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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.

EBearhug Mon 25-Feb-19 21:01:21

The thing which really made me more of a confident driver was getting a new job which meant I had a minimum 45 min commute each way, mostly up the A34 and M4. It meant I got a lot more practice in heavy rush-hour traffic on fast roads (well, not always fast at that time of day!)

Like any skill, it's getting the practice which really counts.

Aeroflotgirl Sun 24-Feb-19 18:27:04

PivotPivot I stumbled upon somebody at my Gym who was training to be a hypnotherapist and needed a case study, so I offered, as I really wanted to drive and for the panic attacks to stop as it was becoming debilitating. She was extremely good, and is now qualified, charging up to £70 per session, but I get fee hypnotherapy for life as I offered to be her case study when she was training.

She wrote scrips involving being a passenger in a car, and being a driver of a car, and lots of visualising of negative emotions and imagining them floating away, and rooting techniques. It is subconsiously training your brain to neuturalise any negative emotions and replace them with positive ones.

username80001 Sun 24-Feb-19 16:00:42

If she only drives once a week she's not going to feel confident driving as in driving more regularly. When I passed my test I was advised to build up experience so I would drive to work and back and on my lunch to the shops etc so I felt really confident behind the wheel . If I only drove once a week while already a nervous driver I'd probably feel worse and the irate drivers probably won't help .
It is really annoying behind someone driving slowly and hesitating. I agree shouldn't be on the road and she sounds like a accident waiting to happen but I sympathise. My advise is she needs to drive more regularly to build confidence up .

Governoress86 Sun 24-Feb-19 15:47:23

I passed my test in September last year and when I first passed I was a nervous wreck and I suffer with anxiety. However I now drive with confidence and at the speed limit.

However if she has been driving a few years she should not be this nervous still.
If she is only driving to do the weekly shop maybe she should drive a bit more than that to get her confidence up or like other PP have said book some lessons.

PortiaCastis Sun 24-Feb-19 15:27:02

Do you think she was nervous because you were there OP?

gubbsywubbsy Sun 24-Feb-19 15:19:06

Everyone I know who learnt to drive late in life is terrible . I had lessons on my 17 and passed soon after . It's just second nature. My Mil is terrible and she passed late In life .

GallicosCats Sun 24-Feb-19 14:52:26

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

Some cars fit better than others - they're not all the same. In mine you can adjust the seat height, the seat distance, the angle and the position of the steering wheel, which makes a big difference; it's a high spec Audi though. Honest John is pretty good on this kind of thing.

PivotPivotPivottt Sun 24-Feb-19 14:38:36

Angela my mum is the same and only drives routes she's familiar with. Doesn't drive on motorways etc. She was about 40 when she passed and for that reason she wanted to pay for me to learn as soon as I turned 17 as she thought her lack of confidence was down to her ages. I wasn't interested in driving though and now 10 years on I wish I done it. I want nothing more than to be able to drive, being able to take the children out for the day not relying on parents or public transport etc. If I do pass and find there's no improvement then I will take myself off the road.

Aeroflot would you mind telling me a bit about your hypnotherapy? I'm not as anxious as you were but I can be a nervous passenger depending on who is driving.

TooManyPaws Sun 24-Feb-19 13:37:44

I passed my test in a small country town so I took myself into the nearest big city to have a couple of lessons on all the traffic situations I had not yet encountered. It was brilliant to be able to be talked through them and know that the instructor could take over if necessary. I have since been told by a police driving instructor that I am a safe and confident driver.

Practice is also the way to go. She needs to drive more until she has really got the hang of it. I shared a flat with a friend who was learning to drive. Everywhere we went we went in my little Metro with an L plate and her driving. We even drove from NE to SW Scotland with me only taking over for the actual motorways. She was an extremely competent and safe driver with many hours and miles of experience very quickly.

ATowelAndAPotato Sun 24-Feb-19 13:18:18

Why don't you suggest she takes her Pass Plus?
That often brings insurance premiums down, so could save her money in the long run, and may help build her confidence?

Aeroflotgirl Sun 24-Feb-19 13:05:14

AngelaHodgeson I am learning to drive and due to take my test soon, I have had extensive hypnotherapy to get myself to where I am now, I was so anxious, would even have panic attacks in the car as a passenger. I am fine now. But if I do pass, I hope to build my confidence going on familiar routes and places and gradually build up.

Beachbooty Sun 24-Feb-19 13:00:02

Her eyesight is fine as far as I know, she’s generally a really really anxious person, constantly stressing about things. It’s just how she’s wired.

kalinkafoxtrot45 Sun 24-Feb-19 12:55:15

I’m this kind of driver, which is why I don’t drive. The roads are safer without me. I’ve chosen to live where public transport is good and regular. Your friend should either get some more lessons to build up experience and confidence or stop driving. It’s selfish and wrong to endanger others.

AngelaHodgeson Sun 24-Feb-19 12:50:22

pivot, my DSM and DSis were both incredibly nervous - DSM took 7 tests and DSis was terrifying to be in a car with. Both persevered by getting used to driving on quieter routes that the knew well and gradually built up confidence. Both are now pretty good drivers.

If it's something you really want to do it is worth persevering. The difference with the woman in the OP is that she doesn't even see that there's a problem so won't change.

BrizzleMint Sun 24-Feb-19 12:47:28

should get a licence because "it's worth having one, even if you never use it". WTF

It is worth having a licence yes. My parents are elderly and of the generation where the man would always drive when they went out and so the women never drove. Then their husband leaves/dies and suddenly they find they can't drive because they haven't done it for years or never learnt because they had a man to do it for them. All women should get a licence and drive often. I expect it's less common with my generation, though I do know a couple of women who can't/won't drive because of having a man who always drives them everywhere.

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!

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

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.

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.

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!!

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.

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.

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.

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

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...

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