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Learning to drive driving you mad?

(1000 Posts)
ShowOfHands Sun 27-Jun-10 07:33:55

So here it is, a learning to drive thread.

I think there are a few of us. I predict much swearing. Is it only me that goes one step forwards, only to go 8 steps backwards?

I'm SOH, have been learning for the grand total of a fortnight. DH is teaching me. My aim is to be driving by the end of September when dd is supposed to start nursery and they change the driving test again.

I live rurally (very rurally) and rely on dh for lifts everywhere. Even a supermarket trip is reliant upon him being home from work. And as he's a police officer, he's never home on time, works long hours and as a consequence, we're fairly isolated.

I am trying to focus on the new lease of life for us.

I don't have a provisional licence yet (still waiting for it) but live on private land with tracks of about 3 miles so am driving round a farm atm.

I'll kick off the swearing so there's no illusion of standing on ceremony. How the buggery feck do you look in 3 mirrors, one windscreen, at the speedometer and not cry all at the same time? Answers on a postcard.

PlasticCenturion Mon 28-Jun-10 16:40:23

Does your mind ever go completely blank?

Today I was driving along (in 3rd which is my maximum, I'm pathetic really) and chatting to dh and dd, changing gears, watching out for potholes (live on a farm), feeling fine, dh says 'okay we're coming up to a right hand turn, start preparing for it now'. And nothing. The word right meant nothing. I was barely aware of what a car was at that point. I had no idea what gear I was in, how I'd got there, what to do next, it was like I'd teleported into the car mid daydream.

Did you know that your instructor/person who taught you can go out on your test with you in the back of the car? Is that a good or bad thing? I can't decide.

PlasticCenturion Mon 28-Jun-10 16:43:11

Tuesday? Oh that's ages away. <lies> Do you feel confident?

I'm a little worried that we have no dual controls in our car and if it goes wrong, it's all down to me. I think I might go out at night at first. Except I've no clue where the lights are, probably end up with the hazards on and the wipers swishing.

MeddlesomeRatbag Mon 28-Jun-10 16:47:16

Yes PC. That happened to me again today too! I was bowling along at 40 (yikes) and we have to slow right down to 30 for the speed camera and then 20 for the filter lane onto the practice road. When he said 'foot off gas, cover brake and clutch' I was wondering WTF is Gas? What does he mean COVER clutch - What? -its like you enter a 'zone' when your going along nicely, and are concentrating hard on doing it right and being safe.

TurkeyBoots - WOW! Next Tuesday! Good luck! I don't think 68 lessons it bad going. I read somewhere that the average is something like 50. I am sure you will be fine!

MeddlesomeRatbag Mon 28-Jun-10 16:48:45

Gonna go and do DH and DD some tea. Will join you all later. I love this thread! You lot are brilliant.

turkeyboots Mon 28-Jun-10 16:56:25

Oh I'm trying really hard not to think about it at all. Worst thing is that get no oppertunity to practice most days as DH takes DC to nursery every morning and then goes on to work. And brings them home not long before bedtime.

But overall feel okay about the test I think. Not scared of driving thankfully, just have never been interested in it. Worried about the manoveres though. I can do them, just not well.

turkeyboots Mon 28-Jun-10 16:58:43

PC - 9am on a Sunday morning is usually nice and quiet!

AmazingBouncingFerret Mon 28-Jun-10 17:02:30

Good luck on the test turkeyboots.

My next lesson is Friday. I also have those mental blocks, instructor will say "we are going to turn right, now" and I will have heard her but not absorbed what she said!

I have a problem with speed. blush I go too fast. Because my instructor took me out on the A roads so I could learn to control the car I seem to be more at home chugging along at 50/60, yet slow town traffic drives me mad!

Gauchita Mon 28-Jun-10 17:09:48

Hi all!

