Even if you didn’t experience any injury from a car accident, you can still feel uncomfortable getting back behind the wheel. People who have been injured in a car accident often find it troubling and can even develop a fear of driving after a car accident. A trip to a car accident doctor can help you recover from your injuries, but you may be wary of getting into a car again right away. Injuries sustained in a car accident aren’t always simply physical; you can be affected psychologically, too. This may make you feel less comfortable behind the wheel or more cautious when you drive. Some people even avoid driving by the area where the accident occurred. If you develop a fear of driving after a car accident, know that you are not alone. There are steps you can take to regain your confidence and start to feel comfortable behind the wheel again.
How a Car Accident Can Affect You
There are several types of car accidents, from fender-benders to multi-car pile-ups. No matter what type of car accident you were in, it can be a stressful and even scary experience. The first time another vehicle collides with yours, you might start to have shaky hands or realize that you are having trouble forming a complete thought. Even if you didn’t hit your head or get a serious injury, the shock can keep you from functioning at your best. The body may also respond by flooding you with adrenaline and keep you moving. Shock and adrenaline may also keep you from feeling pain or other symptoms of an injury right away. That’s why you always want to get checked out by a car accident doctor after a wreck because they can provide an objective assessment of how your body was affected by the accident. An added benefit to seeing a doctor as soon as possible is that you can get started on treatment that relieves your pain and discomfort so you can recover faster.
Tips for Overcoming a Fear of Driving After a Car Accident
As you recover from a car accident, remember that there is both a physical and a mental process to recovery. Your car accident doctor can help you with an individualized treatment plan to manage your physical recovery process, and you can follow these tips to help you mentally process your experience and help you overcome any fear you may have developed about driving after a car accident. Here are five tips for overcoming a fear of driving:
Talk about your experience
Sometimes the simple act of talking about what happened can help relieve your stress and anxiety. You may want to write down your experience to help you remember the details and refresh your memory of the timeline of events. Talking through how you felt in the moment and what feelings you experienced during the recovery process can also help you face the traumatic experience.
Drive with a rider you trust
The first time you are back on the road after a car accident, you may first want to ride with a trusted friend or family member. Select someone who you believe to be a good driver and who you have already talked to about your experience.
Start with slow, short trips
When you get behind the wheel for the first time, you may want to start with short trips on roads with slower speeds. Take a trip to the local grocery store or take a drive to a friend’s house so you can decompress afterward.
Follow safety procedures
A fear of driving may actually make you much more aware of safety procedures available to you. Reminding yourself to buckle your seat belt and make sure passengers in your vehicle are also buckled can give you a greater sense of safety when you are on the road.
Consider a defensive driving class
Whether or not you were at fault for the accident, a defensive driving class can be a great way to re-learn the basics and also develop new skills. These types of classes also help you review potential future scenarios and practice how you would respond in that situation.
If you are looking for a car accident doctor near you, visit AICA Orthopedics at one of our many metro Atlanta locations.