Do any of you have problems with driving?
I have a horrible fear of it. I'm always afraid I'm going to get into a crash, so I'm completely on edge whenever I'm in the driver's seat. Add that to the constant stimulation (cars whizzing by, sticks on the road, etc.) and the problems with depth perception (I've been driving six months and still can't park without leaving too much space) and the trouble of remembering street names and addresses, and it's absolutely dreadful.
I had the same problem when I first began driving, I was always afraid. My mom had to make me practice driving, because I just wouldn't do it. I was always afraid of making a mistake. I eventually got over it. My mom and I would just practice driving in the "safe" areas, like around our neighborhood. When i was comfortable with that she made me drive on the busier streets and eventually the freeway.
It also got better when I bought my own car because I didn't have the pressure of wrecking someone else's.
My dad also had the same fear of driving when he began to drive and he said he eventually grew out of it.
I know it's hard but when you're on the road, think of the other vehicles as teammates, you are all going the same direction to reach your destination without an accident. It helped me anyway.
Basically the more I drove the better it got, and now I love to drive.
Equations are the devil's sentences. -Stephen Colbert
I first learned to drive as requirement for my case management job with people with cognitive disabilities. I was about 23 and I was required to drive all over the county <I'm in the states> and make home visits. I actually got the job prior to completing my adult driver's ed. course and so for the first several months, my husband, my dad or another caseworker actually drove me as needed. Due to the nature of the agency, people were very accommodating.
I failed the road test twice and was in tears, but in the end, did get it.
I was very nervous the first year but that did improve. Like dandy, the more I drove - and I had to drive a LOT, and drive clients with me to places as another part of the job - the more I relaxed and improved. I had to find places I'd never been to and drive in areas that had a lot of violence and other issues.
For my purpose, I think the need to learn to drive helped me in other ways besides the obvious - it was an asset in my job because clients could feel empowered to assist me in getting them to where they needed to go - and a big part of the job was client empowerment and communication. And they could see - here was another person with a disability going out and trying such-and-such.
Sometimes I couldn't find a place and/or couldn't take a client where they were supposed to go simply because it was in just WAY too congested and challenging of an area, and occasionally would get very upset clients for that reason but things always worked out or got better.
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.