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.

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

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.

BingoWingsBeGone Tue 25-Mar-14 21:25:57

Buy a basic sat-nav and just go for it. Change your mentality from "I think I will definitely tackle it this year to "I CAN do this on my next journey"

Motorway is really no different from dual carriageway really (easier in many ways as someone else pointed out)

Graceparkhill Tue 25-Mar-14 21:26:59

I find motorway driving far less stressful than towns/ country roads. For a start there are no pedestrians, traffic lights , vehicles stopping in front of you to turn right etc etc.

Just take your time and plan your journey and you will be fine. Ignore the "you shouldn't be driving brigade". Perfectly acceptable to share rational / irrational fears on Mumsnet. I don't like lifts ( the elevator type) but no body has told me I should never leave the house.

pyjamaramadrama Tue 25-Mar-14 21:27:52

I know it's one of those things where once I master it, which means on my own, unknown journey, I'll wonder what I was ever worried about.

Ilovefluffysheep Tue 25-Mar-14 21:32:27

Sorry, I mean this in the nicest possible way, but I find it concerning you have been driving 10 years and are still so scared of motorways that you would drive an extra hour to avoid them.

I would definitely invest in some motorway lessons with a driving instructor (mine was great, got a free hour after you passed your test and it was really helpful), and also get on them and practice as much as you can to help build your confidence. They really are nothing to be scared of.

ivykaty44 Tue 25-Mar-14 21:32:46

Set off early, motorway will be quoted then

As others have said m40 is a quoted motorway.

From m42 to get onto m40 is never busy (I do this one often) stay on the near side lane and take your time

There are two easy stops, one at Warwick/gaydon and then another near Oxford, you can stop at both and have a drink, use the loo and chill if you are nervous

Just remember if you start of on the m40 there are regular junctions you can exit the motorway

Sit at 60mph if you want and sit on the nearside lane, there isn't a rush

You can do it, it is safer to drive on motorways than A roads, it is cheaper easier in the long run on fuel

Cirsium Tue 25-Mar-14 21:35:22

We often do long drives motorway free as DH has PTSD and finds them really stressful as a driver or passenger. After a childhood being driven up and down the country as quickly as possible with 5min stops at identical service stations I really enjoy our mini road trips with lunches in pretty towns and nice scenery. Our 400mile journey to my family last Christmas was the quickest and easiest I've ever had.

Motorways make your journey easier and quicker but they aren't compulsory. Blimey.
If you have the time the scenic route will still get you there.

Sneezecakesmum Tue 25-Mar-14 21:37:22

You can get an hour or so motorway tuition easily enough. I would do it this way to build confidence.

You're not alone, lots of people hate motorways.

Leave it for now and do the more relaxed 3 hour drive.

You're not as bad as the people who avoid turning right on busy roads!

PasswordProtected Tue 25-Mar-14 21:39:10

What do you think is going to happen?
I prefer motorways in the UK because traffic is only going one way.

Peppageorge Tue 25-Mar-14 21:43:27

I do the M40/M25/M23 once a fortnight - sometimes more often with two children under the age of 5. I can do 2 good hours with no problems at all. All you need is some audio CDs to keep children amused and a few snacks to hand. M40 is a great motorway - and there are services if you need to stop. Just time the journey so you leave soon after a meal - for me and my children it's usually after breakfast or sometimes after an early lunch - that way the children or in your case your son won't be hungry!

sooperdooper Tue 25-Mar-14 21:44:24

I've always found motorways much easier than driving round towns tbh, trying to figure out one way systems, people, cyclists! On the motorway it's simple, all one way and much better sign posted.

I'd always take the motorway, and if you're happy on dual carriageways there's no reason whatsoever to avoid them, it's the same principle, just give it a go

invicta Tue 25-Mar-14 21:47:10

I 'm always nervous about motorways. I'd happily travel longer to avoid them.

IloveJudgeJudy Tue 25-Mar-14 21:48:00

I really cannot understand all this won't go on motorway stuff. If you've passed your test, then you should be able to go on the motorway. Can you imagine any man saying they're scared of motorway driving?

