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AMA

I'm a driving instructor - ask me anything

25 replies

letsgomaths · 30/06/2018 19:12

Did it for seven or eight years in London. I have now moved on to another career, but I remember it very well, and sometimes I still pretend I'm giving lessons when I drive! So go on, ask away.

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ShatnersBassoon · 30/06/2018 19:14

Shall I stop at this services, or carry on to the next one that might have a mini Waitrose offering better onward journey sweets?

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thesnapandfartisinfallible · 30/06/2018 19:15

Do you feel angry with your pupils if they can drive fine but just can't keep it together for tests and keep failing? Or does it not really affect the instructor.

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Cheesymonster · 30/06/2018 19:19

Can you explain how to parallel park please?!

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Jonbb · 30/06/2018 19:22

What new career. I was a di and guess what my new career was?

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HotHermione · 30/06/2018 19:29

How do you not get whiplash from all the jerky stop starts (rubs neck and glares at DD1)

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70isaLimitNotaTarget · 30/06/2018 19:32

Do you ever have a pupil that you think "No, you will never be a safe driver , just give up now and save your money for taxi cabs"

Or does everyone have the potential to drive?

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Freetogo · 30/06/2018 19:34

Do you ever think, when a learner is driving really slow -
"fuck this shit" "I really want to do 0-60 in 5 seconds via dual control"?

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letsgomaths · 30/06/2018 19:48

Do you feel angry with your pupils if they can drive fine but just can't keep it together for tests and keep failing? Or does it not really affect the instructor. Not angry, but it can be frustrating.

Can you explain how to parallel park please?!
There are loads of methods in books; none of them foolproof. I think it's more important to be able to correct it if you need to, rather than use a robotic method, here is how I used to explain it:

  • For the purpose of the test, there's no parked car behind you. Notice how when you are parked, the kerb appears in the middle of the back windscreen. Look in the left mirror as well, and remember what this looks like.
  • Start side by side with parked car. Reverse straight until back end of parked car is above top of back seat.
  • Steer 3/4 turn to the left (on some cars 1 turn might work better). Remember to check over right shoulder because front of car swings out.
  • Hold steering in this position until left mirror covers corner of parked car.
  • Continue to reverse, steering right, about one and half turns at moderate pace; giving yourself loads of feedback with rear window and left mirror. If needed, lower the mirror a little. (The books often don't say this - they often give a method turn this way, then that way, which they say works every time - I don't believe in such methods).
  • If you're going to touch the kerb, pull forwards and make a correction. If you're going to finish too far away, steer hard left, and then hard right soon after.


What new career. I was a di and guess what my new career was? Driving examiner? No, I didn't go down that route. I moved into another kind of tuition. In some areas, driving instruction was quite badly hit by the recession; too many instructors, not enough learners.

How do you not get whiplash from all the jerky stop starts (rubs neck and glares at DD1) I never found that to be a problem.

Do you ever have a pupil that you think "No, you will never be a safe driver , just give up now and save your money for taxi cabs" I had lots who were very slow to learn, but I never gave up on them. I'd sometimes try to persuade them to do automatic (which I didn't instruct myself) if they struggled. I'd sometimes meet pupils who'd never done anything involving making decisions really quickly, as you have to in driving. I used to encourage them to play computer games; whatever we might think about them, I do think they can be good for practising quick thinking.

when a learner is driving really slow I'd certainly think all sorts of things. I'd tell them there were dual accelerators once upon a time. I gave lessons in inner London, where there were no roads above 30mph reachable in an hour's lesson; and it's worse now because so many main roads in London are 20mph now.
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fantasia243 · 24/07/2018 12:58

When turning right at a traffic lights, I was very definitely taught (20 years ago) to pass behind oncoming vehicles. Less and less people seem to do this which means that less cars can get through in one light cycle - and on occasion, I've even been beeeped at for attempting it. Is passing in front what is now taught or it is sloppy habits / reflective of more non-UK drivers on the roads who may have a different convention?

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TeenTimesTwo · 24/07/2018 13:09

Can all cars be converted to have dual brake controls, or do they have to be specially made at new?

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thereareflowersinmygarden · 24/07/2018 13:20

Did you (or any instructor you knew) spin the process out to make more money? As in, insist that they needed more lessons when they didn't or insist that the learner did the same thing at every lesson?

The fact that instructors have a financial incentive for you not to learn and pass too quickly, has actually put me off learning.

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MrsBlaidd · 24/07/2018 13:23

Would you recommend it as a job in the current market?

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tectonicplates · 24/07/2018 13:24

Were all your students nice, or were some of them rude and entitled?

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IllHaveTheSaladPlease · 24/07/2018 13:25

How long/how many lessons/attempts at test did it take for your worst pupil to pass?

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AngeloMysterioso · 24/07/2018 13:37

Why are lessons so prohibitively expensive?

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HildaOgdensFlyingDucks · 24/07/2018 14:29

How old was the oldest person you taught?

Are there any particular cars that you think are better for nervous/new drivers/learners?

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deloresclaiborne · 24/07/2018 14:36

is it true you have to fail so many tests a week [not you but driving examiner]

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tectonicplates · 24/07/2018 14:58

is it true you have to fail so many tests a week [not you but driving examiner]

I think I was once told that there was a quota per month of many people are allowed to pass, so apparently it's best if you try to do your test at the beginning of the month. No idea if that's true or not.

Also, when I was a teenager, there was an urban myth going round that in Germany, you could only take a maximum of three tests, and if you failed the third one then tough, you could never drive. May I assume that this isn't really true? Grin

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AnyaMumsnet · 24/07/2018 15:00

Hi there everyone,

We think this thread would be better suited in AMA, so we'll be moving it over shortly.

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TheCatFromOuterSpace · 25/07/2018 12:19

Please could you settle an argument between dp and I? At a big roundabout, if your turn is to the right, but isn't the last exit, should you still signal right when approaching the roundabout?

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ImSoExhausted · 26/07/2018 00:20

@TheCatFromOuterSpace if your exit is anything more than the second exit, then yes, it's a right turn and should be in the right lane on approach with right signal on.

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TheCatFromOuterSpace · 26/07/2018 08:11

Damn, dp was right.

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stormymcstormface · 26/07/2018 08:17

What’s the longest you’ve known it ever take anyone learn to drive?

I dread to think what lesson I am now BUT I can see that I am much improved as a driver since my first test (I’m just taking lessons at the moment, test not really on my radar as would rather just learn for a bit due to anxiety issues)

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31weeksgone · 26/07/2018 23:44

Why does learning automatic seem to be sort of £10-20 more per lesson?

I never ever thought I’d get driving it took a whole year of lessons but now I LOVE it, and am glad I didn’t go automatic. The key was just to put the radio on and not overthink my feet for me. I wish my instructor had told me we could try that. (Just incase anyone learning is reading)

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SlimGin · 26/07/2018 23:56

Have you had any very dangerous driving scenarios whilst on a lesson?

What advice would you give to someone who has just passed their test but anxious to drive alone?

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