For some people, driving in general can give them great stress and anxiety. This doesn’t have to mean you can’t be a rideshare or delivery driver!
Tackle the items that give you the greatest anxiety one at a time to build up your confidence.
RSG contributor Tyler Philbrook is here to explain the highest anxiety-inducing situations and how to handle them before attempting to become a new gig worker.
There are a lot of people that don’t start gig work because it causes them too much anxiety. Some examples of things they are concerned about include:
- “What if I get into an accident?”
- “Who do I call when I have an issue with the app?”
- “How do I deal with people in my car all the time?”
All of these are typical thoughts when someone is considering rideshare driving or any gig work.
But how can we cope with these anxieties? Some people have even more anxiety than others, so how do we start and continue to drive when we have anxiety?
5 Tips To Reduce Stress While Driving
The city I drive in is rated one of the worst in the country for traffic. And there are places in my town where I don’t like driving, even for fun or personal errands.
Add to that having other people in my car, or driving for hours at a time, and it can give people who don’t typically suffer from anxiety frayed nerves.
1. Get Familiar With Your Area
First, get familiar with your area before you start rideshare driving. Knowing your area really well will help make you more comfortable.
You’ll know where the difficult turns are, where traffic usually gets backed up, ways to avoid said build-up, and even good parking places to wait for ride requests.
2. Start Doing Deliveries Before Rideshare
The next thing you can do is start by doing deliveries.
Whether Instacart, GrubHub, DoorDash, UberEats, or anything else, not having a live person in your back seat can help alleviate any anxiety that comes with that situation.
You’ll still be nervous about the food delivery process, but it’s likely less nerve-racking than if you had a person in your car with you.
Doing deliveries also allows you to bring a friend or family member with you, which not only will help with anxiety but also help keep you from getting bored while on the road.
3. Don’t Drive During Peak Hours
Finally, instead of driving when it’s super busy, try driving when it’s only somewhat busy.
Rather than driving at night for the dinner rush, try driving for lunch or breakfast for delivery. Instead of doing rideshare at night on the weekends, try driving in the early morning when fewer people are on the road, and you don’t have to deal with drunk people in your car—most of the time.
You’ll probably make less money, but money is not the only reason we do this. So, save your nerves, decrease your anxiety, and use our tips to make as much as possible.
4. Familiarize Yourself with the App
A huge part of gig work is figuring out all the different apps. Not just the apps you make money on, but the apps that help you save money, mileage tracking apps, apps to play music, and a whole host of other things.
Some companies will have a demo request for you to see what it looks, sounds, and feels like to get a request. Most, however, won’t.
After being approved as a driver, the platform kind of just tells you to start, with no further instructions. This can cause a lot of anxiety for some people.
Even once you have figured out how to use the app, sometimes it doesn’t work right, or it won’t accept a ride, finish a ride, or let you turn it off. Sometimes you have to reset the app, or the entire phone multiple times to get it to work the way it should.
5. Only Work for One App to Start
Additionally, using multiple gig apps to make the most money possible can feel impossible, especially for new drivers.
To help with this anxiety, first, start with only one app. You’ll make less, and you will want to eventually get to multi-apping to fully utilize your time. But don’t get in over your head. Familiarize yourself with each app individually first before attempting multi-apping.
Taking the time—usually, a day to a week—to get familiar and good at using just one app makes it much easier to multi-app once you’re ready.
Reducing Stress as a Driver When Dealing with People
For me, the traffic is frustrating, and getting familiar with a new app is time-consuming, but dealing with people, especially difficult people, makes me want to turn off the app for the night and go home.
In fact, on more than one occasion, I shut off the app after a ride because the person stressed me out so much that I called it. I stopped taking requests and went home – and that’s okay too!
You would think that doing deliveries means you don’t have to deal with people. Though you don’t have to deal with people face to face as much as with rideshare driving, the customers seem to be even ruder at times through text messages or phone calls than in person.
It’s Only for a Few Minutes
To help me deal with the anxiety of dealing with people, I first try to remind myself that I only have to deal with them for a few minutes, and then I’ll never see them again. Knowing that I only have to deal with this one person briefly helps me cope.
Play Music or a Podcast
Next, play music—or listen to an audiobook if you’re doing deliveries—and focus on that. When I do rideshare driving, I always have my favorite songs playing, though I’ll play a song if a passenger requests. My playlist consists mostly of Disney songs, and most people think I have kids because of it, but hey, it brings me joy.
Don’t Drive During “Drunk” Rider Hours
Finally, cut down on the difficult people. If your concern is having drunk irate people in your car, don’t drive at times when drunk irate people are requesting rides (i.e., avoid bar close/driving at night). If you’re worried about certain areas of town, don’t drive near that area, and if you get a request that takes you there, then stop new requests until you get out of that area.
While rideshare driving isn’t for everyone, give it a shot before you shoot it down, even if you have anxiety. Everything unknown is a bit scary, so eliminate the unknowns.
If you learn your town, get to know your app, and have a game plan for dealing with unruly passengers, you’ll be ahead of the game.
Make a list of everything you might be anxious about, then go through the list and see what you can ease your mind about. Is there something you can practice or learn before going “live” to lessen your anxiety? Then do it!
If you give it a try and still can’t get past your anxieties, at least you gave it a shot. Rideshare driving and delivery driving isn’t for everyone, but you won’t know if it’s for you unless you try.