How to Get Over the Fear of Driving
There is no legitimate term for the fear of driving (or driving phobia as some people call it), but I had it once upon a time. 5 years ago, I wanted to learn how to drive and I almost drove a car off of a small cliff in Cebu. I got traumatised. My ‘driving instructor’ got traumatised, as well, and I have never even entertained the thought of driving ever since.
For those of you who understand how I feel, this article is for you. I am living proof that it is possible to not just get rid of the fear of driving, but to actually love driving (and rock at it!) afterwards. All you have to do is follow these easy steps.
How to Get Over the Fear of Driving
Decide to get over the fear.
Some people need to experience something bad while commuting before they decide that it’s time to learn how to drive. For me, it was a combination of the mere fear of something bad happening while commuting (I have a lot of fears – sorry – but can you blame me with instances like this happening on the road?); the realisation that I was wasting a lot of time lining up for public transportation everyday and the occasional inconveniences of unexpected rain while waiting for a bus and stressing out my toddler whenever I bring her to events.
Yes. It was high time to (wo)man up and push the fear aside.
Find a patient, reliable and professional driving instructor.
Learning how to drive isn’t easy. I learned that the hard way those 5 years ago when I got pressured into learning, got screamed at when I was doing something wrong while learning and, well, almost died (thank God for hand brakes!). So, whenever a friend offered to teach me how to drive from then on, I politely declined and said I simply wasn’t cut out for it.
Learning how to drive from people who are actually trained to teach people how to drive, however, is a completely different scenario. I enrolled at A-1 Driving School and started off stressed out and scared, but 10 minutes into my first lesson, I felt all of my fears melt away. The driving instructors at A-1 are all very patient, reliable and professional. Even when the engine dies in the middle of a busy road, they will calmly tell you that it’s okay, that it’s your first time, that it happens. These are all things that first-time drivers need and want to hear.
Ask questions – lots of them.
Now, this might sound annoying in your head, especially if you try to learn how to drive from a friend who will openly get exasperated the nth time they try to explain something to you. If you enrol at a school like A-1, though, don’t be afraid to keep the questions coming.
A good driving instructor should be patient enough to explain how to parallel park for the 5th time and let you know why the engine keeps dying on you, even if it already happened for the 100th time. Even if you are getting annoying, it doesn’t matter. You paid for those classes. Make sure you get your money and your time’s worth.
Find a solid support system.
Obviously, you can’t become a better driver without any practice. Unfortunately, you might be living with parents like mine who don’t trust you enough to lend you the car to do so.
In this case, you will need a solid support system in the form of friends who trust you enough to drive their cars. Once you have that, pay for some gas, ask for an hour or so of their time and drive them around somewhere quiet and safe. It doesn’t even have to be a big area. You can drive around your village or drive down a secluded street over and over again and just practice shifting the gear, handling the brakes, hanging, parking and doing 3-point turns. Even if you mess up, supportive friends will laugh with you instead of get mad at you by this time. Just make sure you finish at least one driving session before doing this, though.
Have faith in yourself.
Learning how to drive alone or with a friend isn’t easy, but if you have professionals by your side, everything becomes a breeze – I’m not even exaggerating. Enrolling in a driving school helped me get rid of the trauma in my heart, helped me become more confident in myself and my abilities, and renewed my faith in myself.
I’d personally highly recommend A-1 Driving School for all of your driving needs. Aside from having understanding driving instructors, they also have different kinds of packages to suit any of your needs (manual/automatic, your choice of cars, your choice of amount of hours, extra services). I learned how to decently drive a manual car within 3 hours. 5 days later (15 hours in total), I was confidently driving, hanging, and parking a manual car without any fear of it whatsoever. You can do the same. :)
A-1 Driving School
Twitter/Instagram: @A1Driving PH