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Motor-vation for anxiety sufferers

(17 Posts)
CuriousMama Thu 14-Mar-13 13:02:05

How's everyone getting on? I still haven't been out blush But am itching to so am going to get dp to come with me at the weekend.

Anyone had success yet?

CuriousMama Thu 17-Jan-13 23:07:03

Thanks for those tips.

I drove for years before am hoping it all comes back to me one day. I used to quite like night driving and also drove in the bad weather, ice etc.. just never that far.

Dp is trained in HGV instruction and is so patient. Good job really grin

SafetyBubble Thu 17-Jan-13 22:22:09

No I agree with you. My car is staying on the drive as far as possible just now.

But if I have pupils who have done a bit of driving we go out to an empty-ish car park, get away from all obstructions, and mess about a bit to get the feel of driving in slippery conditions. You could practice too. It's a bit of a healthy shock to find out how long a car takes to stop on snow and ice.

Try the brakes from 5 or maybe up to10 mph - leaving plenty of room to stop.
Try the steering. Try to get wheel spin from stationary - in 1st, 2nd and 3rd gear.

Take it in a full-lock circle (clockwise and anti-clockwise) from stationary and just push it gradually faster and faster til it 'breaks away'. Then foot off the gas and correct the skid by pointing the steering in the direction back of the car is trying to go.
(Like the Highway Code describes)

This will give you a better idea how your car behaves - will build confidence if you have to deal with bad conditions, but hopefully will increase your caution.

It's often the other drivers you have to watch out for - they may have less idea about icy road stopping distances than you.

Basic tip - on ice and snow use the highest gear the car will take, but obviously keep speeds low and allow plenty of room.

PS name changed from Avuncular - seemed a bit more appropriate!

CuriousMama Thu 17-Jan-13 09:11:58

Bumping. Looks like I won't be driving this week daren't risk it in this weather?

Thanks Avuncular smile

Avuncular Tue 15-Jan-13 21:28:59

smile beams happily smile

Next question please?

CuriousMama Tue 15-Jan-13 20:08:38

Well I hope the snow goes for tomorrow as I did want to have a little drive. It's really slippery out there, we got stuck in it today.

Safe driving everyone smile

Drywhiteplease Tue 15-Jan-13 15:08:33

avuncular you're great...thanks so much for taking the time to write all of that thanks

CuriousMama Mon 14-Jan-13 01:32:04

Excellent post Avuncular that'll be helpful to all of us I would think? Thank you smile

Avuncular Mon 14-Jan-13 00:49:38

Hi Drywhite here's a recently published teaching film on motorways. I suggest you watch it then look at the notes below. Basically it's a question of getting up to the speed of the other traffic, then slipping across into a gap.

Someone will let you in, if only from self-preservation (though of course if you cause them to slow a lot you will not be very popular!)

I understand your worry but I have very, very rarely got caught out at the end of the slip road. This is what I teach my learners:

My car (and most cars) will go up to nearly 70 in 3rd gear. A bit noisy maybe but that's OK so long as it's not into the 'red' on the 'rev counter'. If your car is smaller and won't do this then you'll need to use 4th. Experiment on a quiet road to check this.

Joining a motorway or Dual Carriageway is not like a 'give way' in town; you must get up to the speed of the other traffic before joining. That's what the slip road is for; that's what the Highway Code says. If you get up to the speed of other traffic, then joining is as easy as changing lanes in a one-way system.

So: as soon as you are on the slip road, look along it and assess the length of the 'transfer zone' (the broken line you need to cross to join Lane 1 of the motorway - green cat's eyes at night). Get into 3rd gear and accelerate to 50-60 mph; if the traffic is fast then aim for 60. It's unlikely to be 70 in Lane 1, but if it is then get up to 70 before joining. Keep to the right hand lane on the slip road - it blocks anyone else from trying to overtake you.

As soon as drivers on the motorway can see your indicators, put on the right indicator. Then, if they can, they may move across to let you in. (You may sometimes be visible to traffic even a mile behind you)

If, as you come down the slip road, you see a car ahead of you on the main carriageway, aim to join the motorway 1-3 car lengths behind it, or more if you have time to assess the available space. This may mean reducing your speed, or possibly speeding up, to match your speed to the car in front. If you have to slow down, don't brake; just releasing the accelerator ('gas') in 3rd gear should do the trick. Observation and anticipation are the key skills.

As you get close to the transfer zone, keep checking main and right hand mirrors to find a gap in the motorway traffic. If you can see a car in your right door mirror, it is behind you (though maybe not much). If you think you have a gap, then look right, through your driver's window.

