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#1 29-08-04 00:17:36


Motorway MADness

CARkeys, UK - Aug 16, 2004

A new RAC Foundation report suggests that a worryingly high number of motorists find motorways so intimidating that when driving on them they may suffer anything from tension headaches, stomach cramps and digestive problems to raised heart rate and raised blood pressure.

This is pretty serious stuff, considering that drivers affected by any of these problems almost certainly won't be giving their full attention to what's going on around them, and are likely to cause accidents as get involved in other people's.

Conrad King, the Foundation psychologist, says, "For millions of motorists, simply venturing onto a motorway can turn their journey into a nightmare. That people experience Motorway Anxiety Disorder is quite natural and understandable, as motorway driving involves manoeuvring at speed.

"MAD can be managed through appropriate post-test driver training, through regular practice, and through practising breathing exercises and listening to calming music."

In a Foundation survey, the most anxiety-creating motorways in the UK are the M25; the A1(M) because of its changes between full motorway and non-motorway standard, complete with roundabouts; the M4/M5 interchange north of Bristol, largely because of its confusing signs; and the M1 between Junction 28 and Junction 32, because of the congestion of traffic entering and leaving the motorway.

Drivers already halfway to panic when just thinking about being on a motorway really shouldn't be there at all, and this situation does show up how pathetically inadequate the UK's driving tuition procedures are.

There's surely a commercial opening here. If keen motorists are ready to take track day and fast road driving courses, surely the worriers would be happy to pay for soothing tuition on how to tackle motorways. It isn't rocket science.

In any case, the experience of CARkeys contributors is that one of the most relaxing drives in the country is a motorway cruise along the M6 over Shap and past the Tebay Fells, in either direction.

29-08-04 00:17:36

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