Please, just drive on the motorway if that's the most direct route. You will save yourself time and probably fuel and be much more green. Just do it!

Do Pass Plus, it's excellent, and will really help your motorway confidence. I'm also a nervous and new driver, but I did PP after my test, and have driven quite often on motorways since; I was petrified the first time, but then realised how much easier they are than other roads and now actively seek out motorway routes!

I'd rather overtake on a motorway where there's a lane for it and no oncoming traffic than try and nip round a bus in town where there are stupid people crossing the road, traffic lights, road signs, roadworks etc etc.

You'll be ace! Go for it! I swear, motorways are fun. And you can take the opportunity to put on some great music and have a singalong with your DS. Ideal. My mum lives right by the M40, pop in and have a cuppa with her if you get tired wink

MrsPnut Tue 25-Mar-14 21:51:29

If you don't have a decent sat nav then I would recommend getting one. Mine tells me which lane to get into on the motorway which prevents OH and I arguing about his shit navigating.

The only difficult bit on motorways is getting on, once you are there then it's easy to keep going because all the traffic is moving in the same direction.

oscarwilde Tue 25-Mar-14 21:53:40

Take the motorway, use the hour saved to go to Bicester outlets grin

Can you imagine any man saying they're scared of motorway driving? What on earth has that got to do with anything? confused

I bet there are men that are scared of driving on motorways. They may not say so.

C3P0 Tue 25-Mar-14 22:04:22

Motorways are vastly safer. Maybe practice with an experienced passenger? You gotta break this irrational fear.

TalkinPeace Tue 25-Mar-14 22:13:05

I know of a chap who will not go on Motorways, at all, ever
it took him over two hours to do what on the motorway takes 35 minutes
and he arrived stressed to high heaven
he's been driving for 30 years but has allowed the no motorways to become an irrational fear

OP
go to your nearest motorway, get on for one junction, come off, round the roundabout and go back
the exists are the worst part after all wink

My DH doesn't do multi storey car parks. grin

PansOnFire Tue 25-Mar-14 22:19:05

I'm terrified of motorways but I find that once I've done it then I'm fine. Then I leave it a while and the fear is back to what it was :/. I'd avoid it on this occasion, to me anything that involves taking my DS anywhere needs to have me relaxed and in control.

You should address the issues with motorways before you are too scared to ever go on them. But this is far more common than you think.

NeedsAsockamnesty Tue 25-Mar-14 22:21:21

I routinely do Wiltshire to Denbighsire and never do motorways I find the drive easier nicer and less stressful, on times when we have been split into two cars the other driver always does motorway I don't.

The difference in it is rarely more than 30 mins due to moterway traffic

i don't think it's a case of people being scared of motorways, just of the idiots that sometimes drive on them.....

TwirlyCat Tue 25-Mar-14 22:24:05

Do what you feel comfortable with. When the right time comes you will do the motorway and it will be fine.

Totally disagree with the 'you have a licence, you should drive on mway' mentality. Do what you feel safe with.

It is like saying 'call yourself a horse rider, unless you do 6ft jumps you shouldn't be on a horse'.

Have a good journey.

mummytime Tue 25-Mar-14 22:36:31

I agree the M40 is a great one to start with. There aren't the motorways merging or dividing like the M25 has. It is also a sensible 3 lanes.

You are worried about what will happen if you miss your junction? Well what will happen? You will go a bit further, have to come off and double back on the motorway or take A roads back. Sat Nav would make it even easier.

usualsuspectt Tue 25-Mar-14 22:44:30

Do what ever makes you happier

pyjamaramadrama Tue 25-Mar-14 22:46:33

For what it's worth I live in a very busy city and regularly do town driving, huge 5, 6 and 7 way islands that put the fear of god into some people. I'm definitely not scared of turning right or anything, and I'm excellent at parking!

I really appreciate all the encouragement and tips.

