Drivers returning to the wheel after a road incident often need some time to get their confidence back.

    With this in mind, Australian service and repair company mycar – formerly Kmart Tyre & Auto – is promoting an interesting new program called ‘Return Plates’.

    These ‘R Plates’ are designed to be displayed on a car to signify the driver is returning to the road after suffering trauma, or returning from a long break from driving.

    Mycar cites a 1000-person survey conducted by Pureprofile in August this year, which found about three-quarters of Australians had been affected by a road incident, with 21 per cent taking two to (at least) six months to feel comfortable in the car again.

    The hope for R Plates is that they’ll encourage a little empathy from other road users who see them on a car, so returning drivers therefore feel less pressure behind the wheel.

    The same survey found 66 per cent of Australians felt safer on the road while having visible L or P plates on their car when learning to drive, and 68 per cent felt that other drivers would give them more space.

    In addition to having the R Plate displayed on the vehicle, it has a QR code that directs to local and national professional support services.

    “People talk about the physical injuries associated with car accidents, but we often overlook the psychological impact associated with the experience,” said University of Melbourne associate professor Dr Jason Thompson.

    “The journey through to recovery, and a return to confidence, is unique to each individual and often takes time.

    “Returning to the road can be a scary and a nerve-wracking experience, so even just having those feelings recognised could help people in their recovery.”

    Jack Quick

    Jack Quick is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne. Jack studied journalism and photography at Deakin University in Burwood, and previously represented the university in dance nationally. In his spare time, he loves to pump Charli XCX and play a bit of Grand Theft Auto. He’s also the proud owner of a blue, manual 2020 Suzuki Jimny.

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