It can be tough to get over driving anxiety after a car accident — it’s natural to want to avoid putting yourself in a situation that could lead to a repeat of a traumatic experience.
But if you’re avoiding driving because of anxiety, you’re missing out on important opportunities and experiences.
After a car crash or similar traumatic event, anxiety disorders and post traumatic stress disorders can persist for weeks, months or even years. It can be a challenge to face your fears and get back on the road. But it’s important to find ways to cope with your anxiety so you can live your life to the fullest.
So, here is a guide on overcoming driving anxiety for car accident victims — from your Idaho Falls auto body shop.
Talk to Someone About Your Experience
If you’re struggling to cope with anxiety on your own, it can be helpful to talk to someone who understands what you’re going through. Talk to a friend, family member, therapist or other mental health professional, or anyone else who will listen and offer support.
Allow Yourself Time To Process the Experience
After an accident, it’s normal to feel like you need time to fully process what happened. Give yourself time to grieve and heal. Don’t feel like you have to “get over” the experience immediately.
Practice Relaxation Techniques
There are many different relaxation techniques that can help reduce anxiety. Try deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation or guided imagery.
Drive With a Rider You Trust
If getting back behind the wheel is proving to be too difficult, try driving with a friend or family member who you trust. This can help you feel more comfortable and relaxed while driving.
Follow All Safety Procedures
When you’re ready to start driving again, be sure to follow all safety procedures. This means wearing your seatbelt, obeying the speed limit and avoiding distracted driving. Doing so will give you a sense of control and help you feel more confident on the road.
Take it Slow
Don’t try to push yourself to do more than you’re comfortable with. If driving on the highway is too much for you, stick to side streets and local roads. Slowly work your way up as your confidence grows.
Challenge Your Anxiety
Once you’ve started to feel more comfortable, it’s important to challenge your anxiety by gradually exposing yourself to situations that make you anxious. Start with small steps, such as driving around the block or taking a short trip to the grocery store. The more you practice, the more confident you’ll feel behind the wheel.
Challenge Your Negative Thoughts
One of the main things that contributes to driving anxiety is negative thinking. If you’re constantly focused on worst-case scenarios, it’s no wonder you don’t feel confident behind the wheel. Start to challenge your negative thoughts by asking yourself if there’s any evidence to support them. For example, if you’re thinking, “I’m going to have an accident,” ask yourself if there’s any reason to believe that’s true. In most cases, you’ll find that there isn’t.
Consider Taking a Defensive Driving Course
If you’re still feeling anxious about driving after taking some time off and working on challenging your negative thoughts, you may want to consider taking a defensive driving class.
Defensive driving courses provide valuable information on how to avoid car accidents and what to do if you find yourself in a dangerous situation. They can also help boost your confidence behind the wheel.
Get Professional Help
If your anxiety or post traumatic stress disorder is really impacting your quality of life, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. A therapist can help you identify and manage your anxiety so you can get back to enjoying life.
There’s no shame in seeking help to deal with driving anxiety after an accident. It’s a common problem that can be overcome with time and effort. If you’re struggling, reach out for support so you can get back on the road to recovery.
Bring Your Vehicle Into Classic Auto Collision Center for Repairs
At our body shop, your safety is our top priority — we make sure every vehicle is safe to drive again before it leaves our shop. Our expert technicians will work with you to repair body damage on your vehicle, no matter how severe. We’ll also work with your insurance company to make sure the repairs are covered.