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Losing confidence in driving

(94 Posts)
NanKate Tue 29-Dec-15 08:00:10

When I was working I drove everywhere without a thought, but since retirement I drive less and less and never on motorways now.

DH has been encouraging me to increase my driving. He worries that if he is taken ill, then we would be in difficulty.

He is right but I feel I need a refresher course in driving first.

Anyone got an ideas ?

Indinana Tue 29-Dec-15 08:27:10

It is so easy for this to happen - I too used to drive everywhere when I was working without thinking about it. Now I find I'm more than happy to let DH take the wheel when we go out. I do still drive regularly on my own, but mostly short distances, just down to Sainsbury or round to my DC's houses.
Do contact a driving school and ask about refresher courses. There is no shame in admitting you need a bit of outside help to get you back in the driving seat more regularly. I have a friend who did just that and she is now much more confident and readily takes the car out to go shopping or visiting friends on her own, something which she'd almost stopped doing altogether.

shysal Tue 29-Dec-15 08:34:59

A refresher course sounds like a good idea. If you don't drive an automatic, I can recommend it. No chance of stalling or being stuck in the wrong gear at a difficult moment. I live alone, so have to drive, but don't enjoy it one bit. There are so many idiots on the roads these days, you have to expect then to do dangerous things. What I do avoid if at all possible is driving in the dark, finding the reflections and bright lights difficult. Night driving spectacles help to a certain extent, but I still hate it.
I agree with your DH that you must keep it up. A friend's husband has early dementia, and she lets him drive in preference to doing it herself. She insists he is safe, but would get lost on his own. It scares me!

ninathenana Tue 29-Dec-15 09:14:23

DH is a non driver so it's fortunate I still enjoy driving most of the time.
One of my instructors mantras that I learnt 30 yrs ago was "Treat everyone else on the road as an idiot" that's the way I've always thought when driving. I'm not saying they are, just that if you think they might do something stupid your prepared if they do.
I do worry sometimes about my route if I'm driving somewhere new.

Bellanonna Tue 29-Dec-15 09:17:05

I do all the driving now and quite enjoy it. Im ok once I'm actually on the motorway but I'm happy to stay on the inside lane unless something ahead is quite slow. As has been said, I don't like driving at night. It's to do with the dazzle plus the fact my brain takes longer to process what the road ahead looks like when it's dark, whether there is a bend in the road, etc, so I tend to keep my eyes fixed on the white line in the middle. Because of this I avoid night driving. Nowadays I rarely need to anyway. I do find, too, that people overtake me more. A quick check shows I may be doing just over the speed limit, but it still happens. People get annoyed if I'm 'only' doing 32 in an urban area, where there are no speed cameras. I don't dither and I would never drive below the limit, so that annoys me a bit. It only happens in areas I'm not used to. Locally I just go with the flow.
NK yes, I would take a refresher. No shame at all. Why should there be? It shows you to be a responsible driver and you will probably enjoy it.

merlotgran Tue 29-Dec-15 09:37:52

I've had to do all the driving for six years now. I would rather be in control and make my own decisions than have DH ranting at all the idiots on the road - everyone's an idiot except him of course wink

I would also recommend a course NK and do as much motorway driving as you can. It's a skill you won't want to lose if you're planning on being the main driver in the future. So long as the traffic is not crawling like it was when we spent two hours on the M25 last Sunday, I prefer motorway driving to being stuck behind lorries on a B road.

The fast lane of a motorway is actually a safe place to be once you are confident with the speed. You're just following the car in front at a relative speed whilst keeping an eye on the traffic on your left.

I would also recommend an automatic. Might as well enjoy the drive while your at it.

Anya Tue 29-Dec-15 09:49:50

Bellanonna I wish more people were happy to stay in the inside lane, unless overtaking. Too many think it's OK to cruise down the centre lane of a motorway forcing people into the outside lane to overtake or even into the inside lane to 'undertake'.

So glad it's now officially a motoring offence to do this.

