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To drive to the other end of the country on my own?

(53 Posts)
QuestionableMouse Thu 25-Feb-16 13:20:15

There's a yearly event coming up in a couple of months that I've gone to for the past two years. It's ~300 miles away and I really want to go this year. The person I normally go with is pregnant and due about two weeks after said event so doesn't want to go this year.

I'm quite a nervous driver so the thought of doing this is pretty scary! AIBU to consider it?

Whatthefreakinwhatnow Thu 25-Feb-16 13:21:49

Nope, definitely not, go for it!

Being able to drive is the ultimate freedom, embrace it! grin

Howlongtillbedtime Thu 25-Feb-16 13:23:37

What are you most nervous about ? I have done a similar journey a few times and as long as you give yourself plenty of time and have in mind how many stops you will take and possibly where already planned I am sure you will be fine .

StereophonicallyChallenged Thu 25-Feb-16 13:24:05

I would, and do regularly, as my bf lives 275 miles away sad

Plan the route in advance, have a drink beside you and plan to take stops whenever necessary.

Depending on where to where in the country I don't think it will take longer than 5-6 hours, which is really a teeny tiny amount of time in the grand scheme of things smile

Alternatively - is a train/bus possible?

Twowrongsdontmakearight Thu 25-Feb-16 13:24:12

Get a satnav or use Googlemaps on your phone and you'll be fine!

Howlongtillbedtime Thu 25-Feb-16 13:26:05

Check your oil ,tyres and water before leaving as well . You probably don't really need to do this but it will make you feel more prepared .

JenEric Thu 25-Feb-16 13:26:31

I'm a nervous driver and did similar a few years back. I felt absolutely bloody amazing when I did it. If you've been before it takes some unknowns out as you know route, area, car park locations etc. Go for it.

GnomeDePlume Thu 25-Feb-16 13:26:36

YANBU to consider it.

Think to yourself that it is only a succession of small journeys. Take regular breaks (good advice for nervous or confident drivers). Make sure you have the details for your breakdown cover to hand.

Do you have satnav? If not research your route and make sure you have maps to cover the areas you will be passing through.

Frame it to yourself as an adventure. Just think what a boost to your confidence this will be!

JenEric Thu 25-Feb-16 13:27:30

I left tonnes of time. Stopped more than most would have and yes to checking car before you go and making sure you have breakdown cover.

QuestionableMouse Thu 25-Feb-16 13:30:22

I have a new car this year so I'm not worried about that. I tend to panic when I get lost which is where the nerves kick in! I have use of a sat nav and have good maps on my phone.

It took almost 12 hours the first year due to a crash on the M25, about half that last year.

90% of it is motorway driving which I actually love so I'm not sure why I'm dithering!

GinThief Thu 25-Feb-16 13:32:26

YANBU - go for it. I moved to the otherside of the country to live with DP. I now regularly drive 250 miles back to see friends.

Plan the journey on Google maps. It helps to have an idea of where to stop. I usually stop twice just for a quick toilet break & stretch legs. And have stopped a third time if traffic is bad.

I download radio podcasts that I like listening to as it makes the time to quicker.

I also like to have a bottle of water with sports type lid to have regular sips while driving.

Good luck, you can do it!

BiddyPop Thu 25-Feb-16 13:59:00


Car is sound

You've been there before (so still need maps etc but some familiarity?)

You are happy on motorways

I assume the PG companion does not require your presence as a potential birth partner or similar (I know, stupid question, but you could be a DH/DP "looking for a pass" in posting).

Check the route beforehand, that you know the main way and a rough idea of the geography near that route in case diversion is required (just in terms of what cities/towns you pass etc, not planning 5 alternate routes in detail).

While doing that planning, DO have a look at where services are, and where you may want to pull off motorway for a break (into a particular town/city that has a nice coffee shop you've heard of, or take a break while wandering a particular attraction perhaps?).

Do have a check of the car the weekend before - tyre pressures, oil, screen wash etc. And make sure you have a full tank setting off.

Pop your rescue organization details, and your insurance details, into your phone.

Make up a bag for the car with snacks (chocolate, crisps, boiled sweets, dried fruit/muesli bars, things easy to eat as you drive), drinks (including some water, and something that has sugar in case you need a boost - i.e. something fizzy, we nearly always have a coke and a 7up/orange in spare), tissues, bin bag(s) etc. Perhaps include either a nice audiobook on cd, or music you love (especially if you can belt out a few tunes to enjoy at top volume!!). If it's soon, also stick in spare socks, gloves, hat, scarf, rug and have a pair of stout boots in luggage or loose - in case of bad weather. An insulated mug, to refill as you leave services stops, can be useful too (so enjoy a coffee when you take your break, but maybe also get one to sip as you drive - or just stop for a "pitstop" (loo break) and grab the coffee to go so you can push on) - it often keeps the drink hotter for longer and is usually less likely to spill etc than the takeaway ones.

And do give yourself plenty of time to get there, and to get home again.

Don't panic, look on it as an adventure to enjoy!!

(A tip an English teacher who was also an aromatherapist gave us years ago was to put 10 drops of Rosemary essential oil on a tissue, put it on the dashboard to slowly diffuse into the car and where you can pick it up to sniff easily - as that is great for concentration! I use it all the time in work (desk based) and for long journeys still).

cleaty Thu 25-Feb-16 14:25:02

It is good to do things you are nervous about, it builds up your confidence. So yes, go for it. Leave yourself lots of time, take as many stops as you want, and try and enjoy it. The initial nerves at the beginning when we are scared of doing something, is usually the worst bit.

