Driving Test Nerves – How To Calm Them
If you are affected by nerves before your driving test then the first thing to remember is that you are not alone. Driving test nerves affects the vast majority of learner drivers – the overwhelming majority of whom will eventually go on to pass their driving test.
The second point to remember is that you won’t be taking your practical driving test unless your Instructor thinks you are capable of passing. Your Instructor is the expert, and the expert thinks you’re ready. The expert thinks you’re capable. Already you have a vote of confidence from someone who matters.
Why do you feel nervous? What consequences do you fear? Is it for your safety whilst out on the road? If it is then don’t worry, you are in a dual controlled car with a professional Driving Test Examiner. They know how to deal with you and any mistakes you may make.
Perhaps your nerves stem from the fear that if you fail your test you’ll let your friends and family down. If so then don’t tell them!! But remember that everyone y0u know who drives will have been in this situation themselves, so they will understand completely how you are feeling.
Fear of Failure – Leads to Failure
In some people exams of any sort can cause nerves and anxiety to rise. If this is you then put your driving test in context. It’s a lot easier to retake a driving test than it is your GCSE’s or A-Levels. The main loss of a failed driving test is financial, several more lessons and the cost of a second test.
As the test day approaches ask yourself the following questions.
When you answer these questions, ask yourself why you have answered it in that way and why you feel like that. If the answer is a negative, think about how you can change it, what you can do to prevent it in the future. Write out a list of positive and negative thought about your driving, as this will help you recognise areas of perceived personal weakness that need working on.
There are many techniques/remedies that claim to ease nerves and anxiety. From herbal remedies such as Kalms tablets to psychological techniques such as visualization and even hypnosis. Does any of this work? Well maybe. I myself would never recommend taking any remedies, herbal or otherwise. However the power of the mind is very strong and techniques such as visualisation are recommended by many people – thoughts become things!!!
One technique that has been recommended to me is 4-7-8 breathing. Breathing correctly can have a profound effect on the way you feel. It is widely considered to be the most effective and time efficient relaxation method that exists.
The standard breathing relaxation method recommended for your natural breathing pattern is
4-7-8 breathing simply adds
4-7-8 breathing shouldn’t be your naturally breathing pattern but should be used to calm nerves and find a more relaxed state of mind at or before times of increased anxiety.
The Power of Sleep
For anyone taking their driving test, nervous or not, a good nights sleep is essential. It has been estimated that up to 36 percent of all vehicle accidents were sleep (lack of) related. Research shows that sleep patterns play a huge part in driver awareness, performance and road safety, and a poor nights sleep will have a negative effect on your driving. Tiredness will also heighten feelings of anxiety and nervousness.
If you do feel tired prior to taking the test you should avoid taking caffeine. As a stimulant it can heighten feelings of anxiety plus research has shown that it does not increase alertness or concentration unless taken alongside a short power nap of around twenty minutes. Additional research has shown that a high sugar content in a drink that contains caffeine can actually make the sleepiness worse, although a glucose or energy drink can temporarily help alertness.
So, take sleep seriously. Try and get several good nights sleep in the run up to your driving test. If you do, you will be physically and mentally at your best and much more able to deal with any negative feelings or anxiety you may have.
Good luck. YOU KNOW YOU CAN DO IT!
This article was written by Sarah-H