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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?

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.

Sparklingbrook Wed 26-Mar-14 11:41:14

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.

Sparklingbrook Wed 26-Mar-14 11:43:07


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.

Sparklingbrook Wed 26-Mar-14 12:03:32

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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