Posted by marchag on June 30 2012 12:17 PM
Ardentauthor, the fears you describe are quite common with learner and new drivers but can be heightened for any level of driver with the additional difficulties that dyscalculia (or any other form of LD) can add to the driving task.
I always encourage my students to focus on what they want
to achieve, rather than what they don't
want to happen. This means you are thinking of a positive rather than negative outcome. So using your example of the fear of crashing, I would encourage you to think about what you will do to prevent such an outcome - look well ahead, slow down, take more space, steer effectively, etc. I even ask my students to consider how they phrase their actions, whether verbalised or internalised, e.g. rather than saying (thinking) "I won't do x as I don't want to crash into y" I would coach them to phrase it along the lines of "I want to pass y safely so I'll do z".
Also try to look objectively at how real the risk of crashing is - has it actually happened? (And if it has, does that necessarily mean it will happen again?). Of course, the risk is always there but it is the driver's actions which decrease (or increase) the risk level. I really feel for you when you say you find driving "absolutely dreadful." But if you can reduce the fear, you reduce the stress levels and if you reduce the stress levels you will not feel so bad about driving (and reduced stress leads to better decision making which is a driver's key way of reducing risk).
Also, don't be too critical of your recently found new skill - so you leave a bit more space when parking, does it really matter (local traffic laws considered lol)? Means you can manoeuvre out more easily, and if you find it a little difficult to judge the distance, too much space is way safer than too little!
You have only been driving 6 months, that is very little experience in the overall scheme of things and like any practical skill it takes time to develop and improve. But I assume you passed a driving test, so you have demonstrated the ability to drive safely.
You might want to consider taking a refresher lesson with a driving instructor to help address your fears around driving, and it might just give you an unexpected lift should you find out that your driving is better than you think.
I hope that you do not mind me offering my thoughts and suggestions, and I truly hope that in time you find driving a less onerous task, and rather one which gives you freedom, independence, transport and, dare I say it, enjoyment. :)