One of the key theories cited in psychology for improving self-confidence and performance is Bandura’s (1977, 1986, 1997) self-efficacy theory. I know it sounds a bit of a mouthful but its good to know there is some scientific basis behind why we are recommending specific stress management techniques to increase driving confidence in our subscriptions! Self-efficacy is simply self-confidence in a specific situation and whether you have belief in your own capability to do something.
Bandura's self-efficacy will be familiar to any sports psychologists reading this blog. And for sportspeople, the specific situation and belief in their own ability are in their sport. For the purposes of this website and blog, the specific situation is while driving and your belief in your driving ability.
So increasing your belief in your capability to drive will, in turn, increase your driving confidence, how do we do that? Bandura’s self-efficacy theory suggests that self-confidence or belief in your abilities is dependent on several key factors:
Performance Accomplishments - Your previous experiences of success or failure influence how confident you feel. So going back to a previous blog about how stress affects driving, if you find yourself in the panic or failure zone of learning, your performance is likely to decline and those experiences will reduce your belief in your driving ability, reducing confidence. However, if you stay in the stretch zone of learning, feel challenged but learn lots, those experiences increase your belief in your driving ability and your confidence. TIP - for every driving success, no matter how small, take time to replay it, commit it to memory, make sure it is added to your success, increasing your self-belief and confidence!
Verbal Persuasion - Positive phrases of encouragement from others or yourself will boost confidence. If you are a nervous driver and want to improve your self-confidence make sure anyone in the car with you is encouraging rather than critical. The same goes for the inner voice in your head, use positive self-talk to practice some encouraging phrases to say to yourself.
Imaginal Experiences - Taking time to create images in your mind of yourself performing successfully or replay past successes increases confidence. Imagery is such a versatile technique which is why so many sports people use it. You can replay past successes in little mind movies, or you can mentally practise skills that you find difficult, or imagine future success such as passing your driving test. It can take some practice but it is worth the effort as one of the top techniques to increase driving confidence.
Physiological states - Physical symptoms of stress such as butterflies, sweating and nausea can be perceived as having a negative effect on performance. Learning how to manage the physical symptoms with relaxation, breathing and mindfulness can help to stop the symptoms taking over and also to change your perception from being scared stiff, to be being prepared, focused and ready for action.
Emotional states - Positive emotions are more likely than negative emotions to increase self-confidence. Using techniques such as self-talk, hypnotherapy and coaching can help you be more aware of and change how your feeling and emotions can impact your actions and behaviour. The website offers eight different psychological techniques to help manage each of the different factors related to self-efficacy.
The website takes a 'pick and mix' approach so you choose the techniques that most appeal to you, there is no set course or route that you have to take. The good news is that whichever technique you use, and whichever self-efficacy factor it is having an impact on, there is what is known as a crossover effect. If you start to make improvements in one area, it will have a slow and gradual knock-on effect in other areas too.
Preparation and Planning in advance of your driving lessons, or journey will also help you to feel more confident. Particularly if you have a long journey, are driving somewhere new, or need to make a journey in bad weather. This article on driving in Winter offers some useful advice.
A subscription to Confident Drivers gives you access to 8 stress management techniques specifically chosen to meet each of the key factors above. They include relaxation audios, breathing exercises, imagery techniques, positive self-talk exercises, coaching tools, hypnotherapy audios, meridian tapping techniques and a six-week mindfulness course. Plans for individual drivers are below and we also have group plans for driving instructors who would like to support nervous pupils.
Please help us by sharing this guide with others. There is a good chance that if you found it useful, so will they.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Take a browse around our blog for articles written to help learner drivers and driving instructors recognise the most common reasons for experiencing driving nerves and confidence issues. Each article offers strategies and suggestions that may help you.
Your driving goals are likely to need to be more flexible this year. So how can you keep learning and feel prepared for your driving lessons and test
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...
Learn ways of developing more helpful thinking styles which will help you reduce the signs and symptoms of your nerves and begin to feel more confident.