Driving can be very stressful, especially under tough weather conditions. It is hard enough for skilled drivers to drive a car in winter, snow or foggy weather but if you are new to driving, this becomes even more difficult. Not knowing how to drive properly under extreme weather conditions results in hundreds of accidents every year. Moreover, stress isn’t limited to weather condition only.
Being on the road with thousands of other vehicles is in itself very frustrating. That is why, it is important to be prepared for bad weather before driving. Here are some important things which will teach you how to get confidence in driving that everyone should consider before going out on the road.
How to Get Confidence in Driving Under Stress
Stress is a very real part of the driving process. Drivers should not be afraid of it. However, that doesn’t mean that they need to submit to it either. It is important to know what causes stress while driving so you can tackle it and become a good driver.
Possible Factors that lead to Stress
Here are some possible factors that lead to stress during driving. In order to learn how to get confidence in driving under stressful conditions you first need to identify what is causing the stress.
- Road Construction: Unexpected road blockage or construction can cause a significant amount of stress in drivers. It is always recommended that you check the roads and possible alternatives before heading out.
- Unfamiliar Roads or Being Lost: Another major reason for stress is being lost or ending up in an unfamiliar place. Again, it is important that you download the map and check the routes of your destination before starting the drive.
- Rush Hour: Rush hour and being stuck in the traffic is probably the most common stressful condition. All, bad or good drivers identify with it. It is also the biggest reason for road rage. Moreover, a lot of accidents happen during rush hour because people are trying to rush pass each other and cut other drivers off.
- Distracting Passengers: Having kids, pets or other loud and annoying passengers in the car also contributes significantly to the stress of the driver. It is important that you know how to deal with distracting passengers while driving.
- Road Rage: Other drivers can also feel road rage. They can express their anger and frustration by violating traffic laws or driving recklessly. It is also common for stressed out drivers to honk repeatedly and make rude gestures at others.
- Bad Weather: Unexpected weather conditions especially in winters such as rainstorm, thunderstorm, snowstorm etc. are also a leading cause of stress in drivers. In winters, especially, it is essential for drivers to be prepared for the worst before hitting the road. Even the best driving roads are not immune to bad weather condition.
5 Tips to become a Good Driver in Stressful Situations
Now that you know what factors can lead to stressful driving, it is time to learn how to cope with them. Here are the top 5 tips any driver should know that teaches them how to get confidence in driving in frustrating conditions.
1. Cool Off before getting into the Car
First thing first, never drive a car if you’re already angry, stressed out, or frustrated. There are more chances of you driving recklessly and possibly getting into an accident because of unchecked emotional state. That is why, you need to cool off before getting into the car. Take a few moments to calm yourself down before driving. You can do so by focusing on your breathing for a while.
2. Patience is the key
Even if you’re calm on the road, there is no guarantee that it will stay the same. Other drivers can be frustrated and take it out on neighboring cars. This includes saying rude things, making rude gestures, cutting off cars, changing lanes constantly, tailgating, etc. However, the trick here is to stay calm and show patience. Do not let them ruin your mood and losing your cool. This makes you a better driver than them and boosts your confidence in driving.
3. Maintain a Distance from other Vehicles
One major reason for stress and anxiety in drivers is tailgating. Tailgating means following a car to close the and not maintaining a proper distance. Having a car constantly on your back makes a driver anxious about possible collision. That’s why, it is important to maintain a proper distance from other vehicles on the road. Doing this not only prevents anxiety but also keeps you safe.
4. Do Not Respond to Road Rage
Again, responding to road rage of other drivers is just going to make the situation worse. The best thing a good driver does when someone showcases road rage is mind their own business and be patient. Signs of road rage also include tailgating, yelling, honking a lot, angry gestures, blocking other cars from changing lanes and cutting off other vehicles on purpose. Teenagers are more susceptible to showing road rage. Therefore, it is important for parents to train their teens to be safe drivers.
5. Don’t Bother Confronting other Drivers
When you are faced with the above mentioned scenario, it is not uncommon for people to lose their cool as well. Most drivers will get angry too and get out of the car to confront the other driver. However, it is not worth it. You will end up causing a scene and delaying the traffic even more. Not to mention if the situation escalates into something bad it can cause a fight, harming people on the scene as well as yourself.
How to Get Confidence in Driving under Tough Weather Conditions
So, we have explained some simple ways to cope with stressful conditions while driving. But if the stress is caused by bad weather, the dealing methods are changed entirely. In order to deal with bad weather conditions, you need to be prepared and stay alert. Here are some things that can help you improve your driving during tough weather conditions.
Prepare your Car for Bad Weather
Preparing your car appropriately to drive during bad weather is the most important part here. Make sure to check these things before hitting the road. When you learn how to drive a car, these things should be included in the lesson.
1. Inspecting Windshield wipers
Windshield wipers ensure that you have a clear view of the road ahead. If your windshield wipers are broken or not working properly it is going to cost you a lot of stress and damage on the road.
2. Servicing your car
Different kinds of weather conditions require special additions to the car. If you want to drive a car in the snow, it is necessary to have the proper gear or chains installed on the tires. Similarly, be it rainy weather or extremely hot weather, your car needs to be serviced accordingly.
3. Keeping an Emergency kit
Even if you have your car serviced according to the weather you can still face an emergency situation. Always make sure to keep an emergency kit with you. It can include road flares, shovels, jumper cables, extra tires, etc.
4. Cleaning the headlight covers
This is one thing that most people ignore but it is extremely important. Headlight covers can become dirty and foggy over time, diminishing their glow. This can make your car headlights difficult to see under bad weather. That’s why make sure to clean the headlight covers.
Keep the Speed Slow
This tip is the most significant one and comes in handy regardless of what kind of that whether you are facing. Keep the speed of your car slow then the suggested speed limit. It is a bad idea to drive a car at fast speed during tough weather. Keeping the speed low not only gives you more time to react to other drivers but it also keeps you more in control of the car.
In Case of Skidding, Turn the Car in the Direction of Skid
Skidding is very common under bad weather. Most of the cars are in danger of skidding in winters. Skidding makes you lose control of the car and cause dangerous accidents. To prevent this, you need to turn the car in the direction of the skid. Do not try to press the brakes or the accelerator. Simply, turn in the direction your car is skidding. This gives you some control over your car and hopefully prevents a fatal collision.
Always Beware of Black Ice
Black ice refers to a very thin sheet of Crystal clear ice on the road in winters. Black ice is dangerous because it cannot be seen through naked eyes. Drivers do not even have time to prepare before the car goes out of control and result in a fatal accident. That is why you need to beware of black ice. Keeping the speed slow and paying attention to the road ahead is the key here.
Make Sure to Use Fog Lights
Another thing that makes driving really stressful is fog. The visibility level drops to almost zero in foggy weather. It is advisable to not drive in a situation like this. However, if you must then make sure to use fog lights. Fog lights are yellow and thus more visible through the dense fog.
In conclusion, it is impossible to completely avoid stressful situations while driving on the road. What you can do is to learn how to cope with them and be prepared to handle certain scenarios. This not only makes you a good driver but also teaches you how to get confidence in driving under stress.
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