After successfully passing your driving test, many find it difficult to make the switch from assisted driving lessons to independent driving. It’s a daunting prospect to finally put everything you’ve learned into action. However, driving unaided shouldn’t have to be scary, it’s something that should feel enjoyable.
To feel safe on the road, it’s critical to have faith in your driving skills. That’s why here at New Driver, we have created a list of 8 encouraging ways to increase your self-assurance while driving.
- Make sure you are familiar with your vehicle
It’s very easy to become familiar with parts of the car you were used to driving during your lessons. That’s including everything from how the steering feels, to where the controls are and how the brakes behave. So, when you’re ready to purchase your first car make sure you are familiar with all its features before heading off on long journeys.
- Review your route
Being lost is a very real possibility when driving on unfamiliar or new routes. To obtain a sense of where you’re heading, move slowly and do some research on the area beforehand. Before you depart, programme your sat nav, and think about keeping a map in your car to provide a broad view just in case you have trouble using the sat nav. Give yourself a lot of additional time so you can take your time travelling. If your sat nav says it will take you an hour to get from point A to point B, give yourself 90 minutes just in case the journey doesn’t go as smoothly due to traffic or diversions.
- Practice on your own
Considering driving without an instructor for the first time after passing your test can be frightening. To gain confidence when you’re alone in the car and to avoid rush hour, practise on less congested roads before venturing out onto crowded main roads alone. As your confidence grows, slowly explore more populated places.
- Consider taking an extra lesson
Taking a Pass Plus or young driver assessment course after passing your exam can offer you that extra confidence, which is a terrific method to combat anxiety when driving in areas you’re not so familiar with, such as the motorway. A young drivers assessment works similarly to a pass plus course where it will help you get to grips with parts of driving that you may not have covered in much detail in your previous lessons. This course is a fun way to gain more tips and skills and also considers your own driving style. Alternatively, you can always ask your driving instructor to take you for a couple of extra lessons in areas you’re not so confident about.
- Step outside of your comfort zone to increase your confidence (a bit at a time)
Pushing yourself past your comfort zone is one approach to gaining confidence, but you don’t want to do this all at once. Start with doable, little steps at first, and you’ll get more comfortable with each obstacle you come across. Never feel pressured to always drive to every place or destination, if you feel more comfortable taking public transport or getting someone else to take you somewhere that’s absolutely fine.
- Be patient and remember what you’ve learned
It’s important to take charge of the situation and remain composed no matter what transpires on the road. You will always come across uncomfortable situations while driving and so it’s essential that you keep calm when something occurs. Treat the situation as you would during a driving lesson, try to assess the situation at hand and then take the next step.
- Give yourself time to prepare
One crucial thing to remember is to give yourself plenty of time to prepare. First, plan your route. You’ll become more efficient, focused, and organised as a result. If you’re ever unsure about anything before setting off on a long journey, there’s no harm in asking for assistance or advice. Everyone was once in your position as a new driver, so never be hesitant to seek some guidance.
- Practice in different weather conditions
You can also practice in different weather conditions. If you’re looking for a way to stay focused and calm, try driving in conditions you don’t normally experience. For example, providing it’s safe to do so, if it’s snowing or raining outside, go for a drive! You’ll be astonished by how much more effectively you’ll handle these scenarios as you get older as well.
Try not to worry if you feel that your confidence has suffered. Even the most experienced drivers occasionally doubt their skills or suffer anxiety when operating a vehicle. However, with a little perseverance, practise, and patience you’ll be able to maintain control of your car even in tense situations!
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Article credit of Erin Lorde