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I can't get out of my driveway - is there anything I can do?

(52 Posts)
MandragoraWurzelstock Wed 17-Apr-13 08:49:31

A few months ago our neighbours changed their car and now have a humungous 4x4 type thing, with darkened windows.

I can't see past it and I can't see through it and I keep getting beeped by cars coming up the road - which they often do quite fast - because I'm backing out, very slowly but by the time I've gone far enough to see anything coming, we're in the line of danger already.

I am really scared that one day something will just go straight into us. I can't ask the neighbours to change their car. I can't ask them to keep it elsewhere - they use a disabled space. (I don't know in what way but their little girl is apparently disabled - perhaps she can't walk very far - they have a blue badge and it's none of my beeswax anyway)

We're also not in a position to afford a higher up car, so I could see a bit better.

Is t here some kind of appliance, mirror thing or such that I could fit to our car to enable me to see if anything's coming?

I'm really concerned about it - at present we have to use the car most days, and with a new baby in the back as well as my older child it's just a horrible feeling every time...I'm even thinking of moving house because of it.


Iwantmybed Wed 17-Apr-13 11:36:18

I live on a busy B road and mostly reverse into the drive for ease of getting out, esp in rush hour. I'm easily ignored if I don't have eye contact.

7ate9 Wed 17-Apr-13 11:38:03

I have exactly the same issue.
My drive is on a busy A road and a nightmare to get on or off and if someone has pulled up it's near blind to reverse off.

You really need to get used to reversing on, it's hard but have confidence. My method is slow to a crawl just before it with hazards on to get attention, get attention and point at drive to make clear your intention then go past it taking a middling position on road so they don't zip past you (they may look annoyed, thick skin!), reverse on. Don't go past your drive until they stop! Mine is made worse by the junction 20 yards ahead so they just think I'm indicating for that/ want to dive at light before they change.

If your road is a major road it is illegal to reverse onto it, also if you did have an accident reversing off I've been told you would be liable, whereas if they rear-end you while you properly indicate reversing onto your drive with due care THEY are liable.

Cantbelieveitsnotbutter Wed 17-Apr-13 11:46:12

I used to live on a busy road, If I felt it would be a problem e.g car behind too close I'd pull onto the side then wait for a gap and reverse on. The odd person does get annoyed, just ignore them.

MandragoraWurzelstock Wed 17-Apr-13 13:13:32

Brilliant - thankyou so much for talking me through it. I can see a bit better what to do now - some fabulous tips smile

Whattodo - that would be lovely but it's a shared drive, so that would just piss off my neighbours!

Charliemumma - thankyou - yes, in theory I could try that. But I'm still afraid I'll miss something coming up the road, even when it's quiet - so it would just mean another episode of trying to reverse out in order to reverse in, iyswim.

Wish me luck. I'm going to try it later on - the reversing I mean, and see how terrible it is! The council have said they will call me back about permission to put up a mirror.

MandragoraWurzelstock Wed 17-Apr-13 13:14:44

PS. it's terrifying to learn that I'd be liable if I reversed out and got hit. I'm so glad I know that now - I won't risk it again. Thanks x

Doyouthinktheysaurus Wed 17-Apr-13 13:21:38

I liven a quieter road but have the same issue because next door has a large transit van.

Reversing is the answer. If there is someone behind me I pull in to the side of the road and wait for them to pass before attempting the manoeuvre.

You do have to just be assertive and stand your ground. Much harder to ignore a car diagonal across the middle of the road trying to reverse than a car edging out of a driveway. The cars will stop because they have no choice.

Jellykitten1 Wed 17-Apr-13 14:31:14

Out of interest, why have the council put a permanent parking space on what sounds like such a busy road, with drives (so not as though only parking available is roadside) and why can't they park on their own drive instead of the road?

MandragoraWurzelstock Wed 17-Apr-13 18:02:52

The council person did ask if they had a drive, and they do, but I'm guessing they like to keep it free for utility vehicles (which are rarely there really) as they run a large student hostel.

I'm not sure if their massive car would even fit on it but I think it would.

The whole street has parking spaces on both sides - apart from where driveways are - and they are often full to the brim during the week because of hospital visitors/patients/staff. Weekends they're often empty.

This disabled space was put in by some other neighbours a few years ago for an elderly lady who used a wheelchair, and then she died and the new people took it over.

