The website is available
for people who have participated in the Back in the Drivers Seat
programme to contribute their stories and experiences. Writing about
your achievements and challenges can be a way of acknowledging your progress
and motivating others to challenge and overcome their fear. Below are the
stories from the Back in the Drivers Seat book of some representative
participants in the programme (names and personal details have been changed
to protect privacy).
"Im 21 and had never driven on
my own. I was too scared to go for my licence. There were mixed feelings
amongst my friends and family about my fear of driving. Some couldnt
understand why I felt anxious. Dad said it was just a case of getting
in the car and driving. Mum was more sympathetic. She understood my fear
because she has the same problem and has never driven. I tried to drive.
I had a few lessons with my ex-boyfriend. He was always criticising me
for any mistakes like forgetting to put the indicator on or going too
slow. I ended up making more mistakes because I was feeling so nervous.
I started to believe that he was right and that I wasnt a good driver
and it was probably dangerous for me to be on the road given how nervous
I felt. I thought that something bad would happen if I drove. In the end
it seemed easier to be a passenger.
There isnt a regular bus timetable in my area so I had to rely on friends and family to get around. Ive lost track of the number of invitations I had to turn down because there was no way I could get there. I worked part-time because it fitted in with Dad being able to pick me up. I didnt apply for full-time jobs because the ones I really liked needed a drivers licence. I felt like I was in a rut and life was passing me by."
"I never enjoyed driving. I only drove when
it was necessary like going to work or taking the kids to school. Ive
had a couple of minor accidents but nothing that caused me any great worry
or major damage to the car. I just seemed to become less confident in
my driving and would only go places and on roads that were familiar. I
pulled over when I started feeling panicky or felt I couldnt cope.
My kids are very active and heavily involved in sport. Most of the time
they play sport outside our local area. If I wasnt familiar with
where the sports ground was or how to get there I started feeling anxious
and ended up arranging for the kids to have a lift with another parent.
I tended to make excuses like it might be quicker if they went with someone
else or that I wasnt feeling well. This meant I missed seeing them
play. They were disappointed and so was I.
No-one knew about my fear. Probably because people saw me driving they didnt know how anxious I got thinking about driving in unfamiliar places and the energy it took to make excuses for not doing it. I realised that, not only for me but also for the sake of my children, I needed to be more confident with my driving."
"My husband and I moved to the city about
10 years ago as part of our retirement plan. I initially stopped driving
altogether because I was anxious about driving in busy traffic and crossing
the bridge that connected the area that we lived within the city. However,
my husband was happy to drive me around so there really wasnt a
About four months ago, my husband had a sudden
heart attack and has since experienced a series of health problems. This
meant that he was unable to drive. I realised how much I relied on him
for transport. It was harder to see my friends and I wasnt able
to get to my weekly craft classes. Taxis were too expensive. I also worried
that, because I didnt drive, I wouldnt be able to get my husband
to a doctor quickly in an emergency. I have always been a confident and
capable person in most areas of my life and enjoy a challenge. I felt
such a failure because of my fear of driving. I hadnt driven for
10 years and realised that I had lost my independence by not driving."
"I was coming home from work. It had been
raining after a stint of hot weather. I was waiting at the traffic lights
when a car slammed into the back of me. The impact made a mess of my car.
I hurt my neck and was off work for two months, going back and forth to
medical appointments. The hardest part about the accident was how nervous
I felt thinking about driving again. I found this to be quite weird because
before the accident I loved driving. I would take my family on a drive
every weekend. After the accident I felt panicky driving in the rain and
avoided going past the site of the accident if I could. I was always looking
in the rear vision mirror when I stopped at traffic lights and intersections,
just checking to make sure no one was coming up too fast behind me-
I didnt want to have another accident.
Even now, when my wife is driving, Im always looking out for things happening on the road just in case she misses them. I hang onto the seat pretty tightly and my foot instinctively brakes for her. Ive been driving for 20 years and this was my first accident. Im a safe driver and I feel pretty angry because the accident wasnt even my fault".
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