If you are nervous about getting behind the wheel again after an accident, the best strategy is to take it slow. Start with short, low-stress drives, and consider taking a friend along for emotional support. Work your way up to highway driving gradually. If you’re still feeling anxious, you may benefit from a defensive driving class—or some sessions with a therapist so you can talk out what happened.
Any accident can be upsetting, and it is natural to feel uneasy about driving again, whether the accident was your fault or not. The amount of fear you feel will vary depending on your own personality, your past history, and the severity of your accident. You may feel anxious all the time, or only when driving past the accident scene. For most people, these feelings start to go away within a month or so after the accident.
What are the best ways to deal with my fear?
Don’t ignore it or avoid it. Taking the bus or Uber might be a short-term solution, but it won’t help you confront your fears and get back to your normal driving habits. Here are some of the steps recommended by experts:
- Talk about the accident with supportive friends and family members. Getting your thoughts out into the open can help you process what happened and relieve your anxiety. Be sure to talk about the ways you avoided the accident, lessened its impact, helped others, or minimized your own injuries. Focusing on your own positive actions can help reduce your fear.
- Start with short, easy trips. Drive around the block, through your neighborhood, or to the grocery store. Avoid busy roads, high speeds and the accident scene – at first. Gradually work up to more demanding drives.
- Take a friend along at first. Having a companion can help you feel more confident, give you someone to talk to, and allow you to turn the wheel over to someone else if the anxiety is just too much.
- If the accident scene is on your normal route, don’t change your behavior to avoid it. Facing your fear will help you overcome it, and this includes driving past the area of the accident if you would normally encounter it.
- Sign up for a defensive driving course or a few sessions with a driving instructor. Knowing how to avoid accidents can help you feel more confident. And having a professional in the car with you can reassure you that you know what you’re doing behind the wheel.
If you have tried these strategies and are still feeling severe anxiety, or if you have other symptoms like flashbacks, nightmares or depression, you may need help from a mental health professional such as a psychologist or licensed clinical social worker. Professional counselors can help you come to terms with the accident, overcome your fear of driving, and move forward with your life.
The accident wasn’t my fault. Will the other driver’s insurance pay for me to get counseling?
It depends on whether you were also physically hurt. Georgia law allows accident victims to recover money to pay for their physical injuries, and any losses that result from those physical injuries. This means that if a doctor treated you for broken bones, a concussion, whiplash or another injury, you can also recover money to pay for any mental health treatment you need. But if your only injuries were emotional, the other driver’s insurance usually will not pay.
A car accident lawyer can help you sort through these issues and tell you whether you can make a claim for your emotional injuries. A lawyer can also relieve some of the stress of the accident by gathering the evidence needed to make a strong case to the insurance company. A lawyer can negotiate an insurance settlement for you or handle car accident lawsuits near Atlanta. With a lawyer’s help, accident victims often receive thousands of dollars more than they otherwise would have.
An Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You—For Free
Our attorneys have devoted decades to helping car accident victims get the money they need to recover from all their injuries – both physical and emotional. We are always affordable because we won’t ask you to pay us unless we have recovered money for you. Schedule a free consultation with us – there’s no obligation. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.