I've walked this afternoon so didn't get to practise reversing yet, but did speak to some staff next door to us (another NHS place) who agreed that getting in and out was a nightmare, so they liked the idea of the mirror. I've identified a suitable telegraph pole by the neighbours' hedge which shouldn't offend anyone if it gets a mirror on it.

Thankyou for all your help earlier.

CointreauVersial Wed 17-Apr-13 18:08:28

7ate9 has it right - just make sure you are very slow and deliberate so everyone around you knows what you are planning to do. But reversing in is far far safer than reversing out.

Chopstheduck Thu 18-Apr-13 06:50:45

normally a disabled space like that is specifically for one person as is removed once they no longer need it. I wonder if it is worth contacting the council to see if they are aware of that, because if they have a drive, there is no reason they can't use the drive for a disabled vehicle. I thought disabled spaces were only usually given where you DON'T have a drive. Normally if you have a drive, you can only request H bar marking to keep your drive clear.

My ds1 is disabled, we use our drive, and cleared part of the fence so we can get two cars on, wouldn't dream of taking up road space too!

BranchingOut Thu 18-Apr-13 07:29:33

I think the best thing to do is also to wind down your window and use a hand-signal to indicate that you are going in to your drive.

Plus your choice of hand-signal if someone is stroppy with you!

In truth, I can't really see why your neighbours are not using their driveway, so maybe contacting the council is the best route.

MandragoraWurzelstock Thu 18-Apr-13 07:43:44

Thanks guys. That is a good point. The people across the road never have had a driveway so obviously they needed the space, I'll have a look at the other people's drive and see if it looks big enough.

I don't have a problem with them having the space at all in any other respect. So I wouldn't want them to know that I'd said anything. I'd feel so mean.

But when the council ring back I guess I could mention it and see what they reckon. Surely they wouldn't have granted them the space if they didn't need it, in the first place?

Jellykitten1 Thu 18-Apr-13 09:12:07

Mandragora still can't quite get my head around the layout smile but, possibly the space on the road was made because the original disabled resident needed wheelchair access and the drive space is not big enough for that. (don't you need an extra 2m behind the car for a ramp?)

However in your current neighbours' case, there doesn't seem to be a wheelchair issue, and they do still have a driveway space, hence it does seem that the main reason they use the road disabled space is because it accommodates their mammoth vehicle more easily than the driveway space.

I don't think you're being mean at all, just by finding out more, there is a real safety concern here. If they ARE wheelchair users and clearly need the extra access space then there is absolutely no argument and I would be 100% completely understanding (I have a wheelchair user in my family and am very well aware of all the problems caused by lack of access) but if they don't actually have this equipment problem, but it's causing you serious safety issues every day, then I think you are completely justified in at least making enquiries. I wouldn't like to battle fast moving traffic with reversing into a space every time I come in and out of my house, nobody would, without good reason, it's stressful, especially with children in the car.

MandragoraWurzelstock Thu 18-Apr-13 09:13:05

Right well that was a near catastrophe! I was psyched up to try reversing in this morning.

Road wasn't busy but the few cars using it were in a hurry iykwim.

I had a car behind me, so I slowed right down, indicated right well in advance and pulled out towards the middle of the road, to get in position. From the start I could see she wasn't slowing down, and she was trying to hang left to get past me, but she couldn't - then I stopped and she actually tried to squeeze past on the left but she couldn't get through so had to give up - then I reversed, she had to reverse too, by this time another car behind her. It could have been tricky.

I got the angle right, got in between the walls, car nearly gave up as it's not very powerful and reverse is clearly not as strong as 1st. So I stopped, put on handbrake, thought, and then decided I had to rev a bit harder to get up. So I did and we got up the drive but it was hard to get in without hitting something, as I had to go so fast to get going at all.

The thing is I can't just pull in alongside the RH pavement, when I want to reverse in, because of the angle and the walls being so high and going right down to the road. I have to stop literally in the middle of the road.

It was awful - and the car ground out on the hump as well, going backwards. I have going in forwards down to a fine art, at the right sort of angle not to hit the bumper (everyone who uses our drive to turn hits their bumper!)

So back to plan A and the mirror. Did look at their drive and it's big enough. Grrrrr.

MandragoraWurzelstock Thu 18-Apr-13 09:15:17

Jelly - crossed posts! Thankyou. They don't need space for a wheelchair so that's something...the previous users had no drive and they did use a wheelchair.

I'm going to get on to highways again and ask about the disabled space.
Oh dear. I'm sure the neighbours will know and I don't want to make them feel unwelcome.

