No confidence when driving

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elsa10
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Hi guys. I just wanted to seek some advice about what to do I my situation. I passed my driving test 8 years ago and didn't drive at all for that period as I never needed a car. I recently took a 6 refresher lessons but the instructor wasn't very good and wouldn't let me practice manoeuvres with her or go on the dual carriageway and tbh we only went round the same 3 routes for those 6 lessons which is why I then quit the lessons as they weren't helping and she was ending the lessons 20 mins early. I struggled to get another instructor. I then moved back home after uni last week and also bought a car last week as the instructor had said my driving was at a reasonable standard but I'm having major issues in the 3 days that I've been driving:
I cut someone up on the mini roundabout today because I misjudged how far away they were from me. They sounded the horn at me which made me scared.
Yesterday I switched from the right hand lane to the left hand lane when exiting a roundabout. There was no car behind me but the passenger said if there was this could have been an accident
The day before I didn't see a zebra crossing and there was a cyclist waiting to cross but I didn't see him at all until after I'd crossed and the passenger pointed it out. Thankfully he must have seen that I was coming too fast and he waited instead of crossing.

I feel unfamiliar with so many of the roads and even things like crossroads felt like a new thing to me. It has made me realise that my refresher lessons were a total waste of money. Since I've been driving I've always had someone next to me too and tbh I don't feel at all ready to be going out on my own.
Tbh I feel like I'm a hazard waiting to happen and that it's only a matter of time before I have an accident. What can I do to get myself out of this rut because after these last 3 days I feel so petrified to get in a car. The other thing that doesn't help is that I'm due to move to a totally new area in 3 weeks time so will be driving on different roads compared to what I'm doing now. Does anyone have any advice please as I feel awful about my mistakes and I'm really scared to cause another motorist or road user harm.

I won't be able to take anymore driving lessons for a few weeks but is there anything else I can do in the intermjn? I've watched some videos on YouTube and reread the highway code last night but it feels like it's not enough tbh
Last edited by elsa10; 2 months ago
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SomeWelshGuy123
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Yeah that mentality to have is dangerous. A driver who gets scared is a dangerous driver. If you get scared at something as small as being beeped at, what will your reaction be when someone cuts you off, or you have to emergency break? I'd recommend just packing it in, you sound like a real danger to other drivers.
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shooonthebeat
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I'd recommend taking a break from driving for now. Wait till you can get a better instructor or practice driving with your friends/family until you've improved and feel more confident to drive again.
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elsa10
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(Original post by shooonthebeat)
I'd recommend taking a break from driving for now. Wait till you can get a better instructor or practice driving with your friends/family until you've improved and feel more confident to drive again.
Yeah I mean this is the problem. Due to my job I'm in a situation where I really do need to drive in about 2 to 4 months time otherwise a 20 minute journey turns into an hour and a half public transport.

I know half of the issue is that I have low confidence with driving but I have low confidence with everything. And then part of me is thinking well if I've made the above errors, can anything else be worse? I know I'll be avoiding the dual carriageway and the motorway for quite some time at the moment because there's no way I could go on those for a few months. But in terms of city driving what would you say are the most difficult things to learn?

Other passengers have said my driving is fine apart from the incidents I've described above but after both of the responses on this thread I am wondering whether it is time to pack it all in
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xxx0xxxo
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(Original post by elsa10)
Yeah I mean this is the problem. Due to my job I'm in a situation where I really do need to drive in about 2 to 4 months time otherwise a 20 minute journey turns into an hour and a half public transport.

I know half of the issue is that I have low confidence with driving but I have low confidence with everything. And then part of me is thinking well if I've made the above errors, can anything else be worse? I know I'll be avoiding the dual carriageway and the motorway for quite some time at the moment because there's no way I could go on those for a few months. But in terms of city driving what would you say are the most difficult things to learn?

Other passengers have said my driving is fine apart from the incidents I've described above but after both of the responses on this thread I am wondering whether it is time to pack it all in
I think a break would be good, and also to have more lessons with someone who is actually decent and can guide you properly in your area. Practice in your free time in quiet areas at time with few people about. I'm sure traffic and fast lanes make the anxiety worse. Concentration is needed for driving, if you're very nervous you won't be able to focus properly.

