If you’ve recently wrecked a car, you’re probably experiencing a number of different emotions. It’s normal to feel angry, sad or even a little scared after an accident, especially if you or someone else was hurt. Car accidents are one of life’s most traumatic experiences, and they can make getting back behind the wheel very difficult.
1. Take it Easy on Yourself
If you were at fault for the accident, try not to be too hard on yourself. Becoming a good driver takes time and experience, and many new drivers are involved in an accident during their first few years on the road. The best that you can do is learn from your mistake and commit to being more careful in the future. What’s done is done. Beating yourself up about it won’t repair your car, heal your broken ribs or fix anything else that occurred.
2. Ask to Ride Along
After you’ve experienced losing control behind the wheel, getting back in the driver’s seat can often trigger a huge amount of anxiety. If you aren’t comfortable, consider being a passenger first. Ask a trusted parent or friend to drive you around and help you get used to the feeling of being on the road again. After you survive a short trip, try switching positions and driving on the way home.
3. Visualize That You Will be Okay
It might help to know that statistically, not very many drivers have a second car accident closely following their first. As long as you commit to driving safely, you will probably be fine. Keep this in mind as you get back onto the road for the first time following your crash. If you’re still having trouble, try practicing deep breathing and other relaxation techniques that can help calm your mind and keep you focused.
4. Consider Going to Traffic School
If you received a citation as the result of your accident, you can go to traffic school to get some of points removed from your record. However, another good reason to go to traffic school is simply to gain back some of your confidence on the road. Traffic school places you in an environment where you can learn about road safety and discuss these matters with other drivers.
5. Watch For Signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome
Post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) is an emotional disorder that affects people who have survived a terrifying event. While it’s normal to feel upset after a car crash, intense feelings of depression, anxiety or anger could be signs that you’re suffering from PTSD. If you think this may be a case, it’s important that you talk to your doctor right away. He or she will refer you to a counselor who can help you deal with your feelings. Don’t let PTSD go untreated. It could potentially send you into a downward spiral that could be difficult to climb out of on your own.
Statistics show that most drivers will experience a car accident at some point during their lives. Defensive driving can go a long way to help prevent this, but certain circumstances can make accidents unavoidable. If you’ve been through one, be glad that you survived to tell the tale, and use it as motivation to become a better driver. It may take time, but with enough practice, you will regain your confidence behind the wheel and go forward to experience many years of safe driving.