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I know i've got to do it...and i want to......but

(74 Posts)
bytheway Tue 28-May-19 20:15:44

i'm just so anxious about it. Getting back behind the wheel of a car after 30 years.

I passed my test at 21. I never enjoyed learning or driving but knew that, with a baby coming, i would want to get out and about. I bought a car and drove for a short while...hating it...if i went anywhere i would worry about the journey home. I even had a small accident, hit a stationary car whilst pulling out (no one in one hurt but a dent in someone else's car)

Then i moved to the suburbs of a big city. We could only afford 1 car and my OH (now ex) wanted it...fine by me....the transport links were good and i just never bothered again.

Fast forward 30 years, one divorce and re-marriage later and my husband who is 12 years older than me has some health problems and he/we worry that he may have to give up driving....which to put it plainly, will put me back in the driving seat or how will we travel to hospital appointments, to visit family and friends.

So we have decided i should take some refresher lessons but honestly i feel sick to the stomach. I know know know I've got to do it. But how do i go about finding an instructor who will be patient with me.

Would i better to drive in an automatic, would that make it easier for me? Its all the small things really..not the driving per se...but parking in small spaces, entering and leaving main roads...right across a busy section. all those little things.

Can anyone give me some advice?

Grammaretto Thu 30-May-19 11:10:33

As a Green person, I would have a long hard think before becoming a driver again.
I wish I could give it up!! A bit like fags or any addiction - you convince yourself it's necessary but I am quite certain if we kept a record of why and when we use our cars, there'd be a lot fewer journeys.
We live in a small town with good bus links to the city and that is partly why we chose to live here.
We drive a small car but we try not to use it when there's an alternative.
At the moment I ferry my elderly FiL to medical apps because at 93 he can no longer use public transport.
Anyway, I'll stop this smug tirade before I miss the bus......wink

ditzyme Thu 30-May-19 08:53:08

It's twenty years since I last drove, over thirty since I passed my test, at a time when driving was a pleasure, less traffic, more patient drivers, no road rage idiots. Now I don't drive for medical reasons, even though nobody has told me I can't. I just wouldn't enjoy it as much, and since I don't need to, I don't. But oh, how I miss it.

geeljay Wed 29-May-19 20:55:21

If you passed your test in a manual,I would suggest you stay with a manual gearchange. If you had the skills, just need a refresher spell with a competent driving instructor. Have confidence, it is only a car. Take your time and good luck. Enjoy your motoring, it certainly give you a level of independence.

Daisyboots Wed 29-May-19 20:46:52

First of all, if you arent keen on driving, I would do as Grandetante suggests and work out all the running costs of your present car. Then you have a figure to work out whether just giving up the car and using taxis is the answer. If you want to keep a car I would go for an automatic but also a small SUV style car like a Juke or Mokka because they are easier to get in and out of as you get older and you have a better view of the road ahead. We have just gone down from 2 cars to one as neither of our cars was quite right if I need to use a wheelchair. Not only is the gearbox automatic but almost everything else is. Even when we are using full beam on the headlights if a car comes towards us the headlights automatically dim and the same if we go from an area with no streetlights to an area with. The three cameras, front, rear and from above, plus the sensors make parking a doddle.
PS just as well I checked before posting. Automatic spellcheck had turned gearbox into gerbil

Bagatelle Wed 29-May-19 18:00:07

I suspect that we shall all have to get used to driving something different when cars are all electric or hybrid.

Riggie Wed 29-May-19 17:36:16

I know it's different to learning from scratch but canyou ask around friends and neighbours for a recommendation? Also dont commit to a block booking of lessons even if its cheaper - try the instructor first. Ask if you can have one trial.lesson at the full price and decide then about a block - if they say no then theres plenty of others!!

DillytheGardener Wed 29-May-19 17:27:15

I never learnt because I’m rather scatty, and easily distracted. My mother put me off learning as she was worried I’d run someone over shock

DillytheGardener Wed 29-May-19 17:26:15

I never learnt to drive either so have no freedom, my mum did and my granny didn’t. Meant neither myself nor my granny had/have much freedom in travelling further than where I can get with an Uber or public transport. You are inspiring me! Never to late to learn!

CarlyD7 Wed 29-May-19 17:23:33

PS about motorways - don't forget that, as you've already passed your test, when your confidence is better, you can have motorway lessons. Have as many as you feel you need. NO-ONE could have been as nervous as I was when I learned but now I really enjoy driving and it is such a liberating thing to be able to do.

CarlyD7 Wed 29-May-19 17:21:42

So much good advice already. Your choice of an instructor is key - try to find someone who is older, has had lots of older pupils and is very patient. That is vital. And take your time - do it at your own pace and don't let anyone push you before you feel ready. I tried 3 others before I found the right instructor for me - don't be pushed into signing up for a course too quickly; find the right person.

