Driving on the highway for the first time can be a big deal since you are used to driving on smaller, less busy roads. The best part is you will soon overcome the fear.

When driving on the highway and congested roads, you must level up your attentiveness and prepare well for the day.

It’s time to face the reality of driving in heavy traffic and build your daily confidence for a successful drive.

Let’s check some tips to help you overcome the fear of driving on a highway.

Tips to Overcome the Fear of Driving on a Highway

1. Take it Slow

fear of merging on highway


When practicing driving on the highway, you can take short trips to help you make things easier. You don’t need long trips to be an expert.

Keep checking your speed limits and ensure you aren’t overspeeding or too slow to inconvenience other drivers. Ask a friend to accompany you during the trip since it will build your confidence.

Also, taking breaks is necessary when you feel overwhelmed and helps you relax and reduce body strain. You can start by making a trip on the small roads to ease your anxiety before hitting the highway.

2. Avoid Distractions

For excellent results when driving on the highway, you must remove all distractions that take your attention.

First, keep off your phone which may distract you as you try to reply to text messages or answer important calls. Switch it to flight mode, or better, leave it at home.

Put on quiet music since you can easily lose your concentration when focusing on the music, especially when your favorite song hits. However, some soothing songs will relax your mind when on the road.

If you have passengers whose conversation may be distracting, feel free to ask them to change the topic to allow you to concentrate on driving.

3. Hire an Instructor

fear of driving on highway


You will overcome your highway anxiety with the help of an instructor since most of them have more experience on the road. Ensure you get a qualified instructor who will smoothly take you through the sessions.

The best part is our driving instructors have years of experience on the road, and their interaction with various students enables them to handle most situations.

Feel free to talk to your instructor about your weak areas and what triggers your fear when on the road for a productive session.

Different instructors have different approaches to helping you handle your fear, and you can improve the session by getting to the training area on time. You can change the instructor if her method doesn’t work for you.

4. More Practice

In driving, practice is the ultimate way of easing your fear. Take the step and cover short distances during your free time.

For a smooth maneuver on the highway, practice pressing your pedals harder for stability, and having the right driving shoes will add traction. Additionally, master smooth acceleration and deceleration to match other cars on the highway. 

Braking is vital, and mastering it will help you make even stops and braking regardless of the distance from other cars.

Sit in the right position when in the car for a more comfortable drive on the highway, which will help you manage back pain.

5. Face Your Fears

You may be wondering, why do I have the fear of driving on highways? Start by recognizing the setbacks that bring fear when driving on the highway, and it will be easier for you to overcome them. It may be because you are driving on the freeway for the first time or had an accident that triggered your fear, among others.

Remember you are in charge, and every decision you make should improve your driving and driving environment. Once you are out of the comfort zone where fear is overwhelming, your confidence will shine.

Expressing your fear will allow you to listen to possible solutions as you weigh the best. You can also write down your fears and rank them from the one that causes the least anxiety, which will help you work out a way through.

6. Muscle Relaxation and Holding Your Breath


Muscle relaxation also allows you to tighten and relax your muscles to teach your body to release tension. Clench your fists for 8 to 10 seconds and release them after 20 seconds.

Progressive muscle relaxation can improve mood control, increase concentration, and reduce general panic attacks.

Repeat the process as you feel the muscle relaxation while moving your head, arms, feet, and toes.

Breath-holding is one of the best ways of overcoming any fear, including driving on the highway.

Breathe in a way that you feel your abdomen and chest movement, and this loosens them allowing you to breathe deep into your lungs. Breathe slowly using your nose, allowing the air to reach the bottom of your lungs.

As your belly expands, hold your breath and exhale slowly to relax your body. Repeat the process 30 times.

7. Drive During the Day

overcome the fear of driving on a highway


As a new driver or who had a bad experience driving on the highway, you should avoid driving at night for some time. Nighttime driving may increase your panic as you must be extra keen since night vision is more blurred.

Once you feel comfortable driving during the day, get started with driving at night since you might find yourself in traffic at night.

Additionally, you should refrain from practising driving during rush hour since everyone is rushing to get home or to work, and you might be tempted to keep up with everyone’s speed. 

Driving during less busy hours allows you to practice proper lane changing, and your passenger can tell you if you are doing it correctly. With time you will perfect the skills for an easier time on the highway.

Final Thoughts

You don’t need to feel ashamed about your fear of driving on the highway, the feeling happens when you are driving for the first time, and even some experienced drivers may experience the same. Don’t hesitate to seek help and talk about the fear.

Don’t let the situation worsen, but if it does, it’s best to seek medical attention for your disorder. Take those baby steps towards overcoming the fear of driving on a highway.

Bernard Pierre-Paul
Bernard Pierre-Paul

I’m a certified driving instructor for cars, buses, and tractors with 17+ years of experience. When not teaching aspiring drivers how to drive, I enjoy spending time with my family and playing with my kids.