Gransnet forums


Motorway driving course

(34 Posts)
Mishap Sat 09-Mar-13 17:11:31

I hate motorways and motorway driving - to my mind they are simply not human scale and bring out the worst in people.

But.......I am going to have to do this a few times this year, however much I do not want to; and I will have to do it more as OH becomes less able.

Has anyone ever been on a motorway driving course and if so how did it go? Worth a try do you think?

Anne58 Sat 09-Mar-13 17:15:56

Mishap I have lost a lot of confidence with driving in general, and motorways in particular.

I think that having a few sessions with an instructor would surely help.

Mishap Sat 09-Mar-13 17:30:58

I have just found a website called Nervous Driver and they do a day course with hypnotherapy + on-the-road instruction. I've emailed to find out what it costs - gulp!

Anne58 Sat 09-Mar-13 17:33:21

How much?

(At least they had the sensitivity not to call it a "crash course")

Mishap Sat 09-Mar-13 18:15:11

I'm waiting to hear the cost!!! - I'll let you know!

FlicketyB Sat 09-Mar-13 21:41:01

Mishap, Most driving schools do a motorway acclimatisation course. The charges are usually similar to driving lessons and you can always book extra classes if you are really nervous.

I do not know what motorways you will be travelling on but when you do it try to choose the time of day you make your journey so that you avoid the busiest times. Always avoid Friday afternoon but early (before 10.00 am) on Satrurday and Sunday is usually very quiet. Try to avoid driving at night or in the dark.

vegasmags Sat 09-Mar-13 22:12:59

Mishap I think it is an excellent idea to take some lessons on motorway driving. I can understand your feelings about the dreaded Mways, but a few tips, techniques and practice will, I am sure, make you feel much more comfortable and confident. I did this myself 25 years ago, and have still remembered what I was taught about defensive driving - all very useful.

Tegan Sat 09-Mar-13 22:31:30

Oh I do relate to all this; my confidence is getting less and less when it comes to driving. I don't actually mind being on a motorway or A road but have a terrible fear of slip roads. The less driving I do the worse I get. I'm the most careful driver ever on normal roads but when things get fast I go into panic mode. I actually 'read roads' very well and, when the S.O. is driving on motorways always anticipate what other drivers are going to do but have this fear of doing something really stupid myself.

Ana Sat 09-Mar-13 22:34:14

It's the slip roads I hate too - especially unfamiliar ones. Once I'm actually on the Mway I'm fine.

tanith Sat 09-Mar-13 22:34:51

I've found that people grow in motorway driving confidence the more the more experience they get. A few confidance boosting lessons can only be good.. its a shame that the thought of motorway driving is so stressful as it doesn't make it a pleasant experience. I enjoy motorway driving its actually less stressful than the stop and start, and changes in speed required on ordinary roads. If you have a motorway near could you practice joining, driving a junction or two then turn round and drive back I know a lot of people who are nervous about joining the motorway. I hope the lessons work out for you Mishap.

Mishap Sat 09-Mar-13 22:59:09

Yes - it is the joining that I hate. I wear varifocals and I am always worried that I will lose a whole car in a blind spot when doing a shoulder check.

I was once forced to stop at the end of a slip road because there really was no way of joining - chock full of cars doing 70. I am always fearful of this.

I do not like it much when on the mway and I am coming up to incoming slip roads. In France it is illegal to overtake a specified and indicated number of yards before and after junctions, but in the UK we do not have that law unfortunately. I think that it is very dangerous.

The other problem is the other idiots on the road! My brother is a maniac on the road - mchecks where the speed cameras will be and takes his chances on a "burn out" whenever the road is clear of them. He is otherwise a charming person. He is not alone.

Another thing to throw in the mix is that I spent 10 years working in a brain injury service - boy does that concentrate the mind on road dangers!

Humbertbear Sat 09-Mar-13 23:31:53

My daughter was a driving instructor and tells me that all schools offer a motorway driving course and will gear it to your needs. She always wished more of her students would take the course once they passed their driving test.

Humbertbear Sat 09-Mar-13 23:33:38

I meant to say, good for you that you are prepared to say you think you need some extra help with this aspect of driving. It takes courage to admit that you need support. Good luck and safe journeys

Tegan Sun 10-Mar-13 00:17:48

On the rare occasion that I do drive on a motorway I tend to be a 'middle lane hog'. I know people despise them but at least I know that, when I approach a sliproad I won't panic about letting people in [should I slow down for them, speed up or, if I move into the midle lane will I not notice a car alongside me etc etc]. I'm always amazed by people that, the second they get onto a motorway, immediately move across into the middle or outside lane. And, of course people tend to overtake on the inside more these days as well, so I worry about both sides.

