Driving can be a scary experience. In fact, most people (whether they admit it or not) experience a twinge of fear when behind the wheel. This slight feeling of discomfort is perfectly normal; it's nature's way of heightening your response systems so that you are alert and focused when on the roadway. But for some car rental drivers, this fear can turn into a full-on anxiety attack, complete with sweaty palms, dizziness and tremors. If your driving anxiety is causing you more harm than good, don't despair. We've compiled a list of solid tips and techniques to help you curb your anxiety so that you can enjoy your on-road adventures.
Prevent Fear From Taking Hold
Driver anxiety is all about control. Knowing what triggers your anxiety, and how to control it, is half the battle. The moment you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed by fear, shift your focus. Keep yourself occupied in the present moment – the minute you let your mind wander to "what if" scenarios you'll lose control of the situation and become overwhelmed with fear.
Relax – Everything is Going to Be Just Fine
One of the best ways to avoid anxiety when driving is to perform relaxation techniques during your trip. Here are some steps to help you stay calm behind the wheel of your independent car rental:
• Relax your forehead, eyes and jaw. Letting go of the tension in your facial muscles will help you feel less stressed and enable you to avoid uncomfortable tension headaches. If you're having trouble "letting go" of the tension in your face, slightly part your teeth and let your lower jaw hang loose.
• Roll your head back and forth. Next, roll your shoulders around in circles. Again, tension tends to reside in our shoulder muscles. Staying loose will help you feel more relaxed.
• Squeeze the steering wheel tightly with your hands. Hold for a few seconds and then force yourself to relax your grip. This will make sure that you're not holding the wheel with more effort than needed.
• Squeeze your buttocks (yes, you heard right!). Many drivers that experience anxiety behind the wheel will instinctively tense their buttocks and lower back. By consciously squeezing and releasing your butt muscles, you'll naturally release any tension from your spine.
The more you practice these relaxation tips, the easier it will be to relax behind the wheel. CRX recommends trying these tips on the freeway, at a traffic light or before you cross a bridge – these are times when anxiety is most likely to strike.
An Unconventional Tip
If relaxation tips simply aren't helping, consider this alternative treatment: instead of releasing the tension, try and exacerbate the feelings. Instead of wishing your feelings of fear away, identify them, accept them, and then attempt to worsen them. If your hands are quivery, force them to shake more. If you're feeling jittery, identify this feeling and then force yourself to tremble all over. If you feel like shrieking, go ahead and shout out!
The act of identifying your fear will enable you to gain control of it. By forcing your hands to tremble more, you realize that the trembling is nothing to worry about and eventually you forget about the source of your anxiety. Instead of losing yourself to the fear, you'll stay firmly grounded in the present.
Don't let anxiety keep you from enjoying your upcoming vacation. Book an independent car rental with CRX today and take control of the road.