Driving to see friend - terrified of motorway

(104 Posts)
Gobbolinothewitchscat Thu 23-May-13 23:09:01

I'm an OK driver - not the most confident in the world but OK and have quite a lot of motorway experience.

I live near Manchester and have a good friend who lives in Liverpool. Normally, we meet in Manchester but she asked me to go to Liverpool today to see her.

The last time I went, I was around 8 months pregnant with DS who is 5 months old. I found the drive really frightening but thought it was perhaps because I was pregnant,,travelling home while it was dark and due to the torrential rain

DS and I went today and I'm still frightened out of my wits even though we came home hours ago. I can't sleep as everytime I shut my eyes I'm having flashbacks to the two crashes we nearly had. The motorway was chock full of lorries straddling the middle and slow lanes so I had to spend quite a bit of the journey in the fast lane. Even though I was going at around 90, I still had an arsehole hanging off my bumper. If I'd had to break suddenly I'd have been fucked.

I spent the whole time at my friend's house petrified about the drive home. On the way back, a car swerved in front of me from a slip road - over the unbroken line. I did the most dangerous thing - braked rather than moving out to the middle lane and was lucky not to be rear-ended by a lorry.

When I got home, I couldn't actually get out of the car for 20 minutes as my legs were shaking so much. I'm pregnant again and when I saw DH I burst in to tears as I truly thought we were all going to die on the way back. Coupled with having to navigate an unfamiliar route, my nerves are shredded v

I know this sounds totally melodramatic but I cannot go back in that motorway again. If I do, I'll either kill us all or lose my nerve so badly that I'll have to give up driving.

DH is a very confident driver but agrees that the road between Manchester and Liverpool is difficult as it's busy and there is also a lot of aggressive driving. He's said that I just need to tell my friend that I'm not happy to go on that road and to meet somewhere else. However, I feel really terrible about doing this as I'm normally a very capable person and I don't want her to feel that I'm expecting her to do all the driving.

AIBU re this? My legs are shaking again just writing this post

Lj8893 Thu 23-May-13 23:26:58

But driving at 90mph does make you a dangerous driver?!

hiddenhome Thu 23-May-13 23:27:56

I know the road you're talking about and it is crazy around there. Are there any alternative routes you could take? Otherwise, train and taxi sound like your best bet.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Thu 23-May-13 23:28:13

I am absolutely not staying in a middle or slow lane boxed in by lorries - my friend was nearly killed in a car crash due to that.

My instructor(and my DH who is a very good driver) agreed with me that it's much safer to get away from the lorries (by way of the fast lane) and also not to be sitting in the slow lane behind a lorry with another one boxing you in in the middle lane. If anything happens with someone pulling in front of you from the slip road on the left, you have no where to go - hence my friend at uni nearly being squished to death

Oinkypig Thu 23-May-13 23:29:49

I have driven that stretch so many times and I'm not a huge fan but why do you feel you have to go into the fast lane to overtake slow lorries? You can just drive behind them?

Lj8893 Thu 23-May-13 23:30:34

But you don't need to drive at 90mph to overtake a lorry, as many posters have already pointed out.

Cabrinha Thu 23-May-13 23:30:39

You sound very defensive, when people are giving good suggestions about lessons. Are you defensive because you were speeding?

Not, it's not U to not want to use a road that is a high risk road, in fact, it's quite R to avoid it. Sensible.

BUT - you are U to think you "have" to do 90mph on it. You don't. Yes, I've driven it. And if you are as shaken up as you describe, and think you'll lose your nerve to drive completely, then I think you lack confidence enough that you'll benefit from lessons whether you go back on that road or not.

There's no shame in more lessons. Take an Advanced Driver course if that makes you feel better about it.

XiCi Thu 23-May-13 23:31:21

So you panicked and instead thought it would be a better idea to go 20mph over the speed limit - don't really get your logic

Gobbolinothewitchscat Thu 23-May-13 23:33:47

Ok - well some of us and I suspect the ones who have no knowledge of this particular road aren't going to agree on driving styles. I must say though, I'm amazed that it just seems to be the roads near Manchester and Liverpool where people go over 70 in the fast lane. Must be a local thing. Notwithstanding that, I couldn't overtake the lorries at plus 57+ miles per hour as there were queues in the middle and slow lanes of about 5 each. If I'd pulled out in to the fast lane to overtake them at 60, then all the cars in the fast lane doing 90 would have crashed in to the back of me and I wouldn't have been able to get past the long line of lorries.

However, any thought on the actual question - about meeting my friend?

ThingummyBob Thu 23-May-13 23:34:01

Why did you feel like you had to overtake at 90mph OP. Why not just drive at 70 in the slow lane if that's where you are more comfortable?

Its tail to tail lorries, won't leave you any room. Box you in like a sardine waiting to be canned...

I'm not advocating speeding btw, I overtake at 70 no problem. But I flip the bird to tailgaiters and don't stress.

I understand that some people would fear this as much as being boxed in by the lorries.

There is some seriously twattish driving along those stretches.

CaptainJamesTKirk Thu 23-May-13 23:34:59

You're clearly having none of it... You know best.

Whatever... But you're endangering yourself, your child and other road users. Get a gps, set it to avoid the motorway and take your time. If you're not willing to do that, take some motorway lessons. If you're not willing to do that get a sodding train.

It really isn't that difficult.