But this stuff can be overcome over time i don't think you should pack it in. You said you have low confidence in many areas of your life now, one day when that improves your driving probably will too. You probably can't just force it to be okay now though since you're moving.
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ReadingMum
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Do you have someone who is willing to be an active passenger for half a day? If so go out with them, starting somewhere quiet and building up after you have been behind the wheel for a while and are used to the new car. Ask them to point out minor faults so that you can improve as you go. After a few hours you are likely to be much more at home in the car which will boost your confidence
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shooonthebeat
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(Original post by elsa10)
I know half of the issue is that I have low confidence with driving but I have low confidence with everything. And then part of me is thinking well if I've made the above errors, can anything else be worse? I know I'll be avoiding the dual carriageway and the motorway for quite some time at the moment because there's no way I could go on those for a few months. But in terms of city driving what would you say are the most difficult things to learn?
For city driving, I'd say the most important things are your positioning and being alert of hazards. In busy cities, there's often a lot of hazards and reckless drivers.
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elsa10
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(Original post by ReadingMum)
Do you have someone who is willing to be an active passenger for half a day? If so go out with them, starting somewhere quiet and building up after you have been behind the wheel for a while and are used to the new car. Ask them to point out minor faults so that you can improve as you go. After a few hours you are likely to be much more at home in the car which will boost your confidence
Yes I do have someone who is willing to do this. Thinking back now my first refresher lesson was a month ago and I'm just wondering whether I've tried to do too much too quickly. Since I am moving to a new city in 3 weeks how do you recommend that I get used to the roads round there? Im worried of taking more refresher lessons because it's been so difficult to find a decent instructor, so was thinking of going for pass plus instead
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ReadingMum
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(Original post by elsa10)
Yes I do have someone who is willing to do this. Thinking back now my first refresher lesson was a month ago and I'm just wondering whether I've tried to do too much too quickly. Since I am moving to a new city in 3 weeks how do you recommend that I get used to the roads round there? Im worried of taking more refresher lessons because it's been so difficult to find a decent instructor, so was thinking of going for pass plus instead
I would start now and get used to the new car in a familiar location then when you move it will be in a familiar car in a new location. Tackle one thing at a time
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Nick6501
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Sounds like you need more driving lessons to fully understand roundabouts and things but whenever people say "no confidence to drive" there is only one way to fix that and that is by driving...i had zero confidence until i spent an entire week just driving around by myself.
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WestofScot
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As the days are long now would you benefit from getting up really early ie. when it’s light at 4am/5am? Go out on the roads when there’s less traffic and just get a feel for driving and a feeling that you’re in control? Practise entering and exiting roundabouts, manoeuvres in empty car parks, manoeuvring into marked out spaces etc… Driving is often about attitude. If you feel like everyone is going to crash into you and you’re going to crash into them then you’re going to be jittery and tense and that’s not a good place to be. If you feel that you know what you’re doing a bit more and feel that you are in control of the car and realise that everyone else on the road is trying to keep themselves and their occupants as safe as possible you will be in a much better place. Go round that same roundabout again and exit properly. Keep your awareness working from a place of confidence rather than a place of panic. Good luck.
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Nuffles
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The only real fix is to drive more, and you may as well start doing that now. If you know the roads where you live you're better practicing there and getting some more hours behind the wheel before you move somewhere new with totally new roads. As others have said, take someone calm with you who isn't going to shout at you if you get something wrong. Also going out early in the morning is good for quiet roads, especially on a Sunday.

"I cut someone up on the mini roundabout today because I misjudged how far away they were from me. They sounded the horn at me which made me scared."
Not ideal, but just highlights that you need more road time to build up your experience and perception of other road users.

"Yesterday I switched from the right hand lane to the left hand lane when exiting a roundabout. There was no car behind me but the passenger said if there was this could have been an accident"
This is something a lot of people do but shouldn't. It's not against the law as it's a legal lane change, but it's a bad place to attempt one. Part of driving is realising where you've messed up and learning from it. Now you know to wait once you've taken a two lane exit on a roundabout until you're a little further down the road to change lanes.

"The day before I didn't see a zebra crossing and there was a cyclist waiting to cross but I didn't see him at all until after I'd crossed and the passenger pointed it out. Thankfully he must have seen that I was coming too fast and he waited instead of crossing."

If you read the highway code again you'll notice that pedestrians don't actually have right of way at a zebra crossing until they've stepped into the road. If they're just waiting on the pavement then you have no legal obligation to stop for them, it's just polite (and good to slow down in case they do step out in front of you). I hope the cyclist was walking their bike because it's an offence in itself to ride a bike across a zebra crossing.. The main bad point is that you actually missed the zebra crossing in the first place, but if you're still not very confident I imagine you were suffering from a little mental fatigue.

The only way to fix it is to drive more. Driiiiiiiivvvvveeeeeeeeeeee
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TheMcSame
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(Original post by elsa10)
I cut someone up on the mini roundabout today because I misjudged how far away they were from me. They sounded the horn at me which made me scared.
It happens. I've been driving almost 6 years, every so often you'll have the odd moment like this where you misjudge something. Best you can do is learn from it and try to avoid whatever caused the mistake in the first place. Though, often with cases of misjuding distance it tends to be more of a case of misjudging speed, either the other person speed, appearing to be slow but then suddenly speeding up, or simply committing to something quicker than one would expect.

