Don’t Be Afraid to Drive Again After a Car Accident
Car accidents can be traumatic. Whether you looked away for a split second or someone else ran a stop sign, it can be tough building up the courage to get back behind the wheel again. Some people may be overwhelmed with anxiety when passing the area of the accident, while others may have a hard time driving a car at all.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are an estimated over five million car accidents per year in the United States, with over two million that lead to injuries and nearly 39,000 that lead to fatalities. These numbers just go to show that car accidents are all too common and can happen to virtually anyone.
If you were a “regular” driver and commuted to work every day, stopped at the store, or visited friends, battling car anxiety after an accident could completely disrupt your day-to-day life. The good news is, it is not irreversible—and you are not alone.
Being able to safely drive a car has everything to do with confidence and calmness. When you are still shaken up after an accident and find it difficult to be either confident or calm while driving, it can make you that much more hesitant to leave your driveway. It will take time to get back to normal, but there are some tips that could help you become comfortable driving again after being involved in a car accident.
1. Talk to someone
Whatever you do, do not keep your emotions all bottled up. Talk to someone about how the accident has affected you, whether it is a therapist or just a family member or friend. Expressing your emotions should help you overcome everything you are feeling, and whoever you talk to could help you come up with more personalized coping mechanisms to try. If you do not feel comfortable enough talking to anyone in person, try journaling. Privately writing down your thoughts and feelings is another great way of getting everything out.
2. Start as a passenger
If you are not quite ready to hit the ground running, consider asking someone else to drive. Doing this could help you become a little more comfortable and feel a little more safe, even if it is just a quick ride around the block. Ask them to drive by the scene of the accident too while you are at it. This could help you realize that it is okay to drive over there again.
3. Take a driving course
In order to build your confidence back up, consider taking a defensive driving course or even a refresher course with a licensed instructor. People tend to feel more confident when they know what they are doing, and taking a course on exactly what to do should help a lot. If you request using the driving school’s vehicle, the instructor will even have another set of controls to use if you make a wrong move or freeze up. So if that happens, you will not have to worry all too much about getting into another accident so soon since there will be someone else present to correct your mistake. Plus, they tend to know all the best spots on quiet roads to practice.
4. Take a short trip
When you are feeling confident and comfortable enough to get back behind the wheel, do it slowly. Start with a short ride up and down your street, then eventually graduate to around the block. Once you have mastered those, try running to the grocery store. Whether it is day by day or week by week, every little step further should be considered fantastic progress.
5. Be patient
Above all else, remember to always be patient with yourself. Other people may be able to bounce back much quicker after an accident, but everyone is different—yourself included. If you need more time to gradually work towards getting back to your version of normal, that is perfectly okay. If you suffered injuries in your car accident as well, it is completely understandable why it could take you longer to recover from that both physically and mentally.
Take another driving course this month, continue talking with a therapist every week, and have someone else take you to the store for another day. Whatever method you find works best, keep it up until your self-confidence is right back where it used to be.
What are common causes of Chicago car accidents?
Some common reasons car accidents happen are:
- Distracted driving which involves texting, changing the radio station, or eating and drinking while driving a car.
- Aggressive driving is when someone is tailgating others, weaving in and out of traffic, or any other form of driving where there is a blatant disregard for others safety.
- Speeding is a major contributor to accidents as drivers have much less control over their vehicle if they are going above the speed limit.
- Driving under the influence is incredibly unsafe as drivers’ vision, thinking, and reaction time is impaired.
- Running red lights or stop signs is dangerous and puts other drivers at risk of a tragic accident.
- Fatigue is more serious than one might think. Tired drivers’ reaction times are not as sharp and they are more at risk of falling asleep behind the wheel, which puts themselves and others in danger.
- Weather conditions can play a huge role in causing accidents. Rain, snow, sleet, and ice can all make the roads more slippery than normal which can be disastrous.
Did you or a loved one suffer an injury in a car accident? If so, you deserve to be compensated for those injuries so you are not paying for treatment out of your own pocket. The car accident attorneys at Gainsberg Law, P.C., in Cook County can help. Call our office at 312-600-9585, or complete our contact form today. Our consultations are always free.
Neal S. Gainsberg has spent the last 20 years fighting to protect the rights of the injured in Chicago and throughout Illinois. From consumer rights and bankruptcy to catastrophic injuries and wrongful death, Mr. Gainsberg stands up to large corporations, insurance companies, creditors and hospital administrators to ensure that his clients’ futures are safe and secure. Learn More