'I was very delusional': A ride-along with Thunder Bay's most improved driver
21-year-old Alexis Pratola is a contestant on season 14 of Canada's Worst Driver
A woman from Thunder Bay, Ont., who is a contestant on this season's Canada's Worst Driver, says she was "bullied" on social media when people in the community found out that a local driver was on the show.
From damaging six cars and getting t-boned with her infant daughter in the backseat, 21-year-old Alexis Pratola never imagined she would be airing all her dangerous driving skills on national television.
"I was very delusional before going on the show," Pratola added. "The guy that was filming it, kinda pulled my driving instructor aside and was like, she's very delusional like she does not think she is a bad driver."
Pratola said she first applied to the show with her friend, as a joke, but it wasn't until after meeting with the producers, that she realized she needed to take this seriously.
"The next day, I was like so upset because it kinda started to hit home that like, oh my god, I have gotten in all these accidents, like this is not a joke," Pratola said.
She said up until the show, she truly believed that all her accidents were caused by bad luck.
"Looking back, there were defensive driving skills that I didn't have that if I had them, those accidents maybe didn't need to happen," she said, adding that she felt invisible as a young, new, driver.
The 21-year-old said she quickly realized that it was her attitude that needed an adjustment.
"I always thought like, I'm not going to get into an accident," Pratola explained, "and even when I was going through driving school, not even a couple days after I got my G2, I got into an accident."
Since coming back from the show, Pratola makes sure she puts her cell phone in the car's glove compartment before starting the engine.
"Bullied like you wouldn't believe"
Pratola said the day the cast for Season 14 of Canada's Worst Driver was released, residents in the community "caught wind that someone from Thunder Bay was on the show," and from that point on she said she was "bullied like you would not believe."
"They just look at it like, I deserve to be in jail and I deserve to have my license taken away, and why to I have custody of my child, I should be attending my child's funeral, these are all things people said to me," Pratola explained.
"Yeah it was a joke at first applying [but] for me to actually get on that plane and go there, that takes guts."
She said she was fully aware that she could be "publicly humiliated," however she said she ultimately made a decision to participate on the show because she "realized [she] needed help."
A confident driver
No longer are the days of speeding, texting while driving or rolling through stop signs, Pratola said.
"Right now I'm going 52 in a 50 zone and it feels natural," Pratola explained, "I can feel it and I didn't have that sense of speed or I'm going to hit that curb."
She said her friends and family will happily get in the car with her when she's behind the wheel.
"I am so thankful for what the show did," Pratola said. "I don't think that my driving would be the way it is today if I didn't go get the kick in the ass I needed."