Tips for nervous new drivers

If you're new to the road and feeling anxious, we're here to help with some top tips to combat those fears on the road.


By Marmalade Author

Updated on Jan 17th, 2024

It seems as though there is a preconception that once someone passes their test, they’re confident to get out on the road by themselves, however, that isn’t always the case. Whilst some newly qualified drivers can’t wait for their first solo drive, for others even short, simple journeys can cause huge distress. Firstly, we want you to know you’re not alone, and being nervous behind the wheel is completely normal. Secondly, we’d like to remind you that is does get better. No one wants to work hard to pass their test, only to never drive because of the anxiety that comes with it! We’ve got some great tips for nervous drivers that are surprisingly simple. If you keep up with these tips we’re sure you’ll combat your fear in no time!

Remember the basics

When learning to drive, there are so many skills that you learn. As a new driver and without your instructor beside you, it’s easy to forget to do these little things but keeping up with them every time you’re in the car should build up your confidence, especially when it becomes second nature. Some of the basics that you may forget are:
  • Cockpit drill
  • MSM routine (Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre) 
  • Clutch control
  • Parking
They’re all small and relatively simple things but are essential when driving, and let’s face it – you know how to do them because you’ve passed your test! Making sure you’re getting the basics right will boost your confidence in the car. If you feel like you’ve completely forgotten the basics, get in touch with your driving instructor and ask for a refresher lesson!

Make a plan

If you’re already nervous when getting behind the wheel, the last thing you want is to get lost, or to be in a rush. Making a clear plan before you set off will help you have a smooth and less stressful journey. Think about:
  • Fuel levels – do you need to fill up?
  • Is the journey long – will you need to stop at services?
  • Do you need a sat nav?
  • How much time do you need to get there? 
Making a clear and precise plan of your journey may seem a bit over the top, but it means you won't have any extra stress on your journey.

Keep calm

It sounds easier than it is, and simply telling someone to calm down often doesn’t do the trick (weird, right?) but as you know, being panicked when driving will only make situations worse and as a new driver, you don’t have your instructor there to help you calm your nerves. We’ve got some managing your driving anxiety – but remember if it becomes too much, pull over at a safe and legal place, and take as much time as you need before you’re in the right frame of mind to continue your journey.

Stick to what you know

fter passing your test, you’re essentially left to your own devices which is where bad habits can be picked up, and can have a knock on effect on your confidence should you not feel fully in control of the car. Remember to keep both hands on the wheel, check all blind spots, signal early, and check mirrors – essentially everything you know you should be doing! If you start to let these little things slip, or you try to drive in a different way than you were taught – this in turn can impact your confidence.

Believe in yourself

One of the most important things to help any nervous driver is to remember to believe in yourself! Remember all the hard work that got you to getting your full licence. You’ve tackled every driving lesson, completed the theory and perfected the practical – now it’s time to enjoy the freedom you have earned, without letting your nerves get the better of you.

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