If you have a fear of driving in traffic, then you may have been told to “get over it”, “get a grip”, or to “start being brave”. To the people that say these unhelpful things: It’s not a myth; There are actually people out there who are afraid of driving in traffic. It’s time to acknowledge that these people need help and their condition has nothing to do with being macho or not being brave enough.
Your fear of driving in traffic can show itself in many different ways. Whether your true anxiety stems from being afraid of hitting a pedestrian, being hit by another car or hitting another car, or just navigating through unmerciful heavy traffic, this article is written with you in mind. So now that we have established that this fear does exist, the question of – how will I overcome this fear of driving in traffic? Will I really ever get over it and drive confidently and carelessly like so many other people seem to be able to do? Many of these kind of questions will be plaguing your mind right now.
Many people with various types of fear of driving think they are alone in that feeling that way. Actually, in reality, if you try to say out loud that you have a phobia for driving in traffic you’ll be extremely surprised at the number of people that will admit the same thing. And who could blame you? Come to think of it, who really enjoys driving in busy traffic through narrow streets with far too many cars? We bet the answer is – no one.
Driving in busy traffic is certainly not fun for anyone. With all the horns honking from impatient drivers that think that their road rage at other drivers will make any difference. Or is it the image of vehicles lining up and looking like they are going to fall over one another? No, please don’t visualize it. We wouldn’t want to remind you of what it feels like.
Whatever fear you may have – Fear of driving in traffic, fear of driving in big cities, fear of traffic lights or any other kind of driving fear related to busyness and occasionally chaos on the road, we got your back. But you have to admit that it’s time to deal with your fear. Imagine how much money you are probably spending on taxis and Uber when you could have used that money on better things. The amount you could be relying on friends and family to drive you around. Or the time you spend at home because you can’t bear the thought of getting in your car in the first place. The time to find a solution to your problems and tackle this fear is now!
This article will help you overcome the fear of driving in traffic regardless of which one is really your issue. Ready? Let’s take a look at some proven ways to help overcome any fear associated with driving through busy cities.
Identify Where your Fear of Driving in Traffic is Coming From
If you want to overcome the fear of driving in traffic, fear of traffic lights, or fear of driving in big cities, it is very important to understand exactly what it is that makes you scared. Think about it for a minute, and think about it. Starting your car is okay? Coming out of your parking space or driveway is okay? How do you feel about merging into traffic? Coming to a stop at the right places at traffic lights? How about being around bigger vehicles like buses or trucks?
Somewhere in your mind, there is somewhere that your fear is coming from. It could an experience you had when you were little. Or maybe it has to do with you witnessing an accident scene that involved a small vehicle and big truck and you unconsciously came to the conclusion that it’s a bad idea to drive in traffic or even get close to a truck. It could be that your anxiety or in extreme cases also panic attacks come from improper driving lessons, with little exposure to these busy cities.
If you can painstakingly trace the origin of your fear, then rejoice. You are already halfway through putting an end to your anxiety as it will be much easier to find a solution to your problem.
Start Driving Training Specifically for Overcoming Driving Fears
Like myself, there are many driving instructors out there that can help you overcome your fears. Many instructors now are getting themselves trained in basic psychology that will really help understand why you’re scared and to find a way to overcome your fears. This is great for new drivers, who otherwise would be getting standard lessons, get scared, and give up on driving all-together. But there is also no shame in doing a refresher course. Your driving instructor will be happy to help you if you take the initiative and tell him specifically what it is that you struggle with.
Perhaps you’ve heard of defensive driving. Defensive driving is a skill set that will help you to anticipate traffic better and be better prepared for the unexpected. Defensive driving is THE ideal tool to learn if you’re afraid in traffic. You can take a class in defensive driving where you will be exposed to all the things you are afraid of about driving. This will build the confidence you have about driving in traffic. The lessons you learn can also help to keep you safe. Classes are available in almost any major city.
Have a Companion in the Car
This can be very important, especially if you are just starting out after passing your driving lessons. From your lessons, you will be very used to having someone else in your car. Someone to talk to, and an extra set of eyes on the road. You don’t necessarily have to get another driver to accompany you wherever you go, but just having someone in the car that you can chat with will help calm your nerves. Chances are that you will probably forget that you are driving in traffic.
Psychologically, there is something else going on here as well. Your unconscious mind wouldn’t want to you embarrass yourself before your companion. Obviously, this is not the main goal but it is a bonus!
Seek Help From a Therapist
There is nothing to be shy of. The best way to solve a problem is by letting it out. When you seek out the help of a therapist, you will be putting yourself in a situation where you are open and ready to let that fear go. Your therapist will likely help design a program that will expose you to the fears you have about driving. Along with specific training from an instructor, or even a friend or relative a therapist can really help pinpoint the root of your fears.
Resist the Urge to Stay off Driving
The natural instinct with fear, whether it’s rational or irrational is to avoid putting yourself in situations where you get exposed to them. If you have a fear of driving in traffic, naturally, you try to stay away from busy cities. However, to really battle your fears this is counterproductive and detrimental to your driving confidence.
If you have been involved in an accident or have a phobia for driving in traffic or in big cities usually the hardest decision to make is to get up and drive again. It’s easy to avoid your fears, but you know that this is not the way forward. You cannot rely on people around you to chauffeur you all the time. The advice that you should get right back on the same horse that you fell from holds true in this situation. Putting off driving for a while will only make things worse in the long run.
Practice on Quieter Country Roads First
If you have a fear of driving in big cities, and you’re a relatively new driver, it might be wise to start out with quieter country roads first to get used to being behind the wheel. Whether you take a friend, or drive alone, driving only starts after you pass your test. It will take time to build your confidence, and this is completely natural. Instead of throwing yourself into the deep-end, start driving in a way you are already feeling comfortable with.
Only after you feel happy at the wheel, feel like you know the car you are driving in, found some of your limits you should venture into busier areas. Even then, don’t throw yourself in the middle of a multi-lane, but rather build up the difficulty of your drive. Drive through some (safe) suburbs. Give way to an old lady trying to cross the street. Anticipate what is happening around you. When you think you have gotten the hang of it, you can then venture into the busy highways and all those 6 lanes or multi-lanes. Remember though, that there is no shame in panic. Everyone does sometimes. But what is the worst that can happen? On the highway, you can simply take an exit later. Missed a left turn? Take the next one instead. Try not to put yourself under more pressure than you need to be.
Listen to Your Favorite Songs or motivational CD
Some drivers will tell you that listening to music while driving could serve as a distraction. While this makes some sense in some cases, it isn’t entirely true. Listening to a song or even a motivational cd can only serve as a distraction when you are completely engrossed by the song. Listening to your favorite music will help you relax, and some music really can help you concentrate. Singing along can actually help you forget for a moment that you are stuck in traffic or driving in multi-lanes. As long as your major concentration is still on the driving, you are good to go.
There are many websites that will give you the best music to listen to while driving a car. Think about it for a few moments and bust out those tunes you know you love.