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Got stuck on a hill and had a panic attack

(32 Posts)
elenaferrantelover Fri 19-May-17 17:43:10

Sorry for the melodramatic title. I passed my driving test very recently ("just" according to the examiner) and haven't had a chance to get out much on my own. I've just started a job however which requires frequent driving (i'm a planning officer and have to do site visits), and so got a hire car today and went out. I have just got home and truly look and feel like I have just given birth, my hair is sticking to my head and I have a tremor, difficulty breathing. Basically when I was out I got stuck on a hill start and missed about three green filter arrows, just kept rolling further back down the hill with every attempt. There was a massive queue of traffic behind me beeping and I started feeling like I was going to full on pass out, what to do in this situation? I finally bumped the car behind me, the woman in it got out and looked very angry but saw that I was close to tears and so offered to drive the car up the hill for me. Thank god, but how embarrassing, I was literally mortified and felt faint like I couldn't speak. Has this happened to anyone else, does anyone else have a fear of driving and how the hell does one overcome it? I feel like a threat on the roads right now.

SureIusedtobetaller Fri 19-May-17 17:46:06

I have had the same thing and used to avoid hills where I knew I might have to stop. You need a car with hill start assist- makes all the difference.

Chaby Fri 19-May-17 17:48:06

Oh bless you,I had similar when I first started driving. You just have to stop everything, ignore everyone, take a deep breath and start again. It's horrible but you just have to keep practising. In terms of the hill start just sounds like you were releasing the handbreak too early?

putthesneckon Fri 19-May-17 17:48:36

when did you pass your test? it sounds like you need a refresher lesson in your own car

paap1975 Fri 19-May-17 17:49:23

Poor you. Most of us manage to embarass ourselves at some point. Get a friend to help you practice somewhere quiet

thethoughtfox Fri 19-May-17 17:49:23

I am also a scaredy cat driver so I feel your pain. My dh had to offer to help a girl who had just passed her test and driven the wrong way down a one way hilly street in our neighbour, met several on-coming cars and couldn't work out how to get it in reverse. You survived and have earned some wine wine

thethoughtfox Fri 19-May-17 17:50:17


chocatoo Fri 19-May-17 17:50:48

same thing happened to me not long after passed test. Don't worry about it. Get an experienced driver to come out to practice with you. Good luck.

Wecks Fri 19-May-17 17:51:43

Poor you, I've been driving for 40 years and I hate hill starts. Partly because I live in the flattest part of the UK and don't come across them too often. Just had a weekend in North Yorkshire and some of the hills shock.
The best thing I found is a car with automatic handbrake. Once the handbrake is on the car releases it automatically when you start to move. Sureluse's hill start assist sounds even better.

The instructor who taught my DC also does "lessons" for nervous drivers. Could you find a reputable local instructor and ask them to coach you on the aspects that worry?

moutonfou Fri 19-May-17 17:52:05

Straight after I passed my test, I tried to go all the way round a mini roundabout, didn't have the turning circle for it, and crashed into it. Around the same time also got aggressively stopped by a woman (overtook me then stopped in the road) for not having my lights on.

My solution was to have a crisis of confidence and just not drive at all for the next 4 yrs which I wouldn't recommend!

If you don't feel confident yet, is there anybody you can go out with to practise? Or could you get some extra driving lessons and ask to practice situations you find difficult like hill starts?

Don't give up - so many people have these incidents when they first pass. You just need more practice and road time smile

NemosKnickers Fri 19-May-17 17:53:34

There's two things here: driving ability and dealing with panic.

So, to deal with the driving issue could you book an extra lesson to focus on this? Or do you have someone who could take you out while you practice somewhere? it really does come with practice - I know because I'm a shit driver with anxiety smile

I agree that you have to ignore everyone beeping and breathe looooong and sloooooooow to prevent the panic taking over. Don't forget that most of those drivers have struggled with hill starts at some point in their lives!

TheFlyingFauxPas Fri 19-May-17 17:53:36

Nonsense if you get a car with that sort of assist you'll never crack it. You've passed your test. Now the learning really starts. Do you put a P on your car. Some people may be more patient or hang back from you a bit.
Practice practice practice. Get your confidence up. Do you have someone who will come with you? A nice patient not a man driver? Don't worry if not. Go somewhere quiet and practice that hill start in your own time. You'll be fine. smile The handbrake is your friend.

Nickynackynoodle Fri 19-May-17 17:54:50

Don't avoid it by getting a different car, you could ask a friend or maybe book another lesson. Or go somewhere quiet and off road to practise? Don't take the easy option though or you're only delaying the problem

NemosKnickers Fri 19-May-17 17:54:59

Oh, and whatever you do, don't avoid hills - it only makes it worse as it builds it up in your mind. You need to prove to your brain that you can do this and that it is not a dangerous situation that requires a panic attack.

You can do it!

eurochick Fri 19-May-17 17:55:11

Deep breaths. Can you go to a quiet road with a hill and practise?

SoupDragon Fri 19-May-17 17:55:37

Practise lots!

I wouldn't try to avoid having to do hill starts as I think this is counter productive. If you don't do them' you won't learn. When you have your own car that you drive all the time you will learn where the "bite point" is and it will become easier.

echinaceadootmanut Fri 19-May-17 17:55:41

go out and practice. Take a patient friend with you. Sunday mornings are ideal. Go find some hills in the countryside and practice, practice! You can do it!

WowOoo Fri 19-May-17 17:56:14

Go out on a hill/ steep slope when the traffic is very quiet and practice - that's all you can do really to build your confidence and skills. Can you hire a car for a week?

I can remember getting up at 6 ish on a Saturday - extreme but I didn't want to inconvenience too many people. Had the streets to myself!! It was ace.

TheFlyingFauxPas Fri 19-May-17 17:59:09

And yes - don't worry about other drivers on the road. as long as you're clear on what you're up to. They'll wait. My mum's been driving for nearly 40 years and I feel perfectly safe with her. She has more confidence than I have on the roads. But so often when she's needing to do a special move she starts fretting about everyone else. I say. Don't worry. You're ok. They can see what you're doing. All is ok!!

Wecks Fri 19-May-17 18:00:31

I recall when DS was learning to drive we went to a hill on a very quiet road and I made him stop start over and over again.

EduCated Fri 19-May-17 18:03:21

Agree that practice is the key! Also, absolutely no reason not to book a lesson to refresh key bits if you think that would help.

donajimena Fri 19-May-17 18:03:28

Beta blockers might help until you gain confidence. I take them if I go on unfamiliar routes as I can get a bit panicky despite driving for 17 years. Not good in charge of a ton of metal.

heyduggeeallday Fri 19-May-17 18:10:58

I drive automatics only for this very reason!!

elenaferrantelover Fri 19-May-17 18:13:27

Thanks so much everyone, it's helped me knowing that I'm not like the only person to experience this sort of thing. I definitely need to just practice more and go out when it's quieter, getting P plates is also a good shout!

user1473069303 Sun 21-May-17 15:24:23

It happened to me while practising. Stalled five times and in the end had to let my DH take over. So embarrassing and also a massive blow to the ego as I was just starting to feel positive about my driving and that things were finally starting to fall into place. My driving instructor gave me the following tip (I hope I've remembered it correctly!!!): footbrake on, lift clutch pedal slowly until you see the bonnet move, then foot off the brake and accelerate whilst slowly lifting the clutch up. I think it's that - I haven't had the opportunity to practise it by myself in my own car yet!

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