Driving on the highway is a big step for any driver, whether you're a beginner on a small hatchback like the Kia Picanto or an expert driver bringing your Honda Civic Type R to the tollway for the first time.
As with anything, highway driving is a skill that requires careful study and practice. You can't just dive into it without any prior knowledge.
You have to go into it with the experience and confidence necessary to brave the open road. Follow these simple tips to overcome your fear of driving on the highway.
Take a refresher driving course
If you want to drive on the highway, that must mean you have at least some experience driving in the city or suburbs. On freeways and tollways, driving can feel a bit different from the crowded and traffic-laden city streets.
So, consider taking a refresher driving course that focuses on highway driving. Having an expert driver with you can go a long way in building confidence on the road.
Practice your technique
There are only several key techniques that you have to master for seamless highway driving. The first is smooth acceleration and deceleration. You have to have the ability to go evenly on a stop, and you need to master braking properly no matter how near or far the vehicle is in front of you.
You also need to practice changing lanes smoothly. Often, it's hard to tell how good you're doing when you're alone. Enlist a friend to help you practice your lane-changing skills. Once you can do it without rattling the passengers, you'll know that it's good enough for the highway.
Lastly, you need to look far ahead when driving on the highway, sometimes as far back as 15 seconds. When you place your attention moments ahead, it makes it less likely that you'll be blindsided by any sudden movements or obstructions.
Take things slowly
You don't have to go on an long road trip to practice driving on the highway. If you want to take things a bit easier, you can do your highway driving in short stints. Take turns with a friend to get a feel for everything.Doing this can help you gain confidence with your skills at your own pace, without the pressure of long-distance driving.
Taking frequent breaks can also help you feel more relaxed during a trip. It can help lessen the anxiety-induced strain on your body from being behind the wheel. Overall, getting your mind at rest for the drive means you have space to tackle the highway like it's meant to be tackled—with ease and confidence.
Consult a health professional
Sometimes, the fear of driving on the highway can be indicative of something deeper. It could be a symptom of a more complicated condition, including phobias and anxiety disorders.
A licensed therapist or psychiatrist can help untangle the root cause behind your driving concerns. If you think something like this is the reason for your fears, consider seeing the appropriate medical professional.