Do your fears control you?
Watching the recent Winter Olympics has made me think; do these athletes have any fears? Can you imagine going down a hill as fast as possible with only a helmet on? I’m not a skier, but just the thought of flying down the hill gives me goose bumps. If they started out in their sport having a few fears, what did they do to overcome them? Do you have similar fears while driving? Do they hold you back from doing the things you really want to do?
Year after year I get very nervous students that I’m teaching to drive. For most of them, it’s the fear of the unknown that sets them off. Sometimes, it’s the fear of crashing that worries them the most. Once we do whatever they fear the most, the fear of doing it gets removed. I call that success.
I once had a student who was so fearful of driving along the freeway that she refused to do it. Since it was part of the program at Young Drivers of Canada, I urged her to give it a try. I also assured her that if, after 10 minutes of freeway driving that she still didn’t like it, that I would take over and we wouldn’t drive there any longer. She reluctantly agreed to it. As we approached her 10 minutes of freeway driving, she said she felt okay and would continue driving along at the higher speed. She conquered her fears! I was proud of her.
So, what driving fears do you have? What have you done to conquer them? Taking a few lessons from a professional instructor will help, but if you refuse to change, you’ll still have those fears. A lot of the fears we believe we hold, have built up over time and aren’t really as bad as we make them out to be. I’ve heard drivers tell me how they fear turning left at a set of traffic lights. They prefer to make three right turns instead of making that left turn. It works, but what if they couldn’t make those three right turns because of the way the city was laid out? Wouldn’t that add to their anxiety? What if they learned how to safely turn left at lights? Wouldn’t that help them feel better?
As mean as it sounds, I often have to trick my students to drive away their fears. I ask them to make certain turns so we can end up at specific areas of the city. This allows me to get them into the areas that they fear; such as one way streets. For the most part, I get the chance to show them that it’s never as bad as they think it is. Our minds do play a big role with influencing our feelings and decisions.
My advice; tackle your driving fears head on. Don’t let them rule your life. Who knows, maybe you’ll learn to enjoy them.