person running on road street cliff during golden hour

First timers on the road: Reducing nerves

It can be very nerve wrecking for a first time driver on the road. Many first time drivers suffer from nervousness and get anxious about driving, particularly at night, in new places or when the weather is bad. For any first time driver this can be very stressful and mean you have lower confidence in your abilities.

When fear strikes

There are a few things you can do to combat your fear of driving. The problem isn’t so much really the driving, but the other motorists on the road that give you a fright. What if you bump into them? What if they start hooting because you actually need to stop at a stop sign, and then do a full observation? It’s the longest five seconds of your life and you’ll find that people are very unsympathetic to those who have to apply their K53 rules.

Getting over the fear

When you feel anxiety looming around the corner, breathe slowly and deeply to regulate the flow of oxygen through the body. A paper bag can be used if panic attacks occur. By regulating the breathing you will feel more calm and in control.

Getting over the fear will get easier the more you practice, which you’ll want to do in a quiet area. Find quiet side streets or an empty parking lot and get used to starting, stopping, signalling, turning, reversing, and so on. You will basically be learning to control your vehicle and to find the controls. With no one else around, you won’t have to worry about traffic or other drivers. As a first time driver you can stick to cheap pre owned cars in South Africa to practice on, this way you’ll know for sure that you won’t feel bad for damaging a brand new car. As you gain more confidence, ease your way up slowly onto driving on busier and longer roads.

Familiarise your road rules

Refresh your memory by browsing through your K53 rule book. It provides guidelines on right of way, road signs, traffic law, and contains tips for safe driving. If the following happens to you on the road, don’t panic.

Tailgaters: If the motorist behind you is right on your bumper, tap the brakes a few times to indicate to the driver that he’s not maintaining a safe distance. If he stays on your tail, gradually slow down. There is a great chance that the tailgater will eventually pass you.

Speedsters: If you see a car speeding or aggressively changing lanes behind you, stay in your lane while maintaining your speed.

Drive the way you are supposed to and follow the rules of the road. Also, bear in mind that not everyone who drives a vehicle is a good driver, watch out for them too. The only thing holding you back from being a good driver is your nerves. Chill. You got this.

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