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Scared of motorways and dual carriageways

(100 Posts)
Upupupup Tue 24-Apr-18 09:56:18

I passed my driving test almost two years ago and got a car last year.

But I am still scared stiff when it comes to going on motorways! So I’ve avoided it.

In fact, I don’t like going anywhere I don’t know especially if it involves a drive over 15 miles. Dual carriageways and strange big roundabouts also cause me to panic. I feel I’ll never be over it, which really restricts me.

When I go somewhere new I look up the whole journey on google maps, and will take a longer way round using a sat nav if I don’t like the look of it. I also drive slower than the speed limit in areas I don’t know as I don’t know what’s around the corner. This makes drivers behind frustrated, hooting me and gesturing.

Anyone else feel like this?

MissDuke Tue 24-Apr-18 09:58:57

Have you considered advanced driving lessons? You need to be aware that driving slowly is a hazard, and realistically no one knows what is around the corner - even on a familiar road - could be someone crossing, a tractor, roadworks. You definitely need to look into more lessons.

NerrSnerr Tue 24-Apr-18 09:59:09

It really sounds like you need more lessons. When you say you go slower than the speed limit do you mean you go 15mph in a 30 zone or 50mph on a 60 road? If people are beeping you regularly for going slowly it suggests you really need to go a bit faster to go with the flow of traffic.

Once you've driven on them motorways and dual carriageways are easy. Wide lanes, lots of signs so you know where you are and long straight roads!

UpstartCrow Tue 24-Apr-18 09:59:51

Yes, its the main reason I quit driving. I did try driving more to get over it, but only ever relaxed on very quiet roads. I was never a good driver and was concerned I'd cause an accident.

NerrSnerr Tue 24-Apr-18 09:59:55

I was also nervous when I first drove. The only thing that will make it better is loads of practice.

TooDamnSarky Tue 24-Apr-18 10:01:02

defintely sounds like you need some top-up lessons to boost your confidence.

jamoncrumpets Tue 24-Apr-18 10:01:12

This is exactly me! I passed two years ago and if I go on a fast road (dual carriageway or more) my hands shake and I feel like I'm going to pass out.

It's so debilitating. Not sure what to do about it tbh.

TooDamnSarky Tue 24-Apr-18 10:01:26

and I need some top-up spelling lessons smile

UpstartCrow Tue 24-Apr-18 10:02:14

The thing that might help you most is doing something fun off road such as banger racing.

pigmcpigface Tue 24-Apr-18 10:02:18

Honestly, once you get the hang of it, motorways and dual carriageways are far, far easier to drive on than town roads. You just point the car in the right direction and keep an eye out. You don't have to watch out for the million things you have to be careful about when driving in a city.

I do think it's crazy that motorway driving isn't a major part of the driving test. I understand that you might not want learners going out on them in lesson 1, but equipping people to be able to drive on them is surely an important part of the learning process. I learned to drive without any help (no car to borrow, no friends or family to help) and advanced motorway lessons were a godsend in building my confidence.

Seeline Tue 24-Apr-18 10:02:28

Firstly drive as much as you can in your local area - it will boost your confidence.
Secondly get some more driving lessons concentrating on dual carriageways and motorways - again it will boost your confidence.
With regard to the speed limit - you don't have to drive at the limit. But unless conditions are really bad, you probably should be going at just under it or else other drivers will get annoyed. Have you got P plates on your car - I am more understanding of hesitant drivers showing P plates, and tend to give them more room at junctions etc.
I love my Satnav because it doesn't matter if I take a wrong turn etc, I know it will always get me back on track. Practice using it on routes you do know o that you get familiar with its instructions - how soon it tells you of a turning coming up etc.

Seeline Tue 24-Apr-18 10:02:38

Firstly drive as much as you can in your local area - it will boost your confidence.
Secondly get some more driving lessons concentrating on dual carriageways and motorways - again it will boost your confidence.
With regard to the speed limit - you don't have to drive at the limit. But unless conditions are really bad, you probably should be going at just under it or else other drivers will get annoyed. Have you got P plates on your car - I am more understanding of hesitant drivers showing P plates, and tend to give them more room at junctions etc.
I love my Satnav because it doesn't matter if I take a wrong turn etc, I know it will always get me back on track. Practice using it on routes you do know o that you get familiar with its instructions - how soon it tells you of a turning coming up etc.

Mookatron Tue 24-Apr-18 10:04:01

You will get over it if you practise. If you can't afford advanced lessons, is there an experienced driver who can accompany you?

One long drive is often enough to give you confidence.

