Monday, 1 June 2015

Distance driving...

...and why I hate it.

In the last two and a bit weeks I have been completely out of my comfort zone. The reason for this is that we have been visiting lots of family and I have driven almost six hundred miles this way and that across the country. I'm not new to driving. I passed my test when I was 17, which is more years ago than I'd like to admit to, but until recently I rarely ever drove distances and I don't like it one bit.
(Due to Mr A's eyesight issues, I am now the sole driver.) 

The mind is a strange thing. I can drive around town and not have to concentrate on, or even be aware of, what I’m doing, but when I’m driving on a journey I have to fight my brain to not think about my feet, about my hands, about keeping the car in a straight line. This last point mystifies me. I have never, to date, veered off the road or drifted into a wrong lane, so why does my brain start to worry that I might be about to do just that when I’m driving long distances? It's not only a motorway thing either. It's any roads.
This is an old photograph of me driving - before I went blonde!
I don't have an up-to-date one.
One strategy that seems to be working is to have music playing, music that I can sing along to! This may not be particularly relaxing for passengers but it does stop my brain from ‘over-concentrating’. As regular visitors to this blog will know, I do love listening to music, so having to work out a journey playlist isn’t exactly a hardship for me.




Yesterday's music of choice, to accompany my drive from Manchester to Leicester, was from a selection of Tamla Motown CDs.


What is your favourite music to drive to?


21 comments:

  1. Music to drive to - it needs to be something I can sing! Cocooned in that metal box, on my own, I can belt out whatever I feel like - sometimes something rocky and loud, sometimes classical and loud, and sometimes a song that it meant to be quiet but I sing it loud anyway!!

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    1. That sounds like my kind of driving!

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  2. I like 'talking books' for long journeys. They make the miles fly by!

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    1. I love listening to talking books but unfortunately they make me feel sleepy so they're an obvious 'no no' for when I'm driving!

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    1. Have to admit that there are some excellent programmes on Radio 4. One of my favourites is Just a Minute. It never fails to make me laugh!

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  4. What a shame you find distance driving so taxing, Ros! I love long distance driving and unlike you, I hate driving around town! How different we can be. Actually, I spent years driving without music, but last year I bought a little car that has a CD player. Only one speaker works, but that's enough. I now love driving to music! My most played driving music is some compilations I've made of favourite rock bands, mostly from the seventies, but some later ones too.I like to play them as loud as possible and sing along at the top of my voice! Luckily, I mostly drive alone...

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    1. So far that's you, Jo and me singing at full volume. It's a wonder we can't hear each other!

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  5. Highway driving can be tiring due to the speeds and way more trucks. But it sounds like you are coping and ultimately the result - a good visit with family and I hope a cup of tea - is worth it. I enjoy compilations. Hang tough and when you need a break, exit safely and take one.

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    1. I always take a break in the middle of a journey. I fuel up on coffee and occasionally something very sweet to 'keep me going'!

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  6. I don't like music while I'm driving, and although here the OH still drives, in England I am the sole driver. Strange how the mind works, isn't it? To keep my mind on the job, I still occasionally pretend there's a Driving Examiner sitiing next to me (instead of the passenger-seat-driver that is my OH!)

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    1. Oh, no, Lizy! A Driving Examiner?! I'd be a nervous wreck if I imagined I was sitting next to him. It may have been many years ago but I still remember his scary manner!

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  7. I am immediately reminded of the song "Driving in my car" by Madness. Music can be so evocative. When I finished work about 15 years ago I gave up having a car and now use trains, buses,cycling,walking and sometimes taxis. Perhaps, if you did the same Rosalind, then the problems you speak of would not exist!
    When I used to drive my favourite thing to listen to was talking books especially "The Hitch Hiker`s guide to the Galaxy" Petra.

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    1. I don't think I could manage without a car, Petra, and it's certainly not an option at the moment for a great many reasons. Love that song. I'm now going to be humming it all afternoon.

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  8. Thank goodness, I've never had to do any long-distance driving, because I don't even like long drives when I'm sitting (or more likely, fidgeting and squirming) in the passenger's seat. Kinda hard to fidget and squirm in the driver's seat. I always carry a bunch of favorite CDs for long trips, though, and enjoy listening to them. Mostly oldies that we can sing along with.

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    1. Know what you mean about fidgeting and squirming as a passenger. I'm not very good at being one of those either!

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  9. I like a Beatles compilation of songs, if I'm alone so I can sing along merrily. I also stop off for very expensive motorway coffee, and a comfort break. Think of it all as part of a bigger adventure. Chill out, do a few shoulder rolls and stretches whilst in traffic and smile....if nothing else it confuses people.

    A good audio book is hard to beat too.

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    1. And what an expense they are! I always try to stop at a Costa Coffee services and have a flat white but the price never fails to catch me by surprise.

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  10. Hi Ros ... I used to love driving and listening to whatever came to light up the radio ... and having lived outside London but with grandparents in Cornwall or the Lake District (my mother's first husband's parents), and Bexhill ... school at Oxford for me, or Rutland for my brothers ... and driving like you at 17 I was always on the go in the car. I haven't driven much for 7 or 8 years as I've been tied here ... but I'll get up and go again ... thankfully I still can.

    I love the peace of driving, time to look at the differing parts of England usually, time to think ... I actually love silence, or bird song - with no interruptions ... I don't have the radio on often here either ...

    Well done on taking the plunge and visiting your relatives and friends - it's tiring and worrying if one's not sure where to go .. and those M-roads with traffic ... I try and steer clear. I trained to Canterbury, but will be driving to Chichester - much the same distance ... and I've a trip to make to see godaughter before she goes off to China (amazing achievement) when her mother and I will travel from MK to Birmingham to look at the new Library before the house lease is up. I will get up to see you too ... at some stage - with Laura I hope ... happy driving, and I must one day get some music organised ... but my uncle's car radio doesn't work properly ... and I can't be bothered or worried about doing something about it!

    Cheers and happy summer ... Hilary

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  11. I hope you enjoyed your road trip, Rosalind. I also don't like long drives, and get nervous when I'm not sure where I'm going. I admire you for going out of your comfort zone, and trying something new.

    Julie

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  12. I didn't learn to drive until my forties and drove for about ten years then I gave up. I would never have driven long distance and I hated driving on roads I didn't know especially motorways. I hated the speed of them and how everyone kept changing lanes,lol. I understand what you mean about your brain,mine kept saying to me "you're driving! You can't drive" far too much stress. I did listen to music,mostly seventies stuff and I sang at the top of my voice.

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