After being in a car accident, most people feel anxious about driving again. This is true whether the crash was your fault, or you were a blameless victim. Even if you walked away without so much as a scratch, you might fear getting behind the wheel again. For those that experience this anxiety, just sitting in a car can cause several unpleasant symptoms, such as an elevated heartbeat and even panic attacks. These symptoms can completely disrupt your life, especially if you need to drive to work. With that in mind, here are seven effective ways to overcome your driving anxiety.
Talk about the accident
Bottling up your fears is never a good idea. Not only does it fail to resolve the issue, but it can make it feel much worse too. Even if you’ve already spoken to police officers and insurance agents, you should share your fears with friends and family. It’s normal to feel regret about a crash, even if it wasn’t your fault, but loved ones can help you to see the accident from a different perspective. If this doesn’t help, then consider seeking professional advice from a counsellor.
Start as a passenger
The most stressful aspect of driving is often that you’re the one in control of such a powerful machine. You’re responsible for the lives of your fellow passengers and everyone else on the road, as well as yourself. This is why getting behind the wheel too soon isn’t a good idea. Instead, you should ease yourself into driving by first allowing someone you trust to take control. This will help you get used to being in a car again, without the pressure of having to drive.
Wait until you’re ready
Although you shouldn’t wait months to start driving again, getting behind the wheel too soon will only make your anxiety worse. Because of this, you must wait until you’re sure you feel ready enough to do so. This allows plenty of time for you to sort out an accident replacement vehicle for you to drive. Once you are comfortable, you should begin with a short trip, preferably on a route you would normally drive regularly. Pick a quiet time of day to avoid unnecessary stress.
Visit the crash site
Visiting the site of your car accident certainly won’t be an easy experience. However, avoiding it won’t do you any good either. Whether you like it or not, there will come a time when you have to pass by that place. If you put off seeing it until that point, all of the fear that you worked so hard to overcome would come flooding back. If you don’t feel like you can go alone, then bring someone you trust to visit the crash site with you. Sometimes, taking a counsellor can be of great comfort.
Pick a safer vehicle
A serious accident can cause a lot of damage to a car. This means that you might be in the market for a new one. Picking a safer vehicle can help you to feel more confident when behind the wheel. Because of this, you should research safety ratings and crash survival statistic before you start shopping. If a new car isn’t necessary, then there are several ways to make your current one much safer. Start by checking with the manufacturer that there aren’t any recalls.
Learn defensive driving skills
Even after being on the road for years, learning defensive driving skills is beneficial, especially after an accident. Most cities have defensive driving classes, which you could take to pick up these useful skills. These classes can give back a sense of control, which is vital in overcoming anxiety. You’ll learn how to avoid future accidents, what to do if you find yourself in an accident, and the knowledge you need to minimise many other road-based risks.
Take care of yourself
Being involved in a car accident is a traumatic experience. While most people are able to overcome their fear and begin driving again, it won’t happen overnight. If you push yourself too hard, you will only make the anxiety worse, so be patient and take care of yourself. Adopt healthy habits, like exercising regularly, eating well, and spending time with friends. You must also get plenty of sleep each night. When you love yourself, you’ll find it much easier to recover.
A car accident can completely change your life. One day you feel confident on the road and the next you fear getting behind the wheel. While overcoming this anxiety isn’t easy, with the tips above, it’s far from impossible.