The Best 5 Tips for New Anxious Drivers

The Best 5 Tips for New Anxious Drivers

The first time behind the wheel can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. Experiencing this newfound freedom can be overwhelming, causing most first-time drivers to feel nervous. Here are five tips for nervous first-time drivers to help ease your mind and boost self-confidence.

Begin by Making a Relaxed Environment 

Remember to start your first driving experience in a low-traffic area you are familiar with, such as an empty parking lot or a quiet residential side street. Then, gradually move on to busier traffic. Practicing the vehicle’s various functions in a low-pressure environment can help you feel more comfortable and in control.

Read More: How To Reduce Anxiety If You’re A Nervous Driver

Take it Slow and Easy.

It’s essential to take your time when learning to drive. Start by mastering the basics comfortably: practice smooth acceleration and deceleration, proper use of mirrors, and safe turning. Driving slowly allows you to react to unexpected situations and will help you gain confidence. Remember, moving slowly but steadily and keeping your nerves is better than rushing and making mistakes. As you gain experience, you can gradually increase your speed.


Stay and Breathe

It’s normal to feel nervous as a new driver, but staying calm is crucial. If you start to feel overwhelmed, take a few deep breaths to steady your nerves. A quiet mindset will help you think clearly and make better decisions on the road. Remember that everyone was a beginner once, and making mistakes is part of learning. If you feel too anxious, it’s okay to pull over to a safe spot and take a moment to regroup.

Defensive Driving 

Defensive driving involves anticipating potential hazards and responding safely to protect yourself. Keep a close watch on the road and maintain a greater following distance than expected. Avoid distractions and focus on accident prevention. Stay alert to other drivers and pedestrians. This approach can help you feel more confident and in control on the road.

Get Professional Help

A professional driving course is an excellent option for new drivers who feel nervous. An experienced instructor can provide valuable advice, teach safe driving techniques, and offer helpful feedback. These lessons typically cover highway driving, city navigation, and handling inclement weather, giving you a well-rounded experience. Additionally, having a skilled instructor by your side can help reduce the stress of learning to drive.

More Driving Tips to Consider

While those above are the core of driving confidence, a few extra suggestions that should be carried in the back of your mind include:

Get to Know Your Vehicle: Take some time to acquaint yourself with your car’s various controls and features. The functions of adjusting mirrors, operating the headlights, and using windshield wipers can prepare you for many eventualities. 

Set Realistic Goals: Break the learning process into baby steps. Feel free to celebrate small victories, such as mastering parking or successfully getting through that busy intersection. 

Drive During Off-Peak Hours: Start driving during off-peak hours to avoid being with or in heavy traffic congestion. As your confidence grows, challenge yourself by slowly driving in less-than-ideal conditions. 

Seek Support from Other Veteran Drivers: Where it is possible, take them along as you practice. They will give you good tips, allay your fears, and guide you in challenging situations. 


Confidence in driving comes with time, patience, and practice. Start in an accessible location and take it step by step while keeping yourself composed, practicing good defensive-driving techniques, and seeking professional help. All experienced drivers were once at the point where you are right now. With diligence and persistence, you will soon drive confidently through the streets. Drive safely!

David Cook
Certified Instructor, NV DMV

David Cook was raised in the State of Oregon and graduated the University of Oregon with a bachelor’s and master’s in music education. David moved to California and taught music in the public schools for several years and then moved…Read More