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Old 23 Nov 2005, 08:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
skylight's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Here and S.Wales
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Not before 00.01

November 22 2005

White Knuckle Drive?

For 10 million drivers, the thought of venturing onto a motorway can bring on a cold sweat. One in five women drivers refuse to use the motorway network at all. But help is at hand for these millions of drivers suffering from "Driving Anxiety Disorder," says the RAC Foundation.

RAC Foundation research has revealed a spectrum of drivers whose anxiety has gone beyond self-preservation to a level which prevents them from making effective use of Britain’s roads, and affects their daily lives.

The RAC Foundation is supporting "National Anxiety Disorders Awareness Week*" to reassure anxious drivers that they are not alone; and to offer practical advice and support.

Sources of anxiety include:

Busy urban networks
Bad weather conditions
The RAC Foundation Driving Anxiety factfile shows:-

Young females and elderly female drivers suffer the highest levels of anxiety.
Professional male drivers between 28 and 55 are least likely to suffer.
Tailgating is the biggest fear for both men and women on motorways – 50% of men and 40% of women identified motorists driving too close as their No.1 motorway anxiety. 45% of female drivers fear breaking down on the motorway, while 28% of women told the RAC Foundation that HGVs overtaking was their greatest fear.
The speed and density of traffic in urban centres like London frightens many women drivers into giving up driving completely.
Driving at night and in fog are two particularly common triggers.
RAC Foundation research found three main groups of anxious drivers: Stressed Survivors, Anxious Avoiders, and Phobic Forsakers

Stressed Survivors find driving an ordeal but stick with it. They fear getting lost; getting stuck in traffic; breaking down; and being intimidated by other drivers tailgating or cutting them up. They get easily upset behind the wheel.
Anxious Avoiders will go out of their way to avoid those situations that make them nervous. This might be a major road junction, or motorways in general. Twenty per cent of Britain’s female drivers avoid motorways entirely, adding 384 miles a year to their journeys.
Phobic Forsakers have given up driving completely. Not through choice but after developing a phobic response to everyday driving situations such as crossing a bridge. Others in this group may have developed driving phobia following an accident and now find themselves unable to drive past the scene of the incident or to travel in the same model of car. As many as one in three people involved in nonfatal accidents have post traumatic stress disorder, persistent anxiety, depression, and phobias one year after the incident.
Anxious drivers can get stuck in a vicious circle. Tense, nervous drivers make mistakes – they may drive too slowly; forget to indicate or leave their indicator on; or make sudden changes in direction or speed out of panic. This reinforces a negative driving experience.

Sheila Rainger, Campaigns Manager for the RAC Foundation, speaking at the launch of Anxiety Disorders Awareness Week** said: "It’s easy to believe that every other road user is a confident, capable driver, but it’s simply not the case. In fact, one in every three drivers we surveyed admitted that they felt anxious and stressed about driving on motorways. Driving anxiety is entirely treatable and there is lots of help available."

The first step for anxious drivers is to try some simple self-help tips. Stressed Survivors often find that the root of their fear is a sense that, as soon as they get behind the wheel, the journey is out of their control. The RAC Foundation recommends that Stressed Survivors should think RELAX before every journey:

R – Route plan – avoid the anxiety of getting lost by planning your route before you go.

E – Equipment – check this over. If you’re prepared for the worst you can hope for the best. Check tyres, including the spare, so that you are prepared for a blow-out. Try and keep a charged, credited mobile phone in the glove box so that you can always call for help. Becoming a member of a breakdown service reduces fears of being stranded by the roadside.

L – leave lots of time for your journey.

A – advanced training – improve your confidence by getting professional training to improve your skills.

X – xhale! Deep breathing and relaxation exercises help drivers calm down.

Anxious Avoiders often suffer from dented confidence. This may be a result of a crash; or from habitually travelling with a highly critical back-seat driver. Work for the RAC Foundation during National Motorway Month showed that drivers in this group can reap huge benefits from regular practice with an expert adviser, such as a BSM driving instructor or an IAM observer.

"Nervous drivers may be qualified to be on the road but lack the confidence. Our network of IAM volunteers around the UK are used to dealing with drivers who may have not been at the wheel for many years, perhaps because a partner always drove, and they have been recently bereaved. They offer friendly advice and sound driving techniques: the result is often that nervous drivers gain the experience they need, in a constructive and supportive environment," said IAM spokesman Vince Yearley.
The RAC Foundation recommends that Phobic Forsakers seek expert advice from a group like the National Phobics Society***. Sympathetic support from an expert in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can be very helpful and put phobic drivers back on the road to recovery.



* Anxiety Disorders Awareness Week: The National Phobics Society and sister organisation Destigmatize are organizing the first Anxiety Disorders Awareness Week from 21-26 November 2005 to raise awareness for anxiety disorders and phobias. The theme for the Anxiety Disorders Awareness Week will be: FEAR NOT!

For further information on Anxiety Disorders Awareness Week: http://www.phobics-society.org.uk/fearnot.shtml

** Anxiety Disorders Awareness Week press launch

Wednesday 23rd November 2005
Royal National Hotel, London
2pm - 3.30pm

Contact: Amo Kalar; Chief Executive; Destigmatize

t: 0870 126 4872
f: 02079197873

***The National Phobics Society has a range of services available for members including factsheets; helpline services and 1:1 therapy. For further information: www.phobics-society.org.uk

Motorway fears:

Fear of tailgaters is highest in the West Country: 55% of drivers say it is their greatest fear compared to a UK average of 46%.

Company car drivers are least likely to suffer driving anxiety: 7% of company car drivers said they had no fears, compared to a UK average of 4%

The RAC Foundation for Motoring is an independent body established to protect and promote the interests of UK motorists. Motoring organisation RAC supports its seven million customers with breakdown cover and a wide range of other motoring solutions. The views of each organisation should not be attributed to the other.

For research and past releases www.racfoundation.org

Edmund King

Executive Director

RAC Foundation

Tel 020 7747 3485

Mobile 07850 786960

ISDN 020 7389 0601

Kevin Delaney

Traffic and Road Safety Manager

RAC Foundation

Tel 020 7747 3487

Mobile 07860 953729

ISDN 020 7389 0601

Sheila Rainger

Campaigns Manager

RAC Foundation

Tel 020 7747 3486

Mobile 07711 776448

ISDN 020 7389 0601
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Old 23 Nov 2005, 10:07 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Lancashire
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Send a message via MSN to BIG GRINDER!
I think RELAX should be renamed STUPID.

S Stay at home.

T Take a long walk, perhaps buy a dog for Christmas

U U may be over doing things.

P Put the Kettle on.

I Indicate to your husband/partner you wish to travel by train or Bus.

D Do what is best for other drivers and stay of the :cen Motorway.

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Old 23 Nov 2005, 10:34 PM   #3 (permalink)
skylight's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Here and S.Wales
Posts: 13,155

Nice comment BIG GRINDER!
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