Wednesday, 23 September 2015

5 Tips for Improving Your Confidence Behind the Wheel

I've been driving for over a year and a half now. I was so excited when learning to drive and had all these plans about the far away road trips I'd go on. However, after I passed (the second time, whoops!) and it was just me alone in the driver's seat all of that changed! All of a sudden I didn't feel prepared in the slightest and any confidence I thought I had disappeared. Obviously, I didn't mind driving in my town and surrounding areas but for a long time I would't drive anywhere I considered to be "far away", I would avoid busy places like the plague and would get so nervous and flustered if I had to drive somewhere I wasn't very familiar with. However, in the past six months I have really made a conscious effort to try and improve my confidence in the car so I thought I'd share my tips with you.

   



1. Don't Let Other People Do All the Driving for You:

For a long time if I was going somewhere with my family or boyfriend I would let the other person drive. Even though Blair and my Dad didn't mind this (and in fact probably preferred it because they didn't need to fear for their lives') it meant that I would gladly get in the passenger seat and breathe a sigh of relief that someone else was in control and doing all the work for me. However, because of that I was never getting any practice of driving anywhere other than my mundane routes.

2. Drive With People You Trust in the Car:

This leads on from the previous point. Once I started to take my share of the driving I realised that it was actually really comforting to have my parents, or Blair in the passenger seat beside me. It meant that they could actually give me a hand and help me check if it was clear for me to join on to the Motorway from a slip road and other scary things alike. I trusted them and felt comfortable around them and I knew that they wanted me to succeed so I didn't feel any added pressure having them as an audience to witness my horrendous driving.

3. Always Have a Sat-Nav Handy in Your Car: 

If you know me well or have read some of my other posts you will know that I have a terrible sense of direction which doesn't exactly fill you with confidence when your behind the wheel. A lot of my anxiety around driving stemmed from the fear of getting lost and flustered and not being able to picture routes in my head even if I have driven them lots of times before. As much as I've tried to improve my sense of direction nothing seems to help and I have reached a point where I've realised I have to accept it as one of my flaws. However, it's nothing a little bit of technology can't fix so all is not lost (excuse the pun)! Even if I'm pretty sure I know the way I find that using a Sat-Nav or Google Maps as a little added bit of security really calms my nerves. When I started working in a different building it took me seven shifts before I felt confident enough to drive there and back without my Sat-Nav!!!

4. Remember That Everyone Makes Mistakes and Has Accidents:

For a long time if I ever forgot to indicate, pulled out in front of someone or if someone beeped their horn at me I'd go home and think about it for ages and make myself feel rubbish. However, it doesn't matter if you've been passed for a week or twenty years, no one is a perfect driver 100% of the time! In October of last year I had a bump in the car that (surprisingly) wasn't my fault and even though it was really quite scary I was determined to not let it impact my confidence. People kerb their car and stall all the time (one time I kerbed it so badly my tyre burst but that's a different story) so even though it can be hard it's best to just try to forget about it and not let it stress you out.

5. Push Yourself:

You're never going to get any better if you don't at least try to move out of your comfort zone. I always feel so accomplished when I've driven somewhere new and far away or in stressful conditions. Last year, Blair, my Dad and I went to Dunkeld to try the Land Rover Experience. Basically we had to drive our Land Rover off road, down massive grassy hills, through water and up side slopes! It was crazy and quite scary but I absolutely loved it and my confidence rocketed. We loved it so much that we're going back to do it again in December! Now I know that that's a bit extreme and I'm not saying you should find your nearest grassy hill and tackle it in your Fiat 500 but pushing yourself is always a good thing. Looking back, I would maybe have liked to do a Pass Plus course after I had passed my test just to consolidate everything and make me feel a bit more ready for real life driving!


I know there's probably a lot of people reading this post who don't relate at all and have been raring to go whenever and wherever since they have passed their test but that's not always the case for some people. It's ok to be a bit nervous about driving because, lets face it, it's a big responsibility and we sometimes forget how dangerous it can be if we're not careful. However, as long as you're driving cautiously and safely you shouldn't let your confidence hold you back, you wouldn't have passed your test if you were not ready! What are your experiences with your confidence in the car?  If you have any more tips then please leave them in the comments. Thanks for reading!
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2 comments

  1. I passed my test earlier on this year and I'm still trying to build up my confidence so these tips are really useful. My TomTom is my lifesaver when going anywhere new haha xx

    www.kirstytalks.co.uk

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    1. I don't think anything prepares you for how different it is to drive alone without an instructor sitting beside you telling you what to do! Don't worry, I'm the exact same! Xx

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