Getting Your G-Licence: Ways to Overcome Your Fear of Driving
For the majority of people, driving is an essential life skill that offers numerous benefits, especially if one resides in an area where there is a limited selection of public transportation.
Driving provides one the convenience of getting to their desired destination, be it for school, work, or for pure pleasure, without having to rely on others and experiencing public commute delays and hassles. What’s more, these days, more and more companies have been requiring their employees and future hires to be able to have a Class G licence or at least a Class G1 licence if it’s an essential part of the position. It’s not only listed as an advantage to getting hired, it’s a pre-requisite.
Even with the backlog issues due to pandemic restrictions for those who wish to acquire their driving licences, many still endure lining up in driving centres for long hours and even inclement weather. In fact, the province of Ontario realized that demand outnumbered resources so much that they have reduced the length of road tests, eliminating tasks like parallel parking and three-point turns that were normally part of the requirements to earn one’s driving licence.
Still, the fear of driving remains one of the most common phobias due to various reasons. If you want to work on earning your driver’s licence but having anxiety issues, here are ways on how to overcome your fear:
Get a medical assessment.
You would need help to establish that your driving anxiety is not caused by physical factors like Binocular Vision Dysfunction or BVD. This condition happens when the eyes are misaligned and thus have difficulty working together to come up with a clear image. The body tries to cope with this condition by overusing or straining the eye muscles. This causes both physical and mental stress, which can often result in motion sickness or nausea or dizziness. Have a vision specialist assess you to rule out that this is indeed the cause of your anxiety. The good news is the condition is treatable through specialized aligning lenses or micro-prism lenses.
Try calming techniques.
Before hitting the road, try meditation techniques like breathing in and breathing out repeatedly until you feel comfortable. Have a car air freshener that makes you feel at peace, like lavender, lemon, peppermint, and jasmine. You can also listen to meditational music in your car or download phone apps that promote calmness. See which one works best for you. Some will find nature sounds soothing, while for some classical music is the way to go. Have a go at these various methods and see which suits you best. Interestingly enough, some people calm themselves with rock or heavy metal music, so to each their own.
Enroll in a professional driving school.
Having a professional instructor teach you on driving essentials could help alleviate your fear of driving, knowing that you’re learning from someone with the proper training and experience. Driving instructors have dealt with all types of students, and they will know best which teaching technique works for someone with driving anxieties. You can also share with them what’s holding you back and they can offer recommendations on how to conquer your fear and improve on your driving skills. With a professional teacher in your camp, you’ll gain the confidence to be a skilled driver and finally get to your desired licence level.
Opt for a vehicle with ideal safety features.
It’s natural to have safety concerns about driving, and the good news is car manufacturers worldwide have been consistently working to come up with safety features that will put every driver’s mind at ease. Features like Night Vision with Pedestrian Detection are now available to help drivers spot pedestrians even under limited lighting. Another feature that’s become prevalent in the last few years is adaptive cruising or stability control, where you can drive in highway speeds without having to constantly adjust your speed to ensure you won’t risk a collision with the vehicle in front of you.
Have a person next to you when you drive.
For some, being on their own on the road leads to other bigger worries like what if they get lost or they get into a mishap. Ask a trusted family member or a friend to be by your side when you drive until you feel confident enough on your own.
These days, most people can’t get by without a vehicle. Driving does offer plenty of advantages as opposed to simply relying on public transportation. To get a head start, so to speak, in acquiring a driving licence without fear, try the tips above. We wish you the best of luck!
ADAA. “Overcoming the Fear of Driving.” https://adaa.org/learn-from-us/from-the-experts/blog-posts/consumer/overcome-fear-driving
The Dizziness and Headache Optometry Centre. “How Can BVD Impact Your Daily Life?” https://www.dizzinessandheadache.com/blog/how-can-bvd-impact-your-daily-life.html#
Heaps, Russ. “Car Safety Features 101: Everything You Need to Know.” Kelley Blue Book. https://www.kbb.com/car-advice/car-safety-features/
Ontario Human Rights Commission. “Can an employer ask for a driver’s licence, when I am applying for a job?” https://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/frequently-asked-questions/can-employer-ask-driver%E2%80%99s-licence-when-i-am-applying-job
Passifiume, Bryan. “MTO cutting road test backlog by shortening road tests.” Toronto Sun. https://torontosun.com/news/local-news/mto-cutting-road-test-backlog-by-shortening-road-tests
PsychCentral. “What Is Driving Anxiety?” https://psychcentral.com/anxiety/driving-anxiety