To just want a supportive driving instructor?

(86 Posts)
BoyMeetsWorld Wed 24-Apr-13 20:03:05

I think this may be all my fault but I'm really not sure & DH is saying he's going to phone the driving school & complain because I make myself sick worrying about my lessons and end up in tears after every one....

I'm a terrible terrible driver. I've tried to learn 4 different times with 4 different instructors (I'm now 28) and given up each time as the instructor basically said they couldn't teach me.

This time is the worst - I really desperately want to pass so I can do the school run with my DS. I'm trying so so hard to do everything the instructor tells me. But he says everything I do is wrong: I use a 'pathetic action' when I steer, I grab at the gears, I go too fast when I should be going slow and too slow when I should be going fast, I can't judge distance and he says I don't look anywhere. He shouts at me all the way round or else huffs and puffs and tells me I'm making everything difficult. At the end of my lesson today he told me he just doesn't understand me, I'm very unusual and he thinks I don't look at all. I tried to tell him I do - im constantly looking as im petrified of hurting myself or anyone else, but I don't understand what I'm seeing.

I know he hates teaching me. But when I joined, I told them I was awful & very nervous. I suggested I might be better with automatic after 4 lessons but he said that was stupid. But he can't fix me.

DH says I need to change instructors but I think it's just me. I'm awful & no matter how hard I try I'm just no good. The saddest thing is, in myself, I'd started to feel I was doing much better than ever before. But he still says everything I'm doing is awful.

Is there a driving school or an instructor out there who could work with me? I really do want to learn, I don't want to be useless at this anymore confused

Thank you for listening & for your thoughts

fayummummy Wed 24-Apr-13 20:33:23

Poor you, your instructor sounds horrible, no wonder you have no confidence in your driving. I've heard so many horror stories about what people have put up with from instructors. Please keep trying until you find the right one, you should be able to get free or at least a reduced rate on your initial lesson. I made the mistake of persevering with 4 instructors until I found one who was an ex lorry driver and he was unorthodox but fab and never criticised me, just gently corrected and guided until I had enough confidence to be calm, which gave me the head space to start making better distance and speed judgements and not being afraid to change gear (yes, I too did the grabby thing as afraid of being out of gear grin ) etc. You'll know when you've found the right one. I finally passed my test age 34!

I can't recommend a driving instructor as I am oop north, but I want to say I completely empathise with not being able to make sense of what you see, until recently (and still when I panic) everything just turns into a senseless mass of cars, a very very calm driving instructor who talked me through every tiny step (at my request..I need things explained A LOT) and I'm so much better....test on Friday, eek.

BoyMeetsWorld Wed 24-Apr-13 20:35:22

Tidy - two of them didn't refuse to teach me: they were truly awful instructors. One spoke next to no English, the other used to make me drive to the cafe and then go buy his lunch.

The one who refused to teach me - I was quite heavily pregnant whilst learning with him & I think baby brain had utterly taken over. He said I was dangerous.

Then there's this one who I know is headed that way just by how blatantly obvious he makes it that he hates teaching me, the stream of negatives & the fact he says he doesn't understand me at all.

Incidentally I'm pg this time too but only barely & putting it off until after isnt an option if I'm to do school runs in sept

Tisy10 Wed 24-Apr-13 20:35:28

Luton based so might be too far but I highly recommend headlights driving school (there is a Facebook page if you search it). Justin the instructor is fantastic!

PS mine is a one man independent driving instructor, expensive, depends entirely on word of mouth for advertising

Locketjuice Wed 24-Apr-13 20:37:31

Il pm you x

dexter73 Wed 24-Apr-13 20:38:43

Have you been out driving with your dh? If you have what does he think of your driving?

motherinferior Wed 24-Apr-13 20:42:56

Right. You've had very bad experiences of crap instructors. I feel your pain; I had a series of awful ones and was convinced I just 'wasn't a driver'; the last one but one was, I now realise, quite content to rip me off and let me pootle around - badly - for an hour and pocket the money (I only got on with doing my theory test because DD1's childminder told me she wouldn't have me back till I did!). Then I changed, got a decent instructor, went back to basics and guess what I passed. On my FIFTH go, fourth instructor, 14 years since my first lesson (OK, with big gaps in between) and 37 weeks pregnant...if I can do it, anyone can!

