Overcome fear of dating

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Unlike many driving phobics, I enjoy the relative safety of motorway driving, but the country lanes I negotiate every day throw up enough tricky situations – from overtaking horses to crossing a bridge with a blind crest – to make me reach for Mallon’s book for tips on keeping calm. A gentle reminder that I haven’t yet crashed my Renault Modus on the preschool run helps stop my palms sticking to the steering wheel with nervous sweat each morning.Stress appears to be one of the major factors in fear of driving and I’ve benefited from the advice to use music as a mood booster and watch my diet, exchanging a morning espresso for a bowl of porridge to keep my blood-sugar levels even.Embarrassingly, I can cite no such traumatic experience, although having a traffic police officer for a father and working in motor racing have most likely convinced my subconscious that driving can be a dangerous business.I gained my licence at the third attempt 11 years ago and can still hear the examiner’s words ringing in my ears: “You’ve passed…If driving is something you can avoid, then you avoid it.” How to Overcome Fear of Driving by Joanne Mallon (Nell James Publishers) is on sale now.

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“It is absolutely everywhere, but it’s a hidden thing,” she explains.

“When I talk about the book, so many people say, 'I thought it was just me’.” The root of many cases can be found in past incidents.

Mallon had, shockingly, fallen out of a car on to a dual carriageway when she was four, and had later been at the wheel of a vehicle whose brakes failed.

“Fear of driving can stop people living,” says Ling.

“You turn into a child having to rely on public transport or other people.

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