Nice group we're forming now smile

Re blanks, yes! My word, what happens to a person's brain when you're driving??! Today DH said "ok, at the lights, we're turning left" and I signalled and bore RIGHT! He then said "left, Gauchita, left" and I almost panicked, looked at the mirrors, signalled left, asked DH to apologise to the poor driver behind me <sigh>

Re. sweating, glad to hear I'm not alone there grin

Re. roundabouts, I sweat even more every time I have to face one. I do hope they scare me less with time.

Re. speed, I remember panicking at the idea of going above 30, now I can do 40 quite comfortably but when my instructor or DH ask me to go to 50 (because that's the speed) I start shaking! Oh, and I don't know how to go to fifth gear without looking at the gear stick <thick>

Amazingferret, I think it's now three of us lining up for an August test. I'm dreading it atm.

turkeyboots Mon 28-Jun-10 17:10:09

Glad its not just me with the mental blocks. Went round a roundabout twice this morning as totally forgot where I was supposed to be going blush

PlasticCenturion Mon 28-Jun-10 17:17:48

I think they say something like 48 hours of lessons and 20hrs of private practice so 68 is about right isn't it?

I just don't want to learn. I don't want to be so crap at it and to have to have a mini-breakdown every lesson. I don't like panicking and assuming I'm 3 seconds from death the whole time. I don't like adrenalin. I don't jump out of things or climb things or run fast. I am happy with a cup of tea and a good book. If somebody could just flick a switch in me so that it makes sense that'd be just dandy.

And I would never do a 3 point turn. I'm never going to need to turn round that badly. I'd wait and turn in a junction. I'm fairly sure I'll avoid parallel parking at all costs too. I don't want to learn it. Test me on talking to dd and retrieving her apple from the floor whilst driving. At least that would be of some use to me in the future.

And all the theory. Gawd, I just don't care.

TejasGal Mon 28-Jun-10 17:42:26

Hello, I'd like to join. I'm Tejas, I'm 29 and I'm taking my practical test in 2 and a bit weeks. In fact, I've got a lesson in 20 minutes...

I'm having a hard time because I've been driving for 14 years and have built up some very bad habits. (One hand on the steering wheel to parallel park - eek!) My American license is not valid here, so having to get a British one. My worst nightmare is that I'm going to get an examiner who hates Yanks (even though I'm nice! I swear!).

I'm doing automatic. I can't be bothered with all those gears in central London - scary enough trying to dodge all the pedestrians! And if anyone is in the North London area and looking for a private instructor, I can highly recommend mine, he is lovely. (And I think he does manual too - will ask him if anyone wants me to.)

Oh, and I'm 6 weeks pregnant and worried that I'm going to vomit during my test. Or have to pee. wink

AmazingBouncingFerret Mon 28-Jun-10 17:44:17

You know what the thought of failing hadnt even occured to me...


Im going to fail. Im too hot-headed. I despair over slow walkers at pedestrian crossings.
Im far too busy being nosy and looking at what's happening around me, rather than driving.


Im gonna be a white van man!!!!


PlasticCenturion Mon 28-Jun-10 17:58:25

Congratulations on the pregnancy Tejas!

I assume I'll fail. I'm a natural optimist, but this I'm never going to get.

This site was recommended to me on another thread and it's very helpful indeed. Just don't do what I did earlier and read the 'what counts as a serious error' bit. It may as well have been a video of me driving.

Driving in London would be a nightmare. I am quite happy in Norfolk (no motorways in the county, most A roads are single carriageway). I have said if I pass by Christmas I'm coming to the MN meetup and staying in a hotel with another lovely MNer.

Gauchita Mon 28-Jun-10 18:12:51

Tejas, I was sooo tempted to go automatic! Congratulations on your pregnancy smile Everything crossed here for you for your test. I can't imagine driving in a busy city like London, I'd be worried about running someone over and buses scare the hell out of me. DH also had to get a British license here as his international one expired. He was also worried about all the bad habits he had picked over the course of 10 years, it was funny to see him driving "the way you should", two hands on the wheel, etc.

