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Coping After a Collision: 10 Simple Steps to Getting Behind the Wheel Again

A lot can happen if you neglect car maintenance, and the same could be said about your mental health. After a car accident, it can be hard to get behind the wheel again due to trauma. But with the help of a psychiatrist, friend, or family member, you’ll start driving confidently once again.

How to Get Used to Driving Again After an Accident

Almost 40% of car accident survivors develop PTSD, making motor vehicle accidents a leading cause of post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s normal to experience anxiety after a collision.

1. Let Your Injuries Heal

Our physical and mental health go hand in hand. Not only that, but you shouldn’t drive if you’re experiencing pain or reduced movement, as it’ll decrease your reaction time. See a doctor, rest, eat healthily, and drink water to ensure you recover and feel better as quickly as possible.

2. Don’t Stop Moving

Unless you’ve experienced a severe physical trauma, you need to keep moving. Low-impact exercise can limit muscle tension and reduce inflammation. Don’t forget to spend time outside or with your friends; it’ll help you overcome depression and improve your motivation to drive.

3. Speak to a Lawyer

If your injuries or mental health issues have impacted your life in any way, you should contact car accident lawyers with extensive experience. They can help you get compensation for lost wages and healthcare treatment, which will decrease financial, physical, and mental stress.

4. Talk to Someone

Don’t stay silent if you’re experiencing PTSD symptoms. Talk to your friends and family about your fears and explain that you need help overcoming this stress. If you don’t have someone to talk to, attend local support meetings or speak to a counselor, psychotherapist, or psychiatrist.

5. Start as a Passenger

We often underestimate how powerful vehicles can be, but you may become hyper-aware of it once you put your foot on the gas. For this reason, don’t get into your car as a driver after an accident. Instead, ask your friend, family member, or spouse to drive you around the city.

6. Drive With a Friend

When you start driving, be sure to ask that same friend or family member to be a passenger. That way, you’ll have someone in the car to take over for you if you panic. Don’t wait too long to get behind the wheel again, but don’t force yourself. Wait until you process the trauma.

7. Lap your Neighborhood

When you’re able to drive solo again, start slow. Drive around your neighborhood, in a large parking lot, or in a quiet part of the city to readjust to the experience of driving. Only drive in a place with minimal traffic once you’re ready. Work up to taking the highway or busy streets.

8. Invest in Safety

If you’re in the market for a new automobile, check out models that won the Top Safety Pick award. Honda Civics are typically the safest small cars, while Audi’s typically win in the Large SUV category. If you purchase a safer car or truck, you may feel less anxious while driving.

9. Call a Driving Instructor

Specialty driving instructors can help accident victims get over trauma or driving anxieties in a safe way. They’ll help you build skills that can help you become a safer driver or focus on key areas, such as left turns or crossing bridges. Find an instructor that teaches defensive driving.

10. Be Patient With Yourself

Car accident trauma can limit your ability to work, do errands, or see your friends, but you should never try to speed up your recovery. It’s also unhealthy to compare yourself to others. Everyone processes trauma in their own way, so allow yourself to recover at your own pace.


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