Quick Driving Anxiety Tips For When Drivers Get Too Close Behind You
Today we’re talking about drivers that get too close behind you, and if you have driving anxiety we know five things for sure:
- You are already nervous about driving and have taken a big leap of faith to get out there and drive.
- You’re concerned that the extra worry of having an aggressive driver behind you will take your focus off of the road and make you unsafe.
- You worry that your driving skills aren’t good enough.
- You’re concerned they’ll run you off the road.
- It all feels TOO MUCH when a driver gets up close behind you.
Sometimes even the thought of being around other drivers is enough to stop you from driving altogether.
Driving Anxiety Tips
But you can be in control of the situation by sticking to the following driving anxiety tips: (you can watch the video here)
ONE: CHANGE YOUR PERCEPTION
First let’s think about that other driver. You know nothing about them yet you probably feel like you already know they’re a mean person. Your mind generally goes to the dark side and thinks that they are going to run you off the road.
But instead of allowing your brain to automatically go to that negative side, try a more compassionate view of what that driver is like. Concoct a new story about them. Perhaps they’re a nurse trying to get to work on time. Maybe they have picked up groceries for their neighbor and want to deliver their ice-cream before it melts.
So if you find yourself villainizing this other driver, create a new, nicer story about them and see if it affects your mood.
TWO: IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU
An aggressive driver has one thing on their mind. “How can I get to where I need to be more quickly?”
That aggressive driver does not care about you. Once they have passed you by, they are already on to tailgating the next car.
So, please, do not take their bad behavior as a reflection of your driving skills. You are a good driver. You have done nothing wrong!
You do not need to dwell on this moment. Using driving affirmations may be a helpful way to improve your driving confidence before your next drive. It will confirm that you are a good driver.
THREE: PULL OVER
You can never outrun an aggressive driver, so don’t even try. As soon as it’s safe to do so, pull over and let them pass.
If there isn’t another lane to pull into, take the next turn, even if that means pulling into someone’s driveway or a parking lot. Take a breather, then get back onto the road. Then you can enjoy the remainder of your journey.
There may not be a safe place for you to turn into for a while. In which case, you may find yourself getting those panicky sensations in your body.
Remember, your breath is the most significant piece of ‘anti-anxiety’ equipment you have. So use it! Four counts in … hold for a second … then six counts out. Keep that out breath nice and even and you’ll calm down in no time.
And while you’re at it, check in with your body. Are you gripping tightly on to the steering wheel? Is your jaw clenched? Are your shoulders up towards your ears?
If so, take a moment to relax your muscles. You’ll still be able to drive and it will signal to your mind that you are safe.
It’s not enjoyable to drive when someone is following too close behind. But if you already have a driving anxiety, an aggressive driver can make you feel more anxious.
When facing fears, psychologists generally encourage you to sit with the discomfort of your anxiety. However, when dealing with aggressive drivers, it’s best to just pull over and let them pass.
Once that aggressive driver has moved past, you can breathe a sigh of relief and carry on. And look forward to the rest of your drive.