Back in the Saddle: Tips to Getting Back on the Road After an Accident

If you’ve recently been in a car accident that left you with minor injuries but your car looking like a dented heap, it can be tough getting behind the wheel again. Accidents affect us psychologically as well as physically, so it’s understandable that you would be hesitant to start driving.

red car in an accident

Once you do get on the road again, you may be cautious, or you may feel a surge of anxiety when you pass the scene of the accident. All of those feelings are normal. They should subside within a few weeks as you get back to normal. Here’s how you can get your confidence back when it’s time to get behind the wheel after a crash that requires autobody work.

Take Note of How the Accident Occurred

Your memories of the accident may be a blur at first, but try to recall as many details as possible. You should write down the sequence of events as well as any details you can remember as soon as possible.

You can always organize your notes later in chronological order, but jot them down as soon as you can. When you create a narrative of the accident, it can help you deal with the trauma you have gone through so you can better handle your emotions. You should repeat this exercise until you are no longer upset by thoughts of the accident.

Don’t Hold it In

It’s helpful to talk to family, friends and other people who will listen to you recall your experience. This helps to ease fear and anxiety so you can more readily ban intrusive thoughts from your mind. To get the most use out of the exercise and to make sure it’s as constructive as possible, talk about the event by emphasizing your survival and safety rather than the superficial details such as the state of your vehicle. You can always get your car fixed. It’s time to work on your healing process now!

Drive With Another Person the First Couple of Times

Heading out alone may make things worse. You want someone you feel comfortable with to make that first drive with. You’ll feel safer and less alone, which will help you cope with any situation that may arise. Plus, that person could take over things if you get overwhelmed at any point. You may feel comfortable after doing this a couple of times, or it could take several times until you feel safe behind the wheel. There is no set time limit. Just do what feels right.

Start With Short, Undemanding Drives

Just as if you had had surgery and were going back to work, or you were an injured athlete coming back to the field after recovery, it’s best to ease back into the routine. Don’t just jump right in with a long drive during a hectic time of day. Go through gradual stages of driving, which will translate to less stressful situations. Start out going on a short drive down the road to get a coffee. Then, the next time go a bit further to the mall or the gym. Start to string together some errands back to back. Then the time after that you can try the highway commute to work during rush hour.

blue mazda in a car crash in dallas texas

Don’t Stay Away From the Crash Site

After experiencing the trauma of a car crash, many people change up their routine so they don’t have to drive by the scene and relive it. But it’s counterproductive to change your route or slow your speed due to nerves. All you’re doing is feeding the anxiety, the doubt, the fear. There are things you can do to make a return to normal driving patterns, and those treatments could range from traditional therapies to cognitive behavior therapies.

Take a Defensive Driving Course

It’s always good to strive to learn new things and sharpen your skills. The more confident and knowledgeable you feel, the more assured you will feel when behind the wheel. Additionally, when you can drive your car and engage in a normal routine without anything bad happening, you are taking steps to lower your anxiety. Taking a defensive driving course can also help you recognize and analyze potentially dangerous situations, arming you with proactive courses of action that can help to minimize risk.

Contact Hance’s Uptown Collision Center

If you’re trying to regain confidence in your driving abilities after an accident, restoring your vehicle to its previous condition can help a lot. Just schedule an appointment online or call us in Dallas at 214-214-4730 or Plano at 214-225-5966.

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