ThingummyBob Thu 23-May-13 23:35:16

missed out the * *

juneybean Thu 23-May-13 23:35:25

I'm surprised no one has rolled out the line "there's no such thing as a fast lane"

Cabrinha Thu 23-May-13 23:36:13

OK, so it possibly goes beyond a bad drive or two on this road, but fears because of your friend's accident.
Again - do an advanced course, and concentrate on defensive driving. Depending on how much of your anxiety is related to your friend's accident, maybe some kind of counselling?
My worry for you is that today it's this section of motorway, but seeing a bad accident on an A road sometime might write off that kind of road for you, and this will build.
Tackle it. By all means choose to avoid that stretch because it's high risk - but don't avoid it because you are too frightened.

JumpingJackSprat Thu 23-May-13 23:36:27

Its not slow lane/fast lane. Anything other than the nearside lane is an overtaking lane and you shouldnt let other drivers bully you into driving at 90mph. of course its safe to do 70... a damn sight safer than 90!!!

Wibblypiglikesbananas Thu 23-May-13 23:37:01

You sound dangerous!

There is no such thing as a slow, middle and fast lane. You need proper motorway lessons if you don't understand how overtaking works.

Using the name of the motorway as an excuse for your poor driving is ridiculous! I've driven all over the country - Manchester, M60, London, M25 - both can be busy but an experienced driver would cope.

It may be that you have an anxiety issue which affects you unduly, in which case you should investigate this. Otherwise, please don't endanger others.

Oinkypig Thu 23-May-13 23:37:52

Sorry cross post, but I've never been boxed in, if that happens just slow down so there isn't a lorry in the middle lane and be aware of upcoming junctions so again you are slowing down in time to give those behind you time to slow down as well. The statistically most dangerous lane is actually the middle lane. What happened to your friend was awful but there are other things you can do to avoid being boxed in than travelling in the 'fast lane'

ThingummyBob Thu 23-May-13 23:39:40

To those giving the OP a hard time; imagine pulling out onto a single lane carriage way (the fast lane - no others move at times as OP describes) and into the flow of traffic on that single carriageway, when the flow of traffic is 90mph.

I think that is what she is describing.

Its scary hairy stuff.

You then have to slow down that traffic yourself in order to stay at 70mph. That's what I do, but it is difficult.

HazeltheMcWitch Thu 23-May-13 23:39:52

Must be a local thing.

No. It's a dangerous driving thing. You don't need to drive at 90, you just don't. You also need to see that if you had to overtake (at 90), lorries - well, you really did not need to overtake at all.

My advice? Stay off the motorway.

Cabrinha Thu 23-May-13 23:40:58

The actual question?
Well, plenty of people have suggested the train or satnav alternative routes. You want more answers? Fly there on a winged horse.
You've clearly decided not to bother listening to people.

vivizone Thu 23-May-13 23:41:30

I feel for you op. Def not being unreasonable to ask your friend to meet you halfway

squeakytoy Thu 23-May-13 23:42:36

I know the area very well. I have lived there for most of my life.

My job involved driving on motorways all the time, and I now live in the South East and regularly drive on the M25 and other motorways that are full of lorries, mainly european ones too.

There is still no need to go at 90mph to overtake. If you were having to go at that speed to overtake, then you should have been staying behind the vehicle in front of you which cant have been going much slower than 70.

If you had a car right behind you when you were doing 90, neither of you would stand much chance if you had to break suddenly. Both of you were at fault there.

Travel at weekends when there are less goods vehicles on the roads. Or avoid motorways.

garlicgrump Thu 23-May-13 23:44:34

I agree your motorway driving could do with some serious tuition, Gobbolin. If you want to be an old lady driver who's never been involved in a crash, you have to think for the other twats (this is what another poster meant by defensive driving.) The speeding to get past lorries and the slip lane incident show that you could do with much better looking ahead, anticipation, and allowing for others' mistakes.

With that out of the way, there's no shame in finding alternative routes. I don't know the road you used - is there a parallel A-road you could have used? There often is with motorways, you just need to allow a bit more time. It's a good idea to check out the train + taxi option, as well. Would this cost much more than the petrol? Could be the perfect solution smile

Cabrinha Thu 23-May-13 23:48:02

If you don't want to be boxed in, keep slowing down. Absolutely refuse to stop maintaining the correct stopping distance. As long as you slow gradually, you are not going to have the vehicle behind go into you. Do it by touching your break as you slow down, not just foot off accelerator, as then the vehicle behind will get your brake light warning. You will find the space getting filled over and over. So keep slowing down when it does. It may feel like you're driving backwards, but of course you're always going forwards, really.

mummymeister Thu 23-May-13 23:48:06

OP I quite agree. you shouldn't go back on the motorway again. In fact you shouldn't go back on to any road again unless you are prepared to obey the speed limits which are there for a reason. You appear to have talked yourself into the fact that you have to break the law and wont listen to people who tell you what you did was absolutely unsafe. had I been in your shoes my legs would have been shaking and I am not responsible for 2 children as you are. I drive an awful lot of miles every week. on an almost daily basis there is nearby an "incident" sometimes a near miss sometimes a very near miss. how many of these have to become hits before you realise that driving at 28% above the permitted speed limit is stupid. and please, let me know next time you are out on the road and where you are going so that I know to keep the hell away from you.I suggest you google some pics now of what cars look like that have been involved in accidents due to speeding. do you have the same cavalier attitude to drinking and driving, talking on the phone maybe. posts like this beggar belief.

jacks365 Thu 23-May-13 23:48:53

My daily commute used to include the M60/62 but I've never had the issues you describe.

Rather than speed up slow down, keep a gap in front of you so you have room to react. Never feel forced to drive faster than you want. If you have to do 90 to pull iut fine but then slow down carefully till you feel in control again and don't let the idiots bother you.

Yes it us fair to suggest meeting someone halfway but it wouldn't be fair to expect your friend to always come to Manchester.

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