What I Learnt From My First Long-Distance Drive

I'll admit, I never used to be THE most confident driver in the world. The thought of motorways used to scare me, probably because of lorries (an irrational fear of mine), hill starts made me go into a cold sweat and I never used to check in my mirror as often as I should. My Grandad always said to me that you should always concentrate on the driver in front as the driver behind you has got to concentrate on you. Not sure that was the soundest advice/wisdom he gave me. But I can see the logic behind it! So god knows how I was going to cope with a long-distance drive!

What I Learnt From My First Long-Distance Drive

Anyway, with a staycation to Liverpool pending, I knew it was time to bite the bullet and drive myself up there for the trip. I usually go on the train, but as things are still up in the air with Covid, I knew I wouldn't feel entirely comfortable sitting on a train near others. So it was going to be a lengthy arse journey up north awaiting me. 


Guys, I won't lie, I was quite nervous. I think any driver would be to be honest, no matter how long you have been driving. The furthest I've driven in my car is Bristol so this was massive for me. Thankfully, I wouldn't be alone on the journey and my best friend would be my navigator, alongside the TomTom. 


I can safely say now that I made it back and forth from Liverpool with no issues, nothing or no one got hurt and my car survived. I gave it a clean as a reward for being so good. 

What I Learnt From My First Long-Distance Drive

My first long-distance drive was a success and I learnt so much from it -


1) PREPPING  MY  CAR  EASED  NERVES
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I checked my oil, water and tyres before the trip and I'm so glad I did. It's a relief knowing that the oil and water are at reasonable levels and that my tyres were full before the trip. Safety first guys, safety first. It takes 5-10 minutes to make sure your car is safe for driving. 


2) PLANNING  MY  ROUTE  HELPED
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Surely I can't be the only person who goes on Google maps to study the route and look at what it looks like, can I? Well, that's exactly what I did. I think I kind of do that for every new place I travel to, even if it's somewhere in Newport. I knew I wanted to get up there quickly and safest way possible, which I did and I'm happy that I checked the route to make sure it was right for me. Nothing worse than being nervous en route driving to your destination, especially a long-distance drive. 

What I Learnt From My First Long-Distance Drive


3) BUY  SNACKS  //  DRINKS
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Stock up on food guys, you're going to need it. My friend did a snack run before the trip and I was treated to Jelly Tots and Wotsits on the trip. Also, we made a pit stop at the services to divulge in a Gregg's, speaking of services...


4) STOPPING  WHEN  I  NEEDED  TO  HELPED
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Services are there for a reason, to have a break from the driving and to have a wee. We stopped on the way up and I'm pleased we did. Just to have that half-hour rest helped me for the rest of the journey. Plus there was no way I could have held on to that wee for another 90 minutes or so. 


5) KEEPING  CALM  IS  KEY
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Calmness is key, getting into a fluster on the motorway helps no one. I knew by keeping calm, concentrating and being mindful of other motorists, I would be ok. 

What I Learnt From My First Long-Distance Drive


6) HAVING  A  DECENT  SATNAV  IS  GOOD
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My friend set up her TomTom in my car for the journey there and back and it helps to have that navigator assist you during the drive. It made me feel at ease following something and know that it could reroute me if I turned on the wrong road by mistake. It's like having that extra person in the car. I loved it and it made me feel at ease. 


7) I  ACTUALLY  ENJOYED  IT
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Honestly, I never thought I would enjoy nearly three hours of driving, but I actually did! I saw it as a personal accomplishment that I drove so far and didn't f*ck up. From somebody who used to be terrified of motorways, to know I drove four different ones in one day and kept calm throughout the journey made me feel so proud of myself! I even had a high five from my best friend when we drove into Liverpool!

What I Learnt From My First Long-Distance Drive

I'd like to think that I can feel confident enough to drive to Liverpool and other places around the UK in the future. I want to be able to drive to other places around Wales and the UK and experience a lot more staycationing. Plus train tickets have gone SERIOUSLY high in their pricing.  


