Nerves - PoloGirl
Feel a tad stupid posting this in a motoring enthusiasts forum but here goes.

As you all know, in the last six months I've had two collisions that were caused by another driver - one just steamed in the back of me, and the other was when a lorry changed lanes without looking. I have never been as scared as when I was spinning and thinking that lorry was going to turn over on me, and the car in the back of me was totally unexpected and hurt a lot!

I would be the first to admit that I've always been a bit over confident, and maybe these events have done me some good, but I think I've gone too much in the other direction now! When I'm driving in town I'm always looking in my rear view mirror and panicking that the person behind isn't going to stop. When I'm on A roads and Motorways, I spend too much time looking at the wheels of the car in the lanes next to me to check it's not suddenly going to move over.

It only takes one person to get too close and I am jittery for the whole journey. I'm going back to uni a week tomorrow, which will involve driving in the centre of Birmingham every day and I'm getting really concerned about it. I don't want this hesitancy to become so much of a problem that it gets me into more scrapes.

I'm not expecting quick fixes but it would be reassuring to hear that I'm not mad! Any ideas?


Nerves - Rob the Bus {P}

You're not mad at all - it's perfectly natural that you should feel like this. And I'm afraid that the only way to overcome it is to drive through the centre of Birmingham every day!

About three years ago, I had quite a serious crash whilst I was working. Basically and old and rather myopic lady overtook my bus as I was starting a right turn from a major road into a minor road. Her car ended up going through a garden wall, and the bus came perilously close to doing so as well. Not nice. But, after the police and ambulance had been and gone, the engineers at the depot brought me out a replacement bus and I was told to drive it back into town. I didn't want to - I really didn't. But I made myself do it, and I'm very glad that I did.

Your posts seem to indicate that you are a very confident driver, so personally I don't think that you'll have too much trouble.

Good luck and happy driving!


Nerves - bazza
Hi PG,

No, it's perfectly natural to be ultra cautious after events like you've experienced. Having a couple of scrapes does the world of good, you'll be a better driver for it and more aware of your own and other peoples' limitations. Keep up the defensive driving!
Nerves - teabelly
You're not at all mad to be very jumpy, PG! Instead of panicking whether a person behind you is going to stop/ cross into you or not you can decide that you will drive in a way that if they do you minimise the impact or have an escape route.

If you are moving in lanes of traffic then try and keep a good gap to the front. behind and preferably to the side of you. When driving in traffic on motorways and duals try and alter your speed so that cars on your sides are not going the same speed as you and staying alongside. If you are on the inner lane then slow a little so that they will get past rather than sitting alongside. If they do suddenly move over then you have space behind to brake enough to let them if needed.

If you stop in traffic slow down in plenty of time (more than you would have before) and make sure your brake lights show. If you are jumpy that someone will run into the back of you and you have already got the handbrake on then tap the brake pedal so your brake lights show again so hopefully if the car behind is looking the other way they will catch the lights and slow down. Also leave more space in front of you when you stop . At least enough to see some tarmac and the wheels of the car in front so you could either creep forward or at least prevent you being squashed in the middle.

If you are waiting to turn right across oncoming traffic and have already stopped, make sure your front wheels are pointing in the direction of the lane you are in so that if someone does hit you from behind you will stay on your side of the road rather than getting pushed into oncoming traffic.

Best thing is probably a little extra instruction on the art of defensive driving from a proper driving instructor in the traffic you are going to have to drive in every day before you need to do it.

Nerves - Altea Ego
PG, you are not mad, just a normal reaction after an accident. Use your hightened sense of awareness to your own advantage. It works like this, Be aware of what others are doing, and always have an escape route planned if they do something silly

In two weeks you will still be aware of whats going on around you, but not frightened of it.
Nerves - Hugo {P}
It's almost two years ago since the rear end of my old pug 309 was 'modified'.

I was always a bit apprehensive about people behind me, but now even more so, still after November 2001.

It's quite normal, you've realised you're vunerable in this way. We all are and those who accept the fact tend to make better drivers.

Nerves - GJD
You're not mad PG.

I was involved in an accident with a pedestrian who walked straight out in front of me without looking earlier this year. Later that day and for the next couple of weeks I deliberately drove along the same road and elsewhere where I could expect lots of pedestrians and cyclists. I was uncomfortable initially but it soon wore off.

A few years ago I was rear-ended. I remember afterwards being more nervous about what was going on in the rear-view mirror. But that passed too.

As others have said, your higher level of awareness will remain but the nervousness will go. And probably sooner than you think.


Nerves - OlafS
I had a very serious accident about two years ago on the M5. My fault. Wet, getting dark autum evening. Went to overtake a lorry, checked rear view mirror, wing mirror, but not my blind spot. I think you can all imagine the rest.
Anyway, I was back driving about two weeks later (had neck brace due to whiplash while spinning) and have checked my blindspot ever since. Unfortunatly, it takes something as serious as an accident, regardless of fault for people to become more aware.
I now drive on the principle that everybody else on the road is insane. Always make myslef as visible as possilble when overtaking.
The best thing to do is to be aware, give every road user as much room as possible.

Hope this helps!
Nerves - c_k_b_69
I know exactly what you mean, as a similar thing happened to me recently. Now I get jittery even when someone else is driving.
I'm constantly checking my mirrors, looking at other car's movements, however you have to be careful as driving without confidence is very dangerous. My advice to you would be to try and drive as much as you can when it's quiet. Build up your confidence that way, since it may be too soon to drive in rush hour Birmingham traffic. You may be hazadous to other drivers if you spend more time worrying about what other drivers are doing then concentrating on your own driving.
Nerves - SR
Some good advice above.

Be aware of other vehicles around you, and try to anticipate and prepare for what they might do. Don't fall into the trap of reacting to what hasn't happened, as you'll just be an inconvenience to others.

I agree with the use of brake lights when stoppped and handbrake on - I always keep my foot on the brake until the vehicle behind has stopped.

Don't worry that your experiences may be repeated - you're no more likely to have an accident than before. Statistically, you may be less likely.
Nerves - neil
Pologirl - sorry the crash has affected you like that - however if it now prompts you to question the best way to improve your \'surviveability\' then it was worth it!

Find your local IAM or RoSPA group - via their national website. There \'may\' be the faint whiff of humbug and more static electricity from acrylic cardigans than you would normally choose to associate with!

However, SOME of the members will be quite normal and the observed runs with a view to taking an advanced test should be fun - if it isn\'t, your\'re with the wrong group, or observer.

It\'s incredibly cheap for a life skill - total membership & test package about £75 and it really will change your attitude to driving - certainly a confidence builder and may well bring greater enjoyment than you\'ve ever had (from driving!) before - because this time you\'ll know you\'re worth it. Or something like that!

Nerves - Vagelis
It's perfectly natural to feel nervous. Fight it by driving as much as you can! Driving should be a safe and enjoyable activity, not a stressful punishment!

And remember, a relaxed, unstressed but aware driver is always better - in every way.

Enjoy driving!


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