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Help for nervous driver
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# 1
Nicki
Old 01-12-2006, 3:00 PM
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Default Help for nervous driver

I passed my driving test about ten years ago, but was never a very good driver, and haven't driven at all for about 5 years now.

I live in London so it is possible to get around by public transport, but there are times when it would make life easier to be able to use the car, without having to rely on my husband, especially with two young children, one of whom is disabled.

I'm not really a nervous person usually, and my main problem with driving is that I think I am not very spatially aware, so I find it difficult to know whether my car is in a good position on the road, and also to judge narrow spaces, parking, etc. This makes me feel very unconfident in the car. I am also woefully out of practice.

Does anyone have any suggestions about how to overcome this? I was thinking of taking some more driving lessons to try to build my confidence up, but is there anything that can be done about the whole spatial awareness thing, or is this just a question of practice?

Also, does anyone know any good driving instructors based in East London, and is it possible to find people who will teach you in your own car, rather than having to learn in an instructors tiny little hatchback, and then transfer the skill to our family car which is quite a bit bigger, and has a boot to be born in mind when trying to manoeuvre into a tight spot.
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# 2
WestonDave
Old 01-12-2006, 3:08 PM
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Have you considered the Institute of Advanced Motorists. They have a network of trained "observers" who will accompany you on "lessons" and teach you better observation skills and how to be more effective as a driver. It is done in your own car and used to be very cheap. At the end of it you take a test which if you pass qualifies you to be a member and can get you discounts on insurance.

The name can seem a bit off putting - its not about high speed driving, but getting from A to B efficiently and safely. One of the things they get you to do is talk as you drive - pointing out all the potential hazards - "small child with ball on pavement - may run into road", and also show you some tricks - like how to gauge the oncoming curves in country roads by looking at the line telegraph poles take in the distance.

I've not done it personally but my OH did who was also a fairly nervous driver and benefited enormously from it. She ended up having her final test with the local police advanced driving instructor who happened to be a member so was the obvious choice as examiner!
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# 3
Nile
Old 01-12-2006, 4:13 PM
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Hello Nicki

I think that your thread will be better placed in the 'Motoring & Public Transport' board, so I'll move it across for you.

Hi, Martin’s asked me to post this in these circumstances: I’ve asked Board Guides to move threads if they’ll receive a better response elsewhere(please see this rule) so this post/thread has been moved to another board, where it should get more replies. If you have any questions about this policy please email abuse@moneysavingexpert.com.

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# 4
Mrs pbradley936
Old 01-12-2006, 4:25 PM
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I can second that about the IAM. They do not charge anything for observations because if you pass their test they like you to observe others who were once in the same boat as you. The cost is £85 (less if you are under 25) and about £10 - £15 for the local group buy they waive that (well round here they do) if you agree to give an hour or so a week of your time to help other people become better drivers.
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# 5
saintjanet
Old 01-12-2006, 4:56 PM
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In my opinion there is no substitute for practice,your driving will certainly improve the more that you go out alone in the car.

My m-in-l had never driven until my f-in-l died and decided at the age of 62 that she should learn.She had HUNDREDS of lessons and we thought it was a waste of time and money,as she was so nervous.

She did pass her test at the third attempt though.She began to drive on a regular basis,going out at first when it was quiet,now she is able to go anywhere she wants and although her parking is not great,she gets by!!.She always says she feels more confident through doing this than she ever did on her lessons,Give it a go and Good Luck.
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# 6
GabbaGabbaHey
Old 01-12-2006, 10:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicki
Does anyone have any suggestions about how to overcome this? I was thinking of taking some more driving lessons to try to build my confidence up, but is there anything that can be done about the whole spatial awareness thing, or is this just a question of practice?
There's really no substitute for practice. Like anything in life, the more often you do something the easier it gets. I'd also agree with the suggestions to join the IAM (I've been a member for 16 years now).

One other thing to consider is getting Parking Sensors fitted to your car. The manufacturers may have a retrofit kit, or you can get them fitted at any decent car accessory shop, or even Halfords. The cost will be between £200 and £500, depending on which system you go for and whether you go for just Rear, or Front and Rear. They really do take all the stress out of parking and manoeuvering in tight spaces.
Philip
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# 7
mookiandco
Old 01-12-2006, 11:34 PM
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I passed my test 4 years ago and had a crash the day after my test (wasnt my fault). I was really shaken and didnt drive for just over 3 years. I made so many excuses not to drive and I know it upset my OH and family because they just could understand it. I used to feel sick everytime someone tried to make me drive and had to psyche myself up for hours beforehand.

I live in London too and I would say how great public transport was (even though it wasnt), because it was just another excuse not to drive.

In April this year my OH bought me a smart car. My life has completely changed. I love driving it because it doesnt feel like a car at all. I'm not saying you should buy a smart car but perhaps a change of car might help, especially if you can choose it! I also got sat nav which makes me feel safer, knowing i can always find my way home.

I had driving lesson in Leytonstone. They are based on Leytonstone high road near the greenman roundabout. cant remember the name. I had a woman driving instructor which really helped.

Wish you the best of luck. I'm sure you'll be on the road in no time!
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# 8
tomstickland
Old 01-12-2006, 11:35 PM
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Quote:
Does anyone have any suggestions about how to overcome this? I was thinking of taking some more driving lessons to try to build my confidence up, but is there anything that can be done about the whole spatial awareness thing, or is this just a question of practice?
Yes, practice in a supportive environment is what you need.
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# 9
achtunglady
Old 02-12-2006, 12:07 AM
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I passed my test on the 15th, on my first attempt, and have been terrified of going out in the car alone. Asked my husband to be in the car with me for the first few times, then he went and bought a push bike so i could have the car!! I drove it on my own yesterday, but i got panicky of silly little things like what if i couldnt get a place to park, and i felt my feet shaking on the pedals, when i'm driving with the other half in the car i feel better.
Can you get a friend who drives to sit in the car with you?
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# 10
choccyface2006
Old 09-12-2006, 11:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by achtunglady
I passed my test on the 15th, on my first attempt, and have been terrified of going out in the car alone. Asked my husband to be in the car with me for the first few times, then he went and bought a push bike so i could have the car!! I drove it on my own yesterday, but i got panicky of silly little things like what if i couldnt get a place to park, and i felt my feet shaking on the pedals, when i'm driving with the other half in the car i feel better.
Can you get a friend who drives to sit in the car with you?
I feel the same, I passed last month and so far have only really been out properly with my OH in the car. I felt my feet shaking on the pedals too when I did slip out round the block on my own, it was really strange, I felt so independant (at last) but so terrified too!

Having someone else in the car is a good idea at first I think.

Sarah
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# 11
HomerStig
Old 10-12-2006, 9:54 PM
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I didn't have a car for 8 years after passing my test and final got one when I got a new job and couldn't take public transport anymore. At first I was really nervous too and kept stalling almost everytime I tried to pull away as the car felt very different from the one I learned in! But I had to keep driving to get to work.
After the first few weeks I got used to it and stopped dreading driving, then after a couple of months I actually started to enjoying driving and the freedom it gave me. Just keep at it and you'll soon feel a lot more confident.

Jim
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