NotAWhaleOmeletteInSight Thu 25-Feb-16 14:30:21

Why is this such a big deal? I regularly drive close to 300 miles to visit family, with little ones in the car. Leave nice and early and you'll be there by lunchtime.

GnomeDePlume Thu 25-Feb-16 14:36:03

Why is this such a big deal? I regularly drive close to 300 miles to visit family

The point is that you do this regularly. For the OP this is a new thing to do alone.

PageStillNotFound404 Thu 25-Feb-16 14:47:37

Why is this such a big deal? I regularly drive close to 300 miles to visit family, with little ones in the car.

Good for you. Your medal is in the post.

OP, I used to have similar fears about getting lost - I have no sense of direction! The actual driving wasn't a problem, just the thought of going the wrong way or ending up on the wrong motorway or something.

The main thing that helps me is giving myself more than enough time. If it's feasible to drive down the day before the event and stay over (and making a mini-break / long weekend of it for yourself) then that's one way to beat the worry about running late / hitting bad traffic / something going wrong. Also learning that even if you do go wrong, you can always put it right, even if that means driving to the next motorway junction or services and pulling off so that you can reset your satnav or find someone to ask directions from (can you tell I've had to do this myself?!)

A reliable car and an up-to-date satnav is a good start, and if it's mostly motorways it should be a fairly straightforward journey. Just make sure to plan in time for a couple of breaks at suitable spots en route, as if you're not used to driving long distances you'll be surprised at how tiring it can be.

Good luck, and enjoy!

chunkymum1 Thu 25-Feb-16 14:56:52

Do it! Think how great you'll feel when you prove to yourself that you can do it.

I'm also not that confident at driving long distances alone but have had to do it quite a few times. My advice is plan your journey (including where you might stop off for a break) in advance- don't just rely on sat nav and maps on your phone. I too panic if I get lost so knowing in advance where I should head helps- look on the aa website for a journey planner if you're not sure. I'd also ask other people who've driven it before which service stations they recommend as some are quite tricky to navigate your way back on to the main road and have been the source of some interesting excursions for me in the past.

Oh and give yourself plenty of time- nothing adds to the panic more than thinking you're going to be late.

JeremyZackHunt Thu 25-Feb-16 15:43:34

My top tip is to follow your journey on a small scale map and make a note of big towns you are travelling towards. They appear frequently on signs so it gives you reassurance that you're getting it right. And if you do go wrong you can get back on track more easily.

Spudlet Thu 25-Feb-16 16:05:42

You'll be fine! I used to be apprehensive about long solo journeys too, but once you've done it, you'll feel much more confident. And your world will expand as you'll have the confidence to get yourself to more of it. smile

redexpat Thu 25-Feb-16 16:26:10

You'll be much more confident on the way home. If you don't try, you'll never know if you can (you can!). No one ever died from getting lost, so simply pull over, check the map or ask for directions. Or just follow the GPS, but I always study a map of the area the night before so I know what landmarks to look out for.

ThornyBird Thu 25-Feb-16 16:40:17

If you go past Gloucester at any point in your journey, I heartily recommend the farm shop services for a stop off, just to see how motorway services can be done grin

My second favourite services are the ones on the M42 by Birmingham. I realise I need a life.

We live in Cornwall so visiting family and friends 'up country' always seems to be an epic journey. If time is not an issue look at your route and see if there are places to visit on the way, so NT houses, shops (IKEA/Decathlon at Nottingham), that sort of thing. My brother always takes 2 days to get here so they can visit somewhere on the way and break the journey up.

Have a map in your car. Print out the route from google maps (map and written). I rarely use the sat nav after some 'interesting' routes but I like having it in the car just in case.

Plan to break every 2 hours or so, even if you just walk round the car 3 times to stretch your legs! And wear comfy shoes!!

OzzieFem Thu 25-Feb-16 17:11:18

No. I had to drive 450 miles from adelaide to melbourne without prior notice. My car was on the Indian Pacific train from Perth and was on a double decker for cars, my van (on top deck) was above the height restrictions to go in a tunnel, so I was offloaded without any warning. Did get a refund though.

Go for it OP, there are a lot more residences around in UK if you run into any trouble, to ask for help.

ComeonSummer1 Thu 25-Feb-16 17:16:31

It would be a huge deal for me.

I really admire all those confident drivers out there and I used to be you but mines gone now. Only local journeys and no motorways.

But sure you will be fine op. Plan and go for it.

QuestionableMouse Thu 25-Feb-16 20:28:39

Thanks for the encouragement everyone! smile

I missed a question- no, I'm not a birth partner or anything like that. My sister is having her first baby but she doesn't want me to go in with her. I feel a bit guilty/bad about going away so close to her due date (event is at the end of one month, she's due about two weeks after.) I'd be going for two or three days... am I being daft worrying about it?

DottyBee Thu 25-Feb-16 20:38:45

I second the farm shop at Gloucester. They make the most amazing sausage/bacon sandwichessmile

You will be fine. Just take a look at the route in advance. I tend to look at unfamiliar places on google earth. I find it helps me get my bearings, by being able to identify shops, landmarks etc.

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