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How can I get DH to drive safer?

(22 Posts)
Naetha Thu 02-Aug-07 10:03:03

Hello all

Me and DH have been married for 3 years, together for 7 and 99% of the time get on really really well. We're expecting our first baby in December.

The only real thing we ever argue about is driving. Most of the time his driving is great, but there's a couple of things that annoy me, and frankly scare me sometimes. While this is just an annoyance most of the time, he recently started motorbiking (well we both did, but then I got pregnant...) and has now got a 600cc bike which is pretty powerful as bikes go. Its also a lot more manoeuvrable and he can usually zip past most of the traffic now. Since he started riding the bike, his car driving has got considerably worse, and the thought that he rides like this on a motorbike really scares me.

One is his disregard of speed limits - if he is driving on a road where the speed limit is 30 but he feels it should be 40, he will drive at 40. If the limit is 40 but he feels it should be 60, he will drive at 60. He will drive at 30-35 in built up urban areas, but if houses are set back from the road, and the road is a bit wider, he will just go by his own judgement.

He gets very frustrated by slower drivers, or any drivers that don't indicate, are erratic etc (which is understandable really). If I'm in the car he rants non-stop criticising every aspect of their driving. I guess he still does that if I'm not there, I just don't see it. Either way he gets very wound up about it. Before he rode his bike, he would rant but not to anything about it. Now he's used to zipping past people like this on his bike, when he's in the car he tailgates them, and tries to overtake them, even if they're only doing 35 in a 40 zone.

Those are my two main bugbears, however I have a real problem in communicating with him about this. If I bring it up while he's driving (and I like to think I do it constructively) he shouts at me not to have a go at him while he's driving. If I bring it up when we're at home, he just walks away from me and refuses to talk about it.

The other day we were both travelling back from the same place, him on the bike and me in the car, and he asked me to comment on his riding. Generally it was fine, but I commented on his disregard of speed limits and his desire to always overtake people if he can. I tried to point out the futility of this by the fact that we left at the same time, he drove his normal way, I drove my normal way (stay within speed limits, generally don't overtake unless excessively slow and its safe) we both drove the same route, and we arrived back home within 30 seconds of eachother. He accused me of having a massive go at him about his driving because I didn't have all positive things to say (I did have many positive things to say, and said them, he just focused on the negatives).

Now this morning we both went to work in the car with him driving. He was frustrated within 5 minutes of leaving the house because he was stuck behind someone driving at 40 on a 60 road and he couldn't overtake. I made a joke about it being frustrating and it was fine. Then 2 minutes later going too fast around a sharp bend he cut the corner and we came close to hitting another car on the bend. I winced and couldn't help but say "the white lines are there for a reason" and he just put his hand up to my face and said "don't have a go, I'm not in the mood". We then spent the rest of the journey in stony silence (he turned the music right up after that so we couldn't talk). Being pregnant and overly emotional at the moment, I couldn't help but cry silently. I turned away so he didn't see, but it was hard to avoid. What made me cry was the thought that if he'd done that on his bike, and been a couple of inches further over the line, the chances are he would have been dead, or at best in hospital.

The question is, how can I communicate with him? I've tried a couple of emails this morning, explaining why it scared me, and he accused me of starting fights, and all I ever wanted to do was argue because I wouldn't drop it. I tried to explain that I didn't want to drop it because we had a difference of opinion that I thought was important to resolve. He accused me of getting a kick out of it and trying to emotionally blackmail him with the crying. Where can I go from here? I feel like we've reached an impasse that I'm not prepared to drop as I believe his wellbeing and life is at risk, not to mention his driving licence.

Any ideas on where to go from here?

NotQuiteCockney Thu 02-Aug-07 10:07:46

I'd recommend counselling (Relate or similar), tbh. Not because this problem is that big, but just so you can get some tools to help you resolve these sorts of issues.

Criticism about driving is difficult ... I could understand if he just didn't want to hear it, but he asked for it, so .

BandofMothers Thu 02-Aug-07 10:10:11

Refuse pointblank to get in the car with him as you don't want to risk yours and the baby's life.

If he says you're having a go, say fine, but i'm still not getting in there with you.

It is easy to have an accident, and you have to bear in mind the other drivers on the road. What if the other person had not been driving carefully.