Do you enjoy driving long distances or do you prefer to let somebody else do it? Let me know!
46 comments
  1. I've always wanted to drive on my own but I'm too scared! I deferred my driving lesson for a few months, and a few months turned into a year and now, I've lost count. Maybe this is a sign for me to just go with it.

    Anyway, this was a huge achievement, Lucy! Not many people can do it but you did it and I'm glad that you enjoyed it xx

    lenne | lennezulkiflly.com

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    1. I've been driving for nine years and it's only taken me until now to drive up somewhere quite far, so don't worry, you'll be more than ok with driving lessons! Sometimes you just gotta go for it! xx

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  2. Thats great that you were able to do it. Having something to look forward to definitely helps too.

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    1. I think knowing I was going on staycation definitely made the drive worth it! x

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  3. Massive congrats on such a long drive, especially on all those motorways! I don't mind driving long distances on country roads and dual carriageways but motorways scare me so Alan has to do those. Great tips, Lucy, thank you! x

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    1. Country roads and dual carriageways make for a very relaxing drive! Just let Alan do all the driving Lisa, sounds like a plan! x

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  4. Ooh great post Lucy, I think this will help people who are anxious about their first drive x

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    1. I hope it can help those who feel anxious about driving, especially long distance x

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  5. Big congratulations on the long distance drive, that's a huge milestone. I've had driving anxiety since a woman t-boned the car and I got my ribs broke a few years back. It took me years to build up to a long drive which I done this summer. These are great tips for those who want to but are a bit nervous.

    Jordanne || Thelifeofaglasgowgirl.co.uk

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    1. Thank you Jordanne!
      Oh that sounds like a nasty car accident, I can completely understand how that would knock your confidence in terms of driving. I'm glad that you have built up your confidence again and have started driving long distance again, that takes real guts! x

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  6. I took driving lessons for awhile but Covid disruted it so much and my instructor made me feel uncomfortable so I gave it up when I started uni. I think one day I would like to be able to drive, as you said with covid, I just am not ready to go on the train just yet. Well done on the drive and great to hear that you enjoyed it xx

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    1. I've seen so many others have their driving lessons disrupted because of Covid, which I can imagine has been highly frustrating for them. It's not good that your instructor made you feel uncomfortable, you need to have an instructor with a lot of patience and understanding! The trains are literally Covid hotspots so they're not going to be travelled on by me for a while! xx

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  7. Well done on the long drive, lovely! I’m still very much trying to build myself up going on longer drives. I’ve been driving 3 years now but still can’t bring myself to drive on the motorway, I just find it a little scary with all the big lorries and then there’s me in my little Fiat 500 haha!

    Samantha | https://samanthajblogs.co.uk

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    1. It took me five years to go on the motorway, it does take a while to build up to it! Like you, I find the big lorries a little scary as they're quite overwhelming in a way! x

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  8. It's great that you were able to do the drive safely and calmly! That's all that matters really :)

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    1. I'm so happy that I got there and back safely!

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  9. I used to love going for long drives but I'm quite a nervous passenger these days because the car can make me really poorly!
    I'm so glad your first long trip was such a success!

    Rosie

    https://www.loverosiee.co.uk

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    1. Car sickness is one of the worst types of sickness, once it comes, it's a nightmare to go! x

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  10. That's amazing! Well done on your first long distance drive! I'm glad you enjoyed it.
    xoxo
    Lovely
    www.mynameislovely.com

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  11. This is a really helpful blog post for nervous drivers or drivers who are worried about longer distance drives. Thank you for sharing Lucy.

    Lauren - bournemouthgirl

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    1. I hope people do find this post helpful too x

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  12. That's amazing! Well done on your first long distance drive! I have been on a few long distance drives now Edinburgh-London, Edinburgh-Manchester, Edinburgh-Birmingham and I actually do quite enjoy them! You have included some great tips including making sure your car is safe to drive is such an important one that quite a lot of people tend to forget.

