Many individuals face challenges when it comes to feeling confident and relaxed behind the wheel. However, with targeted strategies and practice, you can overcome your driving anxiety and build the necessary skills to navigate any road, including the motorway.

Motorway madness

In this article, our advanced driving instructors provide their tips tailored to nervous drivers, specifically addressing concerns about motorway driving.

  1. Exposure

    If motorways trigger anxiety, start gradually and build up driving time as you feel more comfortable. Begin with short journeys or sections of the motorway that you find less intimidating. As you gain confidence, increase your exposure to longer stretches and more challenging scenarios. This step-by-step approach will allow you to familiarise yourself with motorway driving while maintaining a sense of control and building your comfort level.

  2. Plan your journey

    One of the keys to managing anxiety on the motorway is planning ahead. Before setting off, familiarise yourself with the route, including junctions and exits. Having a clear understanding of where you’re going will reduce uncertainty and contribute to a calmer experience. Try using navigation apps or devices that provide real-time traffic updates to avoid unexpected delays or diversions which can heighten anxiety.

  3. Defensive driving

    Adopting defensive driving techniques is particularly important on the motorway. Maintain a safe following distance, allowing enough space to react to sudden braking or lane changes by other vehicles. Stay vigilant, constantly scanning the road ahead and checking your mirrors for potential hazards. By actively observing and anticipating traffic patterns, you’ll feel more in control and prepared to handle any situation.

  4. Get additional instruction

    If your anxiety persists, consider taking additional instruction or an advanced driving course. Lanes’ professional instructors provide specialised guidance tailored to specific motorway concerns. Our extra-long motorway lessons can help you develop strategies for managing anxiety, enhance your motorway driving skills, and build your confidence as a driver.

  5. Relax

    When anxiety strikes employ relaxation techniques to regain composure. Deep breathing exercises can help calm your mind and relax your body. Take slow, deep breaths, and exhale gradually. Visualise yourself driving confidently and smoothly on the motorway. Combined with breathing exercises, positive visualisation can help alleviate anxiety and reframe your mindset.

  6. Challenging scenarios

    To build confidence, gradually expose yourself to more challenging motorway scenarios. This may include merging onto busy motorways, changing lanes in heavy traffic, or navigating complex interchanges. By taking small steps and gradually pushing your comfort zone, you’ll expand your skills and reduce anxiety over time.

Smart motorways

The new smart motorways are a big red-flag for nervous – and experienced – drivers alike, and the government has now halted their roll-out to review safety concerns. However, there are many miles of smart motorway already in place across the UK, so it’s vital drivers get to grips with how to use them. Before setting off, watch one of the many online driving tutorials, this one by the RAC offers particularly simple explanations and very clear instructions for dealing with the new signage and variable options. Our instructors take great care of nervous drivers and are always happy to offer lessons on smart motorways.

Remember, it’s just a journey, and with persistence, practice, and the right strategies, you can conquer your anxiety and will eventually enjoy going on longer trips to many of the exciting destinations made accessible by modern motorways. Embrace the learning process and enjoy the journey to becoming a skilled driver.