Eloethan Wed 29-May-19 16:19:00

I've had several goes at learning to drive over the years. I was a very nervous driver and am quite a nervous passenger too. I never built up enough confidence to take the test but I felt at my most confident and competent when driving an automatic, though, again, I never plucked up courage to take the test.

As you have already passed, I am sure you must be an OK driver and some refresher lessons will help you gain more confidence - and I would certainly recommend an automatic.

If you truly find it too nerve wracking, as Jane says, getting rid of the car will save you money and leave more available for taxis. (But I still think it is much more convenient to be able to drive).

crazyH Wed 29-May-19 16:01:44

I agree about the Satnav - it's very distracting

Poppyred Wed 29-May-19 15:35:10

If you’re that anxious about it ...why put yourself through it? Surely you could get a taxi for hospital appointments? Train to visit family and friends? Bus to do shopping or shop online? Probably cheaper than the cost of running a car.

Bagatelle Wed 29-May-19 15:24:44

I found it easy to change between manual and automatic. When I had my Smart, my husband had a manual car and I drove both.

hellymart Wed 29-May-19 15:13:36

It's just about building your confidence. And as others have said, you don't HAVE to drive on motorways or at night or in bad weather if you really don't want to. If you plan journeys, so that you can avoid heavy traffic (eg: set off really early in the morning, if you have to!) that's a help too. SATNAVs are brilliant for the final part of any journey (the 'where the heck is that street?' bit) but always take a map too and look at the route before you go. Don't be too reliant on a SatNav. It may be that you only drive your car into town and to doctors/hospital appointments and you'll be quite happy with that, so just take it a step at a time. Find a nice (female?) sympathetic driving instructor and have some refresher lessons as a start. Good luck!

Evie64 Wed 29-May-19 15:04:57

Definitely an automatic, and get yourself a sat nav. I honestly couldn't cope without mine. Especially since we moved from London suburbs to Devon. Automatic means no hill starts, no rolling back at the lights, no "finding the biting point" of the clutch and then kangarooing down the bloody road. As for parking, try to make sure you park in large public car parks where there are usually lots of spaces to choose from, even if it means a slightly longer walk t your destination, it's worth for the lack of stress it causes you. Automatics are slightly more to buy, and slightly more expensive to maintain, buy hey, life is short and there's no pockets in shrouds. Go for it!

Theoddbird Wed 29-May-19 14:54:52

Have the instructor teach you as if you were a total beginner. An automatic will give you less to think about. You can do this.

whywhywhy Wed 29-May-19 14:48:24

I feel for you but you will be so independent! Go automatic. If you live in the UK then RED are an excellent driving school. Just phone up and explain and I am sure they will understand. Good luck! x

Tweedle24 Wed 29-May-19 14:44:35

I had some advanced driving lessons and found my confidence boosted no end. Look up on line for local instructor.

annep1 Wed 29-May-19 14:41:18

Go for it! The freedom I enjoy from driving is wonderful. Nothing beats a try. You have nothing to lose. Book some lessons with a sympathetic instructor.
The roads are busy now but you will get used to them and you can avoid the horrible motorways.
Satnavs are useful sometimes but I still prefer printing off Google map directions.
Good luck!

phoenix Wed 29-May-19 13:21:35

Actually I would disagree with always having the sat nav on, only use it when you need it, in can be quite distracting.

I never use it on routes I know, only when going somewhere new.

grandtanteJE65 Wed 29-May-19 13:15:59

If you really do not want to drive, sit down and work out what it actually costs to run the car your DH has annually.

Take everything into account, petrol /diesel, oil changes, servicing, insurance than work out how many times you could take a taxi for that amount.

Tell your DH frankly that you never have liked driving nor felt good at it, and you don't want to start again, and find out what the other options are.

Would you honestly not be better off moving so you don't need to drive if the day comes when DH shouldn't?

Yes, you can grit your teeth and drive now, but what about the day when you shouldn't be behind the wheel either?

Enjoying this stage of our lives can be a lot easier if you are within walking /cycling distant of the things and places you need daily and not too far from the hospital, dentist, optician, chiropodist, etc. etc.

Luckylegs Wed 29-May-19 13:14:03

I second what everyone else has said. I have an automatic and I love it, wouldn’t change. But do have some lessons on motorway driving, so many of my friends refuse to drive on a motorway and it’s restrictive. I wouldn’t like to set off to drive to London but I could if I planned it but otherwise I couldn’t get to many quite local places.

Nvella Wed 29-May-19 13:04:20

Ps - still won’t go on a motorway though!

Nvella Wed 29-May-19 13:03:50

Definitely get an automatic, always have a Satnav on and have refresher lessons. I nearly gave up my car but my son and family moved to the country which was a nightmare for me as I only like driving in London. However, I do the country drive regularly now and I almost don’t mind it!