Hi, my name is Sasha I am twenty years old and currently studying Events Management at University in Leeds. This blog will be about how three years of happy driving in my small blue Peugeot 107 was affected by an incident that has since completely put me off driving. I hope that by sharing my story, I can help other young drivers who may be in a similar situation!
Where it all went wrong
It had been the Early May Bank Holiday and I had been spending the weekend in Manchester. On Monday my partner and I decided to take a trip to the Trafford Centre in order to try and pick up some deals. Just before the exit, we had to take off the M60 Ring Road, my car began to slow down and shunt with each wheel spin, I quickly pulled over into the nearest lay-by, and turned my car off. What happened? My tyre had blown. So, like many other young drivers, my first point of call was obviously my Dad. At this point I made sure my hazards were on, we were both out of the car and stood as safe as possible, everything the Highway Code teaches you. I remember feeling a little anxious as motorways are scary as they are – they’re even worse when you’re stood at the side of them! After speaking to my Dad to calm me down, I called my breakdown company who arrived pretty quickly. When they got there, they checked I was safe and fixed the tyre for me (luckily, I had a spare) and we were back on our way. I was nervous getting back into the car, but it was just a flat tyre after all, after three years of driving it was the first time anything had ‘gone wrong’ with my car so I wasn’t shocked, just a bit apprehensive.
Taking a turn for the worse
My partner and I had a lovely rest of the day in Manchester! We did some shopping and after, went back to my partner’s house. We ate tea and then it was time for me to set off to go home (near to Birmingham – over a 2-hour drive). Although I was still worried about the incident earlier on in the day, the next thing that happened is what has caused me to lose all confidence in my beloved car, motorway driving and lorries. Just off junction 11a (M6) to join the M5, my other back tyre blew out, however this time, it resulted in me losing control of my steering and almost crashing into an articulated lorry, missing by a split second. After this, I finally managed to pull over and again called my Dad. Whenever something goes wrong I always call my Dad because most of the time he knows what to do. I told him what had happened and explained how scary it all was and he made sure I calmed down, took a breath, and took all the right steps to keep me as safe as possible. It helped to talk to an adult who had also had similar experiences as he knew what to do! I came off the phone to my Dad and called my breakdown company for the second time in one day. When I was waiting for recovery to take me home, I was incredibly anxious, alone and so so scared!
After the incident, I had two new tyres fitted and three days after I got back into the car to drive. It was a little nerve-wracking but I was driving on small local roads so nothing too major. I used it only to get to work and back for a few weeks and slowly thought I had regained my confidence. About a month after, I was travelling to Bromsgrove to visit a friend and had to travel via a duel carriageway. On travelling back home I had a flashback when passing an articulated lorry that bought back a lot of anxieties and I remember just thinking ‘just get home again’. As soon as I did get home, I didn’t want to get back in the car!
What happens next?
When I got home I spoke to my family about the situation and they were very supportive in helping me with lifts to and from work (I still drive some days), as well as reassuring me that this memory is with the car and the incident and not with driving itself. My Dad shared his experiences with me about past accidents and that also helped. My next steps are to sell the car – don’t worry, it’s not just because of my incidents, I’m studying and while at university in a city my car just stays at home unused anyway, as I find public transport easier and cheaper while I’m away from home (it also saves the nightmare of finding somewhere to park). I plan to get Student Car Insurance when I’m back in the holidays, to be insured on other family members vehicles when I do visit home if needed, and I’m aiming to buy a new car once I graduate.
My advice to other young drivers with a similar experience is to get back in the seat as soon as possible, if you leave it too long, it may put you off from driving completely – which would be such a shame after months, maybe years, of learning to drive and all the money. Having said that, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend jumping into a long-distance journey by yourself straight away, especially if you’re still feeling anxious. Take short trips with family in the car, do small roads and slowly ease back into bigger, faster roads in good time. Talking to family and friends and reading other people’s experiences online has certainly helped me, so I would recommend you do the same if you can!
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