I completely understand why people say it's easier, although I have seen some crazy people on the motorway and it wasn't me.

usualsuspectt Tue 25-Mar-14 22:47:15

It doesn't matter if you never drive on a motorway.

Motorways are boring.I much prefer a scenic route.

Plus motorway Service Stations are a joke, and not very nice.

sparkling I don't do multi storeys either after I cried getting stuck in a tight spot and made a stranger park for me. Your DH is v sensible. Also yy to the fear of stupid drivers, not roads. Roads are harmless it's twunts in BMWs cutting you up that make us scaredycats afraid. Except the bit by Tower Bridge in London. That bit of road is imbued with pure evil.

Exactly. If the motorway was empty with not another car on the road nobody would be scared. It's the numpties on wheels that are scary.

Multi storeys are horrible but I do use them. Our one has a spiral of doom before the exit, and the narrowest spaces ever complete with pillars.

Coveredinweetabix Tue 25-Mar-14 22:54:33

The M40 is a great motorway to start with as its never that busy. This means that you get fewer idiots as there is plenty of room for them to overtake. I'd much prefer to do the M40 than the local A roads as they're often windy, narrow & have constantly changing speed limits. And you're bound to end up with an idiot on your tail who wants to overtake but can't.
I know junc 4 well so, if you PM me (presuming you don't want to announce your exact destination on here) can talk you through which lane to be in. I wouldn't rely on sat nav as it's not the most straight forward junction. The other thing to watcg out for is the steep hill just after junc 6 when lorries etc get very, very slow &, for some reason, one lorry often likes to overtake another on this stretch so both the inside & middle lane can get very slow very quickly. On your way home, this obviously becomes a steep downhill & its easy to pick up a lot of speed without realising. The view at the top of that pass is spectacular.

ViviPru Tue 25-Mar-14 22:55:57

I was all ready to jump in with a 'FFS just get on the motorway and stop being such a ninny' But then I tried to put myself in your shoes OP and actually, I do sympathise (I can't believe I'm saying that)

I'm a really over confident driver, yet I still get a tingle of angst joining the M6 northbound at junction 15. So I imagine that tingle times a million about every aspect of motorway driving and I appreciate how that must be extremely daunting.

Good on you for resolving to combat this fear - so many would just allow it to continue to impede their lives.

hazbaz Tue 25-Mar-14 22:58:22

I only learnt to drive nearly 2 years ago and was petrified of motorways....but I live in the SE and family live up the M40 so I tried it and got such a buzz even if I hardly overtook anything! That was with a 3yo and 1yo....

I'd definitely agree that the M40 is not a bad motorway esp at weekends with fewer heavy lorries. I'd say Tomtoms are brilliant at stopping the getting off at the wrong junction worry and take easy to open snacks and audio CDs - our top favs are Paddington & The Lion King.

I would definitely recommend trying it - if it doesn't feel safe you could always have an alternative route mapped out from say 30 mins in so you don't feel it's all or nothing?

I get that going from the M40 onto the M25 Vivi, all the variable speed limit stuff on top of the general busy-ness.

ivykaty44 Tue 25-Mar-14 23:01:10

you are going to be lucky to do that trip avoiding motor ways in under four hours

I have just had a peep at three alternative routes from roughly where you start and rough finish, it isn't easy to follow any of them. I could get to Oxford but after that wouldn't want to bother tbh

pyjamaramadrama Tue 25-Mar-14 23:03:19

Is the route planners 2 hours on the motorway realistic? Ivykaty

ViviPru Tue 25-Mar-14 23:05:51

Sparkling Yes! Variable speed limits put the fear of god into me too, but generally because I'm a bugger for concentrating too much on the traffic and forgetting I'm in a variable zone...

All with the SatNav bonging away like crazy trying to tell you Vivi. except it doesn't know what the speed limit is. Aaaarghh!!

ViviPru Tue 25-Mar-14 23:15:02

I'm getting the clench just thinking about it. Tell you what OP, sod it. Just don't go!

