You’re recovering from the injuries you suffered in a car crash, and your doctor says that you can start driving again. However, you don’t feel like you’re ready to get behind the wheel again. That’s not an uncommon reaction to a car crash – even if it wasn’t your fault.
Vehicle crashes have varying psychological effects on people. How you react isn’t necessarily dependent on how seriously you or others were injured. It can depend on things like whether you’ve suffered previous trauma and whether you already had issues with anxiety or depression.
The sooner you take steps to take care of your psychological well-being after a crash, the sooner you’ll likely be able to drive again – and get back to your life in general. Let’s look at a few of the things psychologists recommend.
Talk and write about the crash
It’s helpful to put your thoughts into words – and often to put them down on paper (or computer). When you tell family and friends about the crash, though, emphasize the fact that you survived it.
Writing what happened in as much detail as you can remember while it’s still fresh in your mind can not only help your mental health. This information is important as you deal with insurers and others in seeking compensation for your injuries and other damages.
Take gradual steps as you return to driving
It’s best to start out with short, easy trips. Maybe just take a drive around your neighborhood or to the grocery store in the middle of the day. Bring someone along with you, at least until you know you’ll be okay behind the wheel. Just having someone sitting next to you who can take over if necessary can help you feel more comfortable.
Don’t avoid the scene of the crash if it’s in a location you need to pass regularly. The more you go out of your way to avoid the area, the more control you’re letting the crash have over you.
Typically, fears and anxieties surrounding a crash subside over a few weeks or so. However, no two people react or heal the same way. If constant thoughts about the crash and the anxiety it’s created are keeping you from returning to your life, it’s wise to seek psychological help. Just like treatment for physical injuries, you have every right to seek compensation for needed mental health treatment after a crash.