I have high hopes there are some rollerskating pros around here. I have a problem....

I got these beautiful new skates for my birthday, and I have only tried them out around my driveway a couple of times. I am too scared to take it to the streets, because I am having a very hard time stopping. I can skate like nobodies business, but stopping is not so easy. The stoppers are hard rubber, and they tend to bounce and skip when I touch them to the ground. I would really like to skate more, but I don't want to go sailing through red lights, or tumble over oncoming dogs. I miss the fearless me of yesteryear, but sadly, these bones aren't getting any younger, so I also would like to find some knee-pads that aren't bulky like the hockey and roller derby kinds. Any advice on stopping or knee-pads would be greatly appreciated. Roller skating stories are also welcome.