Poor Service and Misleading Intentions to Help I originally used Drive Dynamics to find an instructor for another area of Edinburgh when I lived there. The first 7 lessons for £99 (with 3 lessons added to when you take the test) seemed like a good offer, and the first instructor was called Scott and was great. He was extremely skilled, calm and never cancelled a lesson. He was adaptable and even ended up giving me the rest of the lessons without leaving any at the end. He was the best instructor I ever had, but also the last good one. When I moved back to London, I was put with an instructor who kept cancelling and reshuffling lessons, although taught well. Things were fine until he decided to stop returning my calls or refund my 3 lessons (not including the introductory lessons). Drive Dynamics did nothing to chase him up and took ages to match me up to another driver. They had passed me back and forth between customer representatives and all of them made me FALSE yet convincing promises to phone back or deal with the problem, but it only ended up prolonging my matching me up with another instructor. They had lost contact with this instructor and did not have any way to chase him up for money. They did not even bother to tell me this when he left the agency to warn any customers of their inability to deal with the problem. This instructor's name is Steve Benjamin. Then Desmond, the next driver, cancelled the 2nd lesson on the day after I had been waiting 25 minutes with no word and after texting and calling him. Then he moved the lesson to the weekend and was 3 hours late on the day again when I told him to call it off. He has still not refunded the other two lessons + three lessons (for when you take your test) despite my asking him. I doubt if Drive Dynamics have chased him up or did anything useful, even though the customer representative promised to do so. They matched me, took their fee and did their MINIMUM to help me out and passed me from one representative to another. Finally, they were trying their best to make me not phone them again because chasing up an instructor doesn't make them money, at least that's what it seems. I have only a few months until my theory will run out, but now I am so put off from learning to drive, I don't think I'll bother until the next time I feel like being messed around by driving instructors.
Warning- Don't use drive dynamics, total rip off, paid up front for extra blocks of lessons, they employed & sent an instructor that didn't carry out the lessons, paid for 30hrs only got 11hrs. Drive dynamics refuse to take any kind of resposibility for it, or even refund me any money. Offered to send me another instructor if I paid again. You think as Drive Dynamics written all over the cars you are dealing with a reputable company such as the AA, but don't be fooled. They reel you in with great offers, take all your money & let you down. Disgusting Company.
I have always wanted to drive; I like the idea of having the freedom. The ability to just jump in a car and drive to any destination really appeals to me. When I turned 17, my parents bought 10 hrs of driving lessons for me. As soon as I got in the instructors car and drove I knew I had to pass my test. Unfortunately after the 10 hrs and a few I paid for myself, I lost my job. I had passed my theory and couldn't afford more driving lessons, it was a total nightmare. Anyway, time went on and still no job so eventually my theory ran out without me actually getting to sit a driving test. Last year (2009) I decided enough was enough; I had to learn to drive. This time I put in for my theory test, passed that and decided an intensive driving course was what I was going to do. I trawled the net and came across a local driving school. Waiting for my 2 hr evaluation lesson I was a little nervous as I hadn't had a lesson 7 yrs. The instructor I had, didn't in the slightest help to ease my nerves. It was as if he didn't have a clue what he was doing. At the end of the lesson he decided the 18 hr intensive course would be plenty for me, so it was that one I went with. I was to have 4 hrs a day Monday to Thursday then the two hrs left over would be on the Friday, and hour before my test and the hour of my actual test. For the 18 hrs & the practical test I paid £362 which is rather a lot of money, especially to fail. The day of my first four hours I was really not impressed, when you think 'Intense Driving Course' the think 4 hrs straight driving.... Well that's what I thought, but no, I had 2 hrs, had to have an hour's break then had then had another two hours. I really did not see the sense in this, the test route's are 20/25 minutes away from my home, surely the time driving back to my home then back out to the test route's was knocking nearly an hour a day off the time I should have been using to get practise in????? My lessons flew by so fast; I didn't feel ready for my test at all. The instructor I had was reading what to teach me from a folder, which threw my confidence right out of the window. The day of my test arrived and if I'm honest I felt gutted before I even got to the test centre. I