Anxious Driving: 7 Pre-departure Tips for a Stress-Free Journey


If you feel nervous getting behind the wheel, then rest assured that you’re not alone. A recent survey by Nissan found that a whopping 39% of drivers feel some level of fear around driving, while 23% of drivers were specifically had anxious driving on motorways. I help people with a phobia of driving, be that taking their test, motorway driving or just feeing more confident behind the wheel. Sessions in London, get in touch to find out more.


Anxious driving hypnotherapy


Anxious driving hypnotherapy


Since driving is an essential part of life for most people, it’s important to tackle this anxiety and find ways to manage it. Hypnotherapy can help to overcome a phobia of driving, to make anxious driving a thing of the past. There are also several ways you can reduce anxiety levels when preparing for an upcoming journey, by making small changes and adjustments that can significantly improve how you feel about driving.


1.   Plan your route

Use Google Maps or a similar app to plan out your journey in advance of setting off; ideally the day before you need to make your trip. Familiarising yourself with the route can help you to feel calmer while driving because you’ll have more of an idea of what to expect. If there are parts of the route that are going to make you especially anxious driving, for example, if you have a fear of crossing bridges, or using motorways, then pre-planning is a great way to find an alternative way to avoid these.


2.   Make a playlist

Making a playlist for your journey is a great way to make you feel relaxed and at ease while you drive. Choose soothing music and make sure the playlist is long enough to cover your entire journey, with some extra songs to account for any delays. This will mean you won’t have to deal with the distraction of changing the music while you drive.


3.   If you are an anxious driver, set off early

Running late makes many people feel anxious driving, and it can be especially nerve-inducing if you’re already feeling uncomfortable about being on the road. Check how long your journey is expected to take and leave in plenty of time so that you won’t be late even if you encounter traffic or a delay on the route. Feeling rushed on the road can lead drivers to make poor decisions and taking the wrong exit or getting in the wrong lane at a roundabout will only heighten your anxiety driving. Allow more time for your journey than you need, to remove any additional stress caused by time constraints.


4.   Visualising your journey is great for anxious driving

If you’re going to be driving in an area you’re not familiar with, use Google Street View to check out what the roads and junctions are going to look like. You can even complete your entire journey on your screen before you get in the car to complete it in real life. Knowing what to expect and understanding what sort of places you’ll be driving in can have an empowering effect, enabling you to reduce anxious driving.


5.   Have breakdown cover

Knowing that you are prepared in the event of breaking down can give you peace of mind which will in turn reduce anxiety associated with driving. Experts at insist that “having good breakdown cover in place is essential should the worst happen. Keeping some essentials like a blanket, snacks, a hazard warning triangle, and a hi-vis vest can also help to warn other drivers of your presence if you break down or need to pull over for one reason or another.”


6.   Reduce anxious driving by Minimising distractions

Before you set off on your journey, put your phone on silent mode and store it in your glove compartment. This will limit any potential distractions and allow you to concentrate your full attention on the road. Avoid listening to the radio or playing podcasts, and instead, listen to calming music. If you have a passenger, explain how you feel about driving so that they know to keep quiet if necessary.


7.   Plan breaks for long journeys

If your journey is going to take more than an hour, it’s a good idea to plan out some stops along the way. Check your route for service stations where you can take a break, and make a mental note of where these are or add them as stops on your sat nav. Getting out of the vehicle and stretching your legs can help to make you feel refreshed and ready to take on the next part of your journey, and grabbing a bite to eat so you aren’t driving on an empty stomach will also help lower anxiety levels. Avoid caffeinated drinks as these can heighten anxiety.


If you are looking for help with anxious driving, my London hypnotherapy sessions can help, get in touch today.


(Thank you to Karli Edmondson-Matthews for writing this article)


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Jason Demant Clinical Hypnotherapist
London hypnotherapist. Seeing Clients in King's Cross and online.