Being involved in a car accident can turn your world upside down. For those lucky enough to walk away unharmed, their next thought goes to repairs – and the inevitable inconvenience factor. It’s easy to get caught up with the administrative headaches like checking coverage, managing repairs, or figuring out how to replace a vehicle and not address the psychological impact of the car accident.
Getting driving confidence back after a car accident may seem like a daunting task. It is natural to be scared to drive after an accident, but it’s important to face that fear and learn how to drive again after a car accident.
Get behind the wheel
After an accident, it’s common to be hesitant to drive again. However, the longer you wait to get back behind the wheel, the more pressure you’ll be putting on yourself. While it’s important to allow yourself time to heal and overcome the shock of the accident, don’t let too much time elapse before you return to driving.
Drive in a safe area
Once you’re ready to get back behind the wheel, it’s important to choose the right place to start. Choose a route that’s familiar to you — preferably a low-speed area with minimal traffic — and give yourself time to get your groove back. Don’t make your first drive after an accident a high-anxiety commute. You want to give yourself every opportunity for success. Start small and ease back into it.
Consider a defensive driving course
Defensive driving courses provide useful tips and potential insurance incentives, and they can also help you get your confidence back after a collision. A supplemental driving course will help you brush up on basic driving techniques. You will review traffic procedures and gain more insight into being a courteous driver while avoiding dangerous driving situations.
Driving requires you to pay attention to many things at once, which can be stressful. During high-anxiety driving moments, it’s easy to forget that all the cars around you have drivers who are probably just as anxious as you. Defensive driving courses offer clarity. They can help you to manage your emotions while driving, which can be helpful if you’re scared to drive after an accident.
If it’s not just nerves
There’s nothing wrong with experiencing anxiety after a car accident. It’s a natural response to an intense and stressful situation. For some, however, the anxiety can become unmanageable.
If you are reliving the accident, feeling intense anxiety, or having nightmares about the accident, you may be experiencing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A counselor or therapist can assess whether you are actually suffering from PTSD and may help you work through these feelings. Simply discussing the accident with a professional may help ease your distress. A therapist can offer tips on how to deal with car accident trauma, personalized methods for combatting your fear, and guidance for how to move on from a car accident .