Driving lesson

Mom still doesn’t have her driver’s license after 30 YEARS of trying and 1,000 lessons

A mum still doesn’t have her driver’s license after 30 years of trying – and 1,000 lessons – because she’s so terrified she often passes out while driving.

Isabelle Stedman, 47, started lessons aged 17 but was instantly overwhelmed with fear every time she got behind the wheel.

Every time she starts driving, she begins to sweat and shake and becomes so filled with fear that she bursts into tears and has to stop – or even worse, blacks out.


Isabelle experiences this debilitating phobia, although she has never had a car accident.

It’s at its worst when it encounters its ultimate enemy… the roundabouts.

Desperate to get rid of the L plates, she went through seven different instructors and even tried intense driving lessons and hypnotists to prepare for the test, but nothing worked.

She estimates she spent over £10,000 on the course and was never ready to take a test.

Isabelle longs for a solution.

The supermarket worker, from Ampthill, Bedfordshire, said: ‘I’ve been learning for 30 years but every time I get in a car I feel like I’ve never been in a car before and it’s terrifying.

“I don’t understand, but it’s like I get so anxious and overwhelmed that my brain shuts down and I lose consciousness for a few seconds – and roundabouts are the worst.

“When I wake up we’re on the side of the road because the instructor had to grab the steering wheel – and I’m so upset I’m in floods of tears and have to go home.

Isabelle spent 30 years trying to get her license

“I can’t wait to finally drive so I can take my daughter to college and easily visit family across the country, but it’s so traumatic I’m afraid I’ll never learn.

“My kids will probably both pass their tests before me – I can’t help but feel like I missed something.”

The mum-of-two never had a car accident or had a bad experience on the road before starting lessons.

She spoke to doctors and even a hypnotist, who was baffled by her phobia and unable to explain it.

“Every time I get behind the wheel, I tell myself that it will be a good lesson and that I can do it,” added Isabelle.

“But seconds later I would be in floods of tears because I’m so terrified.”

His most recent power outage occurred when approaching a roundabout at the time.

Isabelle has taken more than 1,000 courses to no avail

“I had taken a week-long crash course because I thought it might help me get through it and get it over with,” she said.

“But it was the most traumatic week of my life.

“I got to day three of the course and was nervously approaching a roundabout – then I felt really dizzy.

“Before I knew it, we were on the side of the road and the instructor was telling me he must have grabbed the steering wheel after I collapsed.

“I was sobbing in fear and disappointment – I just had to go home and sleep for hours afterwards because the whole experience had completely drained me.”

Her children – Dominic, 22, and Stella, 17 – are now taking lessons without problems, and the single mother fears she will never make it through to her licence.

She feels like she’s missed out on many aspects of life and motherhood – like driving to see friends, visiting loved ones in the hospital, and taking her children outside.

Isabelle in car
Experts can’t explain his driving phobia

“Friends are offering to take my kids where I can’t,” Isabelle said.

“But it makes me so embarrassed – I’d rather take a taxi than rely on others.”

The anxious mum says she hopes one day her luck will change – and that doctors will find an answer to her strange aversion to driving.

She said: “It’s not like I hate driving – I want to, but it feels impossible.

“Besides everything else, I barely drink so I’d be the perfect designated driver – it’s such a waste!

“It’s been a 30-year nightmare but I have to hope that one day I’ll get there.”