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to dump my driving instructor

(29 Posts)
Crumbleface Tue 28-Mar-17 12:51:53

Would like some advice...

Had my first (and only) driving instructor for 40 hours + of lessons.

I feel I'm almost at test level now, but admittedly, am quite a nervous driver and occasionally make a mistake or two. My issue is I feel I'm not really making more progress. My manoeuvres and driving are ok, although I still slip up on manoeuvres occasionally. I feel a lot of it isn't going in, but my instructor says I'm getting there, so I must be, and I'm just over thinking things. When the lesson ends, there is no recap or lesson summary, he just says his goodbyes and that's it. Not sure if this is normal, as I have nothing to compare him to. I have asked him a couple of times when I'll be test ready and whether to book a test, he just goes a bit vague and says "I'm not quite there yet". Am I being fleeced?

I get on ok with my instructor, but I'm getting a bit impatient now. He has cancelled lessons at the last minute a lot and has been very slow to get back in touch to rebook them. He has a lot of students too, so I'm starting to question the quality of the lessons, since at 40 lessons+, there is no indication of when I'll be ready for the test. I wonder if he's just going through the motions and picking up the £25 from me each week? I said to him that I thought it would take a long time for me to learn and I'm very self-critical during the lessons, so I think he might be abusing this.

When I first started, he said I appeared to be a fast learner and shouldn't take many lessons to pass, then after more lessons said "I'll eat my hat if you're not passed by the spring".....Well it is spring now! My OH thinks he is taking the piss and is also getting impatient as he has to drop me off at work and wants me to pass as quick as possible. My OH is one of those strange people who passed in about 5 lessons though.

So.......I have cancelled lessons with him and pretended that I couldn't afford it. I have booked another instructor for next week, but am worried it will take me a long time to pick it up again in a new car. Is this the right move or have I made a mistake?

I'm just desperate to pass now! Anyone else had this dilemma?

QueenInsomnia Tue 28-Mar-17 12:58:54

Some instructors do take the mick. I did roughly 40+ hours with my old instructor, and got no where. I felt so defeated that I just stopped completely, in 2010 until last year. I found a new instructor, who was very supportive, and gave me summaries at the end of the lessons. He even helped me with my theory studying, and I passed my theory first time. I only did 20 hours with him, and passed my driving test first time. Maybe I wasn't ready the first time, or maybe it was the instructor, I'm not sure. But sometimes you just have to trust your instinct. Give it ago with the new instructor, and if you feel no different than maybe it is your self esteem that's letting you down. You won't know unless you try though. Good luck, and I hope you pass soon. It's such a stressful time flowers

Happyandhungry Tue 28-Mar-17 13:06:19

My dad was a very honest driving instructor, ex police, always early and had a 100% pass rate. He did the job for a year and earned £6000 hmm he knew of most other driving instructors were deliberately not letting their students go to test as they knew they would pass and didnt want to lose them so they were basically fleecing. He would never do this and hated the idea of it (in fact he picked up a few students who like you came to suspect they were being fleeced - did a couple of lessons with them and they then passed their test first time, he even told them they could have passed ages ago in his opinion!) So in the end he jacked it in and worked elsewhere as it doesnt seem you can make a huge amount of money as a driving instructor unless you're prepared to string people along.

Ampersand22 Tue 28-Mar-17 13:09:10

I wish I'd changed, I was taking lessons 10 years ago and in the same position as you. My instructor was too busy talking about his impending divorce during lessons, he was a bit of a creep. I failed my test, just didn't feel confident. I say change if you're not comfortable.

Greyhound81 Tue 28-Mar-17 13:14:49

Absolutely - it happened to me many years ago. Failed four tests and had a massive amount of lessons with one. Thought I was useless and was going to give up.

Move to another instructor and had about 5 more lessons took another test and passed.

I do think some take the mick but also there may be ones that aren't doing anything wrong but the teaching style just doesn't suit. I always remember my second one saying 'as long as you can see daylight between you and what you're reversing by you can't hit it. Sounds really stupid and obvious but it just suddenly clicked. I'm a really confident driver and can reverse park etc no problem.

40 lessons with no test confused doesn't seem right.

neverthetwainshallmeet Tue 28-Mar-17 13:15:12

I have booked another instructor for next week, but am worried it will take me a long time to pick it up again in a new car. Is this the right move or have I made a mistake?

Do you practice outside of your lessons? If not, you should, you will be ready to pass your test sooner.

