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Bad driving lessons and confidence problems

(8 Posts)
Monipop84 Sat 09-May-15 10:05:10

Hello fellow Mumsnetters! I am a mature driving student (31 female). I was raised on a pretty remote island and no one in my family drives. After living for a few years in London, I moved to the countryside and learning to drive has become an imperative necessity for me.

I passed the theory test first time, but then I have always been good at theoretical tests... neutral The practice, though, is taking absolutely ages. I have now had lessons for a year and a half with an instructor plus private practice in my partner's car (I mostly drive back from work and to the shops in his car, so it's always the same route, but the rush hour traffic does miracles for clutch control!). I am also practicing manouvres on my own and I would say I can do most of them fairly decently.

The issue is, my instructor is very negative about my progress. I still have problems at very big roundabouts and keeping in the right lane at big roundabouts, which I'm working on.

Last week, though, I had the worst lesson ever. My instructor has just come back from an assessment test and she's started picking up on things she never used to before. Now she wants to bring me back to do junctions because she thinks my mirror-signal-manouvre is not good enough (it never seemed to be a problem before, or at least she didn't comment on it).

I am starting to feel like I should give up and my confidence is quite shattered. I was feeling great last month as for the first time I drove in my partner's car to see a relative who lives 2 hours away, and I did lots of roundabouts, dual carriageways, overtaking etc, on major roads, all on my own. grin But now my instructor wants me to go back to junctions in the local village. After 2 years. hmm

The cost is becoming a burden too. I am fairly friendly with the instructor and I'd love to think she's not taking me for a ride (no pun intended), but I don't have a huge experience with instructors and, although I know there are a lot of bad ones out there, I don't think she's inherently bad. But I wonder why she never gives me a timeline of when I can aim to book my test.

I am quite stubborn and I so want to pass, but at the same time it all feels quite hopeless now sad

TheWanderingUterus Sat 09-May-15 10:10:44

I would advise you to try another instructor, even if it's just for a trial lesson. See what they say. I changed my instructor half way through and her approach was much more encouraging, organised and intuitive.

TheWanderingUterus Sat 09-May-15 10:13:08

One thing that helped with roundabouts was a big book of laminated aerial pictures my instructor had printed off google earth. She got a pen and drew the line I needed to take for each one before we got there, talked it through with me. I spent a lot of time looking at maps etc myself, especially those roundabouts which didn't follow the 'rules'.

Monipop84 Sat 09-May-15 10:16:57

Thanks Wandering Uterus. Some local driving schools uploaded videos on Youtube of all the roundabouts in the test area! I am starting to think I should give one of these "organised" schools a go, and see if they are better than my independent instructor.

Any thoughts on the intensive course? I'd need to book a week off work but it'd be so worth it if I pass grin

VashtaNerada Sat 09-May-15 10:19:49

I agree it's worth changing instructors to find the right one for you (I had four!). An intensive course is a very good idea but don't be devestated if you don't pass. I took thousands a few tests before passing and got better each time.

TheWanderingUterus Sat 09-May-15 11:01:01

I did an intensive course. It didn't work for me because I had the wrong instructor, who gave me very little feedback and help, just got me to drive in a big loop around town. It was also exhausting and I was very very tired by the time the test came around. Unfortunately I didn't realise he was so crap until I had handed the money over and there are no refunds - the instructor has the power and it's he said/she said. I failed the driving test at the end.

I was wondering whether because you have been learning so long and doing so much independent driving that you may have slipped into some of the mannerisms of the 'experienced driver'. The way you have to drive for your test is very different from real life driving, may be something to consider?

Have you been put in for any tests yet (sorry on ipad and message box covers the OP), done any mock tests or even discussed when it will be? My (good) instructor told me that some driving instructors try to hold on to pupils a bit, to insure a steady income stream. It seems very odd that you have been learning for so long and haven't had an idea of your progress. Does you instructor keep any sort of chart or log of your progress, your weaknesses and strengths?

I passed at 31, it was a long slog, sometimes demoralising and depressing and I felt so old. But I passed and so will you!

StrawberryTartYum Sat 09-May-15 11:11:39

I'd also try a new instructor, I'm on my third in ten years (been taking lessons on and off not for ten years solid grin)and he's just great, super organised and with an above average pass rate. It's awkward that you're friendly with your instructor but it does sound like she's not a good fit for you. And they are far too expensive to stay with the wrong person!
I love the advice about looking at roundabouts on Google maps btw! Definitely going to try that myself!

honeyroar Tue 12-May-15 16:12:40

Id try a new instructor too. I didn't like my first one and struggled, I changed and sailed through my test first time. I'm a riding instructor and think it's really important in any sphere to find someone whose teachng method suits you. Some people need coaxing, some need pushing, some need holding back. A good instructor should recognise that.

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