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My driving anxiety makes me scared to drive long distances

driving anxiety when driving long distances

Driving anxiety while driving long distances is a subject we see and respond to regularly on a variety of forums where drivers are asking for help.  You might be surprised to find out that many drivers who have successfully passed their driving test then feel anxious in many driving situations.  According to a survey by Lloyds car insurance, 70% of motorists experience anxiety in difficult driving situations after they've passed their test.

These are the tips that we suggest most frequently and we hope they might help you to build your driving confidence to allow you to drive long-distance anxiety free!

Make a list of your driving anxiety worries

If it is the long distances rather than driving itself which is making you anxious this is great news because it helps you create specific strategies to help. We suggest listing all of the things that worry you and write them down in a list. Then note next to each worry, how far into a journey does that worry start? Which worries are likely to happen (such as stopping for fuel), which may happen very occasionally (such as breaking down) and which worries are not facts but instead are ‘what if’ thoughts that are negative stories or scenarios that may never happen?  This exercise will help to give you some perspective on your thoughts and worries.

Gently challenge your thoughts about driving long distances

With the worries that are likely to happen or may happen occasionally ask yourself what have you done before that might help you in this situation?  What skills do you already have?  What plan can you put in place to prepare - for example, if you are worried about breaking down, how can you make sure you have everything you need to stay safe and call for help. What can you start practising to help you feel more prepared? 

For the what-if worries which are stories and scenarios that might never happen, look at each in turn and ask yourself even though you know it might never happen and is very unlikely, what can you do to reduce that risk? 

Noticing when driving anxiety starts in a long-distance journey

Listing how far into your journey the worries start might give you some clues about what is happening at those times, are you feeling bored or tired or is there another trigger?  What strategies can you put in place to avoid any triggers that start the worries?  What length journey feels comfortable, what length feels challenging, and what length means you are experiencing anxiety?  Can you practise with journey lengths that feel mildly challenging and start to build your resilience and confidence?

Long-distance driving anxiety strategies that might help:

Breaking your journey into manageable chunks of 1 hour (or time you are confident doing) will help you manage anxiety and stop you from getting too tired and having lapses in concentration which add to your anxiety. 

When you take a break get out of the car, even simply walking around the car will change your emotional and physical state allowing it to reset and feel back in control. 

Practising breathing exercises regularly will mean you can use them to help while driving, and chewing gum, or humming/singing all help send calming signals to your brain. 

Take turns driving when there are two of you to share long journeys. 

Prepare in advance so you have everything you need with you, check the traffic reports and weather and plan your route accordingly.  Research where you can take breaks on the journey to get fuel, stretch your legs and get some air.

Would you like immediate access to more online solutions to help your long-distance driving anxiety?

If you have found these tips useful you may also be interested in our stress management subscription for nervous and learner drivers. We have created a collection of the most effective stress management techniques for you to access online to be able to manage your driving anxiety driving long distances, as well as build confidence in your general driving.

One month's access to all resources including videos, audios, exercises, e-learning courses, and hypnotherapy tracks costs less than the price of a typical driving lesson. Imagine the feeling of being calm and confident while driving wherever and whenever you wanted.  Find out more on our nervous driver's page.

We hope you have found these tips on managing driving anxiety while driving long distances helpful. Please help us by sharing this guide with others.  There is a good chance that if you found it useful, so will they.

Choose one or both of our FREE tools to help you become a more confident driver

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If you have a driving test coming up soon you might find our Ultimate Guide to Driving Test Nerves useful.

What others are saying

Read more of our reviews from happy learner drivers on Trustpilot

It's great to have a website offering fantastic techniques to assist with the challenges of driving. The website recognises the fact that learning to drive can be stressful and there are strategies to help with this. The website's name, 'CONFIDENT Drivers' is what a learner is aspiring to be, so it's very positive. The techniques also apply to building general confidence in all walks of life, so useful again. Thank you!

I was so pleased when my instructor signed me up for Confident Driver. I loved the hypnosis sessions & I recently passed first time with one fault. Recommend 100%

Confident drivers has been a really useful tool in changing my attitude to the driving test. I hadn't recognised just how much my negative thoughts about my ability rather than my actual driving ability have been holding me back and putting me off. I particularly liked the quick fix section that gives you strategies to calm down just before the test!

Nervous Drivers Calming Kit

If you would like some self-help stress management resources to help you tackle your driving anxiety and improve driving confidence then our calming kit is created by leading industry experts especially for you.  Access to all the resources is online.

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These plans are created specifically for drivers and learner drivers looking for online solutions to manage driving nerves and anxiety.  We also have a range of group plans created for driving instructors who would like to offer support offroad to their learner drivers, you can find more details on our ADI page.

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The Driving Confidence Podcast

driving confidence podcast

We created this podcast for drivers who want to be calm and confident on the road. Whether you are a learner driver, a new driver or have been driving for years, this podcast will help you to beat driving nerves and anxiety and build your driving confidence.

Co-hosted by Kev & Tracey Field, each Driving Confidence podcast episode offers bite-sized information and ideas that are both relatable and achievable to help you manage your driving nerves or anxiety and transform how you feel about driving.

Listen On:

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Are you looking for a driving instructor who specialises in nervous drivers or driving test nerves?

If you have driving anxiety or are feeling nervous and worried about your driving lessons why not book lessons with a driving instructor who partners with us.  Find a driving instructor near you who offers a subscription to Confident Drivers included in the price of their driving lessons

Learn to drive with one of the driving instructors in our directory and get free access to driving test nerves and driving anxiety solutions to transform how you feel about driving

Relaxation
relaxation
Coaching
coaching
Hypnotherapy
hypnotherapy
Mindfulness
mindfulness
Self-Talk
positive self talk
Imagery
Imagery

Search using your postcode or by zooming the map to your local area to find your nearest instructor.   

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Alternatively subscribe to an individual plan for learner drivers yourself.

You may also be interested in other articles about driving anxiety:

Build your driving confidence

Build your driving confidence

Increasing your belief in your capability to drive will, in turn, increase your driving confidence. So how do we do that? Self-efficacy theory suggests that self-confidence or belief in your abilities is dependent on several key factors...

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Have you considered hypnotherapy for your driving nerves?

Have you considered hypnotherapy for your driving nerves?

If you struggle with driving anxiety or driving test nerves you may well have wondered if hypnotherapy can help

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Are Limiting beliefs holding you back?

Are Limiting beliefs holding you back?

Are your limiting beliefs affecting your driving? Are you struggling with driving lesson nerves? According to Jack Handey "A belief is just a thought that you think over ...

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