Jellykitten1 Thu 18-Apr-13 09:18:14

BranchingOut if OP is turning left into her drive though, she can't stick her hand out of the left window grin it would only work for a right turn. She would simply just have to start indicating and slowing right down a looooong time before her drive, but then people will assume she's turning head-first into the drive instead of reversing in, and try to overtake her just as she's swinging out in preparation for a reverse manoevre. It's a real concern.

OP I guess you don't have space to do a three (or 10-point) turn in your own drive so you can drive head-in and turn the car around in the car park? That would be better than reversing in. Sooo hazardous to reverse on a fast road. People behind will not think she would be doing that.

mistlethrush Thu 18-Apr-13 09:20:44

You could always practice the reversing manoeuvre by reversing into supermarket car parking spaces - often there is someone else coming down the road at the same time, the space is likely to be a similar width to your space at the moment etc etc. I use my wing mirrors extensively when I'm reversing - you should be able to see a little bit of your car so that you can see exactly what you're heading towards - and if you're using a supermarket space, if you have them tipped just slightly down you should be able to see the white lines, at least at the start.

MandragoraWurzelstock Thu 18-Apr-13 09:24:32

It is a right turn but still, I was indicating clearly, no visibility issues today, and it was still not obvious that I was going to reverse. I'm not sure if hand signals would help much.

That was the first thing |I tried when we moved in Jelly. I got rather stuck! I'll try and explain the layout;

can you imagine a street with houses all along, and on the right hand side they are higher than the road - maybe an 8-10ft rise. They all have front walls and dividing walls between the driveways, about 4-5ft high.
our house is set back about 20ft from the road, in front of it is a tarmac drive, and as you go in there is a car port right in front of you, at the dies of the house (where our front door is) and to your left, there is space for two more cars parked side by side, facing towards the neighbours' house. This is where upstairs park their cars. Their door is at the front.
I hope that explains a bit better.
Theoretically it looks possible to reverse into one of their spaces and then go out forwards but in practise it just isn't. There's not enough room. And it's all on an awful camber!

Oh well. These things are sent to try us.

Jellykitten1 Thu 18-Apr-13 09:24:36

Mandragora crossed posts again! smile

This is totally justified in making further enquiries. You know in your heart you are NOT being mean or begrudging, you are frightened of having an accident. If I had my kids in the back and I was seriously frightened of accidents every single day just getting in and out of my drive, I would take what the neighbours thought on the chin. This is not personal and it's not being discriminatory about disability or anything like that. Please don't feel bad. You would feel a lot worse than what the neighbours might think of you now just for making enquiries if you caused an accident!

MandragoraWurzelstock Thu 18-Apr-13 09:25:42

Good idea Mistle - thing is people are often going a lot slower in car parks, and expecting you to stop and park iyswim.

On our road no one is expecting that. I couldn't believe she tried to get past me.

MandragoraWurzelstock Thu 18-Apr-13 09:26:58

Thankyou Jelly, I will ask then. You're right - I cannot take the risk.

CajaDeLaMemoria Thu 18-Apr-13 09:30:43

It's probably worth calling the council and asking about the space before you go any further with speaking to people: if the disabled space is being correctly used by the new neighbour, it's my experience that they won't remove it.

It'll avoid a lot of stress if they'll confirm if that is their policy on the phone, rather than coming out to look at the space, which is always far too obvious.

Jellykitten1 Thu 18-Apr-13 09:38:09

Good luck! Let us know how you get on. State all the facts of the matter and don't get shy about it just because of the disability element. I can't see how anyone could say you don't have a genuine safety concern to consider here, and you do actually have a responsibility to yourself, your children and other road users to ensure you've done all you can to make your road actions as safe as possible.

GladbagsGold Thu 18-Apr-13 09:40:39

We're on a busy road and reversing into our drive is dangerous - it shouldn't be, but people drive too fast. I feel your pain.

I'd go and see the neighbours and explain their car is blocking your view and could they please park it on their drive? They might not have realised and you say they seem nice. It'd be a lot easier than anything else.

MandragoraWurzelstock Thu 18-Apr-13 09:42:03

Thanks for the backup. I think my only other option is to get a really huge car, like a double decker bus so I can see above their car grin but then no one could see above mine and so it goes on...

I think the issue is about the spaces on the road full stop. I mean if a van parked there, or someone else entirely with another big car, it'd still be dangerous iyswim. Maybe they shouldn't have a space there at all.

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