There’s a chapter in my book about driving anxiety that focuses on fear of motorway driving, and it’s the part of the book that people ask me about the most.
Fear of motorway driving is a sub-section of driving anxiety. You could be perfectly happy pootling about your local area, driving the kids to school or on your daily commute. But motorways are another issue, despite the fact that statistically they are the safest roads to drive on.
However, they are definitely not impossible to crack. I once had a fear of driving so bad that I didn’t drive at all for seven years. And then this week I spent many hours driving up and down the UK’s motorways. With two children to deliver to wildly distant universities and two car-loads of belongings to transport, there was nothing for it but a major road trip.
And you know what, I actually enjoyed it. I never thought I would say that, but life is full of plot twists, isn’t it?
These are some of the things that helped me overcome fear of motorway driving:
I talk in the book about the amazing mood-altering properties of music, and how the right soundtrack can help you feel happier about driving. Essentially, you want a playlist of songs that bring you joy, so that you’ll then take that joy with you into the car. I now have a carefully-curated driving playlist. I only listen to it in the car, and every song lifts me up and/or calms me down. Your playlist will be different to mine, but if you want some inspiration for songs to include, here it is.
I know it’s kind of basic, but sucking on sweeties when you drive brings just enough distraction to make a big difference. By engaging several of your senses at once – taste, touch and smell – it takes your focus away from the fear. I favour strong mints and/or peanut M&Ms. Look, I know you might be rolling your eyes on this one but trust me, it works.
- Self-care before driving
A decent night’s sleep the night before a big drive; no alcohol and very little caffeine in the 24 hours before; a filling breakfast in the morning – they’ll all help.
- Driving an automatic
A couple of years ago we switched over to an automatic, and it’s really made a difference because it makes the act of driving that much simpler.
And don’t forget that a driving instructor will quite happily do a few motorway-only lessons with you.
It’s not impossible.
It is doable.
I believe in you.
Have you experienced fear of motorway driving? What has helped you? Leave a comment
image credit: Pexels Lisa