Ana Tue 29-Dec-15 09:54:10

I'm fine once I'm on the motorway, it's the actual getting on that worries me. I once had to stop completely at the end of the slip road as there was so much traffic and I really panicked!

Teetime Tue 29-Dec-15 10:09:21

I think its use it or lose it with driving once we retire from work and don't need to be driving so much. I'm guilty of letting DH do the driving when we go anywhere together. I potter around in my round about (Mildred) and she is very easy to drive but DH has just got a new car with of all things an automatic handbrake which terrifies me so I really am going to have to get out and practice - when the schools and colleges have gone back after the break I think. Good Luck with the refresher session sounds like a good idea. Although an Advanced Driving Course sounds scary I'm told its not and does give you lots of confidence. DH did one with an initiative put on by Essex Police - don't know if there are any such schemes about now.

ninathenana Tue 29-Dec-15 10:13:50

Stopping on the slip road to join the M25 from M11 is quiet a common occurrence.
merlot the highway code says there is no "fast lane" on a motorway, it's an overtaking lane tchsmile

Anniebach Tue 29-Dec-15 10:25:30

Do all you can to keep driving NanKate, I stopped a few years ago because I couldn't afford a car. Now I have lost all confidence and I use to love driving

OlderNoWiser Tue 29-Dec-15 10:32:11

Maybe you should get yourself a really nice new car, something you can totally fall in love with and want to drive more?

I have always loved powerful cars and drive a Z4M now as much and as often as I can get away with, anywhere, everywhere, often just for the love of driving. It is something I hope I will never lose, as it gives you so much freedom and independence. I'd hate to be stuck, having to beg lifts or wait for buses and trains to go somewhere.

Nana3 Tue 29-Dec-15 10:36:08

I also recommend an automatic, would never go back to a manual now.
I totally understand the lack of confidence, busy cities are the worst for me if I am not familiar with them. I have started using the bus and train more too.
I am more confident on my own in the car with no passengers, especially DH watching every move.
Love taking the DGC though as they say I'm the best driver wink they're right of course.

Maranta Tue 29-Dec-15 10:38:53

I am the same as Ana, I hate joining dual carriageways from a slip road. There are some very short ones near here and I avoid them if I can. I feel such a fool if I have to stop. Anyone who drives on the M25 has my admiration too. My husband used to do most of the driving and now I am on my own I'm not keen on going places I don't know. I'm braver if I have a passenger though!

Granarchist Tue 29-Dec-15 10:41:24

I had a blip a few years ago about roundabouts - (turned out I was doing the right thing it was the other nitwits that got it wrong) so I booked a lesson with a local instructor. He assumed I had lost my licence and had to retake my test! Once he had got over the surprise of me just wanting to brush up my skills he was great and it was fun. His criticism was only that I did not use my inside wing mirror when leaving a roundabout or turning left - I had to remind him that when I took my test the cars only had wing mirrors on the driver's side!! My problem was that I felt he wanted me to drive too fast on a small rural road. I explained I knew this road and there were often people walking dogs and riding horses on it and going more than 30 was very dangerous. (I used to teach and examine Riding and Road Safety tests). He was delightful and it really helped. His other tip was to buy a new copy of the Highway Code regularly as things do change.

Anniebach Tue 29-Dec-15 11:01:28

I feel the urge to visit local garages smile

Luckygirl Tue 29-Dec-15 11:04:52

I am so with you all on the problem of getting onto motorways - I find it a complete nightmare. My wing mirror seems to distort so that traffic appears further away through it than through the rear-view mirror. Add in very short sight plus marked astigmatism and varifocal lenses and the potential for distortion in that situation is huge. Looking over my shoulder means that I am looking through the distorted side edge of the varifocals.

I have tried driving glasses (distance only) but of course I then cannot read the instruments on the dashboard!

Night driving is a nightmare! We all gradually lose the ability of our pupils to adapt to bright light, then return to deal with ordinary light. I do not know anyone of our age who is not struggling with night driving, and the optician has said that there is nothing to be done as I have such high astigmatism to add in to the mix.

