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To not be sure of intensive driving courses...

(19 Posts)
Unreasonablebetty Fri 20-Nov-15 00:22:15

I've been trying to learn to drive since the age of 17, it's just never really happened.
I've always been anxious- I do actually have anxiety so it doesn't help matters much!!
My Husband has recently said I would do better with a manual than an automatic so we ended up buying a manual car after I drove a manual and got on really well.

Since we bought this car I don't seem to be able to drive it... I stall completely unexpectedly, but it does mean I drive much more slowly so generally have better handling of the car.

So anyway. My anxiety has been terrible lately. Really terrible and I tend to take taxis most places which is costing an absolute fortune..

So I've been thinking I really need to knuckle down and get my licence, which I've been putting off because I just can't get the hang of a manual... Before we got this car when we would go out as a family I would do most of the driving unless we needed to go on the motorway.

I've found a few courses in the area where they talk of you passing your test in a week... Is this really possible?
Has anyone done an intensive driving course?
How did it turn out? Did you pass first time?

I just feel like it's a lot of money to spend as nothing's guaranteed.

DecaffCoffeeAndRollupsPlease Fri 20-Nov-15 00:53:04

Do you have support for your anxiety? I'm just thinking, however you pass your driving test, you'll need to be free from anxiety when you want to drive about. Some of the medications for anxiety are contraindicated for driving too.

Sorry to ignore your main question, it just occurred to me that whilst the test might take a few hours/days to pass, dealing with the anxiety (from personal experience) might be a bigger elephant to eat.

GruntledOne Fri 20-Nov-15 00:55:29

Sorry, I can't help about intensive driving courses, but I really cannot understand why your husband thinks you might find a manual easier than an automatic. It introduces whole new levels of complexity, and I suspect it's even more difficult to learn when you're used to an automatic.

munkisocks Fri 20-Nov-15 01:00:37

I opted for a private instructor who I found online. I tried ones like AA, Red and such but never were any good for me. I wanted a female instructor as over the last 8 years I've had 3 females and 3 males and the females I feel much more comfortable with.

I don't recommend the fast track courses. My brother did one and passed within a week. He came off it not knowing what 4th gear was and terrified of the roads. Their aim is to only get you through your test and to screw you after that. My instructor got me overtaking on dual carriageways on my 2nd lesson. I only had 8 lessons with her before I passed. She also gave me chocolate just before my test for nerves haha. I was pregnant too at like 25 weeks so couldn't take anything for nerves before test, only chocolategrin

Unreasonablebetty Fri 20-Nov-15 01:12:41

Hi Decafcoffee- no I don't have any support at the moment. I don't take any tablets because the side affects really made things worse. I'd tried several different sorts, and it seemed that some didn't help at all. And others just made me feel like a zombie, I found medication took all the normalcy away from life- Ive suffered with anxiety since childhood so it's kind of a normal part of me that I need to work around, I generally do have a few times per year I regress to a point where my anxiety is bad, but I am trying to get on top of it, and I often think that driving will make it so much easier because it will take away the anxiety of dealing with the taxi drivers and waiting about and worrying about being late, then the anxiety of how much money I'm spending on things like even doing the school run.

Hi Gruntledone- he seems to think that it's because it makes me slow down, not that I'm exactly Lewis Hamilton! But it just means I'll take things slower and drive better, other than that he hates automatics and has always moaned when we had one.
If I'm honest driving a manual scares the life out of me. In an auto, if your foot is on a pedal that isn't making you go faster then it's making you go slower... Using the clutch is quite confusing when I've not been used to using it.
I didn't feel too bad about it being a manual as I'd driven a manual fiat 500 a few times just beforehand, and I didn't have any problems, the fiesta just feels much harder to drive.

Unreasonablebetty Fri 20-Nov-15 01:19:03

Hi Munkisocks- thank you for telling me about your brother, I don't know anyone who's done the intensive driving courses, it seems mad that people can be driving in a week!! Really tempting, as I think I've just about got shares in the local taxi firm by now! All the money I could save if I were driving! But if he finished his course not knowing what 4th gear did then maybe that wasn't too good!
*note to self, must learn about 4th gear. I know 1st 2nd 3rd & 5th!

It sounds like your driving instructor was gold! You aren't in the Hertfordshire area are you? smile

RamblingFar Fri 20-Nov-15 01:29:03

I did it, but I didn't book a course. I just booked a local instructor for 2-3 hours a day for a week. Failed first test and then passed the second one after another week of lessons several months later. It fitted in with university better for me to do it that way.

Then I didn't drive for years until I started commuting to a different university 65 miles from home. By the end of the first couple of weeks I was soon back into it again.

DecaffCoffeeAndRollupsPlease Fri 20-Nov-15 01:37:31

Being able to drive is liberating, you'll enjoy the freedom once you get your license.