This is ridiculous bhvr.

BandofMothers Thu 02-Aug-07 10:12:46

DH got annoyed once when I was pg, and swerved the car, albeit inside our lane, but it frightened me as I wasn't expecting it. I hit the roof, he admitted it was wrong, hes never done it again.

It is unacceptable anyway, but with you being pg is even moreso.

littlelapin Thu 02-Aug-07 10:15:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HuwEdwards Thu 02-Aug-07 10:19:22

What about sending him on advanced driving course for his birthday? Maybe he would accept criticism from someone else?

Naetha Thu 02-Aug-07 10:30:57

I drive as well, and we both have fairly similar driving styles (we're both fairly assertive, and enjoy driving) but I will not exceed speed limits by a few mph, and if I'm in slow moving traffic where realistically I won't be able to overtake, I just sit back and relax. We'll get there eventually.

Usually his answer if I comment on his driving is "if you don't like my driving, we'll stop and you drive". Usually we take it in turns to drive, or like this morning I was still finishing my breakfast (peanut butter and jam sandwich ) so he drove.

The thing is, I don't want to get round the issue by emotional blackmail (I refuse to get in that car if you're driving etc) I just want him to see his driving from an outsider's viewpoint. The problem is, we're both technically very good drivers / motorbike riders. We only recently passed our motorbike tests and the instructor and examiners were both complimentary of our riding. I think this has "gone to his head" in a way and he thinks he's now immune from criticism. The thing is, most of the time he is a good driver, there's just the odd occasion where he tries to bend the rules or gets overly stressed by the traffic. Traffic really does stress him out, and he'll always prefer to drive on open roads for 3 times as long than sit in traffic for 5 minutes.

HappyDaddy Thu 02-Aug-07 10:50:37

Sounds like blackmail is the only thing that might work. Explain that he isn't driving just you and him, he's driving your baby. Does he want to kill you all?

If he can't grow up, buy him a bus pass.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 02-Aug-07 10:56:39

I would have a very discreet word with the people you both learnt to ride with. He may be able to ride a bike but he's not responsible enough currently to consider other road users. Bad habits can be nipped in the bud but this needs to be addressed now, not after he has a road accident.

Is your DH a "born again" biker?. Such men are more likely to have accidents than others. A 600cc bike is also a powerful bike as well. We knew a chap just like your husband, he does not ride his bike anymore as he is unable to following a serious road accident. He thought that road accidents happen to other people.

I would also send him on an advanced drivers course; if this is what he is like on a bike then I can imagine he is similar in a car too (he is tailgating drivers for a start which is a bid NO-NO).

I would also look into yourself doing such a course as well; you can lead by showing him an example saying that, "well I'm adult enough to see that my driving could do with some tweking, how about you?".

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 02-Aug-07 10:58:53

www.iam.org.uk is the website of the Institute of Advanced Motorists.

muppetgirl Thu 02-Aug-07 11:00:43

I learnt to ride a bike (did cbt rode 125 for a year while ex had CBR 600 which I rode pillian) when I was with my ex and loved it. Whilst your dh may be a good rider the one thing you are taught is that zipping about weaving in and out is not always a good thing as other drivers may not see you and aren't sure where you are/have gone. He was an excellent driver/ride as was taught by a police advanced driver (his dad was a policem and and he subsequently became one too)

Why don't you suggest a comprimise?
Your dh is obviously LOVING riding/driving but has let his skills go to his head. What about suggesting he books up for some advanced driving lessons with a view to taking the test? You could broach it as a good thing because you get lower insurance, not many people have it, it is an idication of a 'better' driver. This should appeal to his competetive nature.

I believe that advanced driving is good as it makes you very aware of what others are doing on the road (defensive driving?) whilst giving you greater skills.

If you come at him with a comprimise then maybe that would be better as he just sees you have a bit of a 'thing' about his driving?

muppetgirl Thu 02-Aug-07 11:01:31

x post with atilla

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 02-Aug-07 11:02:34

Something else he needs to consider:-

If he's doing 60 in a 40 zone and gets caught the chances are he will be making a trip to the Magistrates court. He may face a 12 month driving ban not just to say points on his licence and a fine.

muppetgirl Thu 02-Aug-07 11:05:35

btw did your dh do an intensive course to take his bike test?

