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To think maybe she shouldn’t be driving?

(65 Posts)
Beachbooty Sun 24-Feb-19 08:06:24

My good friend is a really nervous driver. She’s average height, around 5,4 but sits with her seat pushed forward so if she stuck her tongue out it would touch the steering wheel. We went shopping yesterday and she offered to drive as my dh had the car. It was truly an awful experience. Her anxiety when she is driving is through the roof, she panics monumentally when changing lanes, turning right, turning left and heaven forbid if she has to reverse. Other drivers get frustrated with as she drives incredibly slowly and is extremely hesitant when trying to navigate a junction. Yesterday I gently suggested that she maybe have some lessons to boost her confidence, but her reply was that if other drivers weren’t such arseholes then she wouldn’t be so nervous. I can honestly say that I will avoid getting in a car with her again.

AcaiSmoothie Sun 24-Feb-19 09:56:11

My friend is like this - a totally crap and dangerous driver who in the six months or so she has been driving has lost control of her own car and ploughed it into a field, insisting it wasnt her fault (strongly suspect she was going too fast for the conditions/ stretch of road) hmm and I have personally witnessed another 3 near misses when I have been a passenger with her. She is actually very confident/ smug and thinks everyone else is the problem so i just don't get in the car with her any more.

Id be honest with her if she will listen to you in the long run it will save her or someone else getting hurt!

Alsohuman Sun 24-Feb-19 09:56:30

Can she see properly? Genuine question. My driving became less and less confident as my eyes deteriorated pending cataract surgery. I just stopped because I felt I was a danger on the roads. It may be something as simple as needing glasses.

HappyMama01 Sun 24-Feb-19 09:57:21

I am this anxious about driving; I stopped learning after I failed my first test. I didn't enjoy driving nor was I much good at it so I knew I was safer and everyone else was, me not driving.
I get grilled constantly about not doing so and "being lazy" but I seriously don't think it's worth me driving if I'm going to be in a state every time I go to drive and putting people at risk

Imperfectsusan Sun 24-Feb-19 10:04:05

I wonder if her eyesight needs checking.

pigsDOfly Sun 24-Feb-19 10:05:43

I know a couple of people who decided driving wasn't for them and stopped lessons because they were too nervous, which according to mn wisdom makes them pathetic and lacking one of life's essential skills. Utter nonsense. Some people just don't make decent drivers, in the same ways some people can't cook, or ride a bicycle.

If this woman only drives once a to get the shopping, surely it would be cheaper to ditch the car and just get a taxi to and from the shops. Also, if she only ever drives once a week she'll never drive enough to get experience and build up her confidence.

Sounds like she's an accident waiting to happen.

crimsonlake Sun 24-Feb-19 10:10:43

I am in my 50's and have friend's the same age and younger. I have been surprised by the amount of them that will only drive locally and on very familiar roads. It has led me to believe that there are lots of hesitant, nervous drivers out there.

Merryoldgoat Sun 24-Feb-19 10:12:06


I found the same. I had an excellent German lady as my third instructor. She was entirely no-nonsense.

I’d failed previously for a variety of stuff. I sailed through with her because she’d been so clear I felt in control.

PivotPivotPivottt Sun 24-Feb-19 10:13:52

Curbside my instructor is brilliant. If it wasn't for him I probably would have given up long before now! My biggest problem is getting flustered. Yesterday I stalled twice at the same set of traffic lights and seeing the queue of traffic behind me instantly made me panic, my mind went blank and my instructor had to help me move off. It's things like this that make me think driving just isn't for me. If I could stop worrying and getting flustered I'd be fine.

AWishForWingsThatWork Sun 24-Feb-19 10:20:20

She sounds like she's the danger on the road, not all the 'assholes', and you need to tell her this.

SaturdayNext Sun 24-Feb-19 10:21:15

Has the children's father driven with her? I'd be seriously concerned about their safety.

SpanielEars070 Sun 24-Feb-19 10:25:09

She's one of those drivers who don't have accidents, they just cause them.

I'd talk to her DH and say you were absolutely terrified. And don't ever get in a car with her driving again.

PtahNeith Sun 24-Feb-19 10:37:38

It's normal and sensible to be nervous and anxious when learning to drive. But part of the lessons - and the instructor's job - is to help you feel calm, confident and in control by the time you're ready to pass your test. Although obviously the test would be nerve wracking - because it's a test!

If that's not happening as part of the lessons then maybe a different instructor would help, or maybe there are deeper causes of the anxiety that also need to be addressed outside the lessons (in terms of the thoughts driving it and how to respond to them, how to breathe and focus when anxious etc). Self-help style CBT for anxiety would be an helpful adjunct in that case.

I don't think having anxiety makes anyone pathetic. I do think driving dangerously and then blaming everyone else for being "arseholes" is fairly inexcusable and a different matter entirely, however.

MotsDHeureGoussesRames Sun 24-Feb-19 10:45:09

Omg so glad to find others like me! I tried for 5 years to learn to drive with 5 different instructors, most of whom eventually told me they couldn't do anything more for me. It's not that I can't drive in terms of the mechanics but my anxiety and nerves are through the roof, to the extent that I have minor panic attacks whenever I have to make a decision or do something other than just drive along a road. I'm desperate to do it but, like the poster referred to above, the thought of throwing yet more money at it is awful. I just don't think I will ever conquor the nerves. My BF is moving up here soon and thinks lots of practice with him will sort me out but he hasn't seen what I'm actually like yet... I think he thinks my nerves are just "normal" but it's way more than that. I don't know why it is, but it's really a horrible experience. It's frustrating for me too. My main worry is that the anxiety would make me unsafe on the roads.

