How to Handle Stress for First Time Drivers

Getting behind the wheel for the first time often comes with a mix of emotions. It’s so exciting to have finally hit this major milestone, but it’s also incredibly nerve-wracking to be suddenly given such responsibility.

Extreme emotions, including elevated stress-levels, can impair your ability to drive, so it’s important to try to remain calm when you get behind the wheel. Naturally, this is easier said than done, so here’s some advice about how to manage your stress before you drive for the first time.

Get comfortable

Take your time adjusting your seat and mirrors into positions that are comfortable and allow you to see well. It can take some trial and error to find the settings that are right for you, so don’t rush yourself. Being in an uncomfortable position while driving can distract you, while being seated comfortably will help you relax and allow you to pay attention to more important things.

Take a familiar route

The need to navigate complex directions will only stress you out more. The first time you drive, stick to streets you know well. Take a familiar route through a quiet area where you can focus on getting a feel for the vehicle. Steer clear of any major streets or highways. There’s a time and a place to learn how to navigate those and your first time behind the wheel definitely isn’t it.

Have a trusted licensed ADULT with you

While you learn to drive, it’s required that you have a licensed adult with you at all times. Make sure that this person is someone with lots of driving experience. Furthermore, it’s important that you drive with someone who’s patient and doesn’t get nervous easily. If they’re stressed out, how can you be expected to remain calm? Their job is to support you while you drive and to give you advice that’ll help you learn the rules of the road.

Scheduling your driving lessons

Of course, the best way to reduce stress while driving is to get lots of practice. North Shore Driving School Ltd. will provide you with the experience you need to become a skilled and confident driver. We’re proud to offer courses not only in the car division, but in the truck division as well, which includes instruction such as Class 1 driver training. Contact our driving school in B.C. today to schedule your lessons.

How to Overcome Your Anxiety About Driving

There are many benefits to getting your driver’s license including a newfound freedom and independence. However, for many people, learning how to drive can be a considerable source of anxiety. If you’re nervous about getting behind the wheel, here’s what you should know.

Is driving anxiety normal?

While getting your driver’s license is an exciting milestone, it’s very common for that excitement to be mixed with a degree of hesitation or fear. As a new driver, you need to learn a lot of new skills and take on some significant responsibilities. This can be quite nerve-wracking. What’s important to remember is that with the right knowledge and plenty of practise, you can learn to be a safe and confident driver.

Practice makes perfect

The best way to improve your confidence in your driving skills is to practise as often as possible. Your first few times behind the wheel might be scary, so start by driving in an empty parking lot or on quiet industrial streets after business hours. This will help you focus on the basics and gain experience that will ease your fear. Finally, stick to familiar areas and slowly progress to busier streets and more challenging driving conditions when you feel ready.

Keep in mind that until you pass your road exam, you need to have a fully-licensed driver who’s at least 25 years old in the passenger’s seat. Their presence and experience can help keep you calm. They can also offer you advice and guidance if you’re ever unsure about what to do.

Can driving school help?

Taking driving lessons is a great way to alleviate your anxiety about driving. Theory classes allow you to familiarize yourself with the rules of the road so you feel prepared when you get behind the wheel. In your practical courses, you’ll be accompanied by a trained instructor who will help you navigate the various situations you may encounter on the road. They can also offer advice and support as you build up your confidence to drive alone.

Remember, it’s normal to feel nervous or scared about learning to drive. However, if your anxiety is severe enough to interfere with your driving or prevent you from getting behind the wheel at all, consider speaking with a mental health professional to help you manage your driving anxiety.

Sign up for lessons today

If you want to cultivate the skills needed to become a safe and confident driver, the professional driving instructors at North Shore Driving School in North Vancouver can help. For more information about our courses, contact us today.

Sleep Apnea and Truck Driving: What you need to know

Sleep apnea is one of the biggest problems facing the commercial trucking industry today.

According to the most recent studies, about one-third of truck drivers have mild to severe sleep apnea, and drivers with this ailment are five times more likely to be in a preventable crash.

If you’re a trucker or are planning to become one, it’s important that you know the facts about sleep apnea. Here’s a basic overview of this ailment and the impact it has on truck drivers.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea, also called obstructive sleep apnea, is a respiratory condition that causes breathing interruptions of 10 seconds or longer while sleeping, with as many as 400 such pauses occurring in a single night. As sleep apnea affects the quality of a person’s sleep, it can lead to a spectrum of daytime symptoms, including:

  • Irritability
  • Feelings of depression
  • Morning headaches and nausea
  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Excessive drowsiness

The last two symptoms in particular — difficulty concentrating and excessive drowsiness — are extremely problematic for truck drivers. Sleep apnea makes it difficult for them to stay awake, focus their eyes and quickly react when driving.

What causes sleep apnea?

The main risk factors for sleep apnea are obesity and anatomical features like a thick neck, recessed chin, small jaw or narrow throat. Additional factors include nasal congestion, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.

The high rates of sleep apnea among truckers may be due to the sedentary nature of the job, which can lead to obesity.

How is sleep apnea treated?

The most common treatment for sleep apnea involves the CPAP machine, which pumps air into a mask worn over the mouth and/or nose during sleep. This helps to keep the airways open and prevent breathing pauses.

Most cases of sleep apnea can be treated successfully, causing the ailment’s symptoms to greatly subside or disappear. Truck drivers with sleep apnea who undergo treatment should recover their ability to be alert, focused and quick to react when behind the wheel.

Truckers who suspect they may have sleep apnea should get tested immediately to ensure that they can safely perform their job. Moreover, note that certain truck companies in North America now require drivers who have a high body mass index (in some cases, 35) to undergo mandatory testing for sleep apnea. Testing is performed at a sleep centre, where the person’s sleep is monitored overnight.

A truck driving school serving Burnaby and Coquitlam

At North Shore Driving School, our professional truck driving school teaches safe driving practices and include lessons on collision avoidance and preventable accidents. To learn more about our courses, contact us today.0