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Will I ever be able to drive without the nerves

(34 Posts)
BeauticianNotMagician81 Mon 06-Oct-14 09:27:56

Hi I passed my test over a year ago. I have only been out in the car when absolutely necessary. Probably about 20 -40 times. Every time I get in the car I am a bag of nerves. I can actually drive well until I make a mistake and then I panic.

I took the kids to school in the car this morning and the baby to nursery. I managed to drop the kids off fine but near their school cars are parked on both sides with not enough room to pass. When I went along the road I clipped a car causing my wing mirror on the passenger side to fold in. I hope I didn't damage the other persons car. Is this just one of those things? Or should I just admit defeat and give up driving. I managed to drop the baby off safely in the worse car park ever(its teeny) .Had the nursery car park been busy again I would have panicked. I also managed to pick my friend up and give her a lift home to save her getting soaked.

I arrived home shaking. hmm I need to drive as I live in a village near nothing.

TiggyD Mon 06-Oct-14 09:34:33

I spent several months refusing to turn right, apart from roundabouts. I got very good at route planning as a result. The more you do it the easier it becomes. Take a few long cuts on quiet roads and try to learn to enjoy it.

Re the mirror. If you've damaged another person's car and aren't doing anything about it, that's very naughty and illegal.

NecklessMumster Mon 06-Oct-14 09:35:18

I once repeatedly hit a car trying to get out of a car park..In fact I have had a few disasters.l go into a cold panic and I'm worse when there are passengers/audience.Best thing is to take your time and go slowly. Also get some refresher lessons. .They helped me as I passed my test as a student then didn't drive again for years. It's all experience and confidence

scurryfunge Mon 06-Oct-14 09:35:50

You just need more practice to gain confidence. Go and find an empty car park in the evening and practice parking. Maybe have another lesson to get feedback on your mistakes.

NickiFury Mon 06-Oct-14 09:37:20

I've been driving for 20 years and I still get nervous on the motorway. I don't think SOME nerves are necessarily a bad thing. Shows awareness IMO.

LeftRightCentre Mon 06-Oct-14 09:37:51

This is why I love driving an automatic.

OwlCapone Mon 06-Oct-14 09:37:51

You need to drive more to build confidence.

If you clipped the other car's wing mirror, you are unlikely to have damaged it. Usually they just get folded back unless you hit it at speed which sounds unlikely.

cattypussclaw Mon 06-Oct-14 09:37:59

Do NOT give up! If you give up completely and lose confidence, you'll end up never driving again and it is SUCH a valuable life skill, especially in a rural area. But I know exactly how you feel!

I didn't pass until my mid-30s as just the idea of driving terrified me. I HATED every single lesson, to the point where I'd text my driving instructor and say I was sick and he'd turn up and bang on my door and say he knew I wasn't and get in the bloody car. I'm so glad he did.

When I did pass, I prevaricated and faffed about and did everything I could to avoid getting in the car and actually driving. Every delaying tactic in the book. The crunch came when I had to collect my stepchildren one day which meant a drive up round the M25 and up the M1. Just had to get on with it, no choice.

Honestly, it does get easier, stick with it, persevere and never say, "Oh, I can't drive there!". Just get in the car and take one thing at a time. The more you drive, the more your confidence will grow.

BeauticianNotMagician81 Mon 06-Oct-14 09:38:40

On my way back I did go into the school office to leave my details re the other car. I don't think I did damage their car the person was standing there at the time and I was at a stop so I presume they would have come over. I feel so bad. I've no idea what I'm supposed to do in those situations

BeauticianNotMagician81 Mon 06-Oct-14 09:50:24

Thank you everyone. That's the thing I always do I try to get out of driving all the time and then once I'm driving I'm usually fine.

mrsmilkymoo Mon 06-Oct-14 09:52:55

Don't make the mistake I did and give up. I drove infrequently and unwillingly for a few years, but it was enough to get to the supermarket, work etc, but then gave up when we moved overseas. Mad freeways in L.A.? No thanks! Back in the UK now, I've lost even my small amount of confidence and don't drive at all. I wish I did as it really limits what I can do, so I strongly recommend you keep with it.

stubbornstains Mon 06-Oct-14 09:55:30

I think you need to force yourself to drive more. I also think that you're very unlikely to have damaged that car. It took me a couple of years to get completely confident in every driving situation apart from motorways- I well remember The Fear! It took me about ten years to get confident on motorways, but then again I live about 80 miles away from the nearest one, so don't drive on them that often.

Birgitz Mon 06-Oct-14 09:59:53

I used to be exactly like you, but since my DC were born I've driven a lot (driving a necessity where we live) and I honesty don't give it a second thought anymore and enjoy being able to go wherever I need to get to without the stress of public transport. With more practice you will be the same!

SerenaJoy Mon 06-Oct-14 10:00:07

OP are you me? I could have written your post. Except instead of clipping a wing mirror I crashed into clipped a large truck and scraped the entire side of our car, causing approx £1000 worth of damage shock I was getting better until that happened, but now I'm a bag of nerves again and will avoid it if I can. Once I get going I'm fine, but I live in fear of making another mistake. I look forward to the day I can just hop in the car and pootle off without stressing. But I fear it may never happen sad

I sympathise, but agree with others that the key is to keep on keeping on! Chin up smile

TortoiseUpATreeAgain Mon 06-Oct-14 10:03:45

If you keep driving regularly then you will get over the nerves in time. Honestly!

