Learning to not drive

Learning to drive, driving, and using public transport

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JohanMidas
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Learning to not drive

Post by JohanMidas » Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:08 pm

It grinds you down, doesn't it?
I've been learning to drive, on and off, for over a decade. I must have had somewhere between 200 and 300 hours of lessons and practice. Five instructors (I think), so far. I've passed the theory test three times, as I keep failing to pass the practical test within the two year limit.
Last year I decided to start again, after a break of about six years. Two frustrating, stress-filled hours every Saturday doing the same routes, but never exactly the same way, for about eight months. Consistency has always been the problem, both the problem I have with myself and the problem I have with other road users. The routes are the same, but the hazards - the other road users - are always different. This is the issue.
Manoeuvres aren't the issue. I've never failed for parking, reversing, or anything like that. The issue is what has to be done on top of manoeuvres, on top of keeping control of the vehicle. The physical actions involved in keeping control of the car continue to take up a large part of my reservoir of attention. It's still conscious and effortfull. This leaves less attention to spend on everything else. That's the issue. (This is why hazard perception is not an issue in the theory test. The only machinery to control is a mouse. A mouse is not a hurtling complex metal machine which could kill people from a moment's inattention, and so leaves more attention to be spent on other tasks, like looking, noticing, thinking and responding.)
After two hours, eight months, every Saturday, I took another test, and failed again. I was actually pleased by how I'd failed. 'Just' two major faults in the final three minutes of the test. Much better than the large number of serious and dangerous faults which littered the previous four tests, all those years ago. Still a failure, but a 'better' failure. A failure closer to a not failure?
That was about three months ago. Since then I've moved changed job, changed city, and so changed instructor. Initially I thought the instructor was good. More ambitious, more analytical, more willing to describe, draw and explain. But more ambition seems to have translated itself into more frustration with my performance, with me not learning, and then more importantly not subsequently unlearning, to do things at the expected rate. As a result, performance deteriorated further, and with it the frustration, the sourness, and the condescension grew. Currently, lessons are on hiatus in the new year.

So: try an automatic, a new instructor, an automatic and a new instructor, or just try?
Or... stop trying?

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Re: Learning to not drive

Post by Jim » Wed Dec 18, 2013 2:08 pm

I'd ask yourself a few questions.

Do you really want to drive?

Do you really need to drive?

Is the multi-tasking, attention and concentration issue a realistic hurdle for you to manage?

---

I think that the time you've spent learning and the subsequent knock-backs you've suffered could cause you unnecessary additional stress and anxiety. You might actually be better served by ditching the driving aspirations and finding a way of commuting which is more effective for you.
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JohanMidas
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Re: Learning to not drive

Post by JohanMidas » Thu Dec 19, 2013 11:36 pm

Hi,

Those are the questions I've inadvertently answered elsewhere:

"
I want to learn to drive in order to be much more confident not driving. Driving is a nasty, expensive and time-consuming activity, and not something to get into a habit of doing. Widespread car ownership has led to crude oil dependence, bland suburban sprawl, and cities getting depopulated and carved up by pollution-belching motorways.
It might not be the most sensible or practical of reasons, but I want to learn to drive in order to be in a position to choose to reject driving and car ownership, rather than not to have that option available to me in the first place.
(And, of course, I want to learn to drive because it's incredibly difficult. Apparently I did much the same with cycling when I was about five: it took a lot of effort, a lot of scraped knees and tears, to cycle without stabilisers, but I was determined to learn how to do that. Once I could cycle without stabilisers, I stopped cycling.)
"

So, I neither want to drive nor need to drive, but I want to pass a driving test in order to be able to reject driving with confidence, and to be able to have this option if there's absolutely no alternative.

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Re: Learning to not dri

Post by Jim » Fri Dec 20, 2013 8:47 am

But you have the option to reject driving by stopping with your efforts to learn or pass your test now.

It's a big expense which can cause a lot of stress and anxiety especially if you intend on never driving again once you scrape through a test. If you don't have confidence in it now, and you won't have confidence to drive on your own.. then you're not going to have confidence if after another ten years of not driving you suddenly decide to give it another go.

Which is why I think your time would be better spent doing something more constructive for you. Something which boosts your confidence, self esteem and saves some money.
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Re: Learning to not drive

Post by Tom fod » Fri Dec 20, 2013 10:17 pm

I can see this from both sides.

I'm visually impaired so the decision has been made for me. I suspect that if I could see well enough I would have made every effort to pass the test. The attitudes of people who seem to think I'm a non-person because I don't drive do not help matters and while I should say 'well that's their unenlightened attitude and I should not care a fig' It's still a sensitive issue for me, even if I am saved the expense and trouble!

My brother recently passed his test after trying for a number of years. I'll hold my hands up and say that I and other people did doubt he would ever do it and wondered why he was throwing cash into a bottomless pit, etc. However, he has got there through sheer persistence. Sometimes you have to follow your dream and ignore the doubters. I can understand why you want to achieve this.

