Please tell me driving gets easier

(116 Posts)
whatstheworstthatcanhappen1 Tue 02-Aug-16 22:19:10

I am nearly at the point of giving up, I passed my test about 10 months ago and get so anxious when driving or if a journey is coming up.

I particularly hate stopping on a hill, with traffic lights etc as I feel like the handbrake won't hold the car, I get so worked up before and after a journey. I have never made any big mistakes and don't stall it or even roll back when I am doing a hill start but I still get so anxious.

I am at the point where I am avoiding driving unless I have to or I go at times that will be quiet on the roads and this isn't why I wanted to pass my test!

Does it get easier and when did you find it did?

John4703 Tue 02-Aug-16 22:25:28

It gets easier. Do not give up. I passed my test way back in 1964 and the test you passed was a lot harder.
You can drive, the examiner said you can drive. All you need is practice. Do not give up, you can do it.

blondieblondie Tue 02-Aug-16 22:26:06

I 'be been driving since October, but passed in August. I'm a bit like I you. Haven't ventured onto the motorway alone yet, and only twice with someone else. I can't stop in traffic on a hill without the handbrake, i spend forever retrying to find spaces big enough to park (just can't reverse in full stop) I genuinely don't know how I passed. I'm okay driving locally and it's made my life so much easier, but I have set routes in busy areas to avoid situations I don't feel I can confidently handle. I'm considering some pass plus lessons. Feel a bit stupid doing then after a year, but I'm not getting the most out of something that cost me a fortune and forever to achieve. Would ou consider that?

blondieblondie Tue 02-Aug-16 22:27:03

Sorry for all the typos, my phone screened is cracked and I have sausage fingers.

PurpleWithRed Tue 02-Aug-16 22:31:22

Do pass plus - good for you neck and your confidence. And drive lots and lots, the more you do the easier it gets.

whatstheworstthatcanhappen1 Tue 02-Aug-16 22:31:24

I have thought about lessons but feel a bit silly as like you I passed nearly a year ago.

I drove to a holiday in may that is about 2.5 hours each way and thought I would be fine with driving after this but I still panic even before little journeys.

My dh doesn't drive so it all falls on me which adds more pressure. I am physically shaking when I get out the car.

PurpleWithRed Tue 02-Aug-16 22:31:36

Neck? Insurance!!!

milpool Tue 02-Aug-16 22:32:21

I passed my test Nov 2013. I'd say I only became a confident driver after DD was born in spring 2015! And even now I'm not completely confident. I can't parallel park for shit. And hill starts still give me the wobbles.

Hang in there. It will get easier. It just takes practice!

MackerelOfFact Tue 02-Aug-16 22:36:38

I was the slowest person ever to master driving, it took me 10 years and 8 attempts to even pass my test and even continued to have lessons after passing because I was so nervous!

It's been about 4 years now since I passed and frankly I have no idea what I was worried about. The things that help me are:

- Putting the radio on. I used to hate any distraction but actually I find it relaxes me enough to stop over-thinking and make calm decisions.

- Driving at night or during very quiet times. I used to drive occasionally in Central London at 1 or 2am, and roads that seemed terrifying in peak times weren't scary at all in the dead of night. Remove the other vehicles and focus on the road layout, positioning and manoeuvring without being worried about causing an accident.

- Sat nav (or Google maps in my case). Personally, for me, not having to figure out which way I'm going and whether I'm in the wrong lane at a busy roundabout, as well as getting an aerial view of the road layout, is massively helpful for me.

But more than anything else, just go out there - preferably alone - and get a feel for it. Let yourself make a few little mistakes, nobody is a perfect driver 100% of the time. Get used to and trust the car. If the handbrake doesn't feel secure, use the footbrake too!

snippan Tue 02-Aug-16 22:37:45

Yes, it does. It just takes a little time. It was 9 years after passing my test before I actually owned a car so was terrified when I drove it at first. I wouldn't even make right turns and had to go very circuitous routes to get anywhere. Your confidence will grow with time. One trick I learnt was never to feel apologetic when I was going anywhere, before that I often felt like I didn't have the right to even be on the roads since I was so timid.

Revenant Tue 02-Aug-16 22:38:46

It has got better for me, but gradually. I've been driving since February and only got the nerve to try motorways a couple of weeks ago. What's really helped me build confidence is doing a few longer journeys. Stopping on hills is still something I hate though

Mari50 Tue 02-Aug-16 22:40:28

Of course it gets easier. You're learning how to drive now, all you did previously was learn how to pass a driving test, it'll take a while but you'll get more confident. Don't give up, that doesn't help your confidence!!!

MissClarke86 Tue 02-Aug-16 22:42:15

What happens as you drive more is things become part of your muscle memory, so many of the things you have to consciously think about in the early days (and the things that make it seem so stressful and panicky!) become natural and then all you have to concentrate on is looking at your surroundings.

The only advice is to keep at it! I used to really have to think about judging distances in my rear view mirror, the width of my car etc, and found all that really stressful but now that's just natural.

If you still find it really stressful in a few months, would it be worth switching to an automatic? I passed in a manual but love my auto, so much easier and no risk of stalling. Hill starts are also a doddle as autos hold on most general inclines.

milpool Tue 02-Aug-16 22:42:53

I actually think what helped me as well was just driving around not really going anywhere. Just kind of tootling around.