NecklessMumster Mon 06-Oct-14 10:05:35

I can't really judge distances..I don't know how close you can get without hitting something! I need a car with sensors . I usually over compensate and do a million point turn. I would recommend refresher lessons with an understanding teacher

BeauticianNotMagician81 Mon 06-Oct-14 10:06:27

Serenajoy its probably no help to you but its nice to know I'm not alone.

It's pathetic I'm 33 years old. I wanted to drive all my life and now I'm scared. DH drives around the country on a regular basis and he doesn't understand my fear at all. I think that makes me worse as I need support. I guess for some of us it just doesn't come quite so naturally.

I remind myself that I passed my test second time so I can't be that bad. I think I'm just scared of situations. Like earlier i was petrified as I pulled into the nursery car park. If loads of cars had been in there when I came back out I probably would have sat in the car panicking about how on earth I would get out of the car park. I'm scared ill hit someone plus I'm embarrassed that someone is watching my crappy driving hmm

mrsmilkymoo Mon 06-Oct-14 10:07:46

Also, do you think refresher lessons might help? It's something I've considered. I have no time now with a 9 week old, but wish I had done something about it when I did.

stubbornstains Mon 06-Oct-14 10:16:20

I think in a crowded car park situation, you might want to steel yourself to ask someone "I'm sorry, I've just passed my test and I'm not too confident, could you guide me out please?"

I'm remembering all my new driver moments in Central London now. Shortly after passing my test I bought an enormous bile-green Volvo estate. Driving it back home I freaked out and came to a messy halt- in the middle of Apex Corner roundabout at rush hour, to the sound of a chorus of horns blush.

A couple of days later, I rear ended (gently) a Routemaster bus in heavy traffic. Shaking like a leaf, I dashed out and told the driver "I think I've collided with you...." He cast his eye over the (nonexistent) damage, shrugged, grunted and pulled off....grin

I could go on. And on.....

Noctambulist Mon 06-Oct-14 10:23:19

Hmm...I'm a bit conflicted about this.

I'm not sure I like the thought of nervous, panicky drivers on the roads.

It's a very responsible thing, to take control of a heavy, powerful machine like a car, and drive it well. If you can't judge the width of your vehicle, or reverse confidently, or gauge stopping distances, I really don't think you're safe. If you absolutely MUST drive, then refresher lessons until you are confident are essential, imho.

InkleWinkle Mon 06-Oct-14 10:24:40

I was like you, hardly ever drove then tried to do it & ended up with such a terrible phobia that I didn't drive for 10 years.

Will miss out a whole long winded saga but this year I had refresher lessons in an automatic & then we bought me a tiny little automatic but I have HAD to drive it (can't be paying for it to sit in the drive!) and I have HAD to make myself drive somewhere every day. Even times when DH is around & we would normally go in his car we have just gone in mine.

Result is that since June there are now (local) routes which I don't feel nervous about & longer ones which I'm still anxious about but know I can do them.

I think my advice is really really try to make yourself drive every day because its so easy to slip into never driving again.

TheWanderingUterus Mon 06-Oct-14 10:27:19

Can you get lots of practice at quiet times of day?
DH likes to be picked up from the station which means negotiating three hideous roundabouts at rush hour. If find if I do it once or twice when it's quiet then I don't struggle so much at rush hour. I am confident of the lane I need and can spare more attention to the traffic around me.
Also I do lots of driving down quieter roads, country roads etc, when I feel nervous, or plan trips during the day to places I have wanted to go to alone for years eg the beach etc.

I passed a year ago too and DH and I knew this might be a problem. He made me do all the normal driving except motorways when I was a learner and just before the test (the one I passed) he took me to London and talked me through the Rotherhithe Tunnel at rush hour. Once I did that with his help I felt so much more in control. The other thing I did was sign the kids up for clubs and activities that I could only drive to. Then I had to go or lose money.

Is a smaller car, or an automatic a possibility? If you live in NE Essex I can recommend the most fabulous driving instructor who will take you out in your own car for refresher lessons. She was brilliant for nervous drivers, so lovely.

InkleWinkle Mon 06-Oct-14 10:27:45

And my other advice is just do it all slowly - I have an instinct when I panic and try to speed up the manoeuvre but brake instead of accelerate!

Momagain1 Mon 06-Oct-14 10:28:40

i was fine in the town I learned to drive in, and in an automatic, then I moved, didnt drive for a year or two and became a very stressed driver when We finally bought a 2nd car. I had to learn how to drive a manual trans just to get it home, and then commute the next day on roads I was not completely familiar with. i ended up stalling out, going uphill in the pouring rain in evening traffic. Bless the man in the giant 4x4 behind me. He figured out I was struggling, and gave me space. I think ii even rolled back into him once but he just gave me a thumbs up in my mirror. People were coming around him blowing their horns, but he didnt pass me and basically protected me all the way up that hill, 3 or 4 stoplights worth. i got much better by the end!

That was so horrible that nothing else seemed as bad after.

BeauticianNotMagician81 Mon 06-Oct-14 10:30:22

TheWanderingUterus thank you but I live in South Leicestershire.

I need to get over it pretty quick even if it means more lessons as we are getting a bigger 7 seater soon. Although as strange as it sounds I think ill feel more confident in a bigger car especially if Ill be sitting higher up. smile

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