Done to death but.... Fear of motorways...

(132 Posts)
TheMightyMing Sun 29-Nov-15 15:14:20

I have been driving since 1995 and have never had a accident other than a couple of people crashing into me at low speed. I used to drive anywhere without even thinking. However about 7 years ago I had a minor incident where I broke down on a motorway and ever since have developed a stupid fear of motorway driving and haven't been on one since.
I don't have to use motorways for work which is just as well as the ones by me are always packed- but it's becoming a real pain. My sons school and best friends live 15 minutes away by motorway but the best part of an hour by normal road.
My husband is a policeman and advanced driver and he has offered to come with me but I think it might make me worse. I am not a nervy person otherwise so I don't know why I am so scared.

Any ideas on what I can do?

Youareyou Sun 29-Nov-15 15:15:45

I'm with you. Been driving since 1989 but I hate motorways. Thankfully in say to day life I don't need to go near them. I also hate large roundabouts with multi lanes.

GabiSolis Sun 29-Nov-15 15:17:58

I was like this when I first learned to drive. The only thing that got me over it was learning them like the back of my hand. I would go out at night or other times when the roads were more likely to be deserted. Then I built up to busy times. Now I'm fine!

What is it about your DH that you think will make you worse? It sounds like he would be an ideal option unless you think he is likely to be overbearing and dictatorial!

INeedNewShoes Sun 29-Nov-15 15:20:39

I can't be of much help here, apart from to say that our motorways are statistically the safest roads in Britain.

Other than arming yourself with facts like these, I would say a little at a time exposure therapy is probably the answer. Ie do a short journey on the motorway (say 3 or 4 junctions) and then build up.

TheMightyMing Sun 29-Nov-15 15:21:17

My eyes aren't great so I don't fancy practicing at night ( so many are unlit these days)- not saying my eyes aren't good enough to drive.

I just think that if I panicked I would be scared about killing us both! So fed up with being such a wuss! X

MuchasSmoochas Sun 29-Nov-15 15:24:10

Not much help but I'm the same! I usually take the back roads which takes double the time. As soon as I see the blue motorway sign I quiver. Tried counselling, NLP, hypnotherapy, advanced motorway lessons. So I'm watching with interest.

canyou Sun 29-Nov-15 15:25:09

Would you get some lessons specifically taking you on the motor way? It might be better then your DP/DH who will drive differntly to you.
I was taught progressive driving for an ambulance and military vechiles and my style and observations are slightly different to my DSis who had normal car lessons. We agree to differ as neither of is any better then the othet and both have had no accidents.

Libitina Sun 29-Nov-15 15:25:51

Have you tried a couple of motorway driving lessons with a qualified instructor?

ShatnersBassoon Sun 29-Nov-15 15:25:40

How are you on dual carriageways?

BondJayneBond Sun 29-Nov-15 15:26:23

Maybe book some advanced driving lessons for motorway driving?

And start driving in motorways a little at a time, starting at quiet times and working up.

Just wondering - are you okay driving on dual carriageways or are you scared of those too?

KatieLatie Sun 29-Nov-15 15:29:54

Take some advanced driving lessons or even just some "specialist motorway" lessons?

Good luck.

pigsDOfly Sun 29-Nov-15 15:33:10

Have you considered doing an advance driving course OP. Perhaps it would give you a bit more confidence in your abilities.

It always seems ridiculous to me that you can pass your test and the same day take yourself onto a motorway, having never set wheels near one before.

I actually find motorway driving far pleasanter than town driving - obviously in pleasant conditions - as you just get on with it without all the traffic lights, roundabout, stop, starting etc.

The thing is if you keep avoiding them you'll never build up confidence on them.

pigsDOfly Sun 29-Nov-15 15:33:36

X post with KatieLatie

specialsubject Sun 29-Nov-15 15:37:00

try some lessons - no disrespect to your husband but because he IS your husband he is perhaps not the best person to help!

I am now less keen on motorways after two incidents on the last trip, near misses due to lorry drivers on the phone. Fortunately I can take the train for most of my longer trips!