QueenieBob Tue 02-Aug-16 22:43:29

I was the same for years. I never got over the 'newly passed driver' nerves and it got so bad it was easier to let my husband drive. Our DD started school last year and I wanted the flexibility of being able to drop her off & pick her up so researched driving anxiety and got help from a company called Ride Drive. The guy who runs the company totally gets driving anxiety and the best bit of advice I got from him was to drive until my brain no longer gets anxious & becomes disinterested. That's still not totally true for me and I've since had treatment for an anxiety disorder, but I can do small journeys that I 'be practised so much they feel as safe as they can be. I'm always surprised by the number of people who don't like driving or don't feel comfortable driving and us anxious drivers are probably amongst the safest as we take so much ruddy notice of what we're doing! Keep going, it can get easier but you must keep driving. Even now, if I go for a length of time without driving the same anxieties start up again so it's a daily fight. Worth it though, even for a 'Driving Miss Daisy' like me! confused

MissClarke86 Tue 02-Aug-16 22:43:43

Just to add....I'm happy as Larry on motorways but 12 years after passing my test, still point black refuse to parallel park!! You'll learn what your comfortable with and what your not grin

HeddaGarbled Tue 02-Aug-16 22:44:57

Yes, honestly, it does get easier. I don't think it's unreasonable to plan to drive at quiet times while you are still building up your confidence. I used to plan routes to avoid roundabouts, slip roads and right turns at traffic lights blush I would also drive around car parks for ages looking for spaces big enough for me to get into easily. My advice is to do little and often. Do a small familiar journey every day and then when you are ready, start adding extra longer journeys. Also agree with PP about getting out on your own when you can. If no-one witnesses your mistakes, they didn't happen, right?

FastWindow Tue 02-Aug-16 22:46:13

Driving whilst anxious must be very distracting, when really your full attention should be on what's going on outside the car, not on what you're doing inside it.

Ive never heard of pass plus (having passed my test in 1990 something) buy i would do that, especially if it involves some motorway experience.

In the meantime, go out on a quiet weekday morning to hills, practise the hill starts (or get an auto- job done!) take yourself to a huge tescos and practise reverse parking. It really is much easier to back into a space than drive in, because its such a pain to reverse out!

Practise, get your confidence. Good luck.

NicknameUsed Tue 02-Aug-16 22:49:05

Yes it does. I was a nervous driver, but my husband encouraged me all the time to drive, and I'm glad he he did.

The only way to become confident is to drive regularly. The more you put it off the more you will get worked up about it.

I drove in the US last week and felt nervous at first, but I soon got into my stride.

MillicentMargaretAmanda Tue 02-Aug-16 22:51:29

I loathed learning to drive. I still wasn't massively happy after I passed my test. Hated motorway driving but got a job where I had to do it every day. Within 2 weeks it was like I'd never have a problem. I'd advise doing the thing you hate most every day if possible. It will soon become mundane. Good luck!

FellOutOfBed2wice Tue 02-Aug-16 22:55:14

I only got confident after I took a job in east London that involved some hair raising driving, this was about 18 months after my test. Before that I'd been driving short distances on the Essex/east London fringe that was sedate and unchallenging Andi would avoid driving if I could.

But....After a few weeks driving around Stratford every day I was a much better and less nervous driver. Now honestly think that I could drive anywhere. So, I think the short answer is that you need to be driving more in more difficult situations and that if you don't have an organic way of achieving that ie a commute, you need to force yourself into it. I know that's easier said than done.

MummyBex1985 Tue 02-Aug-16 22:55:32

You're not alone. I refused to drive home after I passed my test and it took me weeks to go out alone and that was only for five minute journeys!

I did some more experience lessons with a family friend and started practising motorway driving etc. Then got chucked in at the deep end doing a city centre commute every day. It scared the shit out of me for a year or so.

These days I don't care. I'm not sure when it clicked, but it did. I have generalised anxiety so still work myself up about the what ifs of longer travel (I do 4 hours to visit family) but the driving itself is fine now.

Persevere. I promise it gets easier!

whatstheworstthatcanhappen1 Tue 02-Aug-16 22:55:58

Thanks everyone I just hate how it makes me feel, I wanted to pass so I had more freedom and I feel like I haven't got that more than ever.
Sometimes I will worry but I can talk myself round and know everything will be fine. Everyone else just seems to get in and go! I want that to be me.

UncleHerbie Tue 02-Aug-16 22:56:22

My first motorway drive was six weeks after passing my test. My DB wrote out the route, including the lanes I should be in, for a journey from east London to Herts, which I stuck on the dashboard. I left @ 0700 on a Saturday morning when traffic is fairly light. I had to negotiate the A12, M11 , M25 and A1M. My heart was in my mouth for the entire journey but I did it in an hour. 20 years later it still takes an hour smile and I am now a confident driver

Pick a destination, plug in your sat nav/google maps, put on your favourite music/radio station and away you go. You'll be fine

Reverse parking: I hated it with a passion so forced myself to do it. Now I'd rather reverse or parallel park than drive into a space - you need two car lengths to drive into a space but only 1.5 car lengths to reverse into it

AdjustableWench Tue 02-Aug-16 22:58:48

Have you tried doing a hill start ^without* the handbrake, somewhere quiet where you won't have to deal with other traffic?

You can learn to keep your car on a hill in first gear with the clutch at biting point, without sliding backwards or shooting forwards, just sitting still. You can start with gentle hills and then try steeper hills. I can hang my car on the clutch on very steep hills - it just takes practice.

Once you can do that, you'll feel confident that you'll know what to do if the handbrake cable snaps. Which it won't. But that's not the point.

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