I don't think driving a different car is a negative, can only be a positive IMO. Currently you're only used to one car, but all cars are different and have little nuances that will affect your driving (acceleration, braking, gear stick change, clutch control, ability to see to do manoeuvres, different size etc).

gamerchick Tue 28-Mar-17 13:22:08

Why aren't you practising in your own car with your husband? Itll get your confidence up a lot. Ring the insurance up and ask them. My husbands premiums went down when he added me as a learner which is really weird to me but whatever.

gamerchick Tue 28-Mar-17 13:23:18

I didn't find driving a different car much of an ordeal. You get used pretty quick.

RebootYourEngine Tue 28-Mar-17 13:30:31

I did this. Felt like i was getting nowhere but round in circles so i took a couple of months break, booked a new instructor and 3 months later i passed my test. Not every instructor will suit every learner.

RaspberryOverloadsOnChilli Tue 28-Mar-17 13:31:58

I dumped my first instructor, he was a bully.

I waited a few years and passed first time, with a nice patient bloke who was way better than the first wazzock.

Lingotria Tue 28-Mar-17 13:33:22

I have dyspraxia so it took me a long time to learn how to drive - but even then it took years for me to be referred for automatic lessons (no auto instructers around where I live, so if you want auto lessons due to disability they have to be referred and ferried in). The auto instructor was brilliant and I'd passed after 50 hours of tutition - so yes, def switch things around.

Crumbleface Tue 28-Mar-17 13:35:59

Thanks for the really helpful advice.

It would seem I made the right decision. My instructor is also going through a divorce by the sounds of it and is planning to go on holiday when it is all sorted (which might be soon) so that's another reason to go elsewhere. I originally put the amount of lessons down to being older (35), but yeah, I do feel 40 lessons and no test date or any substantial feedback is not really acceptable. I need something to work with!

I would say I'm nervous when driving, but I have never burst in to tears or anything, so I suspect he might be taking advantage of me. What Happy and Hungry said was particularly insightful too. It's nice your dad was so honest.

I will make it clear to the new instructor that I will be booking a test very soon, so he had better get me at test standard and if I fail, I'll go elsewhere. Sometimes you have to lay down the law!

@Never - I have gone out in the car once with OH and found it really strange. I did nearly crash though! It was a rare day when OH and I don't have DS - he is usually with us most of the time, and I won't drive a car with him in it until I've passed. Would never forgive myself if anything happened!

giraffesCantReachTheirToes Tue 28-Mar-17 13:40:59

I had a few extra lessons with someone else when I had nearly passed and he just caught a few things that my other one hasn't. She taught me the bulk of it but a few weeks bits just weren't quite polished enough

Meekonsandwich Tue 28-Mar-17 18:17:29

It sound a like the only way you would improve now would be to pass your test and get driving on a regular basis.

Honestly he's taking the Mick. I wouldn't change instructor now honestly as theyll take 5 to 10 lessons to "get used to you and see what you can do"

Do what I did and book your test!!! Text him and say "I' my test is this date convenient for you?"

If he says "you're not ready" say "I'm going for it and if I fail we have something to work on."

Job done. It's what I did, I passed first time smile

LuxCoDespondent Tue 28-Mar-17 18:25:30

Change instructor. Regardless of the reasons why, if you are not convinced then try someone else - you can always go back to the first one.

I had a similar experience, one instructor for about 10 months during which time I was terrified of driving and kept making stupid mistakes. Not dangerous stuff, but being overly-cautious perhaps. I failed my test, changed instructor and it was night-and-day - I was literally a better driver straight away, calm, safe and after about six hours of instruction with him I passed my test without any problems.

It's not that the first instructor was "bad" as such, just that I didn't gel with him.

LuxCoDespondent Tue 28-Mar-17 18:32:27

I think the question of a new instructor taking five or ten lessons to see what you are capable of might not be universally true - certainly not in my case. In my first hour with the new instructor he basically said "drive how you like and pretend I'm not here" which gave me the confidence to just drive "normally" instead of being terrified of fucking up and being judged by my previous one.

It obviously depends a great deal on the learner, but I don't see why it would take half a dozen lessons to see what you are capable of. They will know within a few minutes whether you are a safe driver, and you can be frank with them about what you are confident or uncomfortable with from your previous lessons.

In any case, I would recommend at least trying another instructor. You don't have to tell the first one that you are doing it - just say you won't be having lessons for a couple of weeks, and see how you fare with a new instructor. Let's face it, you've been mucked about enough, so don't feel bad about trying someone else.

BettyBaggins Tue 28-Mar-17 18:37:44

I changed instructor after failing 2 tests with him. New instructor was fantastic, she boosted my confidence, I passed after 2 lessons.