BackforGood Sun 29-Nov-15 15:38:43

I agree with others - try taking some lessons. I can kind of understand you not wanting them to be with dh, but what about one of his colleagues / friends from work if you aren't able to afford/justify a driving instructor (although would probably pay for itself very soon in saved petrol if you are driving for an hour when you only need to do 15mins).
Also makes a lot of sense to go out at quiet times at first and re-engage with motorway driving before doing a busy time.

GoldenSpaceCadet Sun 29-Nov-15 15:50:06

I had a tyre blowout on the motorway and subsequently suffered horrendous anxiety whilst driving on motorways to the extent sweat would be running down my back blush. I discussed my phobia with my GP and he prescribed beta blockers. I still don't enjoy motorway driving but I am now able to do it without any anxiety thanks to the bbs.

shazzarooney99 Sun 29-Nov-15 15:57:17

To be honest the best way to deal with it is just to do it, i was petrified of motorways so much so just after i passed my test i drove up all the A rodas to Manchester and it took hours and hours, so on the way back i ended up driving on the motorway absolutely pooping myself! it took me a good 7 years to get used to driving on the motorway, i would grip the wheel so hard my knuckles would be white!

Ive always had a bad fear of breaking down on the motorway, anyway not so long back i was driving up to manchester and we were stop start, stop start all the way through Trafford parkd, anyway i ended up in the middle lane sandwhiched by huge wagons and had come to s standstill, traffic started moving and my car would not budge, i absolutely shit myself, anyway a wagon driver helped me to get my car to the side and we waited recovery.

To cut a long story short recover came took us to the nearest centre, i tried my car again and it worked, so i drove it to where i was going and drove it back down the motorway shitting myself incase it happened again, it was fine.

Anyway, we have been here there and everywhere, Sullfolk, Wales, Scotland and i wouldnt stop driving on the motorways now.

So if i were you i would just do it xxx

lornathewizzard Sun 29-Nov-15 15:57:27

I would say the most straightforward way is to expose yourself to it, a little at a time. Only then will you realise you can do it and you can build up from there.
Lessons really stressed me out so getting more lessons might not be for you, but if you think it would help, looking at the advanced driving course is a good shout I think. My husband is training to be an observer with them and raves about it.

talkinnpeace Sun 29-Nov-15 15:59:22

Is there a patch of motorway near you with junctions only a couple of miles apart?
Then go out early on a Sunday morning - 8:30 am
and just do that one junction.
Then come off and Go Home
THe next time you'll be happy to do it a couple of times
but each time stop before you think you've had enough : that way you'll reassure yourself each time.

foragogo Sun 29-Nov-15 15:59:30

What about advance driving lessons in a car with dual controls so no worries about killing anyone? Or with one of your DHs colleagues?

evilgiraffe Sun 29-Nov-15 16:04:00

If you don't fancy practising at night, practice very early in the morning, or on local dual carriageways - they're basically the same as motorways but perhaps less of a mental block? Find out if there are any two-lane motorway stretches near you and try those before building up to bigger bits?

Girlfriend36 Sun 29-Nov-15 16:06:52

Am following with interest as I have a similar phobia, very annoying as a few years ago I drove from the South West to the Lake District on motorways but about a year ago I suffered a huge panic attack on the M5 and every since have really struggled sad

In fact ystd I went with my mum on the M5 to see a show and even though I wasn't driving I still ended up having a panic attack and felt awful.

My fear in centred around being 'stuck' on the motorway and not being able to stop and get off if I want to, I am particularly anxious about getting stuck in a traffic jam.

I find it helpful to be matter of fact about anxiety and know that although it feels bloody awful adrenaline can't actually harm you and it will eventually stop as the body can only produce so much.

talkinnpeace Sun 29-Nov-15 16:15:37

DD is learning to drive and one of our test runs we went out onto the A303 : she was doing 65 and the cars were hammering past her : she did just great

try a fast dual carriageway?

but weekend mornings are your friend

mintoil Sun 29-Nov-15 16:38:52

I was just the same OP - in my case I was fine, used to zip all over the country until I had my DC, and suddenly I developed this real fear of fast roads such as motorways and Dual Carriageways.

I had hypnotherapy and it has worked wonders. I still prefer not to use motorways but I can do it now without a meltdown/sleepless night.

GwynethPaltrowIamNot Sun 29-Nov-15 17:44:16

Fucking hell girlfriend it could be me writing your post

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