Do you struggle with nerves and find it hard to keep calm during or before your lessons? We have partnered with industry-leading expert Diane Hall to scope out her best tips for squashing those nerves.
Nerves are normal and we all experience them from time to time, but sadly they can affect some people more than others. Below you’ll find some great advice and tips on how to make sure that driving test nerves don’t ruin your chances of achieving a first-time pass!
Many instructors are incredibly supportive when you are learning to drive. Some are even trained in techniques to help learners who suffer driving anxiety and test day nerves. If you typically get stressed or nervous then discuss with your instructor how you are feeling.
Even if you don’t think you are a nervous person, this advice can still help you, along with resources that have been specially developed to help you with your driving.
People often recommend that you talk to friends and family about your nerves and ask them for advice. This may be beneficial but bear in mind that what works best for one person, may not work for another.
Driving Test Success has a friendly online community where you can interact with thousands of other learner drivers who are all in the same position as you. Ask questions, share stories and offer advice today. Join their group here!
Four things affect your ability to pass your test and become a calm, confident, and safe driver. Your Behaviours, Emotions, Sensations and Thoughts. If any of these are negative, then no matter how good a driver you are, you may sabotage your chance of success on your driving test.
Rescue Remedy and Kalms can be beneficial for some people and can help to ‘take the edge off’ if you have a few butterflies in your stomach on the day of your test. However, if you do experience more anxiety and nerves than a few butterflies, then you will require additional resources to help you. Remember to read the labels on anything that you take and ensure that it is safe to drive whilst taking it. Some remedies can be taken on the day, whereas others need to be taken for several weeks.
Search for ‘bananas and anxiety’, and you will find an awful lot of information from the fact that bananas contain a very small amount of tryptophan, which converts into serotonin, the ‘happy hormone’, through to bananas preventing adrenalin from binding to beta receptors which slow nerve impulses to the heart, counteracting the effects of adrenalin to lower the heart rate. All very scientific! What they don’t often say is that you generally need a whole bunch of them to achieve anything.
There are similar articles about everything from chewing gum and dark chocolate to kiwi fruit and fatty fish.
Do you like bananas, dark chocolate, and chewing gum? If so, great, but don’t rely on them to cure you of your test nerves!
You may have heard of the fight, flight and freeze response. Adrenalin is responsible for flight and fight; wanting to get out of any situation as quickly as possible. This may be speeding through your theory questions and hazard perception, through to rushing at junctions on your driving test. Cortisol is responsible for the freeze response. This may be during your theory test when your mind goes blank, and you experience brain fog, or on your driving test, when you stop at junctions when it’s clear to go. Cortisol can prevent you from performing a particular manoeuvre, even though you’ve done it perfectly many times with your instructor.
Although it sounds so simple, correct breathing can have a massive effect on controlling your test nerves. When you are anxious, you will generally breathe fast, shallow breaths, and this creates cortisol, which can cause brain fog. This shuts down your processing skills… something that you really don’t need on your driving test!
When you are nervous, the first thing that most people tell you to do is to ‘calm down and take a deep breath’. This sounds so simple, but it very rarely works! The most important thing to do is to BREATHE OUT first to get rid of the carbon dioxide.
Driving Test Tip: Use a technique called Box Breathing. This will help to calm you down; remember you can’t have a panic attack if you’re breathing calmly.
1. Breathe out
2. Breathe in for four seconds
3. Hold your breath for four seconds
4. Breathe out for four seconds
5. Hold your breath for four seconds.
6. Repeat this several times.
This will have the effect of bringing your breathing under control by reducing the level of cortisol in your body. This will enable you to think clearly, rather than experience brain fog. It will also release the tension in your body, so you don’t experience things like shaky legs, sweating or gripping the steering wheel!
Do you want amazingly effective techniques to control your test nerves?
This course has helped thousands of learner drivers to remain calm, relaxed and confident for both their theory and practical tests. The techniques in the course are so effective that they are used to treat soldiers with P.T.S.D. and are even used by Virgin Airways for passengers who have a fear of flying. The techniques are incredibly fast and effective, taking as little as two minutes.
You can use the techniques not just for your tests, but anytime when you experience negative emotions such as nerves, stress, fear, anxiety, overwhelm, dread, intimidation, embarrassment and any other negative emotion you can think of!