Driving to see friend - terrified of motorway

(104 Posts)
Gobbolinothewitchscat Thu 23-May-13 23:09:01

I'm an OK driver - not the most confident in the world but OK and have quite a lot of motorway experience.

I live near Manchester and have a good friend who lives in Liverpool. Normally, we meet in Manchester but she asked me to go to Liverpool today to see her.

The last time I went, I was around 8 months pregnant with DS who is 5 months old. I found the drive really frightening but thought it was perhaps because I was pregnant,,travelling home while it was dark and due to the torrential rain

DS and I went today and I'm still frightened out of my wits even though we came home hours ago. I can't sleep as everytime I shut my eyes I'm having flashbacks to the two crashes we nearly had. The motorway was chock full of lorries straddling the middle and slow lanes so I had to spend quite a bit of the journey in the fast lane. Even though I was going at around 90, I still had an arsehole hanging off my bumper. If I'd had to break suddenly I'd have been fucked.

I spent the whole time at my friend's house petrified about the drive home. On the way back, a car swerved in front of me from a slip road - over the unbroken line. I did the most dangerous thing - braked rather than moving out to the middle lane and was lucky not to be rear-ended by a lorry.

When I got home, I couldn't actually get out of the car for 20 minutes as my legs were shaking so much. I'm pregnant again and when I saw DH I burst in to tears as I truly thought we were all going to die on the way back. Coupled with having to navigate an unfamiliar route, my nerves are shredded v

I know this sounds totally melodramatic but I cannot go back in that motorway again. If I do, I'll either kill us all or lose my nerve so badly that I'll have to give up driving.

DH is a very confident driver but agrees that the road between Manchester and Liverpool is difficult as it's busy and there is also a lot of aggressive driving. He's said that I just need to tell my friend that I'm not happy to go on that road and to meet somewhere else. However, I feel really terrible about doing this as I'm normally a very capable person and I don't want her to feel that I'm expecting her to do all the driving.

AIBU re this? My legs are shaking again just writing this post

Sirzy Sat 25-May-13 07:04:54

I agree with those who say use the east lancs instead.

I drive from Liverpool to Manchester a lot and although its a pita at times it's not that bad and the two incidents you describe neither seem to warrant the way you over reacted.

AngryGnome Sat 25-May-13 06:53:22

I think OP has flounced, but another vote here to get refresher lessons. I didn't drive for nearly 18 months after complication with pregnancy and birth, and I have lost a lot of my confidence, especially on motorways and when doing long journeys. Refresher lessons really helped - they reach you how to feel in control, by driving safely, anticipating potential hazards, and just giving you more confidence.

And don't do 90 in the overtaking lane if you a nervous driver ffs. Just chug along with the lorries, you'll still get there!

TiredFeet Sat 25-May-13 06:17:48

I read your op and immediately thought 'you need motorway driving lessons'. So I am glad the majority of posters agree with me. Please arrange some, you will be suprisesd what a difference they make

The slip road thing, well you should be aware of who is on the slip road

The tailgating, don't speed up, slow down ffs!

Ceraunia Fri 24-May-13 23:54:29

I agree take some motorway lessons for future. I do sympathise, I hate motorway driving, and even being a passenger, after an accident I was in years ago (though I was unhurt).

PearlyWhites Fri 24-May-13 23:53:59

Well I live in Liverpool and drive too Manchester I don't like the drive much but I feel safe enough prob because despite the lorries I do not go in the fast lane and speed! Just take your time you will be fine also avoid the m60 even if it takes you a bit longer.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Fri 24-May-13 23:48:42

I'd just like to reiterate what a load of old bollocks the 'it's the scarily busy M62' line is.

I grew up in West Yorks, spent years commuting there and back to and around Manchester and yes, it is busy. But no more busy than the M6, M1 and certainly not the M25. Absolutely no excuse for poor driving.

RocknRollNerd Fri 24-May-13 16:04:27

There does seem to be an element of victim blaming when it comes to nervous drivers. I'm terrified of motorways, I don't drive on them, and ideally wouldn't be a passenger either but sometimes it's unavoidable.

