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Kenyan's avatar

How to overcome first time driving nerves?

Asked by Kenyan (295points) May 17th, 2009 from iPhone

Im 17 and im just starting to drive. Im a little nervous about driving in busy areas, not because of my driving skills but for the people driving around me. My mom was in a car accident when a man ran the red light and the truck was totaled, i was in the truck at the time and that accident is stuck on my mind. So how as a teenager do i get stop being paronoid about crashing?

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12 Answers

lillycoyote's avatar

Pay attention, use your mirrors, always know where the other drivers around you are. Don’t drive too fast or follow too close as it reduces the amount of time and space you have to react to what other drivers do. And try to avoid letting other drivers crowd you, maintain some personal space around you for the same reasons. The more space you have, the more chance you have to avoid an accident.

Kenyan's avatar

Thanks that really helps

Darwin's avatar

If someone else insists they have the right of way (even if technically they don’t) let them have it. That gets them away from you so if they run into someone it won’t be you.

When you come up to an intersection, even though you have the green light, always keep an eye out for folks who might not be stopping, and even take your foot off the gas as you come up to it so you can hit the brake faster if you have to.

If someone doesn’t seem to see you don’t be afraid to use your horn.

If someone appears to be driving erratically, pull off the road for a while until they have gone on their way. Again, that gets them away from you so you don’t have to worry about them.

Never drive when you are tired, angry or stressed, and never try to multitask when you are driving. If you have to, turn your cell phone off.

Don’t believe anyone’s blinker (or lack of blinker) until you actually see them turn or go straight. In other words, drive as if everyone else on the road is an idiot or worse.

And if you have car trouble get well off the road, put your hazard lights on, and if you can do it safely get out of the car and off to the side in case someone is not paying attention and plows into your vehicle.

And something I keep trying to get my daughter to do is this: read the manual that comes with the car. It tells you where all of the controls are, how to open things that need to be opened, turn on or off things that need to be turned on or off, and what those various lights mean on the dashboard. It even tells you some reasons why your car might be misbehaving.

Kenyan's avatar

Thanks, thats actually better information than what my drivers ed teacher was telling me :)

lillycoyote's avatar

@Kenyan It will take you a while to get over the accident but you will, even for older, experienced drivers it can take a little time to get over that kind of crash, you just have to get back in the saddle so to speak, and Darwin has some great tips on defensive driving. Read and reread them.

Kenyan's avatar

I came to the conclusion that to be a little paronoid is actually a good thing. It increases my awareness. Thanks for all the help guys/girls

sinscriven's avatar

Paranoid is not a good way to put it. Aware is better. Being paranoid or overly defensive is just as dangerous as driving recklessly.

A rule of thumb I live by is assume all other drivers are idiots and/or won’t follow the rules of the road to the letter. Because more often than not this is partially true. Do not expect other drivers to take precautions to keep you safe. You must pay attention and create the safest situation for yourself, such as the green light example Darwin gave.

augustlan's avatar

In addition to all the good advice already given, just take your time and practice, practice, practice. You’ll do fine. :)

oratio's avatar

I remember that I felt like I was driving some kind of weapon, bomb or killing machine. In my mind I “saw” it crashing into people, cars and physical objects.

Don’t sweat it. It’s just practice, and it’s gonna be as natural as biking, and a natural part of your day.

Kenyan's avatar

Ive been driving for about a month now and tha farthrst i ever drove was about 100 miles and it was ok. I just have to keep practicing and use all the tips you all have givin to me

KatawaGrey's avatar

I got my license less than a year ago and I had also been in a bad accident (which is why I waited until I was 19). I asked questions whenever my mother was in the car with me. I drove everywhere with her. If we wanted to go out to eat, I would drive us to the diner in the next town instead of the one around the corner. I also learned that you have to trust the other people a certain amount. You can’t control the other drivers. The majority of drivers follow traffic laws. You still have to be careful.

Also, something I hadn’t considered until I started driving is physical comfort. If you are uncomfortable in any way, you will be on edge and make more mistakes. You say you’ve been driving for about a month now. Are you as comfortable as you can be? I found that I needed a little extra height (I’m pretty short) and that improved my driving ability because I was as comfortable as I could be.

skfinkel's avatar

Drive in places that are a little more remote for awhile until you get more comfortable with the car and driving. Then, you can move gradually into the more crowded areas. And practice a lot. And what @Darwin said.

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