Once you have passed I think it is something you have to do regularly to keep the skill from going stale. Hence Jim's point about questioning is it worth it if after expending effort and a significant amount of money that you then might choose not to drive at all.
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Tim G
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Re: Learning to not drive

Post by Tim G » Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:53 pm

Like tom I can see this from both sides - you want to drive yet it is probably getting to the point of thinking what is the point of it - i am spending all this time and money. I can completely relate to this and was the reason I gave up on things - giving up needent be a thing you should not do espshaly if it is thought through.

I really think you need to think weather you really want to drive and also consider what if you pass - will you be able to drive safely and consistently every day - its not all about passing the test, that is the begging.

Ovesley you have spend a lot of time and money on trying so clearly it will be a disheartening to just stop now. I would recommend just learning a automatic and also finding a instructor who has or is spelshilised in working with adults with learning dysablities - they would be more understanding and probably have a more suitable teaching style.

If that does not work I really think you may just have to say it is not for me and accept that it is something you cant do - its not like you haven't tried and given it your best.
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Re: Learning to not drive

Post by Shadwell » Tue Dec 31, 2013 5:15 am

Hi JohanMidas,

what the examiner really wants to see is the simple hazard perception, like is the car going to overtake the cars on the opposite side of the road? are the cars in front going to stop for something going around the round-about, is the car 2 or 3 cars in front going to stop without warning, is there a shop, bus stop, playground, or some other reason for them to stop suddenly or without warning, are they visiting friends, and going to park on double yellow lines,

these are the real things the examiner is looking out for in way of hazard perception, it isn't quite as scary as you might think!! as the scary ones the examiner can't really test you for. like a car pulling out of a junction without warning, and go straight into the right hand lane for no reason.

while they can advise you on how to react to something like that, they can't blame you, as it would be the other drivers fault if you couldn't stop in time, as long as you can prove that you taken all steps to stop your vehicle. all he could possibly mark you for as how quickly you reacted to the car pulling out at last second, or how you reacted to the car cutting you up, and forcing you to take your foot off the accelerator. and possibly applying the brakes.

what the examiner is looking for is a nice Sunday drive with grandma or granddad. but not stationary when a gap in the traffic arises to pass a parked vehicle. if you don't feel you can make it in time, then don't move. you only get a minor for that rather than a major for forcing someone to change speed or direction.

you need to keep the car moving unless asked to pull over, or it isn't safe to do so. but also not driving too slow, so slowest should be like 20 mph in most situations where things can arise. or less if a sharp corner that requires slower speed. it must be a valid reason for going slower than 20 mph in a 30 mph zone.

the only times you should do 30 mph on a driving test is when it is safe to do so, like not in a built up area, and no parked vehicles, or shops, or playground, or you can see far enough ahead to do 30 mph. they really want to see you aware of potential hazards more than concerned with your speed.

and comfortable to be in control of the car like it is an arm or a leg, so relaxed loose grip on the wheel, rather than a machine from terminator that has control of you. and you are on a white nuckel rollercoaster that you don't know your destination, that is easy it is back at the test station!! so just relax, and take your time to a certain extent. don't be in a hurry to get the driving test over and done with in 5 minutes flat.

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Re: Learning to not drive

Post by Shadwell » Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:00 am

but I guess the main question has to be, do you feel safe enough, and confident enough to be able to drive to the best of your abilities?
other questions like how serious is things like hand-eye co-ordination? do you feel the car is in control of you still especially as so long learning?
how much do you really want to pass the driving test? what would it mean to your life to be able to drive?
there are loads of questions before you decide whether it is a case of should I/ Shouldn't I?

I think you need to sit down with a list of pro's and cons now, rather than I am not sure.

I have given up on becoming a large goods vehicle driver, as my hand-eye co-ordination, and my reaction times are too slow, and probably lethal to other road users that do stupid crazy suicidal things in front of me in my car even, and even now I am not driving anywhere near as much. now I mainly get my friend to drive if we go to play pool or whatever together.

like I have done 13,100 in 25 months, yes it sounds a lot but when you think the average driver does 16,000 in 24 months, it is not quite as bad, and my insurance covers me for 20,000 a year. which is compulsory mileage allowance for the mobility car, so no changing the mileage to pay less.

then they are basically going to get the car back with the mileage for 1 year on the scheme, so basically someone will own a low mileage mobility car. as it will have about 18,000 to 19,000 miles on the clock, instead of someone like my aunt that would do the 20,000 a year, and 60,000 miles at the end of the 3 year lease.

don't get me wrong I love driving, it is just the other stupid idiots on the road that make it a game of chicken now. or as the papers call it crash for cash.