ButterflyUpSoHigh Fri 20-Nov-15 07:51:42

I did one and passed in 2 weeks. I had lessons at all times of the day and night. Best thing I ever did.

Munkisocks what rubbish. Your brother obviously had a poor instructor. I went with BSM they were fantastic.

TheGoldenApplesOfTheSun Fri 20-Nov-15 08:52:15

Doesn't sound like having a manual car is really for your benefit at all, more your husband's preference. Having driven both I can definitely say an automatic is easier to drive full stop. I have been taking lessons in an automatic and the instructor pointed out that if you're not focused on changing gears, avoiding stalling etc, you have more time & concentration for the road. Building up habits of checking mirrors correctly etc was so much easier in an automatic. Re being 'Lewis Hamilton' in an automatic - for heaven's sake he could have just asked you to slow down a little as he felt nervous - not bought a new car you don't get along with!

TheWanderingUterus Fri 20-Nov-15 08:53:22

I did one, but my instructor was poor. Unfortunately not having any experience of driving instructors I didn't know that until it was too late. I also suffer from anxiety and the stress and strain of driving everyday for hours made it worse for me.

However I did pass within three months having got rid of the shit instructor. I found a female instructor who specialises in nervous drivers. She was bloody wonderful. Organised, calm, she never berated me for my mistakes or made me feel small or stupid. She was an independent who let me take lessons with 3 year old DS in the back after the first few weeks, and we did lessons three or four times a week until I passed. I have been driving for two years now and I still use a lot of the advice and affirmations she gave me.

britbat23 Fri 20-Nov-15 11:49:18

Since we bought this car I don't seem to be able to drive it... I stall completely unexpectedly, but it does mean I drive much more slowly so generally have better handling of the car.

FYI you stall because you drive too slowly, so this isn't helping. And if you are stalling frequently then you certainly aren't getting "better handling" of the car. You definitely need tuition!

PurpleCrazyHorse Fri 20-Nov-15 12:02:47

My brother failed his test twice while having the usual weekly lessons. He did an intensive course and passed. He'd clocked up a lot of driving hours though. he just needed a blitz of the skills (bit like a revision course) to get it all right before the test.

I agree that if you're stalling all the time and driving slowly then you don't have 'better handling of the car'. You're driving too slow with not enough gas to keep the car running and might well be more dangerous on the road. Obviously you're still learning and have L plates so other road users can keep their distance.

You need a good instructor and don't be afraid to keep trying until you find one, and to get some help with your anxiety. I worry that once you're driving independently, the first mistake/beep you get. you might end up feeling more anxious.

You can also get cars which are manual but can be driven as semi or fully automatic. My friend had one and drove it as semi automatic after she passed her test while she concentrated on the road (London driving), once she was more confident she used it in manual. Worth looking into if you'd rather drive automatic but DH manual.

OurBlanche Fri 20-Nov-15 12:06:36

I did and passed.

Most of the instructors are used to having customers who have had problems, are anxious etc. Phone round and chat with a couple then pick the one you like the sound of most.

Good luck.

steppemum Fri 20-Nov-15 12:56:20

I did (years ago) and passed.

The advantage was that instead of waiting a week between lessons, so you have forgotten some things before the next lesson, you keep going.

But no-one can concentrate all day in a car. We did mornings driving, 2 of us taking turns, and then an hour theory, which included lots of things like what to do in an accident.

It was a very good course.

I thing rather than an intensive course, in your case I would book a long lesson every day for a week (or two weeks). That will build your confidence day by day.

lougle Fri 20-Nov-15 13:29:01

I did an intensive course. Monday-Thursday 9-5 driving lessons. Friday morning test. I had been driving under supervision in my now DH's Peugeot 205 for a few months beforehand. I passed first time.

Then I did an intensive Pass+ course the following week, which covered motorway driving, night driving, etc.

lougle Fri 20-Nov-15 13:30:49

The intensive Pass+ was great because I drove from Southampton-Staines in one day, using the M25, etc. If I'd done it in discrete lessons, I wouldn't have had time to reach the M25.

ThatsNiceDear Fri 20-Nov-15 16:48:55

I've done this and I passed first time. It was a long time ago but I think it was 4 hours a day every day for 5 days, and the final hour was the test, or something like that. As you already have some driving experience I think you'd do really well. I would definitely recommend it.

PersonalClown Fri 20-Nov-15 17:04:33

UnreasonableBetty- Where abouts in Hertfordshire are you? My instructor is awesome.
He's easy to talk to, very patient and very flexible about what you want to do.
I'm on betablockers (for migraines but with the added bonus on lowering my anxiety) and he is very good at saying the right thing and teaching me in a way that I understand.
He says that in about 5 hours he can figure out if you can cope with gears and whether it's just nerves.

If you are near me/in his area, I'll see if he's got spaces soon.

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