If you’ve ever been in a car accident before, whether it was a long time ago or recently, then you understand how difficult it can be to get back out on the road.
Car accidents shake your confidence because they’re so unexpected and often unpredictable. You can go for years without an accident, but experiencing one can quickly erase the sense of safety you feel when you’re behind the wheel.
It’s important to determine the legally-liable parties in a motor vehicle accident so that you can understand whether you were just unlucky or if there’s room to improve on your driving skills. Knowing the cause of an accident is incredibly helpful in restoring your confidence in driving.
We’ll go over a few other ways to help yourself start driving again below so that you can reclaim control of your life!
A Serious Car Accident Can Make You Hesitant to Drive
Anytime you deal with something that relates to a traumatic experience, you’re likely to feel anxious and hesitant about doing it again. This applies perfectly to car crashes.
Getting into a car accident, whether serious or minor, can make it very hard to drive again.
You’ll surely have fears associated with driving. What if you get into another accident? How can you stop another one from happening if you couldn’t avoid the first one?
These fears are entirely rational but letting them control you is not. It is possible that you’ll get into another accident and that you won’t be able to stop it.
That shouldn’t stop you from trying to drive again, because you can likely drive for several years, or even the rest of your life, without getting into another accident.
Fear of driving is known as vehophobia. Most phobias are backed by a good reason, but it’s still important to overcome them to move forward with your life. If you relied on driving before your crash, then you certainly can’t shy away from driving forever!
Start With Short Trips
The first thing you should do is start by taking short trips to ease yourself back into regular driving.
Shoot for 5-10 minute drives to start with. Maybe you just take a trip to the grocery store or the gas station. You can even just drive around the block if you’re really worried.
The point is to aim for gradual exposure. Try to remember how you first learned to drive. Did you immediately start driving at high speeds or in traffic?
While you’re not a brand new driver, starting slow is the best way to go. You can get comfortable handling a car again and start building trust that other drivers won’t hit you.
Bring Along Another Driver
You should also consider having another driver with you, at least for your first few trips.
If you start to panic or get stressed, they can talk to you and help you work through your emotions. They can also give you rational input and insights about driving that will put your mind at ease.
If things start to go bad, then you can ask them to take over without being stranded on the side of the road. Don’t rely on them and try to prevent this from happening, but having a friend can always help in stressful situations.
Learn Defensive Driving
One of the best things you can do is take a defensive driving course.
This is particularly helpful because you’ll learn strategies to help you avoid accidents in the future. You can’t prevent every accident, but you’ll know what to look for and how you should handle dangerous situations.
Defensive driving has a heavy focus on studying other drivers and anticipating disasters. You’re already going to feel skeptical about the way other people are driving, so why not use that to your advantage by driving defensively?
Additionally, attending a defensive driving course will help restore your confidence. Rather than relying on what you already know, you’ll be backed by extra knowledge to help you drive better.
The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to handle situations and other drivers on the road. Defensive driving will directly translate to reducing your risk for an accident by improving your ability to avoid one.
No matter how long it takes, it’s vital to be patient with yourself on your journey back to driving.
Any traumatic situation can have long-lasting effects. Everyone heals differently and there isn’t a set time frame for when you “should” be ready to drive again.
It’s easy to get frustrated by your lack of progress, but every day gets you one step closer to driving, even if it doesn’t feel like it.
Getting frustrated can set you back further if you let it affect your mindset. If you begin to believe that you’ll never be able to drive again, then you’ll make choices that will prevent you from doing it.
On the other hand, having faith in yourself and genuinely believing that you can and will drive again will make you take action towards getting there. Trust yourself and believe in the process.
Understand Why Your Accident Happened
One final piece of advice is to understand why your accident happened in the first place.
Were you at fault? Or were you just unlucky and the victim of a bad driver?
If the accident was your fault, then you can take ownership of it and learn what you need to do to avoid causing an accident in the future.
Alternatively, if you weren’t at fault, then you can understand that car crashes happen and sometimes things are just out of your control. This is another great reason to learn defensive driving so that you can anticipate driving behavior that leads to the type of accident you were in.
Once you know what caused your accident, you’ll know what to do to prevent it from happening in the future. Don’t let one crash ruin the convenience and freedom of driving a car for you.
Driving again after being in a serious accident is a major challenge for anyone. You’ll have legitimate fears and concerns about getting into another crash, but it’s important to face and overcome them.
You can do this by starting with short drives and bringing a friend along when you do this.
You should also consider taking a defensive driving class to give you new tools to avoid future accidents. This can also help you understand why you got into a crash in the first place, which is critical for helping you prevent it from happening again.
Remember to be patient with yourself and believe that you can and will drive again. Sometimes accidents are unavoidable, but don’t let this fear stop you from driving!