If there is nothing there, gently ease across into the motorway lane 1. If you then only have a small gap in front, release the gas slightly to pull back to a better gap. Then relax, change to a better gear (4th or 5th) and spend a minute or two getting used to the motorway before considering any overtaking etc.

Two main things that can go 'wrong':
1. I find that in about 1 in 10 cases, when I look through my driver's window (we call it a 'shoulder check'), there is a car - or more likely a heavy lorry - beside me that has been in my mirror 'blind spot'. Just ease off the gas slightly and let the lorry pass, then gently slip into the gap behind it.

Very, very occasionally, the next vehicle is so close behind that the gap is too small. This is illegal at motorway speeds and dangerous, of course. You just need to stay calm and wait for the next gap while driving along in the slip lane.

2. If there really is so much traffic on the road that you can't get in, usually the traffic is going pretty slowly if it's that busy. I usually just 'anticipate', drive along beside the other traffic with an indicator on, looking for help. Someone will help; you just need to be alert enough to see it. They may flash their lights, or more likely will just hold back a bit to let you move across.

The other thing which you may find is that there is a slower-moving vehicle ahead of you on the slip road. Maybe a lorry (or maybe a nervous MNer, OAP or new driver who hasn't been taught properly). Don't try to follow them close. Check your main mirror, sit on the right hand side of the slip road, and hold back until there is sufficient gap ahead for you to do your normal (60 mph target) approach. Then do it, keeping an eye out in case the vehicle ahead gets into difficulties while joining.

The reason for this is that if you or anyone else tries to join the motorway too slowly, it creates a danger for everyone already on the motorway, and the gaps between joining vehicles are too small to allow a 'zip-fastener' merge.

I actually had to do joining manoeuvres to a motorway twice today going to and from church and my camera caught it I think; If it looks OK I'll post it on YouTube when I get a moment. On the first approach there was actually a group of 'Sunday Drivers' too close to one another, but there was still enough space for me to slip gently between two of them.

If all else fails, then of course you just have to stop at the end of the slip road. Preferably you will realise you're likely to get caught out and will slow down or stop before the end so you have some room to accelerate.

Or in 'emergency', you can pull on to the hard shoulder, if there is one, and wait until you have a good gap before speeding up on the hard shoulder and joining Lane 1.

That is very unlikely to happen and I've just put it in to remind you that there is always a way out of problems!

Avuncular Sun 13-Jan-13 21:39:07

Hi Drywhite - amazingly, I was just about to start writing an article on this for the local paper today. I think I've posted on open forum already on this, but I understand your particular concerns. Let me have a think about it and I'll get back to you soon.

Drywhiteplease Sun 13-Jan-13 21:24:43

avuncular joining motorways....I'm always worried ill get to the end of the slip road and won't get on!

CuriousMama Sun 13-Jan-13 19:10:32

Am out all day tomorrow, off to see Les mis then Toby carvery, high life for me wink Wednesday afternoon for me too then!

Avuncular Sun 13-Jan-13 17:39:46

You are Incredible !! What a good idea.
As from previous thread - I'm here if you need me.

Driving Instructor for you all. Agony Uncle for open forum and PMs

Planning to add a Mumsnet playlist to my YouTube channel.

Any topics you'd like covered?

IncrediblePhatTheInnkeepersCat Sun 13-Jan-13 15:36:11

Ok, name a day this week that you'll get behind the wheel, even if it just round the block.

Wednesday afternoon is going to be my day!

CuriousMama Sun 13-Jan-13 14:27:27

movivation? Motivation!!

CuriousMama Sun 13-Jan-13 14:26:59

I'm here smile

I agree that if you don't have to drive it stops the movivation or motor-vation wink Dp does all of our driving.

He's off for a few days this week so will get him to take me out with a view to going on my own after a few goes.

I passed my test years ago but didn't have a car straight away and when I did never went far tbh. Always preferred to be driven.

IncrediblePhatTheInnkeepersCat Sun 13-Jan-13 11:19:50

Inspired by a thread in AIBU where we realised that there were many of us made severely anxious about driving and thought a motivating thread would be useful to encourage tackling it.

I've suffered from anxiety since 2006 when I started my PGCE - palpitations, insomnia, panic attacks, digestive issues. I was prescribed beta-blockers, which helped break the cycle. I got over school-related anxiety because I had to face my fears every day.

Driving is another matter. I passed my test easily, but as I don't have to drive, it is all too easy to make excuses and use public transport instead. Vicious circle as this means that the longer I go between driving the more anxious I get about it.

My goal for this year is to crack this by forcing myself to go out at least once a week to practise. Fellow sufferers welcome to get motivated!

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