Some teens are over the moon when they’re old enough to get behind the wheel of the car. They just can’t wait to get their license! Other teens aren’t so excited.
Many teens are scared to start driving a vehicle, and with good reason. Tens of thousands of people die in motor vehicle accidents every year. It’s normal to be scared, but you shouldn’t let it stop you from asserting your independence and getting your license.
There are things you can do to reduce your fear and anxiety so you can be the confident driver you want to be.
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Study the Rules of the Road
There is a lot to know about the rules of the road. Although you surely know the basics, like stopping at a red light and yielding to pedestrians, there are likely things you don’t know about the road. You will feel a lot more confident if you take the time to learn as many of those rules as you can.
The DMV has materials you can use when studying to get your permit or your license, but you can also go online. Not only can you practice taking permit tests online, but you can also find permit test simulators online that can build up your confidence for taking the real test.
Even after you pass the test, it can be helpful to continue taking practice tests. The more confident you get about the rules of the road, the more confident you’ll be behind the wheel.
Spend More Time Behind the Wheel with Someone You Trust
Studying is important, but nothing compares to time spent behind the wheel. The more time you spend driving, the more confident you will become operating a vehicle.
However, who you spend time with behind the wheel matters. You should practice driving with someone you trust.
If you have a difficult relationship with your parents, and you don’t feel comfortable driving with your mom or dad, you can ask someone else to help you drive. An older sibling can help you learn skills behind the wheel, as can friends’ parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents.
Practice in Conditions You’re Comfortable With
If you’re lucky, you live in one of the ten states with the best driving conditions. They make learning how to drive relatively easy, but no matter what state you live in, mother nature can make driving a huge challenge, as can other drivers. If you feel scared about being in an accident, you should start by driving in conditions you feel comfortable with.
A few tips for a more comfortable driving experience include:
- Drive when the weather is calm and sunny.
- Learn tricky skills, like parallel parking, in an empty parking lot.
- Practice driving through sleepy, calm neighborhoods.
As you build your confidence driving in ideal conditions, you can challenge yourself to more difficult situations. For example, once you get the hang of driving through a quiet neighborhood, try driving through that same neighborhood in the rain.
Consider Taking Additional Driving Classes
A driving class is a must if you want to feel confident behind the wheel, but you shouldn’t feel bad if your fear doesn’t disappear just because you graduate. Even if you have your license, if you still feel unsure and scared behind the wheel, consider taking additional driving classes.
You can take driver’s ed over again, or you can take an easier class online. If you are looking for a different kind of driving class, consider advanced driving lessons. Driving like a race car driver will get you used to scary events, like spinning out, and it will help you build confidence in correcting yourself on the road.
Don’t Drive in Dangerous Road Conditions
After you have graduated from driving classes, you’ve gotten plenty of practice behind the wheel, you’ve passed your test to get your license, and even if you feel relatively confident behind the wheel, there will still be situations that will make you feel nervous.
For example, night driving can be scary, especially if you’re driving in an area you aren’t familiar with, as can driving in the snow or heavy rain. No matter why you feel unsure of yourself, if you’re uncomfortable, you shouldn’t drive alone.
Don’t let your fear of getting in an accident while driving prevents you from getting your license! By taking these tips slowly, you can build your confidence and become the safe driver you have always wanted to be.