Being afraid of driving for the first time is not unusual, but there are things you can do to feel more confident. To prepare, learn how to deal with things that may come up on the road and learn more about the car you are going to drive. Adjust car settings before driving and make sure there are no distractions. To relax, have a friend go with you in the car and support you. Also, drive during the day to ensure you have the best visibility.
Method 1 of 3: Acquire knowledge related to driving
Step 1. Learn the tasks related to driving
Before driving for the first time, be sure to learn all the driving-related tasks that can come up when you're behind the wheel. Being prepared for these possibilities will lessen some of the concerns and uncertainties about driving. These tasks should include:
- pour gasoline
- change a tire
- start a car
- add windshield washer fluid
Step 2. Know your car
Before you drive, learn all you can about the vehicle you will be driving so you can feel in control. Read the manual of the car to know its characteristics, where the things are located and how they can be operated. Sit in the driver's seat and find all the basic controls, like the lights, turn signal, horn, and pedals.
Step 3. Ask your friends and family to tell you their stories and give you advice
To decrease your anxiety about driving for the first time, ask your friends and family to tell you about the first time they drove. Ask them if they were nervous about the experience and how they dealt with it. Ask them for advice on how to best handle your first driving experience.
Step 4. Plan the route
To avoid too much stress while driving, plan your route before getting behind the wheel. Choose areas in which you feel comfortable and that you know very well. Go to streets where traffic is minimal so you can drive carefully without having to deal with impatient drivers.
Method 2 of 3: Adjust some details on the car
Step 1. Adjust the position of your seat
Before driving, take the time to adjust the driver's seat to make sure your feet hit the pedals comfortably. Sit up straight and make sure you have one heel on the floor and the ball of the other foot pressing down on the pedals. Make sure you are comfortable with the seating position to ensure you ride with confidence.
Make sure your knees are not too bent when sitting upright, as this can affect your ability to properly operate the pedals while riding
Step 2. Adjust the mirrors
It is essential that you adjust your mirrors before driving. Look at the center mirror and adjust it so that you can see the entire rear window from the driver's seat. Adjust each of the side mirrors so that you can barely see the car when you lean in the direction of the mirror.
To check your mirror settings before you drive, sit with your car parked and watch passing cars appear in your mirrors
Step 3. Eliminate distractions
Turn off your phone or put it on silent to prevent incoming calls, texts or alarms that startle you. Avoid driving with someone who could distract or annoy you. Leave the radio or iPod off to keep a clear head on the road.
Step 4. Regulate the temperature
Adjust the temperature in the car before you start driving. If the heat or air conditioning is too high while you are driving, it can throw you off the road. Avoid messing with the climate settings when driving to prevent a possible accident.
Method 3 of 3: Decrease Anxiety
Step 1. Take a deep, relaxing breath
To relax and focus more before driving, take a moment to do a breathing exercise. Breathe deeply and slowly, hold your breath for about four seconds, and then slowly expel the air through your mouth. Repeat the exercise four times until you feel calmer.
Step 2. Have a close friend or family member in the car
To ease your anxiety a bit, choose someone you trust to be your passenger when you first drive. Ask a close friend or family member who is a good driver to accompany you so they can guide you through the experience. Avoid choosing someone who causes you stress or is impatient, as this can make the experience difficult.
Step 3. Avoid driving at night
Driving at night can be difficult due to poor visibility. Avoid night driving when it's your first time behind the wheel and instead choose to drive during the day, when people, signs, and other cars are clearly visible. Wait until you feel more comfortable driving to do it when it's dark out there.
Step 4. Drive outside of rush hours
To decrease stress, choose to drive during a time of day or week when there is little traffic. Opt to drive in the middle of the week rather than on the weekend, when there are many more cars on the road and there is a higher risk of accidents. If possible, drive in the middle of the week during the day, when there is less risk of accidents.