It doesn’t matter where, when or how it happens; a road accident is always a horrible experience that can leave an impact on you for quite some time, making it difficult for some people to get back in the driving seat and on the road again.
Thankfully, Richard Gladman, the Head of Driving and Riding Standards at road safety charity IAM RoadSmart, has some great advice for exactly that.
As Richard explains, the smallest of accidents can have a lasting effect, so it’s vital to ease back into driving.
He said: “Even a minor collision can play on your mind, but it’s important to learn from the experience. A major part in the human factors around driving is the ability to self-evaluate your driving and make a conscious decision to improve. Even a collision where we have to accept some or all of the blame should be taken as an opportunity learn and improve. Recognising that help is needed is a major step to asking for it.”
So, with that in mind, here’s his top tips for getting back behind the wheel after an accident:
It’s easy to feel pressured into getting back in the driving seat, but there’s absolutely no need to rush into it. Take the time to make sure you’re in a fit state to drive before heading back out on the road – getting back on the road too early will only increase anxiety.
For some drivers, the area where an accident happened becomes a no-go zone, but this is not always the best approach. Sometimes avoiding an area can make your journey more complicated and you may not know the roads as well on an alternative route. It may be difficult, but always think twice about mixing up your route.
If the idea of driving again still feels daunting, try getting the support of a friend or family member; talking to them about what’s happened – as well as how you’re feeling about driving again – can help more than you might think. And if you feel like talking isn’t working, ask them to sit in the car with you while you ease your way back behind the wheel.
Sometimes an accident doesn’t just affect your attitude to the road, it can impact your daily life. Richard suggests seeking help from your GP if you feel a prolonged impact from your accident. Or, complete a post-accident intervention course with IAM RoadSmart to rebuild confidence.
It may be hard, but remember: accidents happen. Actually, they happen quite a lot. The best way to move on from an accident is to learn from what happened and put all your energy into enjoying driving again.
If you’ve had an accident, the most important thing is to ease back into things. Don’t rush, don’t panic, don’t underestimate support, and you’ll be back to enjoying driving again in no time.
For more top tips, why not have a read of our Driving Tips Hub?