TidyDancer Wed 24-Apr-13 20:44:13

Oh you poor thing. You really haven't had much luck with them!

I went through two instructors, the first one I left because although he was an okay instructor, he was terrible at scheduling lessons and I suspect took on too many students at once.

You definitely need a small independent instructor. And pay per lesson rather than in a block so you can just stop without worrying about getting your money back if they turn out to be shit.

HortonHEARSaboo Wed 24-Apr-13 20:45:02

He sounds very unprofessional his parting words were delibritly insulting and hurtful I would make a complaint.

Oopla Wed 24-Apr-13 20:48:31

YES complain about your current instructor. Hope you find a better one through a recommendation here.

BoyMeetsWorld Wed 24-Apr-13 20:57:34

Dexter - I went out once with DH. But DH is a self-confessed aggressive driver. He's very confrontational on the road, drives fast & gets real road rage.

I expected him to be kind with me because he knew my issues but I stalled on a country rd with cars behind me, he started yelling at me & I panicked so much I couldn't get the car started at all, had to get out. So he said he wouldn't drive with me until I was much better. Died t help that his car has a much higher bite point than any I've ever learnt in, lots of digital controls inc a button instead of an ignition key & no handbrake. Bit scary to drive.

Thanks Locket....

jamdonut Wed 24-Apr-13 21:00:44

I passed my test when very pregnant!

My Dad taught me in a non dual controlled car. Then I went to work for BSM ,as office staff, and had a couple of lessons with instructors, before my first test,which I failed much to my shame!!
Second time,a few months later, I just stuck with my Dad,and passed!

dexter73 Wed 24-Apr-13 21:02:16

It's not surprising you feel so awful if everyone who has taken you out has ended up shouting at you. Maybe try taking lessons in an automatic and see if you find that easier.

Complain about your instructor.

Learning to drive if you're nervous can be scary and nervy enough (well, it was for me!) and having an instructor who is happy to make you few even worse is terrible.

I don't live anywhere nearby so can't reccomend but hope you can find a good instructor to help you!

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 24-Apr-13 21:08:55

The cost of lessons being what it is you can't afford to endure it with nothing to show for it. Your instructor shouldn't make you feel demoralised and upset.

I can't think of many other instances you pay to feel humiliated and castigated.

Please look into an alternative driving school. When our DC were ready to take lessons, DH's motorbike instructor tipped us off about good local instructors. One was a 'one man band', the other had a small franchise.

IfNotNowThenWhen Wed 24-Apr-13 21:09:13

Definitly a different instructor-now!
I had 4, and it was only with the last one it made sense. She was ex-army, and totally calm. She realised that I dont respond well to step by step instructions, e.g " now get into 2nd. Now move left. Now signal". Rather, she would say,"OK, we are going to take the third left" and let me think for myself a bit.
She also said, "all you need to do, is follow the road, and make sure you notice what the other cars are doing". Sounds obvious, but when you are doing all that look in this mirror, then that mirror, all you are really doing is checking what's around you.
Panicking and feeling stressed are the worst conditions to be driving in. With a better instructor you will be fine.

CognitiveOverload Wed 24-Apr-13 21:10:15

Get a different one. He's useless.

NatashaBee Wed 24-Apr-13 21:17:15

How far are you from Hemel Hempstead? I'm guessing maybe too far... but Jeanette was fantastic, she got my through my test on my ahem fifth, or maybe even sixth, i lost count attempt.

http://www.ucandrive2.co.uk/about.html

HerrenaHarridan Thu 25-Apr-13 00:01:35

Sorry op, I'm place marking because I need to go to sleep now. I will be back tomorrow with lots of advice for now though I will say two things

Your instructor should NEVER speak to you like that

You can learn to drive, I was a nervous wreck learning to drive last August and my test is next week! If I can do it anyone can.