Also when it comes to hooters and gesturers you just have to ignore them. The Jeremy Twatson culture in this country means people think they can behave like that but the truth is they are not sitting where you are with your perspective on things and you should NEVER Mage a decision based on some fucker hooting you. As you gain confidence you'll care less (and they'll hoot you less grin)

neathanderallady Tue 24-Apr-18 10:05:46

I felt like this until I accidentally ended up on the m25 or somewhere towards London in rush hour as I was in the wrong lane grin

I quite quickly realised there was nothing to be scared of and now feel fine on the motorway.

nikkylou Tue 24-Apr-18 10:07:04

I couldn't even get to work if i restricted my driving the same way as you.

I second the advanced driving, or going with a trusted friend regularly on unfamiliar roads and motorways.

Is your car reliable? Sounds silly but I'm more confident when i dont have a niggly voice telling me something is gonna go wrong. I got a new car last year and I love driving in a way i never did with my £500 run around!

But really practise makes perfect. Warn people that criticise your driving (in that constantly negative way - not constructive criticism (that should be ok)) that they wont be allowed in your car...

Bluelady Tue 24-Apr-18 10:09:50

You need practice. As a pp said, motorways are the easiest driving there is, I'd far rather drive on a motorway than a country lane.

fluffyowlagain Tue 24-Apr-18 10:10:07

I was driving on motorways within weeks of passing my test and buying my first car (in my thirties) as I needed to do so for the commute to work. I'm glad I did it early on as it's become second nature to me, and I much prefer motorway driving now to driving in residential areas. I also drive quite a bit for work, I don't particularly like driving in unfamiliar areas but I have a satnav and away I go. Yes, the roads are unfamiliar, but the rules are the same whether it's a roundabout you drive round every day or one you've only just come across. I agree with what a PP said, P plates are a good idea, I definitely am more tolerant of cars with a P plate and give them more room, time.

I'd recommend having more lessons, and if you can going out on motorways with someone you trust. My partner drove my route to work, pointing out everything that might fluster me (a short slip road, where I need to move over to ensure I'm in the right line) and then we did it again, but this time with me driving, and that was really helpful. When I first drove on a motorway by myself, I did it early in the morning so before the commuter traffic had built up.

I drive about 400 miles a week now, and do get frustrated with motorists driving too slowly - on several occasions I've had to brake sharply, or change lanes quickly, because a car that's just joined from the slip road has only got up to 50 and doesn't want to go faster. So slower doesn't always mean safer (for you, or other road users).

Good luck! Being confident about driving on motorways has given me so much more freedom and flexibility in my work and also leisure travel plans!

Luxembourgmama Tue 24-Apr-18 10:11:26

I was the same until i took a job which involved my commute being on a motorway. You do get used to it. Try to go on super short drives maybe when the motorway is quite at the weekend. LIke just go two or three exits? It is scary but you desensitise.

IIIustriouslyIllogical Tue 24-Apr-18 10:17:59

You need more lessons - at the moment you sound like a menace!!

Thegreatestshowwomen Tue 24-Apr-18 10:44:58

Put your hard hat on Op. you are allowed to be scared on mumsnet about anything other then driving on motorways. You will be called a menace, you will be told you are not fit to drive, you will be told to get a backbone.
Come on here complaining about being scared of a spider and you wil get all the support in the world

Gottagetmoving Tue 24-Apr-18 10:51:18

I gave up driving for the same reason. I started to get panic attacks whilst driving and was so scared I would cause an accident. My DP kept insisting that I needed to keep driving more not avoid.
I sometimes wish I had stuck with it and conquered the fear because my friend who was exactly the same as me didn't give up and now has no fear at all. She told me it really does become second nature although it took her last anger than most people.
I think those advising you practice more are probably right and you could take some courses to build your confidence.

Gottagetmoving Tue 24-Apr-18 10:52:34

Much longer....not last anger!!

Mookatron Tue 24-Apr-18 10:52:48

I think it is perfectly normal to be scared when you first pass your test by the way, anyone who isn't aware of the risks should not be driving! You have to learn to manage the fear, best done by building confidence, best done with practice!!

Nomad86 Tue 24-Apr-18 10:56:04

I passed my test but then didn't drive for three years. After I graduated I got a job requiring motorway travel. I had an extra couple of driving lessons and I was fine after that. I agree it's daunting at first but having someone with you to guide you makes a huge difference.

DairyisClosed Tue 24-Apr-18 10:58:21

I think that you need to take more driving lessons. You may have passed your test but you don't seem like you are really fit to drive.

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