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?

Nancy66 Tue 25-Mar-14 20:53:33

there are so many signs on motorways before an exit that it's very hard to miss one.

I think the chance of getting lost on a smaller road is much greater BUT it's important you feel confident at wheel so go with what makes you feel safer.

pyjamaramadrama Tue 25-Mar-14 20:59:05

Yes I will have to be on the m42, just for 5 minutes or so though. Coming off the M40 at junction 4 ( and totally giving away where I'm going now).

I probably could do it, but it might be sweaty palms all the way.

Perhaps I could have a few practise runs not the whole way of course but just going up one junction to practise getting on and off.

The funny thing is I have done the m5 and in the dark and pouring rain, doesn't get any less scary though.

Nancy66 Tue 25-Mar-14 21:01:38

Remember also that there are hardly any huge lorries on motorways at weekends which always makes driving much more pleasant.

Jemimapuddlemuck Tue 25-Mar-14 21:02:39

Might not be enough time for this occasion but I would recommend a couple of motorway lessons or the pass plus course with a qualified instructor. That's what I did and it worked wonders for my confidence. I used to be terrified of mways but can now drive anywhere, it was life changing.

pyjamaramadrama Tue 25-Mar-14 21:03:04

Good point nancy.

Has anyone done pass plus. Is it worthwhile.

Statistically speaking A roads are much more dangerous than motorways. I do understand, though, as I've had this fear myself and it took a lot of effort to get past it. Can you go for a practice drive early on a Sunday morning when it will be quiet?

Sat navs are brilliant. I have one now and it takes loads of the stress out of driving as I am a hopeless navigator!

MamaPain Tue 25-Mar-14 21:05:14

Do what you feel confident with, however, I'd also encourage you to face your fears.

A few practices would be a good idea.

I drive on motorways often, mainly the M25, 2 days after passing my test I had to drive for hours on the m25, it's really not that bad. I personally prefer motorways as there is actually much less opportunity to get lost, other traffic is very visible, fewer strange hazards, its quick and there are lots of signs.

The m40 is not a bad one at all in my (limited) experience of it.

PenguinsEatSpinach Tue 25-Mar-14 21:05:36

How old is your son. The difference between two hours in the car and three is big for a small child if he's young.

soverylucky Tue 25-Mar-14 21:06:09

Yabu really because if you hold a full licence you should be comfortable/competent at driving on the motorway.
As you are nervous with this type of driving you should avoid it so as not to cause a problem to other road users.

So you're going on the m42 first, then the M40, that junction is easy peasy in that direction, you really should be fine. The M40 j4 is a big one (I used to live in that town) but think it has been remodelled since I left so can't comment on what it is like now.

UserNameDenied Tue 25-Mar-14 21:08:32

An hour is a lot extra, I would go on the motorway but take it easy.
Do you have a decent satnav. I have one which tells me which lane to be in when I get to junctions. It helps a lot.

mrknowitall Tue 25-Mar-14 21:09:52

Sorry, and I am not saying this to have a go, but if you cant drive on a motorway then you shouldn't have a driving licence. Same goes for people that wont drive in the dark etc.....

meganorks Tue 25-Mar-14 21:11:17

Oh for gods sake, just get on the motorway! Much more likely to have an accident and get lost or stuck in traffic on A roads. Plus as motorways go, the m40 is pretty good. I drive on it loads and it is rarely really busy.

ErrolTheDragon Tue 25-Mar-14 21:11:44

Motorways are much easier to drive on than most A roads. Far more predictable, better signposts. If you miss your exit it's usually not to far to the next one and double back - whereas if you go wrong in a town you can get seriously lost.

Slapperati Tue 25-Mar-14 21:12:15

Honestly, motorways are far easier and far safer than A roads. You'll be fine!

Sounds like you are indeed having a go mrknowitall. Apt username.

LillianGish Tue 25-Mar-14 21:13:56

Go on the motorway. If you are ok with dual carriageways you'll be fine and when you get to your destination you'll feel like you've climbed Everest (in terms of achievement) but you'll almost certainly wonder what you were worrying about. The only way to become a confident driver is to drive and I speak from experience. In fact the M40 was my first motorway experience and as others have already said it is not a bad one to start with. It will almost certainly be easier than going on A roads and much easier to see where you are going as everything is very clearly signed. Good luck - and plan yourself a treat for hour you save.

pyjamaramadrama Tue 25-Mar-14 21:14:47

Ds is 5. 2 hours would obviously be better but we've travelled all the the country (not me driving) for UK holidays and he's really good in the car, obviously shorter would be better though.

As for shouldn't hold a full licence, well I've been driving for over 10 years passed first time and have never had an accident and have also done motorway but I don't like it. So I stick to situations I am more comfortable with. Doesn't mean I am unsafe.

I can do some practise runs.

Justgotosleepnow Tue 25-Mar-14 21:17:12

Of all the motorways I've driven on M40 is the best one!
Not too busy & nice scenery. Enough services so you can stop if tired.
Lots of sign posts for junctions & plenty of time to get in lane. Hang out in the slow lane & take it easy.
Good luck!

pyjamaramadrama Tue 25-Mar-14 21:18:19

Hmm first post for mrknowitall.

Thanks all for the encouragement, I think I will definitely tackle this this year, it will make my life so much easier.

mrsbug Tue 25-Mar-14 21:19:03

I would do it to avoid the m25, but the m40 is my favourite motorway

MarianForrester Tue 25-Mar-14 21:20:46

Yes, YABU.

Just drive on it to where you want to go and stop the histrionics. It's a road. You can drive. Hate this type of attitude.

PenguinsEatSpinach Tue 25-Mar-14 21:24:12

Ok, so not a toddler. Old enough that 3 hours isn't a massive deal.

I would agree with a lot of people, you need to tackle this. Motorways are actually some of the easiest driving once you get over the confidence thing:

- straight line;
- numbered count down until you need to come off;
- except the odd person undertaking, all the movement comes from one side.

If you can do dual carriageways, there really is no difference. It's purely getting the confidence in your own mind.

But I agree that alone in the car with your son might not be the time. Just put it top of your list for this year, because you'll be glad you got over it. smile

laloue Tue 25-Mar-14 21:25:07

M40 is fine , probably the best place to start overcoming your fears. Follow the signs, the paint on the road and don't drive too slowly ( you'll just provoke the idiots). I have gone from driving new, powerful cars to my cranky old sports car on motorways in the last year - it hasn't reduced my confidence , but it has made me read the road more than ever. Be confident.

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