Driving Anxiety

Getting behind the wheel of a car can be the most exciting step toward independence, or it can be a terrifying realization of that fact that you can now drive a car. You are responsible for staying alert and making decisions on the road. Being independent is an amazing feeling, but knowing you hold the lives of those in the car with you is a nerve-wracking feeling. The only “easy” part of getting your license is the road test you need to take at the Department of Motor Vehicles. It only tests a few key skills such as reversing, using your signal, and stopping completely. The only thing many people usually get nervous about is parallel parking, but other than that if you have been practicing it should be smooth sailing. However, is the road test really as simple as it sounds?


Most NJ drivers receive a Learner’s permit at 16. Photo courtesy of Primo Driving School.

The road test sounds easy compared to real life driving and, if you practice enough, it should feel like a breeze. But in real life driving, there is not a person sitting in your passenger seat practically judging every move you make. If you forget to use a turn signal in real life, you do not fail anything ­– you just remember and use it the next time you turn. The test itself is simple, but it is easy to overthink everything about it and believe there is no way to pass. Nerves can take over and getting into a car can become an alien feeling. When someone is very nervous, it is easy to forget what comes naturally to him or her. The test is only there to make sure new drivers know what they are doing once they get on the road by themselves. When I took my road test, it took a lot of deep breathing to keep my nerves under control. Why get so nervous about something that you have done so many times before? Well, driving feels different when it is a test. Tests in school always feel different compared to everyday learning, so why should the road test be considered any different? Taking a test just feels different than getting in the car with a parent and driving to the supermarket. If you are going to take your test tomorrow or in a few years, just remember it is only a test! Do what you have practiced and do not get worked up over something you are able to take again. Show that you are confident and ready to be on the road and everything will work out.

By; Emily Ash’19; Co-Junior Editor-in-Chief

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