Stress and learning to drive

stress and learning to drive


Stress awareness week 2018 provides advice to people who suffer stress and anxiety.
This article has been written as part of the stress awareness week, to help learner drivers overcome their anxiety.

Stress and learning to drive prevents potential learner drivers from taking their first lesson. It’s a common situation in life that has a lot of unnecessary myths attached to it.
Learning to drive a car can be more stress related than with most other skills if you have the wrong mental approach.

Why should stress and learning to drive cause anxiety in most pupils even before the lesson starts?
Is it because you are learning a new task? Or maybe it’s because other traffic is ‘zooming around you’, which may cause you to get anxious.

Stress and learning to drive

Stress and learning to drive a car for the first time puts you into an environment that you are not familiar with. That in itself is enough to raise your anxiety level.

Your mind is swimming with thoughts such as;
  • What do I do first
  • Where are the gears
  • Not sure I can change gear whilst steering with one hand
  • How do I stop
  • I have to go on the main road
  • Other drivers, will I hold them up
  • I might crash
  • What if I don’t like my instructor

The list goes on. I’m sure you could add a few more thoughts to those.

Make your mind your best friend

Your mind can be your best friend or worst enemy, the choice is yours. Your life fears and doubts are the creation of your mind. When we think of a future event that is going to happen. Such as booking a first driving lesson, and that lesson hasn’t happened yet. It’s sometime in the future. So why worry about it at this time? Starting to worry about your lesson will only build up anxiety. That is called self-created stress of a possible future event.

Carrying that stress through to your first driving lesson will mean that you do not absorb as much information as you could have done. After the lesson is over, you now think. “That was not as bad as I thought it would be!” Stress and learning to drive can be overwhelming if you let negative thoughts build up in your mind.

Learning to drive in the moment

Whilst driving a car, or learning to drive a car, you have to always be in the moment of NOW. Which means that if you are, for example, approaching a roundabout. Your focus of attention has to be on the activity at the roundabout in that moment of NOW. You can’t be thinking of anything else if you are to remain safe.

Apply that, ‘thinking of the moment you are in right NOW‘, mentality will eliminate all of the anxiety when learning to drive that you have created. As far as driving a car goes, you will become a safer driver.

Stress created by lack of knowledge

Stress and learning to drive can be created by a lack of knowledge when you venture into new territory. When learning to drive, the first thing you will need to build confidence in is the operation of the car controls. Operating the controls of a car can be simplified if you think of one component at a time. Eventually, you will move on to what is known as multitasking, but it is not possible in the early stages. Nervousness is a natural occurrence when you are in a new situation. Accept this i.e ‘you are normal’. Don’t identify yourself with stress or anxiety nor label yourself as a nervous person. Once that label of who you think you are has been dismissed. You will find your stress starting to diminish.

International Stress Awareness Week 2018

International stress awareness week 2018, Monday 5th November to Friday 9th November 2018. Has a whole week of events that can help us understand more about what causes stress and how we can deal with it. A full briefing of the week can be found here:

Does Hi-Tech Cause Hi-Stress?

The theme for this weeks stress awareness week –Does Hi-Tech Cause Hi-Stress?