Gally Sun 10-Mar-13 01:10:56

I do a lot of long journeys on motorways and am appalled at the behaviour of many drivers. I think it should be compulsory, having passed the initial driving test, to undergo a motorway driving course/ test and also one for night driving. Drivers joining a motorway seem to think it's their given right to barge in at speed and drivers on the near side lane don't seem to look far ahead enough when approaching an on junction in order to pullout into the middle lane or alternatively to slow down a tad to allow room for the oncoming traffic.angry

Tegan Sun 10-Mar-13 10:27:27

My gut instinct on a slip road [as I feel I'm approaching a dangerous situation] is to slow down not speed up as is the case when joining a motorway/A road. And therein lies the problem. My brain feels that it's doing the opposite of what it should and goes into meltdown. What annoys me is that there are so many things I don't do because of my fear; visiting friends/relatives etc. My life would open up enormously if I was a confident driver. Also, having saved up to buy a good safe reliable car after a lifetime of old bangers I'm scared of damaging the car. Oh for my old Fiesta when it was reliable but not worth much. I think that being nervous makes one a dangerous driver but there's a fine line between confidence and overconfidence when driving. I would never ever advocate drinking and driving but sometimes have felt that something to just take the edge off my nerves when I'm driving would help; I'm even feeling queasy writing about driving on motorways sad.

tanith Sun 10-Mar-13 11:29:45

Tegan thats such a shame, to be able to drive but have the whole thing make you nervous its almost worse than be unable to drive at all.. as I said before practice practice practice.. matching the speed other drivers are doing on the motorway makes it so easy to just slip into the traffic without any fuss. If someone is sitting on the inside lane coming up to a slip road they are already expecting traffic to merge with them from the right so just match the speed and you'll be able to slip in with ease its when a car hesitates or starts to slow that problems arise you need to speed up. I know thats easier said than done but once you've got the knack you'll never lose it.

Grannyknot Sun 10-Mar-13 11:34:43

Mishap thanks for starting this thread. I also seem to have lost my nerve for motorway driving, particularly when the (little) car I was driving was nearly squashed by a huge pantechnicon vehicle going around a big round-about, and I only realised after that the steering wheel was for left hand side. Eek! I still get the shivers thinking about it.

It never occurred to me that I could 'upskill'. I am happy driving in traffic because it is quite orderly and everyone gets a turn. On the motorway, I feel as if I am sucked into a jetstream until it is my turn to leave. Hate them. Even as a passenger.

And we are faced with a 7 hour journey from London to remote part of Cornwall and back in a 3 day weekend soon, I am seriously thinking of taking the train and telling people I'll see you there.

Grannyknot Sun 10-Mar-13 11:35:28

The pantechnicon steering wheel that is, I think the driver didn't see me. Bit like what happens with cyclists.

LullyDully Sun 10-Mar-13 12:13:37

I recently drove from Portsmouth to Birmingham in the rain with fleets of trucks on either side My Mini did feel very small. I just gritted my teeth and battled on.

It was horrible I too hate motorways. I hate joining them in case no one gives way and relish coming off and getting to a reasonable speed again.

feetlebaum Sun 10-Mar-13 12:44:09

Check out the Institute of Advanced Motorists web-site, at

FlicketyB Sun 10-Mar-13 16:17:01

Why not plan a journey that does not require you to go on motorways? DH and I have a number of frequent journeys we make that are usually on motorways. Neither of us has any problems over motorway driving but it does get very boring so we have found a number of alternative non-motorway routes, some are a bit longer in time or miles. It is not always possible to avoid motorways, but, as we say in our family, that way be quicker but this way be prettier.

Mishap Sun 10-Mar-13 17:15:45

Thank you for the link feetlebaum - I did once start an IMA course many years ago but it was full of driving enthusiasts and I felt like a fish out of water. Thye alkso kept asking trick questions which irritated me - I wanted positive advice about safer driving. They also assumed that you wished to drive as fast as possible which is not where I am coming form at all.

However I will contact the local branch - my OH is a member - and give them a chance to redeem themselves with their motorway course.

I am very interested at the responses on here - I am clearly not alone!!

Anne58 Sun 10-Mar-13 18:08:38

I feel it's time for a confession.

As many know, I was made redundant last March, have been job hunting ever since.

Unfortunately most of the jobs that I have felt able to apply for have been field sales, i.e. involving lots of driving!

I used to drive a lot, for example from Staines to Devon every week when house hunting, and thought little of it.

Unfortunately I have since lost a lot of confidence re. driving (caused in part by my ex husband) but have found that if I want to get another job (which I do) I am going to have to give myself a very severe kick up the bottom.

I'm feeling very scared, partly at the prospect of starting over again in a new role, but also the driving aspect.

There is another thing too, a lot of these jobs (should I be fortunate to get one) come with a company car. For the last 11 years I have only driven automatics! confused

Anne58 Sun 10-Mar-13 18:14:20

Mishap just a thought, is there someone that could go with you and practice just joining the motorway and leaving at the next junction?

Sorry, probably a rubbish suggestion, esp. coming from me in view of my last post!