PC, I'm so scared of failing the test, not because of the test itself but the feeling, the subsequent anxiety and the dread of failing again. Argh! Thanks for the link smile

blackflyinyourchardonnay Mon 28-Jun-10 18:22:26

Yay! Great thread!

I'm 28, and want to pass by now september.

So excited about being able to take my children to farm parks (4 buses there at back at the moment- not a cheap day out!) and taking my daughter to school when it's pouring with rain!

I've just switched to automatics, didn't like manual at all.

So panicy about stalling,I froze in the middle of a crossroad a few weeks ago,I just couldn't move. My instructor said "please accelerate, this is very dangerous and I can't do it from here!" There was a van heading straight for us. blush I wouldn't have stalled anyway, wasn't using clutch- it was just a mental block after doing it a few times before- including outside X MILs house! (typical!)

Loving automatic though! Such a relief, I'm actually enjoying myself now, and looking forward to my lessons!

PlasticCenturion my mind goes blank too, I'm unable to remember my left and right. Biro L and R on my thumbs now, look a fool but, it seems to work wink

SugarMousePink Mon 28-Jun-10 20:52:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Gauchita Mon 28-Jun-10 20:58:36

Sugar, yes! It's scary <sweats> As I mentioned before, I don't even know how to go to fifth gear without having to look at the gear stick grin

I'll book my test this weekend <frets>

I have a lesson tomorrow at 8.30am, now that is relaxing, NOT!

PlasticCenturion Mon 28-Jun-10 20:59:39

Ooh Friday 13th. grin I used to deliberately sit in seat no 13 for uni exams as everybody avoided it through superstition. I think it's a great number and actually in some cultures considered v lucky.

I like 3rd, people don't spend enough time with third gear.

What is this 50-60 of which you speak? Nooo. I shan't do it, you can't make me.

Automatic sounds lovely but we have a manual and can't afford a change of car. Manual it has to be.

SugarMousePink Mon 28-Jun-10 21:53:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Gauchita Mon 28-Jun-10 22:01:58

Sugar, I think taking the test early in the morning is a good idea, no crazy stressed out drivers on the road, no over-tired examiners smile I hadn't thought of school holidays, but you're right, no school traffic either!

Odd how we can go from 2nd to 3rd without having to look but not from 4th to 5th, which is the same "hand motion". I want to think it's because I haven't gone into 5th too often yet grin

AmazingBouncingFerret Tue 29-Jun-10 08:10:08

Friday 13th is a great date. I was born on Friday 13th! To make matters worse it was in the year 1984! George Orwell has nothing on me!!

Im ok with 4th to 5th, it's going from 2nd to 3rd that gets me. I sometimes get 4th sometimes get 1st. I blame the car. grin

2boysandbean Tue 29-Jun-10 08:16:31

I dont have too use 5th at all in northern ireland learners and for the first year you pass your test you are restricted too 45mph so I only have too go up too 4th :D

AmazingBouncingFerret Tue 29-Jun-10 09:33:33

Wow you are restricted? You'll be sick of that a few weeks into being newly passed! wink

BigWeeHag Tue 29-Jun-10 16:12:32

In NI too, looking forward to a year of sedate driving! :D

Northernlurker Tue 29-Jun-10 16:30:41

I'm Northernlurker, 33 and learning for the first time. I've been having lessons for two years but only an hour a week and fitting in around childcare etc etc so probably about 50 lessons altogether. I have driven our huge scary car only once (went ok) and am working up to trying that on a regular basis.
I like 3rd too though am getting to grips with 4th and 5th.
I can reverse round corners after much, much angst - my brain just doesn't translate angles and actions very well. This is making bay parking rather a trial!
I know my confidence is much better though - I can approach a junction, see a gap and go for it - it's a nice feeling. I refuse to think about test dates yet though.......

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