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desperate - need tips on learning to drive

12 replies

time4tea · 29/03/2008 22:45


I've tried putting threads in a couple of other areas, with no takers, then I thought, the folk on GH are really sensible....

At the grand old age of 36, I'm learning to drive. most of my friends did this aged 17 and I'm struggling as part of the reason I haven't driven until now is anxiety about driving. now with two DSs I need to do it if we are to get around for holidays etc (although I'm committed for ecology reasons to using public transport as much as possible, holidays with two small children are becoming really hard)

I;ve been having lessons for about 6 months - about 25 2hour lessons in all.

I still feel quite nervous at junctions etc and had a really disastrous mock test on Friday - really knocked the confidence I had. I just can't imagine actually getting to a stage in a car with my boys and driving off when I can feel relaxed and confident about it

I trust other MN-ers and would really appreciate tips from other later-in-life learners.

OP posts:
southeastastra · 29/03/2008 22:47

i passed my test at 32, i found having my own car to practise in a real advantage.

CatIsSleepy · 29/03/2008 22:55

agree with sea, practice in your own car as much as possible
I learned last year (aged 36)
took 9 months, probably well over 60 hours of lessons and lots of practice with dh in our car as well

padboz · 29/03/2008 23:01

I had shit loads of lessons - an insane number - because I didn't feel confident enough. You learn to drive after your test. Once you are driving places you want to go, on routes you are confident about that you do all the time amd you are happy to drive on you will gain the experience you need. Fail as many as it takes to pass and then go from there - you wont feel like a driver for a while. Book your test, see what happens, repeat til success.

LaComtesse · 29/03/2008 23:23

I passed at 21 but didn't buy a car til I was 25 at which point, I'd effectively forgotten how to drive - luckily a friend was pretty patient at getting me back on the roads again. Get someone to take you out to practice as often as possible in your own car or theirs if they'll let you and keep going. You've got maturity on your side which many 17/18 year olds do not have. Plus you'll be able to insure a better starter car than many a new teenager! Do the pass plus cours/motorway lessons as well since that'll give you more of an edge plus valuable discounts on your first lot of insurance.

Good luck

PortAndLemon · 29/03/2008 23:31

I learnt at 27-28. And on my first mock test I would have driven head-on into a tree if my instructor hadn't slammed on the brakes nd stopped with inches to spare . Then I burst into tears . I used to drive my instructor potty because he knew I could drive, I just couldn't do it in a pressure situation.

I think it took me about 80-100 hours of lessons over nearly a year befor I passed. I only had lesson time to learn in, though, because our insurance company at the time wouldn't insure me on our car.

In retrospect I benefited from having so many lessons because we got to cover so many situations -- so I had "how to drive through a flooded road", "how to drive in ice and snow" etc., etc., before I passed my test. This meant that when we did have to drive along a flooded road a couple of years later I had to tell DH (who'd been driving for well over a decade) what to do...

LaComtesse · 29/03/2008 23:36

My driving instructor even taught me how to fuel the car as part of my lessons - I sometimes wondered what she'd do if we got a flat tyre. I also take great delight in driving through width restrictions almost daily as I was in the car once when a woman flagged down my Dad to ask him to take her car through a width restriction once - which he did since her car was blocking it. Even at 13, I cringed at this.

themoon66 · 29/03/2008 23:39

We bought a beaten up old Escort and DH sat beside me as we drove every weekend to and around every town around here... Grimsby, Lincoln, Nottingham, Doncaster, Worksop, Scunthorpe etc. A different town each weekend. DH just drove on motorway bits.

I had an official lesson with instructor once a week so I could learn how to pass the actual test.

I passed first time.

MinkyBorage · 29/03/2008 23:41

I passed my test about 4 weeks ago, I'm 35, the last time I drove was when I was pg with dd1 about 2 1/2 years ago nd I failed a test. I went to stay with my parents for a week. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I had a 2 hour driving lesson with a brilliant instructor from the bsm, then went out with my Dad for about 3 hours later on. I drove around roundabouts again and again, literally roundabouts for 3 hours one day, then another day 3 hours getting on and off a 70 mph dual carriageway with slip roads, all v frightening, but on The Friday, I passed my test!!!!! I sobbed, I couldn't believe it!

My advice would be to book your test, then plan a week of driving, arranging childcare as much as poss, plus friends and family who will sit in with you driving for hours on end. I went out on my own with dc in the back on Friday. It was a huge step I never imagined taking, and it feels surreal saying this to you when on Thursday I didn;t feel at all confident, but it will be OK. You will not feel as nervous as you do now. You will become a confident driver. You will be fine. My enormous sympathies though, it is rubbish and terrifying, and passing your test is unimaginable....well, it was or me anyway. Best of luck.

MinkyBorage · 29/03/2008 23:44

also I was so so so nervous at junctions, right turns, roundabouts especially, it really is about practice, and I don't think you can get proper practice having a lesson a week, you need more practice. Night time driving is great in town centres, brilliant time to practice. If you're in Staffs, can recommend great instructor.

purpleduck · 30/03/2008 00:09

Hi Time4tea
I am 37, and currently taking lessons.
I am not a total newcomer - I used to drive in Canada BUT, I was never a good driver, very nervous, only drove an automatic, and there is sooo much more traffic here.
I was so scared that I never drove, my Canadian licence expired, and didn't drive for over 8 years.

In the meantime, I have trained to be a hypnotherapist. We always had to practice the techniques, and needed a small "problem" to work on. I often did my fear of driving.

2 years later, I finally decided to start driving. All the hypnotherapy in my training just "kicked in", I am REALLY enjoying it.

So, I would say give hypnotherapy a go. As a hypnotherapist, I would tell you that it is very good for anxiety and nerves. As someone who received hypnotherapy for this, I am so delighted with how its kicked in. I think it has made all the difference in the world.

Whatever you pay in therapy, you will probably get back in save lessons!

Sending you good luck vibes - u totally understand!!!

purpleduck · 30/03/2008 00:11

I understand

time4tea · 30/03/2008 09:15

thanks all, this is great. will think about hypnotherapy.. I've always been a bit of a physical coward (struggled with ski-ing etc and was a very nervous child) so I must say this is getting to freak me on a very deep level... so maybe something like hypnotherapy or specialist driving counselling is for me if I get really desperate

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