A fear of the driving test is pretty normal. The driving test itself is generally percieved as being one of the most important milestones in ones life. It represents freedom from reliance on lifts from others and public transport. It opens up new horizons far and wide across the local area, the country and the world as a whole. So, there’s no wonder that the fear of driving tests is so common.
There’s a big difference between feeling a litle nervous and anxious (that’s completely normal), and fear or phobia. Fear of the driving test is more of an acute fear than a phobia. It can however be related to both Vehophobia, also known as the fear of driving and Testophobia which is the fear of tests and exams.
If the thought of the impending driving test is causing you stress and worry. Maybe the fear is keeping you awake at night? If you think you’re going to fail because your nerves will get the better of you on the day. Or if you fear the driving test so much you’re thinking of cancelling it or not turning up then you need to take action.
The Fear Of Driving Tests
You’ve taken all the lessons and you’ve done all the practice. You know what to do, you know you can drive and your instructor thinks you’re ready to be let loose on the open road. Before this can happen there’s just one small thing that stands in your way … the driving test.
All the experience, all the learning and all the practice counts for nothing – it’s what happens during the test that makes the difference between pass and fail. So, despite the fact that you know you can drive, it’s impossible to feel totally confident about taking the actual driving test. This makes you feel nervous and of course, the more nervous you are, the more likely you are to actually make mistakes – so it’s a Catch-22 situation.
The driving test is a practical examination of your ability to drive. So, all the attention is focused on you – it’s a test of your aptitude where every little detail is scrutinised.
It’s difficult to fully prepare as unexpected and unpredictable things could happen because of other drivers, road users or pedestrians. This means you have to remember everything that you’ve learnt, put it all into practice and also concentrate on the environment and be ready for anything! No wonder it’s a scary experience.
Everyone is going to be a little nervous but for some the fear of driving tests, and driving in general, becomes intense, irrational, and persistent. It’s this intense fear of the driving test which is known as vehophobia and it needs addressing or you’re never going to pass.
Causes Of Driving Test Anxiety
A person can develop intense panic for driving tests due to one or more of the following reasons:
Not Enough Practice
A new driver can learn a lot of theory about driving a car and excel at the written test. However, theoretical knowledge is not enough to become a good driver. It’s necessary to practice and be prepared for many different situations, another way, the student driver will likely be nervous every time it gets in front of the wheel. You need to feel confidence in your ability to drive.
People prone to anxiety and stress are more susceptible to vehophobia. The stress levels start to rise and become almost impossible to control when the driving test is about to start. This condition might have its origin due to a personal event that took place when they were younger.
People can develop a fear of the driving test by legging negative thoughts constantly cross their minds. These thoughts often refer to other drivers or even themselves believing they will not know how to react when faced with a particular situation.
Insecurity Or Low Self-Esteem
Insecure people usually think they are worse drivers in comparison to others, or they might be sensitive to critics. The insecurity could translate into fear of performing their driving test. Again, it’s important to handle the fear since the beginning, as it can harm the self-esteem of the student driver even more.
Symptoms Of A Fear Of The Driving Test
We all associate the driving test with nervousness. But there are good nerves and bad!
Good Driving Test Nerves
Liken it to a sports star going out to play the big game or a pop star about to go on stage in front of thousands of fans. Do you think that these people don’t get nervous? We all get nervous when facing major events in our lives. It’s the body’s natural way of givving us an extra shot of adreneline and it’s this that gives us the extra focus and determination whichw ill help us through.
Bad Driving Test Nerves
The nerves that aren’t going to help us here are the ones that cause the “fight or flight” or acute response. These can increase heart rate, cause sweating, an increase in blood pressure, shallow breathing, panic attacks and a loss of concentration.
When it comes to the symptoms of driving test phobia we can differentiate three specific categories: cognitive, observable, and physiological.
Cognitive symptoms include worry, fear, insecurity, negative thoughts, apprehension, danger anticipation, and difficulty to focus and take decisions.
Among these are found nervousness, irratic and unorganized movements, and avoiding the driving test completely.
The most important symptoms featuring in this category are accelerated pulse, choking feeling, muscular tension, shaking, sweating and dizziness, suffocation, stomach discomfort, fatigue, and chest tightness.
Overall, the symptoms will often be similar to those of a fear of failure. Physical symptoms will include such things as; rapid heart rate, difficulties breathing, chest pain, dizzyness, digestive problems, sweating and difficulty relaxing or sleeping. Emotional symptoms can include; anxiety or panic, the need to escape the fear by avoiding the test, feeling powerless over fear, low self-esteem and feeling that you have lost the control.
It’s vital that you address any fear of driving tests to help you prepare and to maximise your chances of passing.
Overcome Your Fear Of The Driving Test
Popular treatments involve relaxation techniques during the test and behavior therapy. To overcome the fear of driving tests the most important is to build confidence and to familiarize yourself with basic maneuvers.
The following methods could help drivers overcoming fear of driving tests. An anxious driver could engage in one or more of these methods at the same time with the goal of reducing the panic feeling before and during a driving test.
Additional Driving Practice
More practice will only make a better and more confident driver. Practicing until feeling comfortable behind the wheel is essential to avoid feeling afraid for the test.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
This type of talk therapy can bring positive results in a short time. CBT teaches people new ways to behave against difficult situations, often by creating new thought patterns that help reduce anxiety.
Hire A Specialized Teacher
There are driving teachers with extensive knowledge about how to deal with the fear of performing the driving test. This way, nerves and insecurities won’t affect the person during the test.
It’s crucial to feel calm and confident, and also feeling understood when making a mistake while driving. Hypnosis helps maintain a positive attitude during the learning process and to face the driving test in the best way. It can help calm the mind to give you focus, concentration and a clear view of the situation.
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