I once added 4 hours onto my journey to avoid the M25. I was driving from Bath to the end of the A12/A120. So imo, YANBU! wink

pyjamaramadrama Tue 25-Mar-14 23:20:27

Bloody hell don't say that now vivipru I've psyched myself all up to go now.

You will be fine pyjama. smile Definitely consider the SatNav.

I used to regularly do Solihull to HW via the M40 and I think it was only 1.5 hours (this was 12+ years ago). I turn off at Bicester now, that's about an hour, then another half hour or so to HW.

EBearhug Tue 25-Mar-14 23:31:40

If you're really not confident about the motorway, then you are better off taking longer and taking roads you feel okay about - also, see what the conditions are like on the day. If it's clear and dry, then consider the motorway. If it's lousing it down and visibility is reduced, then stick to roads you feel more confident on, because it's just an extra factor you'll need to consider.

When I passed my test, I then didn't drive for about 7 years, mostly because I couldn't afford to, though my parents insisted I did when I was at theirs, to keep my hand in. When I finally got a car, I took a couple of refresher lessons, one of which was a motorway lesson - not least because I grew up in the country and took my test in a small town, and simply hadn't had much practice on big roads. Also, having spent most of the previous few years walking or cycling, it took me a little while to find speeds over 30mph not too scary. So if you don't often travel on big roads where you are at the national speed limit, it will seem that much faster than it would if you're used to nipping up and down a dual carriageway. If you can do a dual carriageway, a motorway is fine.

It really was fine - the driving instructor talked me through it, and pointed out all the traffic was going in the same direction, so it's actually easier than driving on A-roads. They are safer roads overall. She made me drive back home on A-roads. Overtaking on an A-road is far more nerve-racking than on a motorway. (I'm not suggesting that you do any overtaking on any sort of road, unless you're confident about it, and the road is clear.) But it did make a big difference, having someone experienced with me and talking me through it that first time.

I later spent some years commuting a route that was partly on the motorway, and I'm now fine with it. If it's a route I don't know, then I will spend some time before the journey checking which junctions I need. Also, there's no shame in going on to the next junction and coming back if you miss the one you need - and anyway, you won't have a choice! (However, there is sometimes a long distance between junctions, so best avoided if you can.) If I've got a long journey, I will also work out where I can take breaks.

But do the journey you're comfortable with. If you've time to practice on shorter journeys, then do that. But don't push yourself to do something you're not ready for.

cheeseismydownfall Tue 25-Mar-14 23:37:10

I wasn't crazy keen on motorway driving until I found myself on a speeding awareness course blush and discovered how many more times safer they are than any other kind of road. Yes the speeds are faster, but there are far fewer junctions, no roundabouts etc and most importantly all the cars are travelling in the same direction which means collisions are much less likely. Knowing this I now specifically choose motorway over non-motorway routes.

pyjamaramadrama Tue 25-Mar-14 23:41:38

Thank ebear, I actually drive on dual carriageways often up to national speed limit and find them fine, there's one route I do regularly which is about 40 minutes at least half of it dual carriageways, but I know the routes I do off by heart.

The more I think about it the more I think I'm ready to face my fear, with satnav, a few practice runs and maybe even an hour lesson, but I'm definitely going to do it.

And having had a closer look at the route I've realised I did some of the M40 a few weeks back dp driving but you're right it was empty there and back and pretty as motorways go, not sure if it would be all the way.

I'd also need to take the M4 between junction 8 and 6.

ViviPru Wed 26-Mar-14 00:05:11

Go for it OP! Good for you.

Good for you pyjama! Good luck, you'll be ace.

Nocomet Wed 26-Mar-14 00:35:37

Good luck you'll be fine.
My DSIS had passed her test for two years at least before she went on a motorway. There are non within about 80 miles of her house. No duel carriage ways either for about 40 to 50 miles.

She shared the length of the M5 with me and didn't bat an eyelid.

I learnt to drive round there too and then moved to Birmingham. I did spend a couple of (pre shops being allowed to open) Sundays learning my way round the city centre, but it was ok.