These aren't such a good idea as if it is done over a week, you start mon and by fri/sat you can ride a very powerful bike without having any experience. My brother did this and bought a suzuki bandit (1100?) and had to phone my ex to ask how he could pull away from traffic lights without pulling wheelies!!!!!!!!

We told him that whilst he could pass the test he had no experience in how to deal with the different riding conditions on such a powerful bike.

He rode for a while but soon realised he would end up having an accident and has never riden since.

Naetha Thu 02-Aug-07 11:50:09

We did our CBTs in March, bought a 125 which we both rode, then did the DAS in June. He'd ridden about 1200 miles on the 125 before his test, and he's ridden about 450 miles since (on the bigger bike).

I've just exchanged a couple more emails with him, thankfully on more of a civil note, and he does point out that I really get overwrought about many daft things (diet, the cats not coming when called, etc etc)

I know he's a good driver/rider, the stress just gets to him, and I know this gets worse when I do mention it.

I'm hopefully going to meet him for lunch so we can try and have a decent talk about this without getting wound up. Here's hoping anyway ;)

muppetgirl Thu 02-Aug-07 11:51:47

Why not print off some info about the advanced driving you could then discuss it over lunch... further training is never a bad thing

crokky Thu 02-Aug-07 12:09:12

Does he ever give a thought for the drivers that he is tailgating? New drivers, pregnant drivers, people with kids in the car, elderly etc etc?

Tailgating is very frightening and he should be throughly ashamed of himself for doing this to innocent people.

EscapeFrom Thu 02-Aug-07 12:16:40

I have a motorbike, and have ridden one for 10 years. Your Husband is going through what i see a lot of men go through when they get a bigger bike, and that is cockiness.

Riding a bike is not like driving a car. If you skid a car at 40 mile per hour, you might leave the road, you might hit a tree, the seatbelt with probably save your life, you with probably have a whiplash.

You skid a bike at 40 miles an hour, you will leave the road, you will leave the bike, you will his the concrete WITH YOUR BODY at 40 miles an hour. You might survive - if you have the right kit on. You WILL be very injured.

Sounds like your husband has forgotten to respect the tarmac. Tarmac is hard.

Refusing to get in the car with him isn't emotional blackmail. Emotional blackmail is when you are laying on a guilt trip to make someone feel bad. What you are experiencing is fear for your child, and believe me if you think you are scared by his driving now, you wait until that tiny fragile life is sitting in the back! There is no fear like it. Try to sort this out now, so you don't have to sort it out after the baby is born.

MrsBiscuit Thu 02-Aug-07 13:01:32

Has your dh done any track days on his motorbike? They can whizz round at their heart's content and get it out of their system when they return to road driving. It works for my dh....

DaddyJ Thu 02-Aug-07 13:16:06

Excellent post, EscapeFrom.

Whether on a bike or on a car
a good driver is a driver
who is in full control
of himself and the machine.

Naetha, for the sake of all 3 of you
and of other road users I hope you
succeed in getting the message across to him.

Naetha Thu 02-Aug-07 13:26:55

Thanks for all of your great replies, the advice is really appreciated!

When we spoke about it over lunch he was a lot more sheepish about it, both driving daft this morning, and having a go at me. He gets very stressed when he thinks he's late and admits he drives worse when he's like this. We've agreed that I'll try not to worry about things, and he'll try not to get stressed while driving.

As for the riding thing, I think a lot of it is cockiness, but I know he does make a real effort to be safer when he's riding rather than driving - I know I do the same. I mentioned doing an advanced riding course and he seemed positive, I might go along (as it were) with him and do an advanced driving course as well, as I know my driving isn't as good as it could be.

As for the track day - I was going to give it to him as a birthday present next year, I know they do track days for beginners and such like and I think he'd really enjoy it and get a lot out of it.

Apologies for being a bit overwrought this morning, its partly good honest worrying, but also a lot to do with hormones!

MrsBiscuit Fri 03-Aug-07 08:59:01

Give him the track day - they learn how fast they can go and what happens when they can't control it (normally by falling off) but in a much safer environment than on the road.

dh has been doing them regularly for the past couple of years and I'd say he's fairly sensible on the road as he appreciates the power of his bike a bit more.

Oh dear, I sound a bit preachy , but I do recommend it.

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