CarrieMyBag Tue 28-Mar-17 18:43:25

I just passed my driving test last week. I took 50 hours lesson, and yes my instructor was taking the mick. He was a grumpy bastard, but he was good that I knew what to remember when I was done with him, I took notes as well for maneuvers tips. In the end he cancelled a lesson 10 minutes after it was supposed to start and charged me for it so I lost patience.

I failed the first test with him and he said I needed 20 more hours which was bollocks. I decided instead to practice in our car with DH, drove every weekend, and took 2 tests on my own. One test is £62 so that's like 2.5 hours lesson anyway, so I thought I'd keep trying until I pass. I passed my 3rd test. The key is to drive your car calmly and in full control, notice ALL signs and road markings (I talked to myself in my head reading all signs), look at mirrors when you slow down/speed up/make a turn, and this is what failed me the second time, anticipate other drivers (even the bad ones!). It's okay to drive a little slower too, they sort of expect you to.

Good luck, OP smile

Trifleorbust Tue 28-Mar-17 18:45:27

I think it is okay to change your instructor for whatever reason you like. You are paying for tuition and if you don't think it is going fast enough or whatever else, you're under no obligation.

BUT I will say I had to stick with mine for more like 60-70 hours because I just wasn't very good. He didn't do recaps or anything like that - just solid, patient and correct instruction. No-one to blame for my slow progress other than myself grin

Crumbleface Wed 29-Mar-17 13:24:27

Thanks for the advice everyone.

I think it would be useful experience to drive in another car anyway, but I am worried I will just find out that I'm actually just a crap driver and my old instructor was right not to put me in the test! I'm expecting to fail first time due to nerves anyway, so just want it out of the way. I think most likely it will be a bit of both-that I am a bit crap, but my instructor was happy keeping it that way.

I wouldn't say I'm confident at driving, far from it. I expected to be after passing, but most people I know say they were bricking it when driving independently months after they passed. So now I've got my head around that, I just want to get on with it.

I would hope that I should be ready in another 5-10 lessons. The new instructor had good ratings online, and sounded super laid back on the phone. The old one was highly recommended too and was quite calm, but also crammed students in and used his phone during lessons (it was usually only a few minutes, but it bothered me) and he cancelled lessons a lot. Some lessons I felt that there was no real plan and I just drove him around for an hour. I think I have made the right choice, so thanks for sharing your experiences and reassuring me.

Happyandhungry Wed 29-Mar-17 13:41:10

You're expecting to fail your first test?! What kind of attitude is that! Come on luv be confident, I passed my test first time and the examiner said he could see I was very confident but not cocky and compliemented me on how that made me a better driver. Be confident!! You will pass!! flowers

Crumbleface Wed 29-Mar-17 14:51:47

Yeah it is a bit of a pessimistic attitude. Probably adopting it to not be disappointed. Even my mum passed first time, and she really is nervous. She gets nervous when my 2yr old picks up a stick because "he'll poke himself in the eye".

Lingotria Wed 29-Mar-17 15:26:28

But I bet in your mums day they didn't fail drivers for hesitance or not taking reasonable chances. They do now. I failed once for holding back twice when a vehicle came and I wasn't sure - the instructor put it down as 2 majors. They were the only mistakes I made on that test.

I also failed once because a car behind me zoomed out past me (I was doing 50 on a 60 mph road) - instructor viewed my driving as 'dangerous' as a result and gave me a major. Instructor who was sitting behind me was furious but they really do take any excuse to fail you.

TizzyDongue Wed 29-Mar-17 15:40:58

I spend 20 years learning to drive on and off (admittedly mostly off) had 7 driving instructors and sat 4 tests. I can tell you that the driving instructor makes a world of difference.

I had one instructor who finally managed to calm me down, don't know how she managed to be honest, but she did advertised as specialising in nervous pupils, I only swapped to her a week before a test - failed (couldn't figure out reversing!) but was comfortable to practice driving as a learner for many many years until I recently changed to another instructor who I didn't settle with, changed again and really clicked as he was quite practical in explaining how to reverse so it completely clicked with me

Passed three weeks ago - life changing!!! Still haven't quite got used to the idea I can now go out when i ever i want, and don't need to arrange for or wait for someone to come with me

Stick at it, don't get dishearten and take 20 years ...

Ebbenmeowgi Wed 29-Mar-17 15:50:19

My first instructor was a real weirdo - he told me all about how he nearly once killed a dog nearly running it over and wished he had killed it, and also told me in great detail about his prostate examination!! Explaining to the driving school why I wanted to change instructors was an odd conversation, they gave me some free lessons though.

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