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How can new drivers gain more confidence on the roads?

Driving can be intimidating, particularly if you are new to it. Being in control of a heavy vehicle, navigating the intricacies of the roads and being alert to the actions of other drivers can feel like a lot to process. In this guide, we'll look at exactly what's making you feel nervous and offer some advice on how to boost your confidence.

What causes a fear of driving?

There are various reasons why you might not feel confident about getting behind the wheel. They include:

  1. Witnessing or hearing about the bad experiences of others
  2. Having a bad experience of your own
  3. Having to perform manoeuvres you are not yet comfortable with
  4. Feeling as though you lack the skills to drive safely
  5. The fear of having an accident

If driving causes you an undue amount of fear and anxiety, some of the following tips may be helpful in raising your confidence on the roads.


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Remember, practice makes perfect

Driving is a skill and, just like any skill, you will improve and become more confident the more you do it. A good place to practice is on quieter roads until your confidence grows enough to transition to busier ones. If possible, consider driving at off-peak times as well, in order to avoid heavy traffic and stressful situations.


Make sure you are familiar with your car

You may have grown in confidence during your driving lessons, but starting in your own car may bring about its own anxieties. It's wise to learn about your car thoroughly before you start driving it, especially if it's very different from the one you learned in.

If you can, consider insuring your car whilst you’re a provisional driver, and then going out on short trips with a qualified driver to get used to the vehicle. Then, if you aren’t happy, you can swap with them. This takes away the pressure of having to get in your car for the first time solo.

Drive with someone you trust

When you are a new driver, you may be worried about being in the car alone. Try to enlist the support of someone you trust to sit with you until your confidence has grown. They should be a calm influence, and support you in what you need – whether that’s complete silence, or having the radio on quietly.

Try an advanced course

There are various advanced and refresher courses you can take to help with building your confidence. The following are good options:

For people who have recently passed their test, PassPlus allows you to take additional driving lessons aimed at gaining driving experience to boost confidence. It may also help you get a discount on your car insurance.

IAM RoadSmart
This charity offers various courses to work on different skills, including boosting confidence, and on-road skills.

Refresher lessons
If you just want to have a couple of lessons to go over any areas you’re not quite confident with, you can contact your driving instructor for a few refresher lessons, with no long-term commitment.


Remember, practice makes perfect


Other things you can do

Check your route before starting
Over-dependence on the satnav can cause anxiety and distraction from the road, so take a look at the route before leaving.

Focus on yourself
Other drivers can be a source of stress or worry. Try to ignore pushy or aggressive drivers and focus on you without becoming distracted.

"P" plates
These tell others you are a new driver and may encourage them to give you space and be patient.



Other things you can do