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How to Help a Friend Regain Confidence After an Accident.

August 25, 2017 by  
Filed under Education, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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(ThySistas.comAlthough accidents are the last thing you’d like to think about when you’re on the road, the reality is that many people experience them. Some are minor and others more serious – what they all have in common, though, is that the people involved tend to be a bit more anxious about driving.

While this is normal and a handy defense mechanism to avoid similar accidents, the nerves can grow monstrously, making it difficult for them to regain control and calmness behind the wheel.

You can do a lot to help your anxious friend or partner to find their confidence again and face their fears; here is a handful of helpful advice to get them started, and make you an even better friend.

Encourage a defensive driving course

Someone who has gone through a traumatic experience will sometimes need a bit of friendly support to get started on their healing process. While they may think that the best way to avoid a similar accident in the future is never to get behind the wheel again, they can, in fact, regain their sense of control by taking a defensive driving course.

These courses are great for anyone, by the way, but perhaps particularly relevant for those who have PTSD. It can enable them to feel like they’re in control of the environment rather than overwhelmed by it, and bring them to realize that accidents can be avoided by focusing on their own driving skills.

You should also talk to them about other steps that are necessary to get everything out of the way as soon as possible. This includes repairs to their vehicle, purchasing a new one, as well as getting in touch with regular accident lawyers or truck accident lawyers. The help and support you’re able to offer them is a tremendous boost in the right direction as many people postpone this kind of work in order to avoid any painful memories.

Focus on the positive

When you have gone through a frightening experience, you need to talk about it to someone who is willing to listen and understand. As a friend, this someone should be you – and the first thing you can do is to make the conversations positive.

When you notice that the one you care about needs to talk about the accident, try to add elements of how they survived it and what they did right in the situation.

Listen and support them, but avoid making it too dramatic; after a trauma, people’s memory goes a bit blurry, and it is very common for their mind to fill in the gaps. When you, with the best intentions, respond to their stories with wide eyes and gasps in between, you’re encouraging fright to fill in the blank spaces rather than a positive attitude of survival.

Talk about how they recovered from it and what they think the next step might be. If they’re not ready to drive quite yet, don’t push them – offer them a ride instead and be patient.

Join them behind the wheel

Sooner or later, your anxious friend will feel confident enough to get back onto the road. It’s up to them when the time is right, and the best thing you can do is to be a calm and steady voice of support. Since you’re such a reliable friend, it’s good for them to have your support during these first couple of driving sessions – even if it’s just down to the shop and back.

One of the first trips you should make together is a revisit to the scene of the accident. It’s not likely that they’re going to take the initiative to this on their own, so you should encourage them to do this by explaining how avoidance only makes their worries grow bigger. A quick visit might even boost their memory a bit and make the whole experience a lot clearer.

The biggest setback would be if they invited the wrong kind of person, perhaps another anxious someone or an individual who is overly concerned about their past accident. The trips should be a happy experience and without any anxiety triggers, so talk about something both of you enjoy and keep the rides short, to begin with.

After a while, your friend might be ready for a longer ride or even a quick ride on their own.

Encourage it and avoid any mentions of dangers on the road; it will be well rooted in the back of their mind in any way. Make sure you’re not too pushy and that you give them the time to recover and make sense of the experience; you’ll be enjoying long and happy rides together in due time.

Staff Writer; Latasha Poole

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