    Sarah | www.aspoonfulofvanilla.co.uk

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    1. Thank you Sarah!
      It's surprising how much you enjoy them isn't it?!
      I think people do sometimes forget to check their cars for safety etc, it should be done more often! x

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  13. Well done you, this is a brilliant achievement! I'm so glad you enjoyed it in the end. I love long drives but you're right, it's so important to be safe and prepare first xx

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    1. Thank you Della! I never thought I would enjoy it as much as I did! xx

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  14. Really loved this post! I’m not a driver myself but I know my friends who are nervous drivers will really love this post and find it helpful. I’ll be sharing this post with them. Thank you so much for sharing lovely! Xo

    Elle - ellegracedeveson.com

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    1. I hope that people do find this post helpful, I used to be a really nervous driver but I am lot more confident now! But new routes make me a little edgy sometimes! xx

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  15. Ahhh well done babe, I am super proud of you. I remember my first long distance drive and loved it. I do get super tired though so I can only do around 2 hours haha and then I let Gareth drive the rest

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    1. Thank you babe! It is super tiring isn't it?! Stopping when you need to is so important x

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  16. Such a good and helpful article! I'm always very stressed when driving, even though I love it!

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    1. Yeah I feel that too, I love driving but it does stress me out sometimes, especially the idiotic drivers on the roads!

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  17. Lucy this post gives me SO much hope! I passed my test when I was 18 and was a really confident driver for a few years (although albeit I'm not sure I was particularly good, who is at 18?) but then when my anxiety disorder started I lost ALL confidence driving. Over the last few years, I've started getting back into it and whilst I'm still nervous I've driven on roads I never thought I would again. Motorways are my next to tick off the list, so thank you for these tips! x

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    1. Aww Jenny! I'm glad I've given you some hope with your driving! Oh nobody was goo at driving at 18, myself included!
      I'm happy to see that you're getting back into driving and I hope you crack the motorways soon!

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  18. It can be such a scary prospect, but I adore driving long distance!

    Danielle | thereluctantblogger.co.uk

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  19. Planning your journey is definitely so important! I plan everything!

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    1. I like to plan ahead before going on any journey too Amie!

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  20. Well done, Lucy.

    It's a confidence thing - the more long trips that you do, the less you will worry about them. Its just fear of the unknown when you lack experience.

    I still remember the advice that I got from my instructor. "Driving a car is easy. It's watching out for all of the idiots that's the hard part!". Wise words, I think.

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    1. Thank you Richie!
      Yeah I agree, it's definitely a confidence thing, the more I'll do now, the more confidence I'll hopefully build up!
      I love what your instructor said, that's so true!

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  21. So many great tips. When you havn't done a long distance drive in a while it is quite nerve wrecking, isn't it? The worst bit for me is getting onto the motorways via the slip roads, however once I have done a few, it is like "What were you worrying about?!".
    Congrats on making it to Liverpool and back!
    Aimsy xoxo
    Aimsy’s Antics

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    1. Yeah the slip roads can be a little tricky, especially no cars will sort of let you on! xx

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  22. Good for you girl! We live quite far away for our families, so long distance is something we've gotten used to. That's not to say I'm a confident driver though when it comes to driving far. I'm a big googler before a trip & I'm totally with you on the lorry thing. For me it's more motorbikes though that give me anxiety.

    Claire.X
    www.clairemac.co.uk

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    1. I'm glad I'm not the only big Googler before a trip! Motorbikes I don't like either as I always get wary about them being in my blind spot etc x

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  23. I always get nervous to drive. Not for myself but more about the other drivers. When your the driver over the passenger, you see what goes on more from a different perspective. Loved your tips and post here :)
    http://www.bauchlefashion.com/2021/09/the-corduroy-2021-shopping-guide-where.html?m=1

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    1. I'm glad you liked my tips and advice on driving lovely!

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