I actually got far more lost a couple of weeks ago because they've changed everything

Honestly OP You'll be fine.

Oldraver Wed 26-Mar-14 01:01:14

Yes I would do it as I wouldn't like the A roads that are alternative to the M40..

You say that you need to do a bit of the M42....If you are going east on the way home (toward NEC etc) joining the M42 can be a bit daunting...just take a deep breath and ignore that traffic on your inside will be faster than you, they have been travelling on M-Way and you are joining the centre of the carriageway from a 50mph slip road, but IME it isnt an issue

ivykaty44 Wed 26-Mar-14 06:32:21

Not being funny op but you are situated in the best place to be able to get out and drive on motorways and you have a few to choose from to practice m40 m42 m6

If you lived in a lot of places in the south west its 50 miles to the nearest motorway!

It was one and a half hours from b to hw and I reckon you would take over four on a roads doing the same trip, seriously you will make it more stressful and much harder for yourself trying to avoid something that is there to make life easier and less stressful

MarianForrester Wed 26-Mar-14 06:55:52

Am impressed you are going to do it smile

sashh Wed 26-Mar-14 07:00:42

You know you don't have to do all motorway or all not motorway don't you?

You could plan your drive with 30mins moorway towards the start and if that goes OK carry on a bit more or get off at the next junction.

Motorways are just dual carriageways without pedestrians and buses.

Just drive under the sign where you want to go.

RedFocus Wed 26-Mar-14 07:24:10

I've got an app called waze on my phone, it's free but it's the best satnav I've found that gives me easy to understand and clear directions. I get lost just nipping to the shop so I really need one. wink
You will be fine op, I know exactly how you feel though but like I said have a few runs in between a junction or 2 and you will be fine. I live near M25 and I pop on and off fine now when I want to go to my mums. My mum does it every week too smile

KnappShappeyShipwright Wed 26-Mar-14 07:34:46

You'll probably find the thought of it far worse than the reality of being on the motorway. I do tend to sit behind a lorry for the first half mile of motorway, just to get acclimatised to the speed and flow of it - I rarely drive on the motorway, but when I do it's a long journey.

I was always embarrassingly frightened of motorway driving until I had to drive half way across the country for a job interview.

JessieMcJessie Wed 26-Mar-14 11:34:53

It's only an hour's difference. Only you can know whether that extra hour will have a negative effect on your son but it's unlikely. You can always stop for a long lunch or a visit to a park. Other than the effect on your son, only you will be affected, so trust your own instincts and do what makes you most comfortable. Address the motorway issues another time, but don't make a big deal about not using them this time, and definitely don't go around telling other people what you did and giving them the chance to make you feel stupid.

HappyAgainOneDay Wed 26-Mar-14 11:39:58

It's up to how you feel. I regularly do a journey of 1.5 hours and it would be quicker on motorways. My satnav keeps trying to take me via the motorways but I know the A road route so use that - otherwise it would be M4, A329(M), A322, M3, M25... I'm able to avoid all that juggling. Do what you feel comfortable with.

I often get off the motorway because I am fed up with it. grin

HighwayRat Wed 26-Mar-14 11:41:53

I must say I agree with the minority if you cant drive on motorways/in the dark/in the rain/at tne speed limit, you shouldn't be driving at all.

hmm

Middleagedmotheroftwo Wed 26-Mar-14 11:44:08

What's the difference between a dual carriageway and a motorway OP?
Answer = absolutely nothing.

Take the motoroway and stick in the left and middle lanes and you'll be fine.