So often, the answer seems to be 'yes, loads of people drive twattishly/ dangerously/illegally, get over it, if it frightens you it's your fault'. Why not save the outrage and criticism for the dangerous drivers?

It's not 'victim blaming' it's pointing out that if someone is so terrified of driving they are shaking and doing 90mph in the outside lane they are driving dangerously. It's fine to be a bit scared sometimes when driving in bad conditions or busy/unfamiliar roads (I didn't enjoy myself one bit the time I had to drive in black ice tracks in a single lane on the A1 in a night-time snow blizzard for example); what isn't fine is getting yourself into such a state that you become a threat to everyone else on the road and then refusing to acknowledge that you might need to do something to address your confidence and driving skills.

HazeltheMcWitch Fri 24-May-13 13:32:02

TOTALLY agree with Midnite!

But OP has flounced now, as the majority seemed to see beyond her point that her friend could meet her half way, and focus on the more pressing issue that - if she does indeed drive as per her OP - she is endangering more people than just her own family.

MidniteScribbler Fri 24-May-13 12:22:23

I think people are being very unfair and unsympathetic with Gobbo. I mean, driving on a motorway can be stressful and tiring. There are idiots weaving and speeding, sometimes recklessly. For a sensitive person who has a sense of the potential power and danger at bay, its not necessarily an easy thing to do

Oh for gods sake, it's a perfectly normal and everyday situation to be in. It's a road, frequented by other road users. The same road rules apply as on any other road. If you aren't capable of driving safely, then you shouldn't be on any road. You get a drivers licence to be able to drive. It's not 'oh you can drive but stay off any busy roads'. Not being able to cope with everyday traffic situations means that you shouldn't be on the road....period.

Kiriwawa Fri 24-May-13 12:02:33

Morris - I have no issue with nervous drivers avoiding motorways. I have an issue with the OP being so anxious that she can't sleep because of very minor incidents. And the fact that she is doing 90 when she's clearly not driving safely. A very nervous driver at high speeds is as dangerous as someone who's driving aggressively IME

MorrisZapp Fri 24-May-13 11:31:30

There does seem to be an element of victim blaming when it comes to nervous drivers. I'm terrified of motorways, I don't drive on them, and ideally wouldn't be a passenger either but sometimes it's unavoidable.

So often, the answer seems to be 'yes, loads of people drive twattishly/ dangerously/illegally, get over it, if it frightens you it's your fault'. Why not save the outrage and criticism for the dangerous drivers?

People die on the roads every day. The fear is not unfounded. Lots of people turn into aggressive tossers behind the wheel. No wonder people are nervous of dealing with them.

AKAK81 Fri 24-May-13 11:21:18

Sounds like some motorway lessons would do you good. BTW there's no such thing as "slow" and "fast" lanes only lanes 1,2,3 etc. This is part of the reason that idiots hog the middle lane.

crashdoll Fri 24-May-13 11:21:00

Refresher lessons will make all the difference. You'll probably only need a few lessons but you need to be re-taught the rules of the road - in this case, just for the motorway. I passed 6 years ago and had refreshers a few months ago, I had about 6 lessons being taught how to drive safely and accurately on the motorway in various conditions at differing times. None of what you've said is either accurate or safe. Honestly, if you can afford it, it will be worth it. You owe it to your son, yourself and other road users.

RhinestoneCowboy Fri 24-May-13 11:05:49

I think people are being very unfair and unsympathetic with Gobbo. I mean, driving on a motorway can be stressful and tiring. There are idiots weaving and speeding, sometimes recklessly. For a sensitive person who has a sense of the potential power and danger at bay, its not necessarily an easy thing to do, so you have my sympathies OP! It is not a normal thing I believe, in our human make-up, to go through space and time at that speed.

But I still recommend Motorway driving lessons. They will take the edge of things I'm sure smile.

Imsosorryalan Fri 24-May-13 10:58:27

I have to agree with the other posters here. Your dangerous. I have driven up the m1, m62 and the m60 many a time from kent and with my two dcs in the back, would not be happy to endanger them with someone like you on the road.

I've never really understood why some people are so nervous of driving on the motorway or a road they don't know. It's just a road, with people like you, driving. If your unsure of the way and don't want to take a wrong turn ( when even then all you have to do it turn around) then get a sat nav.

