How to overcome a fear of driving


According to Monash University studies, only half of young Melburnians , including those in Wyndham, eligible to drive will get their licence by 2025 – that’s next year.

There are a number of reasons people are opting to not learn to drive, including lack of resources, mental health, self-doubt and physical disability.

Toyota has assisted four Australians to obtain their driving licence in order to raise awareness of the challenges that some people face when attempting to pass their driving test, and inspire others suffering anxiety or fear of driving.

As well as compiling a a list of three ways those reluctant to get their licence can overcome their adversities.

For many people, things such as language barriers, disability, severe anxiety, financial hardship or other life factors make getting their driver’s licence a challenge often seeming too difficult to overcome.

This in turn, can lead to greater isolation, particularly in regional areas, or difficulties in gaining or retaining employment, and connecting with family and friends.

To highlight the issue, Toyota Australia supported four individuals over the age of 30 who worked with expert driving instructors, counsellors and a VR driving school, and documented the process in a three-part video series entitled Find Your Drive.

Psychologist Merryn Snare said for some people, not being able to legally drive can have a significant impact on their life in terms of employment opportunities, social connection and importantly self-esteem.

“I think self-worth is a really big factor in this and it’s a really big factor in how we think. Sometimes people have a very high expectation of themselves, thinking ‘if I don’t reach that expectation, I’m no good’, and that can spiral them down in terms of their confidence and their perceived ability to do this.

1. Identify your “Self Talk’

“I often use ‘self-talk’ and ‘thinking’ interchangeably as I believe they are inextricably linked. This may need to be done with the guidance and support of a psychologist. Once the self-talk is identified, its origins can be understood,” said Merryn.

“This is true for both anxious thinking and the stories that we use to convince us that not getting our licence is best for us and those around us.”

2. Seek help to change your thinking

“The individual should then determine whether this style of thinking is limiting and/or impacting their quality of life. If they recognize that their thinking is getting in the way of living life in the best possible way, they should seek professional support to help them work through the issue and change their thinking.

“Too many people believe they can’t change the way they think. The good news is that this is not true! Neuroplasticity has proven this. It is definitely do-able; it simply requires dedication and support to work through the process. ”

3. Assess your logistical roadblocks

“For those who have made a practical decision to not get their driver’s licence based on convenience and economic factors, it would be worth considering holding a licence in case there is an emergency requiring a driver.

“This would be useful if, later in life you decided being able to drive would improve your quality of life. You could always have some extra lessons to brush up on your skills but wouldn’t need to go through the entire process.”