Pandora452 Wed 26-Mar-14 11:49:34

I grew up and live on an island, with no motorways, A roads, anything like. First 6m of passing (which took me 8 attempts..) I went on the mainland, and did a 4hour drive and 2 motorways. Its honestly fine smile

IMHO You need to just go, don't think about it, just go.
If you sit and think about what if, or this situation, or that, you'll never do it

Lovecat Wed 26-Mar-14 11:52:06

Please don't stick in the middle lane - that's just annoying!

pyjama, I used to be you. Although I drove regularly on the North Circular (which is to all intents & purposes a motorway for most of it), I 'knew' my route and was confident in doing it. When I had DD and it was so much easier to drive to my parents in the NW than lug baby and baby paraphernalia into London to get a train, I used to go by a horribly circuitous A-road route that was full of lorries and people breaking down, only 1 or 2 proper service stops, just miserable. And then I was forced onto the M1 because of problems on the A road, and it was amazing - so much easier. Even the M25 isn't so bad.

But please don't hog the middle lane. Drive sensibly and good luck!

Samu2 Wed 26-Mar-14 12:02:07

Highwayrat I passed my test in November. I have never driven on a motorway as you aren't allowed to go on one until you have passed your test. I can't think of one reason why I would ever need to go on one thankfully.

I have to drive down a country road in the pitch black a couple of times a week and it still scares me. The road is windy and I think the speed limits are stupidly too fast. If I could avoid that route I would in a heart beat.

I am a safe driver and there is nothing wrong with not liking certain parts of driving. OP didn't say she can't use the motorway, she prefers not too. That doesn't mean she shouldn't be driving at all.

specialsubject Wed 26-Mar-14 12:02:24

BTW quite staggered at all those who are stuffed if the satnav dies. Buy a road map and keep it in the car. Then if you need directions, stop at the next services and look it up.

no batteries needed, never get nicked, doesn't distract you by endless speed camera reminders. Which no-one competent to drive should need anyway.

SatNavs are brilliant. If you have a brain and use that in conjunction with it. wink

Satnavs have their place, especially if you are on your own. However the danger is that you don't look up where you are going and get the bigger picture of the route, then if you have to divert you don't know where you are going. I don't think they do as much as maps to increase your knowledge of where you are going for next time.

They also don't necessarily choose the route that you would have done. I think it's best to choose the outline route first using a map and always keep a map in the car.

MiaowTheCat Wed 26-Mar-14 12:43:49

Don't feel bad about considering the detour - I live right on the M1 corridor and I regularly go the scenic route places to avoid driving on the fucking thing. I can do it if I have to (do a 3 hour trip to my mum's fairly often) but I bloody hate motorway driving and avoid it where possible. Even doing it I get periodic anxiety attacks where I have to get off and take a break for a while to calm down.

What I do to try to get over it is to tell myself it's just a dual carriageway, ignore the BMW/Audi lane of plonkers over on the far side - and just use the slow lane and middle lane for overtakes if that makes sense.

I vote for the M18 as a nice dinky cuddleable little unthreatening motorway myself.

I gave up on my SatNav (I use my phone navigation app occasionally) as it had such a bloody fetish for the M1 it would try to send me on it to go to the papershop on the corner!

5Foot5 Wed 26-Mar-14 13:20:58

I know exactly where you are coming from OP, I used to be like this myself.

After passing my test I rarely got the chance to drive and didn't really need to. When we married DH did all the driving anyway and we both worked at the same place. Eventually it got to the point where I was so nervous at getting behind the wheel that I could barely move the car in a car park.

So one day I arranged refresher lessons with a driving instructor - tirns out to be a much more common occurrence than you might expect apparently. After four lessons I was fine to drive myself around again, but motorway driving still daunted me.

In the end I overcame it because we were going on a holiday that involved a long drive (North West England to just south of Florence) and DH said he wouldn't be able to do it all by himself. With a little practice first I was fine driving on English, French and Italian motorways.

Today I will drive on a motorway when it is the logical route but I must admit I still prefer non-motorway, though I wouldn't go out of my way to avoid it. A few years ago then I would have been you and taking the A-road alternative.

If you do decide to do the motorway route then good on you. If not, don't feel bad but do consider building up to it for another time.

And ignore pointless comments like that of mrknowitall

normalishdude Wed 26-Mar-14 14:09:57

Take the A roads (it's only an hour extra) but maybe consider taking some extra lessons to get used to the motorway.

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