Driving lessons are needed for you here. For your safety and ours.

lydiajones Fri 24-May-13 10:41:07

Can you find a non motorway route of getting there?? I'm sure there will be one but might just take a bit longer. I avoid motorways and am always working out different routes!! I hate driving fast and having to change lane all the time so I just avoid altogether. I stick to what I am confident with.

whatsthatcomingoverthehill Fri 24-May-13 10:34:43

I call bullshit on this. If the motorway was as busy with lorries as you describe there is no way people would have been doing 90 in the outside lane. I've driven that stretch many times and it does get busy, but when it's busy it's slow. Because you are nervous you are making irrational and dangerous decisions.

RhinestoneCowboy Fri 24-May-13 10:09:42

Another vote for motorway lessons! They are fantastic. I had a double one, for the same reason as OP, and it was brilliant. It makes you a more confident driver on normal roads too!!!!

ivanapoo Fri 24-May-13 09:57:30

I know other drivers can be intimidating so the best advice I was given is to drive as you usually would if they weren't there.

So if you're doing 70-75 in the overtaking lane don't let them stress you into going any faster. If you feel you have to go 90 to pull into that lane, wait longer for a bigger gap so you can accelerate then settle at a more sensible speed. They are very unlikely to ram you and if they beep you, ignore it.

It's much safer they go into the back of you at 70 than 90...

badguider Fri 24-May-13 09:38:51

I live and drive in Socotland where the motorways are very quiet. On a very busy motorway like those around the centre of England - Manchester, Liverpool etc. I usually sit at around 60 behind the lorries and vans in the slow lane... it's really frustrating but in my not very powerful car it's better than dicing with the audis powerful cars who go at 100mph in the fast lane.

Upallnighttogetmilky Fri 24-May-13 09:33:22

I commuted from Manchester to Liverpool every day for a year.
Yes, the M62 is ludicrously busy, but rather than screeching down the fast lane at 90, if I was nervous I'd just sit behind the lorries at 55mph. Driving that way is also far more fuel-efficient.

But if you're such a neurotic driver that you sit in the car shaking for 20mins (?!) after such a short trip on the motorway then please get the train! Only 40 mins from Piccadilly to Lime St, and then your connection to wherever.

Take a lightweight buggy, you don't need a car seat in a taxi- job done.
From what you've said, you're clearly not safe on the roads and really need some motorway lessons.

WMittens Fri 24-May-13 08:35:21

I drive regularly to scotland and have a lot of motorway experience but I've never experienced conditions like today.

The M6 north of Manchester and the M74 etc. are generally very quiet compared to other motorways.

KatyTheCleaningLady Fri 24-May-13 08:31:50

If you're panicking on the motorway, something is wrong.

I'm confident on the motorway. I live by the M62 and I know it can get hairy. There have been times where I'm thinking, "Wow, this is crazy" and feel a tiny bit nervous. I just stay calm, stay in a safe lane, and bide my time until the lorry cluster disperses or whatever.

If you're unable to get out of the car at your destination because your legs are shaking, then you shouldn't be driving on the motorway.

Hawkmoth Fri 24-May-13 08:30:07

Can you post next time you're on the motorway so I can stay at home?

RocknRollNerd Fri 24-May-13 08:27:04

I can assure you, if either DH or I had any concerns about the safety of my driving, I would not be driving around with DS

but don't you see? You are a risk driving around feeling that panicked and stressed - you are only a safe driver if you are able to identify and react appropriately to others' fuckwittery; you are shaking, doing 90mph in the outside lane and panicky - you're as much of a risk to yourself and everyone else on the road in that state as any other driver.

This was what I realised when I had lessons a couple of years ago - I was shaken up by one near-miss in particular which was absolutely not my fault (guy on the wrong side of the road on a country lane trying to overtake a tractor). I recognised that I was too nervous to drive safely after that, I was worrying about what might happen, hesitating when I shouldn't have done etc; hence I got myself a couple of lessons to build up my confidence, check my technique etc. You are a danger to yourself and others on the roads in that state, either stop driving or get some lessons - don't insist it's everyone else who has the problem.

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