2nd Driving Test - Need advice regarding anxiety/panic attacks

Badges: 5
Report Thread starter 2 years ago

Apologies for the ginormous wall of text, but I have been bottling this for a while and really need some good honest advice.

I have my second driving test coming up in about 3 weeks and I am absolutely terrified. My last test was November 17 before the new test was introduced and I failed with 2 majors and 7 minors. I suffer terribly from anxiety and occasional panic attacks, just before we were about to set off for the test I began to have probably the worst panic attack of my life, the poor examiner had to fish a tissue out of his pocket and he was really lovely and kind to me while I was just a blubbering mess trying to explain what was going on. Eventually I had to begin the test even though I was still crying and hadn't got full control of my breathing. Once the test began it actually wasn't too terrible apart from nerves making me stall and struggle to put the car into 1st gear. My first major was given at a mini roundabout where I apparently drove too close to the path/a lamppost? (I can't remember the full detail) which I believe he may have been able to reconsidered had I not fluffed up at the very end, gaining my second major. At the end of my test I was so desperate to get back to the test centre and just get out of the car, we approached a set of traffic lights that were changing from red to green at approach. However there was a big lorry/tow truck in front of me turning right (I was going straight on), as the lorry had to give way to traffic we didn't move for a while, eventually he turned right and he must have done so at the very last minute because as I started to move forward the lights changed (I was so focused on getting back I didn't even notice) and the examiner had to stick the brakes on and said 'I'm really sorry I'm going to have to stop you there as that is a red light'. So basically I had all intentions of running a red light. Although I knew I had failed, in the long run I was glad because I knew I wasn't ready to pass yet and I didn't feel fully safe. To fast forward a bit, I took a month long break after the test from driving and found a new instructor (as mine although nice, was very lax and always on his phone and not very instructive/supportive) who I have been learning with since Jan and have made really good progress, he says I have no issues driving a car, I just need to boost my confidence and stop doubting my ability. Which is hard to do as an anxiety sufferer, plus I have put enormous pressure on myself as I have a car waiting on the driveway and passing would mean cutting a 2 hour commute to work (2 buses twice a day) into a 30 minute journey and would make life so much easier.

To cut a very long story short, I am an anxious person who isn't actually that terrible at driving and just needs a better mindset. Has anyone ever been in a similar situation in terms of suffering panic attacks during lessons/their test? I have tried rescue remedy and I am on medication to manage my anxiety. I am just so desperate to pass and I know I can do it so how do I actually implement that into my mindset and believe it?!!
Badges: 10
Report 2 years ago
Hi, try to remember that you are not alone. Most, if not all people suffer at least one, if not all of the following on their driving test:

Racing heart
Sweaty palms
Dry mouth
Shakey clutch leg

So imagine that it kind of puts you on a level playing field! Everyone is suffering the same as you!

Rescue remedy and a banana has been suggested before. Personally I think it’s completely pointless to try to manage your nerves - feel scared, but Get on with it. You already know that the examiners are not monsters, are not out to get you, and actually have less paperwork to do if you pass.

Everyone is desperate to pass. No-one turns up for a driving test and isn’t bothered if they pass or fail. Being desperate doesn’t make it happen, or everyone would pass.

Tell as few people as possible so there is less pressure on you, and try to enjoy the drive. If you don’t pass this time, they don’t ban you from trying again! :-) Good luck
Badges: 7
Report 2 years ago
Sounds like a pretty common feeling during the driving test. I myself suffer with bad anxiety and the thought of the driving test makes me break out in a cold sweat. I haven't taken my test yet, but I'm hoping to tackle the nerves with rescue remedy and calms. Perhaps you could try the same? I've heard that combinations works quite well to level out the anxiety on the day. Best of luck in your test!

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