People involved in car accidents, especially those that are more serious, often develop a fear of getting behind the wheel again. Many are even afraid of being a passenger. This is an entirely normal psychological response, but you will have to drive again at some point.
So, how can you get back to making your daily commute and heading to the grocery store? It might seem impossible, but it can be done. Check out these seven tips to put you back behind the wheel feeling confident, safe, and empowered.
1. Be A Passenger First
It’s a lot easier to simply sit in a vehicle than to drive one. Pick someone you trust, like a family member or close friend, and get used to the feeling of being in a moving vehicle again. You can do this in small bursts to make it easier, simply helping your driver run some errands and making stops often.
2. Push Yourself to Get Behind the Wheel
The longer you wait to drive, the worse your anxiety and fear will become. After a few times being the passenger, start by simply sitting in your driver’s seat while the car is off. Then, make the smallest trip possible on roads with very little traffic. You can work your way up to driving like you did before.
3. Pick a Quiet Neighborhood
As you’re working way to driving again, it helps to start in a quiet neighborhood. Just taking a quick drive through your neighborhood’s streets is an excellent way to get used to the feeling of operating a vehicle again.
4. Stay Safe
If you’re in the financial spot to do so, you can ease some of your fear by purchasing a safer vehicle with the latest in driver assistance technology. If not, then simply focus on safety techniques like defensive driving and wearing your seatbelt.
5. Therapy Goes a Long Way
For many, the above four tips simply aren’t enough to ease their anxiety and fear. If that’s the case for you, then it’s best to meet with a professional therapist who can help you drive again. What you’re experiencing is trauma, and it takes counseling to heal.
6. Hire a Driving Instructor
Many people find hiring a driving instructor, like they did when they had their learner’s permit, one of the best ways to conquer their fear. Make sure it’s someone familiar with helping drivers who have anxiety and fear about being behind the wheel.
7. Be Patient
Getting back into your daily driving routines isn’t going to happen overnight. So, be patient with yourself. Don’t get discouraged if you struggle with any of the tips above and never beat yourself up over it. If you do fail, just push yourself to try again. It also helps to give yourself breaks. Take time to focus on other aspects of the accident, like hiring an attorney for a second DUI or talking with your lawyer if you’re seeking compensation. With enough time and patience, you will be able to drive without fear again.