Donning your driver’s cap and taking on the road is an enjoyable experience for most people. However, some of us find driving a daunting activity. Rest easy – driving confidence can be gained.
Becoming more self-assured behind the wheel does take time and practice but it’s worth the effort. The joy in the freedom of flying solo far outweighs any endeavours to get there.
Increase your confidence in driving with these simple tips and take on the road with a new sense of comfort:
Tip 1 – Head Out on Your Own
Like any other skill, driving takes plenty of practice to master, even when you already have your license. While it seems counter intuitive to head out as a solo driver if doing so makes you anxious, it’s a fantastic way to gain experience and increase your road confidence.
Start with short trips on quieter streets – a journey to the supermarket or next suburb is a good start. You could even use a GPS or Google Maps on your phone to give you directions and make the drive a little more predictable.
Once you feel more comfortable, challenge yourself to take a different or longer route and start driving during varied conditions.
Tip 2 – Know Your Car
You’ll be driving your car a fair bit once you’re sure of your skills, so it makes sense to know where everything is in/on your car and what everything does. You should also be sure you understand what your dash warning lights mean.
Re-familiarise yourself with all the switches, buttons and gadgets BEFORE you take off. Check you’re comfortable in your seat, the seatbelt fits well and then pay attention to your lights, your mirrors and your car’s size and dimensions.
Once you have become familiarised with your four-wheeled friend again, it’ll be easier to feel comfortable driving.
Tip 3 – Practice With Another Driver
Still reduced to a bundle of nerves when leaving the driveway? Take every opportunity to drive with an experienced driver who is familiar with the concept of low risk driving. They should be able to give you valuable advice or feedback and help keep your nerves at bay.
Pick a friend or family member who can put you at ease and does not easily panic when you make mistakes. And remember you can always contact a professional driving instructor to help steer you in the right direction.
Tip 4 – Drive in Different Weather Conditions
You must be prepared to drive in all types of weather, no matter where you live. You don’t want to have to stay home or spend money on Ubers just because it’s wet.
It’s a good idea to practice driving in all kinds of weather conditions, so you don’t find yourself far from home in the middle of a thunderstorm having never driven in a downpour before.
Again, start small and take a trip in some local back streets during heavier weather conditions to bring yourself up to speed.
Tip 5 – Make Your Environment Soothing
Do what you need to make your environment as soothing as possible. Listen to your favourite music, set up your seat to a comfortable position, set the right temperature and so on. Even wearing comfy clothing can make a difference to your comfort behind the wheel.
Are you the kind of person who likes everything in its place? Personalising your vehicle to your unique needs with various gadgets and accessories might improve your confidence in driving solo.
In addition, get to your car with plenty of time before you need to be on the road so you can make sure your conditions are optimal. You might even want to do some breathing exercises beforehand.
Driving can be a much more pleasant experience when you’re at ease in your surroundings.
Tip 6 – Remember Mistakes Happen
Even veteran drivers make mistakes so try to stay calm and think things through slowly when someone beeps at you if you take too long to park or if you have trouble manoeuvring your car. Ignore them – they’ll just have to wait!
Antagonising impatient drivers doesn’t mean you’re a bad driver. It’s their issue, not yours. Take it in your stride and note it down as a learning experience. It sounds cliché but making mistakes is how we develop our skills.
Tip 7 – Invest in Good Car Insurance
Be sure to explore taking out a great comprehensive car insurance policy, so you’re covered for accidents (regardless of who’s at fault) plus severe weather, theft and fire. You’ll also be covered if you accidentally drive into someone else’s property…
While you may not have even considered these situations happening to you, they’re something every driver should be prepared for. You’ll be grateful for the small expense if you’re ever in an accident and that should increase your driving confidence.
Tip 8 – Take Your Time
It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen – with a little time, effort and perseverance. As soon as you achieve a few ‘quick win’ expeditions you’ll be well on your way to being confident in driving alone.
Over to you
Tell us your tips on how to be a more confident or better driver – we’d love to hear about it.