After being involved in an accident, it’s perfectly normal for people to feel anxious about getting back out on the road. For some, the idea scares them so much that driving again seems like an impossible task. Panic attacks and mild post-traumatic stress symptoms are incredibly common.
If you’re experiencing something similar, then it’s important to know that this is a normal phase that everyone experiences in one way or another after an accident. Thankfully, there are seven things you can do to help overcome this anxiety one step at a time.
1. Be a Passenger
Part of your anxiety comes from being in a car, period. Instead of adding the stress of driving on top of that, start out as a passenger. This allows you to get used to the feeling of being in a car on the road, keeping you and other drivers safe in the event of a panic attack.
2. Don’t Put Off Driving
While it might be difficult, it’s better to get back behind the wheel as soon as possible. There’s nothing wrong with taking a little time away from driving. However, waiting for an extended period of time can increase your feelings of anxiety. If you had surgery, most experts recommend waiting until you heal.
3. Pick a Quiet Neighborhood
Getting back on the highway probably seems like a nightmare, not to mention that it could intensify your negative emotions. The best way to approach the symptoms you’re experiencing is by taking baby steps. So, why not make your first experience behind the wheel again a nice, quiet ride?
Starting off in a parking lot or just cruising the streets of your neighborhood is an excellent approach. This allows you to take things slow and deal with the smallest amount of traffic possible. It also helps to have someone in the passenger seat for support.
4. Buy a Safer Vehicle
If money allows, then you might want to consider purchasing a safer vehicle. Pick something with higher safety ratings and features. In some cases, buying a larger vehicle might help you feel more secure. An SUV, Jeep, or truck can help.
5. Seek Therapy
In some cases, your emotions might take a little more than driving again to conquer. There’s nothing wrong with seeking professional help as you work through your anxiety and depression. Whether it’s just having someone to talk to or short-term anxiety medication, a therapist can help. If you speak with a car accident attorney, they can help point you in the right direction.
6. Hire a Driving Instructor
Learning to drive defensively is one of the best ways to feel safer on the road, but it isn’t something most people simply pick up on their own. You can hire a driving instructor to help you in this effort. Your instructor can teach you defensive tactics, how to anticipate dangers, and ways to avoid collisions.
7. Be Patient
Above all, be patient with yourself. Learning to drive again without fear is a difficult process that takes time. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re having a hard time with it. Instead, work through the healing process at your own pace and take everything one step at a time.