeys
Offer lifts to friends and family. Drive to people and places you’ve always wanted to visit. Plan road trips. To begin with, it might also help to carefully plan your routes in advance, or make sure you’re traveling with an insured, experienced driver who can take over if you need.
Practice in new conditions
When driving conditions change, take the opportunity to practice short, familiar journeys in the rain and the dark to help you gain experience and confidence should you unexpectedly face these conditions on longer, less familiar journeys.
Take it at your own pace
Your biggest priority on the road should be to look after your safety, and the safety of other road users. So don’t be afraid to take things nice and slow. Obviously we’re not talking about doing 20 mph in a 60 mph zone, or on a motorway. But remember that speed limits aren’t speed recommendations – they’re limits! Within reason, travel at the speed that feels best for you. And keep your distance from other cars, so that they can overtake you if they need to.
You could also get some safe driving apps. Through helping you monitor your driving habits, or through providing lots of expert-level help and advice, they can really help you build up your confidence as a driver. Head here to read our guide to the six best driving apps.