Driving fear and driving skills: comparison between fearful and control samples using standardised on-road assessment
The present study explores driving skills in a group of 50 media-recruited driving-fearful and 50 control drivers, all of whom were women. Participants completed an on-road practical driving assessment with a professional driving instructor. Diagnostic as well as pre-post self-report and instructor driving assessments were conducted. Fearful drivers made more errors on the driving assessment than controls. However, the pattern of errors was identical for both groups, indicating that fear and anxiety may be associated with the number rather than the type of driving errors made. These differences remained when factors such as driving history, current driving frequency, and diagnosis were controlled using case selection. More research is needed to replicate the findings in more diverse samples. Additional work should also aim to clarify the specific role of driving skills in driving fear, which will facilitate treatment planning for exposure-based treatments and help identify cases where driving skills assessment may be appropriate.