DrCoconut Thu 25-Apr-13 00:16:56

I completely understand. I need everything explained and nothing about driving is logical to me. I have failed 3 tests and don't feel like I will ever pass. I am also the first person in my family to fail a test so no pressure there!

OnwardBound Thu 25-Apr-13 00:40:54

OP your instructor sounds AWFUL!

I have just passed my third driving test, following lessons with my fourth instructor.

My first [independent] was a pleasant enough chap but just let me pootle around the back roads and wanted to chat about his day.

My second [independent] was nice but very pedantic and particular. Used to get very worked up about MSM and the process of driving without really giving me a feel for why she wanted me to do it this way iyswim. So I became completely OTT about doing this, then that, then something else and would stress if sequence was slightly out of order because she would get slightly exasperated and nit picky about it. I ended up feeling I couldn't get it right, she always found something to find fault with and usually something relatively minor but she made a big song and dance about it. So after I failed my second driving test [due to unfamiliarity with a particular road and it's markings, I hadn't done enough re general road awareness with her] I decided it was time for a change of instructor.

Third driving instructor was AA. He seemed calm and encouraging in our first lesson and I thought great, he could be the one! But he got a bit stressy with me when I was practicing a bay park in my second lesson. I was getting flustered because he was giving me complicated directions on how to do this and I was struggling to follow his train of thought. I ended up bursting into tears and cancelled my remaining lessons with him.

However fourth time lucky. I googled 'patient' driving instructor and started lessons with a chap who had his own driving school. He was calm and friendly but also gently challenged me when I needed it. Basically he was more on my wavelength, I understood what he was telling me and he let me go at my own pace.

OP, in your position I would ditch your current driving instructor, really, leave the bastard, he is no good for you and will only leave you feeling completely demoralised.

As my experience shows, it is of vital importance to get the right instructor for you.

Don't give up, you will get it with the right type of teaching!

There are good instructors out there. Ditch this one and look for a one-person firm or at least a small company with just a handful of instructors.

I haven't used any of these personally, but here are a couple of local firms who seem to have good testimonials for dealing with very nervous drivers:

Glyn Fletcher
MSM Driving

(now it'll turn out that your current useless chap is one of these and I shall slink away and hide...)

Neighbourhoodwatchbitch Thu 25-Apr-13 03:40:36

I hated bsm! I'm in Aylesbury, but 3 of my friends passed with Julie Martin it won't let me pm you but check out juliemartindrivingschool.co.uk/

FeistyLassie Thu 25-Apr-13 04:20:44

I typed a very long reply but then the computer restarted and I lost it so to summarise (in case it decides to eat it again!):

I lost count of how many times I sat my test and how many driving instructors I had. Driving was the first thing I consistently failed at.

The most patient instructor I ever had was from an independent company. I tried most of the big firms (BSM; DRM; AA) but they had a very different attitude.

The very patient and gentle driving instructor didn't work for me as I couldn't tell if he thought I was doing something right or wrong. He was too subtle for me. I needed someone who was a bit sarcastic and a lot funny. My point is that you need to click with your driving instructor and there will be one out there who is exactly right for you. Personality is everything. It makes all the difference.

I finally passed with an independent company that specialised in Mini driving (I don't think the latter point is relevant but you never know! Obviously it meant the car was smaller!). I did intensive lessons when I started maternity leave and passed when I was 8 months pregnant. Everything just clicked into place. For the first time I understood depth perception and road sense.

Now, over 4 years later, I still absolutely love driving and rave about my instructor to everyone. If driving is important to you then keep trying. You will find the instructor that works for you. Good luck!

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