I’ve written about becoming a more confident driver before and had an overwhelming response from people who are lacking confidence behind the wheel.
I use to be a nervous driver, I hated it but I’ve come on leaps and bounds in the last few years simply because I had to drive more. I’m now actively seeking out way to improve and I wanted to share that with you.
If you’re still nervous whenever you’re on the road, read my original post on driving with confidence first.
Once you’re confident on the road, you’ll no doubt want to continue that forward momentum so I want to touch on some of the things you can do to continue your improvement and become the kind of driver who is ready to tackle any kind of situation.
What situations are you still nervous about?
Even when I became confident to drive in the city, on motorways or in new places, there were still some situations that I avoided because they made me nervous. Most notably these were snow and driving in foreign countries (on the ‘wrong’ side of the road).
Just in the same way you overcame your fear of driving by getting out there and doing it, you need to do the same here. I’m not saying go out for a drive the next time there’s a blizzard but think about what it is about those situations that make you nervous.
Make plans to tackle those nerves
So, you’re worried about driving in snow? Is it because you’re worried you’ll lose control of the car and skid? Well, the first step is learning just what to do in that situation. Book yourself onto a skid pan course and the professionals there will take you through how to handle a car when there’s a lack of grip, such as when it’s icy.
The next step is to now worry about the drive your on if it starts to snow. Most of the time, in the UK at least, a little snow falling from the sky is unlikely to affect the roads. If it does start to snow when you’re out driving, keep calm, slow down and don’t make any sudden movements such as sharp braking or turning.
If you’re worried about driving on the other side of the road my only advice is to do it. It’s really not that bad.
Tips for driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road
My first experience of driving on the right was when I took my right hand drive (RHD) Punto into Europe. This is probably the best place to start. Take a car you know and travel with a friend who can be a second set of eyes for those new blindspots that come with driving RHD on the right.
If you’re really nervous, let a more experienced friend take the wheel first so you can get used to new road layouts. Make it your turn to hop in the car on a quieter road but don’t shy away from making a variety of different manoeuvres.
Build up as you did when you first started driving but don’t feel afraid to throw yourself in the deep end and tackle driving in a town or city.
Also, don’t worry about the larger roads such as highways, motorways, autobahns etc. This is the easiest part of driving on the right. (At least, it is if you’re already confident on big roads in your home country.)
Once you’re used to a familiar car, you’re probably ready to drive a left hand drive car in Europe, the US or anywhere else they drive on the right. Go for automatic to begin with if you prefer but driving a manual car with the gear stick on your right isn’t a difficult as you might think, it just takes some getting used to. I did this in a 460bhp Corvette in the States and I’d still happily drive that car every day in any situation.
Practice, practice, practice
Throw yourself into all sorts of new driving situations, you’ve already proved to yourself that you can handle it by getting this far. Use your car as a tool to explore amazing new places and don’t be afraid to drive into the centre of a new city.
I’ve been lucky in that I got the chance to drive the entirety of Route 57 where I had to drive into each city on the route. It’s amazing how desensitised you become to a new city experience when you’re doing two every day for three weeks!
Choose the path less travelled
If you see a parking space you can easily pull into, don’t. Choose a slightly trickier space and park there. Doing this will hone your manoeuvring skills, something a lot of less confident drivers struggle with. I take every opportunity to reverse bay park now because that was always my weakness and it’s helped in with other moves such as parallel parking and general reversing.
Once again, I hope this helps some of you on the path to becoming the most confident driver you can be.
How are you progressing your driving skills now you have a bit of confidence?