How To Avoid Overthinking While Driving

Should you go this way or that way? Should you wait or go? How fast should you drive on an unfamiliar road? These are just some of the decisions drivers have to make every day. Some drivers may have the problem of overthinking simple driving tasks, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Although it can be considered normal to feel a slight amount of anxiety when driving and second guess your choices, being able to keep it under control and staying safe is essential to becoming and remaining a safe driver. Here are a few tips to help make that possible.

Overthinking While Driving

Deep Breathing and Other Relaxation Techniques

Taking deep breaths through your nose and exhaling through your mouth will help you lower your heart rate and stay calm and focused while behind the wheel. Remember that you are safe, even when feeling uncomfortable and anxious. Avoid attempting to perform a trip if you are feeling especially anxious about other matters not related to driving or are feeling tired, as that will put additional pressure on yourself and your decision-making while driving a vehicle.

You may want to attempt a short trip after having a good breakfast and after the rush hour traffic has passed. Take your time and choose your trips carefully so you know where there can be space that you can pull over if necessary. This could include an empty parking lot or a wide shoulder at the side of the road. If you finish a trip without issues, try a different home route. The broader your comfort zone radius can be, the better driver you will become, and you’ll be well on your way to overcoming overthinking. Remember, there is no rush to do this, so take your time.

Take The Time To Plan Your Route

Look at all the possible routes, review the time frames you want to drive in and give yourself more time for the trips, especially if taking a new route. Plan a coffee break at specific distances if the trip is longer than usual. This will help reduce stress levels and give you more time to resolve problems without overthinking. Getting out of the vehicle during these breaks can also help to clear the mind.

Suppose you can verbalize aloud what you see in front of you and what you’re doing. In that case, it can help reduce any anxiety you may feel as you can’t overthink and deliver this verbalization simultaneously.

Drive as Often as Possible

One of the ways to reduce overthinking while driving is to drive as often as possible so you can face your anxiety head-on and keep going. Avoid turning around, even when you begin to feel anxious. Anytime you feel you need to pull over and take a break, that’s a good move, but ensure you attempt to finish your trip. The more you do this, the better you will feel at the journey’s end. To begin with, doing a few small trips will help as the more times you reach your desired destination, the more it will build your confidence as a driver.

Ignore Impatient Drivers

It is generally fine if you are traveling slightly below the speed limit, but other drivers can overtake in most cases if necessary. This can be a bigger issue on higher speed limit roads, but provided you are not driving so slowly that you’re causing a lot of vehicles to line up behind, keep doing what you’re doing by looking after your vehicle control and concentrating on your trip.

If you feel that you are holding up a few too many vehicles, this would be a good time to pull over at your next opportunity and let them pass. Remember that there will always be impatient drivers no matter where you drive; your overthinking will not stop that from happening. It’s a good idea to continue to drive and let them move past you. Speeding up to please them would not help you remove your overthinking.

Let a Professional Help

Practicing these tips will help you avoid overthinking and keep your driving anxiety under control. However, if you find that your stress is beginning to interfere with your ability to drive safely, it may be time to seek some professional help. Some professionals can help you reduce anxiety while driving to help build up your confidence.

You will be able to learn and implement skills you never knew existed. Remember that you should never feel ashamed or embarrassed to ask for additional help, especially from a professional. It can take a lot of courage to address driver anxiety and overthinking, and it can appear suddenly out of nowhere.

You don’t have to be involved in a vehicle collision to create driver anxiety or the need to overthink every driving decision. If you have one terrible driving journey, it can be quite normal for this to happen. It could evolve from driving in extreme traffic, bad weather, and having too many bad drivers around you. It can make any driving trip difficult to complete, and if it keeps happening, it can make you worry about your routine trip the next day.

It may also start to affect your ability to jump in the vehicle and go where you need to go when you want to go, taking your freedom of driving away from you. If this is the case, a refresher course from a professional can reduce these feelings before they take away your freedom.


With effort, dedication, and patience, you can overcome your driving anxiety and enjoy the freedom of the open road without overthinking the choices you’ll face. You will be able to learn how to enjoy driving, just like you had originally planned to do when you decided to learn to drive.