Driving In Unfamiliar Areas

2 min read
Do you often find yourself anxious when you have to drive to an unfamiliar area? Here are some ideas on how to get over that feeling.

While we may have driving routes thoroughly mapped out for our daily routines, there will be times when we have to visit an unfamiliar area — which can cause frustration and anxiety among some drivers. If you fall into this group, try the following tips.

Don’t Rely On GPS Alone 
Technology is great and the GPS system has helped many a driver, but sometimes they fail us and add to our anxiety instead. What’s more, real-time traffic and road conditions are not reflected on the system. Make a mental note of distinctive road features as you drive — this will help you avoid going around in circles if you spot the same ones again.

Get To Know The Area
Prior to your journey, do some online research to learn more about your destination. Take note of prominent landmarks or junctions that may help you find your way around. If you are at a loss, park your car at a convenient and safe spot and approach a local or resident of the area. They will definitely be able to give you helpful directions.

Keep Your Cool 
Pay attention to traffic signs and be patient; there’s nothing worse than rushing around a place you don’t know much about. Responding to a missed turning by slamming your brakes and doing an abrupt manoeuvre significantly increases your risk of an accident. It is safer to drive on and make a U-turn further ahead to get back on track again. Keep a level head and use your common sense.Slow Down 
As you navigate the unfamiliar area, keep to a reasonable speed or, if it’s safe, slow down. In an unfamiliar place, driving too fast may lead you to miss that vital turn. Slowing down allows you time to absorb the lay of the land, making it easier for you to anticipate necessary lane changes to get to your destination. Always make your intentions clear by signalling early.

Manage Your Stress 
Some of us are easily stressed when things don’t go our way. Just remember that driving when stressed is not good for you, and dangerous for fellow road users. Find a place to park and give yourself sufficient time to recover. If there’s a coffee shop nearby, get a drink to settle yourself down and clear your head. Get directions from one of the patrons or staff — maybe they can direct you towards your destination. Journey on only after you have calmed down.Have Passengers 
You don’t have to do it alone; getting friends along for the ride is a good idea. They can assist you so that you are not distracted. From dealing with the GPS system to providing an additional lookout eye, your friends can provide help beyond just being great companions.