So you find yourself driving to a new destination, you don’t know the roads, and you don’t completely trust the GPS either. Are you feeling stressed when you get behind the wheel and onto the main roads? Well, we here at Orion Safety Belts are here to tell you that It’s a common experience for many drivers. But it doesn’t have to be! Taking precautions and actively working to reduce your anxiety while driving can make the experience much more enjoyable and safe.
The key to reducing anxiety while driving is learning how to manage your environment and being aware of any potential triggers that cause your stress levels to rise. This blog will cover some of the best ways for you to feel less anxious while driving, which includes tips like making sure your vehicle is well-maintained, planning for difficult routes or traffic, and giving yourself time to get from place to place and a couple of other nifty little tricks that can make a world of difference.
1. Check Your Vehicle’s Condition, Airbags, and Seat Belts
Keeping your vehicle in optimal condition by taking care of the necessary maintenance is essential for a stress-free and secure ride. The safer the car is, the better you will feel about taking it on the road. That said, we would suggest you give your car a thorough inspection before every trip.
This includes inspecting oil levels, tire pressure, brakes, and fluid levels, as well as examining the exterior for any potential risks such as cracks in the windshield or other damage that may cause harm while driving. Furthermore, make sure to familiarise yourself with the car manual, as it will help you answer all technical questions that may arise from time to time.
But most importantly, you need to check that the vehicle’s airbags and seatbelts are in the best possible condition. If they aren’t, you can always reach out to us for assistance in seat belt repairs, replacement, or any other related issues.
2. Plan Your Route in Advance
Having a clear plan of your route before getting behind the wheel can help reduce anxiety levels by eliminating the need to make decisions while driving. It’s important to also have alternative routes in case of traffic or construction that could slow down your journey. Knowing the speed limits in certain areas can help you stay safe and within legal boundaries. Being prepared for any unexpected turns, such as detours or obstructions, can give you extra confidence while driving. By having a plan in place and being prepared ahead of time, you can reduce stress while driving and increase your overall safety on the road.
3. Give Yourself Plenty of Time to Reach Your Destination
Setting aside ample time for getting from point A to point B can make a world of difference when it comes to reducing your overall driving anxiety. Taking extra time also allows you the opportunity to pull over if needed and take a short break or even find a safe place to take a quick nap if feeling tired. The most important thing is to not rush yourself and drive in a relaxed state, thus reducing your driving anxiety. Additionally, allocating more time can help you plan out alternate routes if there are any traffic delays or road closures along the way that may cause further stress.
4. Listen to Calming Music
Recent studies in the UK have found that listening to calming music can help reduce driving anxiety. A study conducted by the University of Westminster in 2021 found that participants who listened to calming music while driving experienced significantly lower levels of stress and anxiety than those who did not listen to music.
The study also found that drivers who listened to calming music reported feeling more relaxed and less distracted while driving, which could lead to improved safety on the roads. Additionally, the study concluded that listening to calming music could help drivers stay focused and alert while behind the wheel, leading to fewer accidents.
5. Take Breaks
Taking a break can be as simple as just stopping for five minutes, getting out of the car, and taking a few deep breaths. Taking a short walk to relax your mind and body is also beneficial. Breaks allow you to regain focus, check in with yourself mentally and emotionally, and ensure that you are ready to get back on the road feeling calm and refreshed. They can even help reduce fatigue from long hours spent driving. Regular breaks during longer journeys can be especially beneficial as they can help prevent feelings of anxiety or panic from building up or becoming overwhelming.
6. Try Some Breathing Exercises
Breathing exercises can be a powerful technique for reducing driving anxiety. By taking slow, deep breaths, you can help to reduce stress and improve your focus on the road. It also helps to bring your awareness back to the present moment, which can help you stay calm while driving. Regular practice of breathing exercises can help you become more familiar with them so that they become second nature when needed most in a stressful situation.
Additionally, controlling your breath can slow down racing thoughts and remind you that there is no immediate danger. All of these things together can make a big difference in helping to manage driving anxiety to make it easier and safer for everyone on the road.
7. Avoid Caffeine
While you may want to completely disregard this point because a good cup of coffee would help wake you up on that long drive, it may be doing more harm than good for your anxiety. Studies have shown that drinking caffeine before getting behind the wheel can cause increased anxiety and reduce reaction time. This can lead to unsafe driving practices and put both the driver and other drivers in danger. To stay safe on the road, it is best to avoid consuming any kind of caffeine before driving.
Some natural alternatives that can help keep you awake while on the road include drinking plenty of water, eating healthy snacks, listening to music, or taking frequent breaks during long drives. Implementing these habits into your daily routine will ensure that you are better prepared for any long drive ahead.
8. Talk to a Professional
Talking to a professional is an important step in reducing driving anxiety. While it can be difficult to open up about feelings of fear and panic, by doing so you’re taking the first step towards overcoming driving anxiety. A professional can provide guidance and support based on your unique situation, helping you find the best way for you to manage and reduce your fear. They can also help identify any underlying issues that may contribute to your driving anxiety or offer advice on how to learn relaxation techniques that can help during times of high stress.
9. Practice Driving More
Developing your driving skills and boosting your confidence by practising frequently is a surefire way to tackle any driving anxiety. Experienced drivers often make the perfect mentor, as they can help newbies understand the rules of the road, how to handle dangerous situations properly, and master basic manoeuvres in a safe environment.
Moreover, learning how to drive on rural roads or highways during inclement weather conditions will only expand that knowledge base further – making you even more confident each time you get behind the wheel! By taking your time to focus on mastering your driving skills and developing good habits, you will be able to reduce or even eliminate any fear associated with getting behind the wheel.
10. Keep Distractions to a Minimum
Driving can be an anxiety-inducing experience for many people. One of the most important ways to reduce driving anxiety is by reducing distractions and focusing on the road ahead. Eliminating distractions from inside and outside of the vehicle will help you stay alert, focused, and relaxed while driving. It’s important to keep the radio off or at a low volume, avoid eating or drinking while driving, and not use your phone for any reason.
Anything that takes away your attention from the road can be dangerous and lead to increased anxiety. That said, if you want to learn more essential driving and on-road tips, feel free to contact us or check out our blogs!