The truth about Driving Instructors

There are various types of driving instructors out there, having had lessons with over six of these type of creatures, I have deemed myself qualified enough to make an informed opinion. Having also failed two driving tests and in an attempt not to fail any more of these, I am getting more lessons and this has definitely made me a skeptic. I am absolutely exhausted with this breed and the costs associated with this driving and learning to drive.

Instructors are of many kinds, however most of them have some generic ways of functioning. From the time they pick you up to when you are dropped of their aim is to reduce your time on the road and hence save their petrol costs as well as any wear and tear of the car and themselves, which maybe associated with teaching you. With this in mind they will talk nine to a dozen about various driving related things, or anything really and then they will faff about with lots of formalities and paper work. For example, “oh you must see my method of evaluation its better than your previous instructor’s”, or “oh I must write down your lesson timings for the next week and the next week” and may I also say they all have very neat handwriting which takes time and precision to achieve. This is then followed by pages and pages of notes and talking and looking interested in your previous driving history. Then they talk you through the aesthetics of the car and the weather and how this affects your driving. Oodles and oodles of talking and faffing.

The type of instructor that to me is most annoying is the “note taker” instructor. These are the ones who make you drive around perhaps for about five minutes to a maximum of ten minutes at a time and then stop you so they can write down notes. The note taking usually lasts for about 3 – 5 minutes and then you start off and drive away. This is a very good time wasting tactic, and they then spend a good quarter of an hour at the end of the lesson talking to you about how and what you could’ve done better. This process then carries on to the next lesson where at the start of the lesson they recap the various things you were told at the end of the previous hour and essentially you spend about half an hour driving and the other half talking. I dont think this process is efficient as I think they should take notes as you drive and they should try to remember the various mistakes and correct you as you go along and then do a short recap at the beginning and end of the lesson. The constant stopping to write is me loosing my money!

The second type is the “too personal” type. These tend to get very interested in your personal life and as time goes along you tend to spend a lot of time driving about talking about yourself and life etc. This definitely makes for an interesting lesson and it is enjoyable, however you soon realize you are actually paying to have a friend rather than learning to drive. FAIL!

The third type, the “scared” type. These are the ones that get frightened when you make mistakes and trust me mistakes do happen! They worry about their car and they faff about the breaks, the light switches, the wipers etc. Its all about the car and any potential damage with these ones. You also have the ones who scare easy, in that if you drive too fast you can see them hold on to the edges for their life’s. These should NOT be driving instructors, but hey I shouldn’t be an accountant but I am.

The fourth kind, the “tortoises”. This I think should be labelled extortion. If you haven’t had other instructors before, you wont be able to tell how further along you are in your progress and how much progress you have actually made. This is something I definitely struggled with as every time I switched instructors they all wanted to start from scratch and wanted a particular number of lessons usually more than ten. Most of them would say to me, in almost these exact words “after assessing your driving today, I think you will need at least ten lessons and you are not close to a test at all. I think you have been prematurely sent to a test, which isn’t your fault its your instructors.” However, I failed my test with one major fault and three minors, if this is taken into consideration I think they are lying and what they are after is really money. I’ve seen people pass tests with 14 minors or seven minors and no majors. A good fail someone who definitely is a premature test taker surely should fail with a lot more majors wouldn’t you say?

The tortoises will take you through your lessons at the slowest possible phase, making you do everything over and over again until they have achieved perfection and then start on something else, however by the time you have learnt the something else you have done very little of the first thing and you start over and over you spend over a 100 hours and you’re still no closer to achieving test standard. Perhaps it is a good place to mention that the Driving Standards agency recommend 20 hours of lessons before a test, not 50 or 100!

The next kind are the “angry” kind. These run a regimented driving session, one controlled with military precision and lots of yelling and negativity. They will tell you that you are not ready for your test that you will fail, that you will get no where and that you are no good. They call you useless and worthless. These are definitely the ones to avoid unless you’d like to ruin any future driving chances that you might ever have.

Perhaps another thing to note is how far away you are from the different test routes, as a lot of your time will be spent being picked up and driving yourself to the test route itself. This might take you a while and essentially you loose out on test route driving which is a very important part of learning to drive!

I hope my discussion of the various types of instructors has been insightful, feel free to comment on any other types you may have come across. I am very interested to see if my experiences are isolated. Here’s to my next ten lessons, wish me luck

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