I do most of the driving - OH has PD - but I tend not to use motorways and to make sure that I drive only during the day when on routes I do not know. I am happy pottering round the lanes here day or night, but cannot claim to enjoy it!

Luckygirl Tue 29-Dec-15 11:05:45

By the way it might be worth contacting the Advanced Drivers' Association - I believe they run suitable courses.

tanith Tue 29-Dec-15 11:22:33

I love driving as many of you do, must admit I'd let OH do most of the driving but that was just laziness, now he's back driving his own car after being ill mine just needs to be used more, I do lots of motorway driving a lot of it on the M25 or M1 the trick with getting onto the motorways is to match the speed of the cars already on it and then you find you can just slip into the flow, the worst thing you can do is slow down it confuses everyone .
I think the refresher course is an excellent idea to rebuild confidence.

Luckygirl Tue 29-Dec-15 11:33:02

But what if you match your speed and there is no gap before the slip road runs out? I am not prepared to assume that someone will move out or slow down to let me in - as someone has already pointed out, all the other road users are idiots!

My OH used to nag at me to keep my speed going on the main motorway even if someone needed to get in from a slip road. You can't have it both ways! - either people on the main motorway slow down or change lane to let you in, or you on the slip road have to slow down or stop if there is no gap! I would rather be the one taking the decision to slow down in preference to relying on an idiot on the main carriageway making a space. At least I know I will do it!

Ana Tue 29-Dec-15 11:35:37

Exactly what I was thinking, Luckygirl! I do keep up to the speed of the motorway traffic when approaching on the slip road, but if no one will/can let me in there's no alternative but to grind to a halt...

TwiceAsNice Tue 29-Dec-15 11:46:03

I do quite a lot of driving a mixture of A roads and duel carriageway to get to work everyday and I drive a long journey once or twice a month on the M4 and M25 to get to my daughters house. I never thought I would have the confidence to drive on the M25 but after I divorced ( ex husband used to drive it before) I had to do it or not see the children/grandchildren much. It's surprising what you will make yourself do when you have to. Doing much more driving because there isn't anyone else to share it means I am a much more confident driver than I used to be. I'm very relaxed locally I do always use my sat nav on motorways as I'm afraid if I have to get off because a junction has closed I won't be able to find my way but on the whole I enjoy driving. I'll never love the M25 it is a horrible motorway but needs must. I do think a driving school refresher is a good idea and do hope you get your confidence back NanKate

Indinana Tue 29-Dec-15 12:31:14

I hate the M25. I've used it loads when visiting my family in Essex. The thing with the M25 is that no-one uses any of the lanes as an overtaking lane. Or perhaps the reverse is true: that everyone uses every lane as an overtaking lane. All motorway rules seem to have flown out of the window as far as the M25 is concerned. All lanes move more or less at the same speed, or don't move at all, and traffic lane-hops continuously in a pointless dance, trying to get ahead of the car in front. For no apparent reason the traffic will start to move when it's been at a standstill, so up comes the clutch, down goes the accelerator and then, with no warning, it stops again. Quick, brake!!
The level of concentration required to keep up with this gives my brain the sort of workout I could do without these days tchgrin

Luckygirl Tue 29-Dec-15 12:45:52

I have just lost my post which quoted chunks of the Highway Code and I can't be @sed to find them again!

So this is a summary:

- there is NO advice whatsoever on what to do if there is no suitable gap in the traffic - great!
- you are not allowed to stop on the slip road, except in an emergency - presumably being about to cause a crash if you join the motorway might qualify as an emergency - it does not say!

Foxyferret Tue 29-Dec-15 12:50:35

I wonder why people joining from a slip road on to a main road always assume that the person on the main road will move over. I live near the A1 which of course is a dual carriage way. People in Cambs just seem to drive on from slip roads without even looking. Most of the time, if you are on the inside lane, you cannot move out because cars are overtaking you. It's a very busy road. Sometimes they come out right in front of you, not giving you time to slow down to let them in. I am always really careful when I am on the slip road, if it means having to stop and wait then so be it.