Being in a car Road accident is a unique experience, but it’s one that most of us will likely encounter at some point in our lives. Statistics show that the average driver is in at least one accident every 17.9 years. That math states that if you start driving around the age of 16, you’ll have three or more car collisions over your lifetime.
Numbers can make you feel less alone, but it can still be hard to get back on the road if you were in a traumatic situation. It’s common to lose confidence in your driving abilities and gain anxiety about other people’s.
If your recent crash has caused you to consider staying home and DoorDashing every meal, wait! You don’t have to go to that extreme, but you don’t have to go straight back into your normal driving routine. Use these tips to regain your confidence and return to the road.
1. Take Baby Steps
Right now, you may be tempted to sit and wallow in your fear and anxiety. There isn’t anything wrong with feeling your feels, but you have to try not to let them rule your behavior. Focusing on baby steps instead of big jumps makes this a little easier.
Remember, statistically, you’re good for another 18 years. Getting in another accident can happen, but it’s not likely to. So how can you move forward gently but firmly?
Find ways to push yourself out of your comfort zone and toward your goal of driving again. No matter what you do, take those baby steps or big steps forward and take action.
Get behind the wheel and sit in your driveway for a few minutes. Then, take a short drive around the neighborhood. These little movements go a long way toward making you feel strong again.
You don’t have to jump straight into the busy highways and interstates yet. Take your time and let the slow drives rebuild your confidence.
2. Talk Out Your Concerns
When you have some time to sit and think without distractions, pinpoint where your anxiety is coming from. Is it the fear that you’ll get in another accident, or is something else keeping you from feeling confident on the road?
Talking about things that are bothering you, even if it’s with a friend, can reduce the power they have over you. Find someone you feel comfortable talking to and let yourself be vulnerable. You might be surprised at how much better you’ll feel to let go of all the thoughts and feelings you’d been bottling up.
However, no matter how great of a friend you have, there are times when you need someone with experience and training to help you. Your fear may be based on something you saw during your crash, especially if it was traumatic. If that’s the case, then you should talk to a counselor or mental health expert about your worries before they get worse.
A professional can provide you with the tools you need to control your fears and put them in the right perspective. If your anxiety effectively is stopping you from living your life, a mental health doctor can refer you to specialists.
The stigma about asking for help disappeared a long time ago. Don’t be ashamed to reach out for support. In fact, it’s quite normal for attorneys to suggest counseling to their clients after a serious car accident.
3. Take a Driving Class
You don’t have to be a new driver or someone in trouble to take a driving class. There are plenty of people who take them to get reduced insurance rates or to refresh their skills. Others, like you, are in driving classes to have a structured, safe way to get their confidence back after an accident.
Defensive driving courses can be incredible founts of learning. They teach you how to avoid accidents and improve your driving skills. Because you’re in a mostly controlled environment, this is a great way to take those baby steps forward.
Most importantly, when you’re struggling between knowing you should be driving and the fear of doing so, be patient with yourself. It was an accident. It’s over, and it’s time to move forward, no matter who was at fault or what injuries you received.
No one ever wins in the blame game, Road accidents especially when you’re blaming yourself. Take little steps forward, get help if necessary, and use controlled situations to rebuild your confidence. You’ll be back in the driver’s seat before you know it.