WeBuiltThisBuffetOnSausageRoll Sun 24-Feb-19 11:11:20

There are undoubtedly a great many bad and selfish drivers out there, but surely she must see the common variable in her constant experiences with 'arsehole' drivers.

It reminds me of the old joke of the woman who hears on the radio that there's somebody driving the wrong way down the M1 and, knowing that her husband is currently using that road, calls him to warn him.

"Albert, be very careful on the road - I've just heard that there's an idiot driving the wrong way on your motorway."

"There's not just one, Mabel, there are hundreds of them!"

DorothyZbornak Sun 24-Feb-19 11:11:57

My mother is like this. Drives into the local town once a week to go to the supermarket. This trip involves a short stretch of motorway. She drives on the motorway the same way she drives on the country roads where she lives. Crawling along and tutting as everyone else beeps and passes her out (doing a normal speed)
Like your friend she thinks that everyone else is wrong and laughably believes that she's a 'safe driver'.

The only other time she drives is to the local shop. Five minutes away on a country road.

She shouldn't be driving because she's not safe, and I completely agree with you about your friend. She also sounds completely unsafe to be on the road.
My mother does the pulling the seat up to the steering wheel too, while clutching said steering wheel in a death grip with hands at 10 and 2.

drowningincustard Sun 24-Feb-19 11:22:01

Explain to her that she needs to drive confidently and safely in a world where you are not relying on other people to behave a certain way.
We live in what I now call the play station generation - people listening to music, having conversations and generally distracted while safe in their ncap rated bubble.
I actually recommend learning to ride a motorbike to young kids learning to drive (controversial I know!) - it teaches you more about awareness and good positioning and how to drive safely than anything else. I see a big difference in car driving after they've had some time as the vulnerable one.
Not that it would probably be something your friend would go for it would teach that being stopped or slow is not safe. Statistically in the situation you described if you can see normal traffic behaviour then she should have followed the light and turned as she was the one behaving 'not normal' and more likely to get shunted from behind because the car would expect her to move off. So she is causing the accident. Yes in terms of insurance the fault would be apportioned to the car behind but it remains that she caused the accident and a good driver will try to avoid accidents.
Explain that her risk assessment is off - in looking at the low incidence risk in front of her she completely missed the high risk situation behind her...

chocolatecake08 Sun 24-Feb-19 11:22:53


Dont give up, i was full of anxiety and after a week driving on my own i was perfectly fine xx

Mummyoflittledragon Sun 24-Feb-19 11:29:14

How about hypnotherapy? Maybe you could find someone, who helps you to visualise driving with confidence and correctly.

Lifecraft Sun 24-Feb-19 11:29:36

@Yorkshiremum17 Oh I hate this kind of driver, they are self fulfilling prophecy! She will cause an accident when someone gets impatient with her and that will reinforce her view that all the other drivers are rubbish!

Well to be fair, if someone gets so impatient with her that they do something that causes an accident, then they are rubbish, and she was right.

A nervous hesitant driver is a better driver than someone who has a crash because they get frustrated with a nervous hesitant driver.

QuirkyQuark Sun 24-Feb-19 11:37:46

There's a reason I don't drive and this is it. I'm in my 50's and I never gained confidence so I gave up. I'd never put myself, family or others at risk... EVER.

PivotPivotPivottt Sun 24-Feb-19 11:38:01

Thanks everyone it's nice to see people think it could still be possible for me.

I've considered hypnotherapy, I don't know enough about it to know if it's worthwhile or a waste of money. If it would work I would do it in a heartbeat!!

SileneOliveira Sun 24-Feb-19 11:41:40

I don't think anyone has a problem with people who try driving and find they're not cut out for it. Or people with medical issues which stop them.

It's the people - and there are always a few on these threads - who are proud non-drivers, simply can't comprehend why ANYONE would possibly want to drive, go everywhere on public transport and think they're so much better than the rest of us. Who drive.

2010Aussie Sun 24-Feb-19 12:15:24

From the sounds of it, your friend really doesn't enjoy driving and is very anxious about it. Blaming everyone else is a classic sign of realising that she has a problem but finding it difficult to admit it

I would meet her in a neutral venue (make your own way there!) and gently explain that you are really concerned about her safety and that of her passengers. You feel that you can't travel in the car with her. Suggest a driving lesson again (there are places which specifically cater for nervous drivers). Perhaps even offer to go halves with her, if you can afford it.

If she gets all shouty and defensive, I would get up and leave. Then she has plenty of time to think about it.

She really needs to do something about her driving before she injures herself or other people.

MereDintofPandiculation Sun 24-Feb-19 12:34:48

Does she realise the injuries she would receive in an accident, sitting so close to the steering wheel ?

Interesting article - last part describes how unsuited to women's body sizes are cars which are designed around male crash dummies

MereDintofPandiculation Sun 24-Feb-19 12:42:58

I'd probably tell her it was clear that she was nervous because of all the bad driving around her, that most drivers weren't nervous, that it wasn't that they were oblivious to the dangers, that they'd learnt to anticipate and control them, and that some more lessons would give her the skills needed to be able to drive confidently amongst all these bad drivers.

It's all very well saying "don't drive", but the rest of us don't facilitate that, for example we always choose governments for whom public transport is a low priority. So if you live, for example, in the suburbs of a large city, you'll be able to get a bus into town, but not anywhere else that you'd like to go. Roll on driverless cars!

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