Driving in Sydney makes me nervous. Driving around my neighbourhood gets me on edge. Why is that when this is one of the safest countries in the world and I live on the North Shore, a leafy, friendly and bustling suburb?

Thanks to my driving instructor, Sarah, we identified the source of my worries. Firstly, the roads are badly marked and my spatial awareness isn’t so good. I fear floating between lanes or accidentally ending up on the freeway. Wouldn’t it be nice if the lanes were colour-coded?

Secondly, it’s hard for me to judge the speed and distance of cars coming towards me when I’m trying to make turns and my third difficulty is keeping an eye on my blind spot while still being aware of what’s ahead.

Besides practising driving, Sarah and I came up with a handful of tools and strategies to make driving a fun experience.

  1. Be you. Yep. Bring your personality into the car. This means maybe having furry dice on the mirror holder (not my thing), or a crystal (my thing) and good music, maybe a Spotify playlist for when you’re driving and essential oils for calming the nerves. Lavender works a treat for me. I even have lavender lollies in the car!
  2. Take up space and stay in your lane. It is OK to take up space. We forget that, especially us, female drivers. Take up the lane, and let other people figure out how they’re gonna flow around you. This is what moves traffic along. When you’re anxious about what people are doing around you, you end up blocking yourself and the traffic. Be firm in your lane unless you decided to change lanes. Focus on you and strengthen your position in that lane.
  3. Always move towards what you love. This may be a favourite destination or loved ones at the end of your journey. It helps me to focus on where my driving will take me and to know that as I drive, I’m moving towards something I love. Do a visualisation practice when you’re behind the wheel before you’ve started your car and thank yourself and your car for taking you to what it is you love.
  4. When you’ve got yourself in a jam, slow down. When you see too much traffic around you, too many people changing lanes, or getting too close, it is OK to slow down. This way you can give yourself time to assess and gather your wits. Proceed with focus and confidence.

Over to you…

What are your tips for better driving? What will you be driving towards this week?

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