In the case of a 3 way T mini-roundabout as I call them (Basically the junction is shaped like a T but has a mini roundabout in it), expect those going across the top of the T to be going faster than you'd expect. Often times people don't slow down, or slow down very little if they're going across the top of the "T" because they can see potential traffic they'd have to give way to well before they get to the roundabout.

Yesterday I switched from the right hand lane to the left hand lane when exiting a roundabout. There was no car behind me but the passenger said if there was this could have been an accident
All you can do is learn from it. It happens to the best of us and poorly maintained road markings certainly don't help things either. I think a big part of this isn't bad driving, it's just unfamiliarity with the road (potentially mixed with poor road markings). I've noticed that I too can be a bit sloppy on some roundabouts I'm not familiar with (usually larger ones because there always seems to be some odd curveball thrown in). Sometimes the left lane just sods off on the next exit and suddenly you're going from the very inside to the outside lane on a three lane roundabout. Sometimes you've got a series of roundabouts with differing road markings for going straight ahead.

Honestly, I just dislike roundabouts because there's little standardisation and there's always going to be people that get it wrong. I've almost clouted a number of people on an unmarked roundabout near my workplace because they've gone into the right lane to go straight on

The day before I didn't see a zebra crossing and there was a cyclist waiting to cross but I didn't see him at all until after I'd crossed and the passenger pointed it out. Thankfully he must have seen that I was coming too fast and he waited instead of crossing.
Again, it happens. Though, strictly speaking, you've done nothing wrong here.

Firstly, unless it was a shared use pavement, the cyclist was riding illegally.

Secondly, it's a common misconception that pedestrians waiting at a zebra crossing have priority. Pedestrians do not have priority until they step out onto the road. However, common sense would tell you that you should probably give way anyway, because if they step out in front of you, even if it's when you're right on top of them, you'll be at fault because the very moment they stepped out into the road was the moment they gained priority over you. It's one of those 'It's not a rule, but it's basically what the rule is with a dash of common sense'... Kinda like the whole give way to the right on a roundabout. The actual rule is give way to those already on the roundabout, but as that is almost always to road users on your right, that's how we've come to 'give way to the right'.

I feel unfamiliar with so many of the roads and even things like crossroads felt like a new thing to me. It has made me realise that my refresher lessons were a total waste of money. Since I've been driving I've always had someone next to me too and tbh I don't feel at all ready to be going out on my own.
This is going to happen, especially if you don't have experience with these roads and we're talking city/large town roads. I can naviagte your connecting A/B roads easily. Your small backroads? EASY. Unlit country roads at night? Piece of cake (I'm sure having 18000 lumens at my disposal is a great aid to that as well... Also works wonders for getting those oncoming idiots to turn their high beams off ). Strange city road with 14 million lanes I've never been on before? WTF IS GOING ON HERE?!?


I won't be able to take anymore driving lessons for a few weeks but is there anything else I can do in the intermjn? I've watched some videos on YouTube and reread the highway code last night but it feels like it's not enough tbh[/quote]
Best thing you can do is get experience. Without experience, you're only going to work yourself up until you finally do get some more experience behind yourself.
(Original post by elsa10)
I know half of the issue is that I have low confidence with driving but I have low confidence with everything. And then part of me is thinking well if I've made the above errors, can anything else be worse? I know I'll be avoiding the dual carriageway and the motorway for quite some time at the moment because there's no way I could go on those for a few months. But in terms of city driving what would you say are the most difficult things to learn?
I'd put dual carriageway and motorway driving much lower down in difficulty than city driving. The hardest part is joining, which is generally easy. Once you're on it's basically just plain sailing until your exit junction comes up unless the road has some specific oddities about it that you need to keep in mind, which, again, are usually very simple.

Saying that though, even with city driving, it isn't the complexity itself that's the issue. It's just knowing where tf you're going, knowing what lane you need to be in and getting into it if heavy traffic doesn't prevent you and trying to navigate any one-way systems. Though it does come with it's own oddities... The A460 near Wolves has one or two junctions with sets of lights placed waaay too close together which make it ripe for accidentally running a red light.

But really it depends on the city. I've been down Notts a few times, horrible place to drive. Derby isn't too bad. Wolverhampton? Even the first time, it was a rather simple experience. Though if you look at Notts and Derby, they're bigger cities than Wolves so that probably explains why I feel Wolves is so much simplier to drive in. I suspect I'd find a similar theme if I were to compare 'medium' cities like Notts with bigger cities such as Birmingham and Manchester. And I'm sure those would be a walk in the park in comparison to London.

Other passengers have said my driving is fine apart from the incidents I've described above but after both of the responses on this thread I am wondering whether it is time to pack it all in
I wouldn't get too worked up over it. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE will have their moments out on the road.
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