Would I be crazy to drive an extra hour to avoid the motorway?

(121 Posts)
pyjamaramadrama Tue 25-Mar-14 20:25:04

I want to go somewhere soon, no easy train or coach route. Weekend away with my son.

It's 2 hours on the motorway, 3 on the a roads.

I've got very little motorway experience/confidence and it's the M40 which I've never done.

I'd like to deal with my motorway skills eventually but it won't be in time for this.

Does anyone actually do a roads for long journeys like this? Will I be completely knackered by the time I get there?

WaitMonkey Tue 25-Mar-14 20:30:15

A roads. It's only an hour longer and will probably be a lot nicer drive than on the motorway.

Chippednailvarnish Tue 25-Mar-14 20:31:33

You need to address this sooner rather than later, after all what are you going to do if there is a road closed and you have to take the motorway?

Or the A road you plan on using turns out to be a dual carriage way? Or are they ok?

Sorry ... but you would be, really. If you're worried about being knackered after 3 hours you stop in the middle and have a break (which is a good idea). Can you plan the route and find a place where you can do that? If not, pack something to stop and drink and pull over.

But long-term, if you can afford pass plus maybe give it a go, or get a more experienced friend to drive with you? You can't realistically keep avoiding the motorway or feeling scared of three hour drives - it's not good.

CocktailQueen Tue 25-Mar-14 20:33:04

Oh, I would choose motorways. The m40 isn't usually too busy and it's much more straightforward than using a roads. I'd say it's safer with dc as well if you're not having to concentrate on navigating. A motorway is just like a dual carriageway with an extra lane.

Fruli Tue 25-Mar-14 20:33:18

If you can do dual carriageways, you can do motorways. The M40 is an easy enough M-way to get to grips with. I get stiff and cranky if I'm cooped up in a car for too long too, so always looking to keep a journey shorter if possible.

pyjamaramadrama Tue 25-Mar-14 20:34:48

Dual carriageways are absolutely fine.

I think I will do pass plus this year but I won't have time or be able to afford it before my trip.

Sparklingbrook Tue 25-Mar-14 20:35:42

The M40 is a good one to start with IMO, but if you would rather not just go with what you are happy with. Or start on Motorway and get off if you really want to?

AnnoyingOrange Tue 25-Mar-14 20:37:29

M40 is fine, m1 and m25 are usually horrid but inky because I hate sitting in traffic

If you're fine with dual carriageways I should think you'll be fine!

Do maybe check the map a bit carefully so if you feel stressed you know where you can stop for a bit. And remember - you don't have to be doing 80 70 in the fast lane with the others. You can sit behind a lorry doing a steady 65 and it'll be fine. And likely still much faster than A roads.

pyjamaramadrama Tue 25-Mar-14 20:38:56

I can incorporate a stop off for a coffee or bring drinks for the 3 hour drive.

I've just never done a 3 hour drive on my own before, I've done motorway with dp but I've been able to fully concentrate with him advising of any upcoming motorway merges or anything.

Argh I really do need to tackle it it's so restricting, but for now just thinking the extra hour may not be so bad.

specialsubject Tue 25-Mar-14 20:39:09

whatever you do, take a break on that drive. Too long to do without a stop for 30mins or so.

you may need to avoid it anyway if the motorway is jammed!

Mintyy Tue 25-Mar-14 20:39:10

Yes, you would. How old is your son - I am sure he would prefer a shorter car journey?

SadOldGit Tue 25-Mar-14 20:39:19

But is there much difference - for example where I live the A46 and M40 are both three lane roads - very similar driving experience

ginmakesitallok Tue 25-Mar-14 20:40:13

I find some dual carriageways scarier than the motorway, at least on the motorway you don't have folk turning right, or cutting in in front of you to join the carriageway. Motorways are the easiest roads to drive on I think.

TalkinPeace Tue 25-Mar-14 20:40:13

M40 is a decent one to start on

far nicer than the M25 or M42 or the M6
if you are happy with dual carriageways you'll be fine on the M40
esp if not driving in the rush our

think of the fun things you can do out of the car for that hour when you get there

LiegeAndLief Tue 25-Mar-14 20:40:54

If you can do dual carriageways then you can do motorways. Just use the first two lanes! Even if you end up stuck behind a lorry for miles the journey will still be quicker than a roads. IME the M40 is a pretty fast motorway (as in people seem to drive very fast on it), I am a confident driver and rarely need go in the outside lane on the M40 as everyone in the inside lane is already doing 80!

RedFocus Tue 25-Mar-14 20:41:17

After I passed my test I had to drive my car four hours on the motorway, there was no way to avoid it as I was driving my new car home. I was shit scared but I did it. A few months after that I had to drive 4 hours with my kids to collect my husband and got hopelessly lost, my sat nav died and my phone was dead and I had no charger. It was a horrendous experience but it stopped me from being so anxious about driving on motorways and I now don't panic if I get lost. I will happily drive anywhere now.
You must face this sooner rather than later. The longer you leave it the more likely you won't ever tackle it. Go on short motorway trips, get on at one junction and get off at the next and join again to go home. You will soon build your confidence. Maybe not in time for your break but you never know you may feel brave enough to have a little pootle along the motorway. Even if it's just for a short bit it's a start. Make sure you have up to date satnav or app on your phone and make sure you have a charger and if course drinks and snacks. Good luck op. smile

Moomey Tue 25-Mar-14 20:43:26

If dual carriage ways are fine then I'm asuming it's not the slip ways that are the issue?.... After that, the 2nd issue for me was changing to middle lane as you have to also watch that no one from the other lane is also trying to move to middle lane at same time, in same spot. If this is the worry then just stick to inside lane.... even being stuck behind a lorry doing 60 will likely be quicker than your alternative route x

Chipandspuds Tue 25-Mar-14 20:44:47

I'm not very experienced on motorways either (I've been on the M25 6 times for a couple of junctions) and only passed my test in August, but I think if you just stick in the slow lane it's a lot easier than going on normal roads - no turning left/right, no roundabouts, no cars parked on the road, no bicycles and pedestrians. DH reckons as long as you're doing at least 50mph it's fine in the slow lane.

What's putting you off the motorway most is it the speed or watching the other traffic? Hopefully we can reassure you!

I'm not a natural driver and still get sweaty hands when motorway driving but it's not that bad really. My brother said the main thing is get up to motorway speed in the slip road and indicate in good time and just keep with the flow of traffic.

pyjamaramadrama Tue 25-Mar-14 20:46:25

My problem is I didn't do it straight away and now the confidence has gone.

I think it's the speed and the monotony, the worry that i might miss my exit or end up on the wrong motorway.

Do you need to go onto the M42 northbound at the end? I'm a confident, experienced driver but found that intersection a little unnerving the first few times. Other than that the M40 is generally a pretty easy motorway.

ginmakesitallok Tue 25-Mar-14 20:48:11

If you miss your exit you just take the next one. If you end up on the wrong one you just come off it.

x-posted, do you gave a sat-nav to talk to you and remind you when to turn off?

Whereabouts are you starting and ending?

kilmuir Tue 25-Mar-14 20:51:54

Do whatever you are happier with

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