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Re: Learning to not drive

Post by JohanMidas » Wed Jan 01, 2014 6:19 pm

Thanks all. Happy new year!
I'm going to look at an automatic, and a different instructor.
One of the most frustrating things about the most recent driving instructor has been the advice about making progress while spotting and responding in adequate time to hazards. In the first lesson he was saying I just need to slow down to give myself time. By the 4th/5th lesson he was saying I was being too hesitant. One lesson we went around the same block about a dozen times. He took over the car and showed me how he expected that route to be negotiated: he went about twice as fast as I felt comfortable going, and I'm sure if I went that speed I would crash into something.
I wanted to make clear to him that if, in a driving test, I failed due to an accumulation of minor faults in the making progress section, but did not get any major faults relating to observation, then I would consider that improvement and progress: it would be something I'd be working towards, not away from. Trying to fix the hesitation would reintroduce the other issues, which are much more serious. Only after driving 'too hesitantly', but consistently and safely for a long time, would I feel comfortable trying to speed up. This was not something the instructor seemed willing to accept, but then he was also not willing to accept the consequence that, when driving faster, the risk of major incidences goes up. I couldn't win.

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Re: Learning to not drive

Post by Jim » Thu Jan 02, 2014 10:28 am

Happy new year.

I admire your perseverance and trying new instructors can bring about positive change, however I'd still question your motives here.

What I've taken from your posts so far is that you cleary don't like driving, that so far you've had substantial difficulties in the learning process and furthermore are unlikely to ever drive again should you achieve the full liscence.

My questions are why? What are you trying to prove? Who are you trying impress?

Driving is a useful skill but it shouldn't define who you are and there are qually as valid ways of commuting. It certainly doesn't make you a non person if you don't drive whatever someome else decides they want to think.

Driving isn't something you should do if you're not confident enough in yourself to do it. It's not only your own safety which is at risk but anyone else who happens to be nearby, pedestrian, driver, passenger etc.

Slow, uncertain and hesitant drivers are just as risky as any other driver on the road including careless drivers, and they're ultimately more likely to be involved in accidents because of the confusion they create amongst other road users.

I just think that continuing to spend lots of effort and money on learning to drive and that you yourself seem to think that you'll never drive again afterwards is a massive waste. It's an expensive exercise in putting yourself through needless stress and anxiety and the money could be better used for a house deposit, personal learning & development for your career or simply recreational activity. :D
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Re: Learning to not drive

Post by JohanMidas » Thu Jan 02, 2014 5:24 pm

Hi Jim,
A prisoner can't choose to stay in prison as they don't have the option of not being in prison. Likewise, I can't choose to not drive until and unless I've passed a driving test. My reasons are as simple, fundamental and bloody-minded as that. I came close to passing on two occasions, and so given enough tests I should pass one. (I once asked if I could book three back to back.) I have the resources and time, and just need the patience and perseverance to be able to realise this goal. Then, I can move on and focus my time on more useful and enjoyable activities.

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Re: Learning to not drive

Post by Tim G » Fri Jan 03, 2014 11:48 pm

I do completely understand your perseverance and determination of wanting to learn to drive and I hope that you do but it seams as though you may be lost in all of it - i.e. got your head in the sand about it.

Also yes if you pass your driving test, good job done you think but the thing is what if you passed and just scraped a pass and if it was more a case of luck / fluke then competency.

I do not drive road veicales myself however I do drive forklifts and warehouse equipment at work. Yes its not cars but the thing is it took me a lot of time and effort to learn to drive a forklift - it was only when I had gained experience and practice at work that I am now a competent, safe and efficient operator. The thing is that passing your test is not the end its the begging - just passing and not using or giving thought about using a car is almost as bad as not passing in the first place you need the real world experience

"I can't choose to not drive until and unless I've passed a driving test". This does not make sense you can chose to not drive right now, just don't take any lessons, tests. Its the the same as choosing to do the lessons, tests etc.

I am not trying to be harsh at all - it just seams like you have your head in the sand about it all and cant see any way out but to continue what your doing in some kind of hope I really think you need to be more open-minded and realistic about the situation.
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JohanMidas
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Re: Learning to not drive

Post by JohanMidas » Sat Jan 04, 2014 12:26 am

The operative idea here is choice. If I do not pass a test but say I do not want to drive then I'll simply be demonstrating sour grapes style cognitive dissonance, or at least be unable to convincingly argue against that interpretation of my stated preferences. Only once I pass the standard tests which make driving an option legally open to me will I be in a position to actively reject it without looking and feeling like I've deluded myself into not wanting what I cannot have.

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Re: Learning to not drive

Post by Jim » Sat Jan 04, 2014 9:21 am

To be honest (and I do not mean to offend) I think you've "deluded" yourself into believing that people will think more highly of you if you have a full driver license. But they won't.

You speak about choice, and how passing your test would give you the choice to not drive. You already have that choice.

Right now It doesn't matter what someone else thinks of you if you don't hold a full licence.

But I tell you what, if you caused an accident which resulted in serious consequences then it would matter what people thought irregardless of tests passed or licence held.

Prisoners don't have the choice to simply leave prison, but they did have the choice of the actions they took that got them incarcerated in the first place.

I think you've got confused in the semantics of choice and responsibility.

Good luck with your endeavours.
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Re: Learning to not drive

Post by Shadwell » Sat Jan 04, 2014 3:52 pm

can we please tone down a bit on this subject, as this topic is getting a little too heated.

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