Last Updated on August 27, 2021

Everyone has experienced that dreaded feeling of anxiety, whether your stomach sinks into an endless pit, or you’re drowning in a pool of sweat, we’ve all been there. Your practical driving test can often be one of those daunting scenarios that can cause your anxiety to spike. This article is not just going to provide you with tips that will help you overcome anxiety in your driving test, it will also provide you with tips that will help you overcome anxiety in your everyday life.

Sleep #1

There are many studies that prove lack of sleep can result in an increase of anxiety. If you’re a night owl, try going to bed earlier, remove blue light from your bedroom (turn off your TV and phone), avoid caffeine 8 hours before you plan on going to sleep and be active throughout the day. Sleep is proven to limit the levels of anxiety, and the last thing you would want to be in your driving test is tired. So do yourself a favour and get a good night’s sleep to help you overcome the anxiety in your driving test.

Caffeine #2

It’s a cold crisp morning, your driving instructor is set to arrive in the next 30 minutes to pick you up for your test. Perfect time to have a coffee and get energized right? Wrong. I am aware this might confuse some people, however, caffeine is a common trigger for panic and anxiety attacks. Caffeine is a stimulant and is known to trigger the flight or fight response, this isn’t ideal when you’re in your driving test. You don’t have to quit coffee altogether, just reducing your caffeine intake caffeine has proven to help improve the feeling of anxiety.

Exercise #3

Exercise is one of the best things to do to reduce anxiety and help your mental health. Exercise will not only increase endorphins, making you more happy and relaxed, but it will help clear your head. I’m not suggesting you do a workout that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson would be proud of, but just doing some gentle exercise like having a 10-minute jog will calm your nerves and will give you a more positive mindset before entering your test.

Get Up Earlier #4

Getting up earlier isn’t necessarily going to reduce anxiety, but being late is definitely going to increase it. On the day of your test, be sure to leave plenty of time before you head out. Use that time to relax, clear your head and remember all the great advice your instructor has given you. There is nothing worse than rushing because you didn’t leave enough time.

Understand It Doesn’t Matter If You Fail #5

I know we all want to pass the first time, but sometimes the pressure of passing the first time increases anxiety. The last thing you need to do is add to your worries, sit back and relax, focus on the test and not on passing the first time. I made this mistake myself, I was so wrapped up in being the first person in my family to pass the first time, that I ended being the person who failed the most times (which is nothing to embarrassed about either because it doesn’t matter). In fact, 45.7% of young drivers pass their test first time.

overcome anxiety in your driving test
Relax and be positive!

Be Positive #6

This one is relatively simple yet can be so hard to remember. You’re sitting in the waiting room at the test centre, you’re jiggling your leg just to create some type of distraction but it isn’t changing the voice in your head saying “Am I going to fail?” Sometimes your parents and friends saying “you’ve got this” isn’t quite enough. When you’re waiting to take your test, change your thoughts into positive ones, this will remove the negative self-talk and will make you feel more positive.

Motivation #7

Motivation is a good way to change your mindset, although it can be hard to get motivated about taking a driving test. It’s unlikely that you want to take a test, nobody wants to. All you want is the end result of passing the test. But to overcome your anxiety in your driving test, you need to look at why you want to pass your test. It might be so that you could drive to the beach, or maybe you’ve had the car on your driveway ever since you turned 17, 2 years ago and you just want to drive on your own for the first time. Whatever your motivation is, think about what you want to do when you pass.

Acknowledge your mistakes and then ignore them #8

You will make small mistakes. If only 47% of people pass first time, think of how many people pass with no minors! If you brake a little too hard, stall or take a couple of attempts at a manoeuvre, just acknowledge the mistake, breathe, stay relaxed and keep trying. There is no point in letting one minor, turn into 3 majors because you dwell on mistakes.

Don’t Tell People About Your Test #9

Taking your driving test often puts a lot of pressure on you. The added pressure of all your friends and family knowing that you’re in your driving test isn’t going to help with your anxious thoughts. Overcoming the anxiety might be a struggle, and not telling all of your friends might seem difficult, but in the test you will thank yourself. Worrying about what people will say to you if you don’t pass the first time is a distraction. If you restrict the number of people who know your test time and date, then you’ll feel less pressurised.

Prepare #10

The more practice you get, the better you feel. Make sure you practice in the car that you’re using to take your test. If you can’t afford more driving lessons or you just want more private practice, you can get insured with Collingwood.