failed, but even though I knew I wasn't ready I was still so gutted. £362 down the drain. I now have a new instructor, and have so much confidence when driving, I know I'm going to pass my next test, there's nothing standing in my way. When I had my first lesson with my new instructor Brian he was quite shocked that I'd actually sat a test, but by the end of my first lesson he could already see a difference, I was now being taught properly. Although there are some good driving Schools out there, I still wouldn't advise anyone to spend hundreds of pounds on an intensive driving course unless they are totally confident before starting the course. And like my new instructor says, a good instructor wouldn't have the time to fit anyone in to do an intensive course!!! Update to review, 20/08/2010, Finally passed my Practical Driving Test today. Third time lucky. Am so glad i listened to the advice i was given and never gave up :-)
Learning to drive is on those rites of passage that the majority of young people aspire to get through at some point in their lives. It passed me however until my mid 20's as I simply wasn't interested. I lived in a large town with excellent transport links and didn't have the need for a car at any point. No-one in my immediate family had a car either so I had no encouragement to learn. I moved out of my parents place when I was 23 and shortly afterwards started to realise that actually being mobile and having my own means of getting around as and when I wanted would be a huge benefit, which driving instructor or school should I choose though? I made the mistake at the time of calling the first number I saw in the phone book and making an appointment with a local chap. He was nice enough and had a modern clean, easy to drive car but I feel he held me back, after 30 lessons I still wasn't ready for the test and was rapidly running out of money. Sadly I had to stop as I could no longer afford it. Fast forward 2 years and I was now living in Dorset with my partner. Of course living I definitely needed a car and after becoming quite upset one day at my frustration at not being able to get about by myself I once again searched around for an instructor. Being desperate to get my license I rather stupidly signed up for an intensive course thinking it would be easy, it wasn't. My teacher was a bully and shouted at me several times for the most stupid little things. After 3 days we had both had enough and cancelled the rest of the course. I was no closer to getting my license and had lost almost of my confidence. My partner didn't want me to give up and encouraged me to re-consider taking up lessons again, to be honest I had no choice as I couldn't rely on others for ever to get me around and to work and every day and back. One day on the way home from work I spotted a car on a lesson that I had seen several times that week before. I was intrigued and wondered if this chap would be a good instructor for me? That evening I plucked up the courage to call him and had a very pleasant conversation, he (Tim) was softly spoken and sounded very kind. He was appalled at my previous experience and said I just needed to get out there and try again. I had a lesson with Tim that weekend, a hour around town, and was initially very nervous. However I was very impressed as Tim didn't raise his voice once or belittle me as my previous instructor had, I made a couple of mistakes which in reaction to them he asked me to pull over then calmly asked me why I had just done what I had. We discussed everything calmly and even in just that one hour I felt as if I learned a great deal. I was encouraged by Tim to book my test straight away which surprised me, he was surprised at that as he thought my standard of driving was good but just needed a little fine tuning. Something I had never been told before. I finally passed my test at the 4th attempt two months after some rather daft mistakes during previous tests including missing 3rd gear and also hitting the kerb but I think nerves played a big part in that. I really appreciate my freedom now and feel incredibly lucky to have found an instructor who was so patient and friendly, we even had chats about our private lives during my lessons with me learning that he was getting divorced! The big lesson I've learnt from my experience is never pick the first person you see (and another one actually, don't assume intensive courses will work for you) it's vital to shop around to find someone who's style of teaching suits you.
I think driving school are different depending on who you get. Stereotypically I would say that: Middle aged male drivers would be more, just go for it, where as a female, would sit and be patient. So it's not just the school also the tutor. I do believe some will put you for your exam as soon as they think your ready and others will make sure your more than ready, which means more money for them. My tutor says that he always sits in the back with exams, which I think is great as then he can tell students what people fail on and what not to do. There are also many rumors about examiners, like if he/she is in a bad mood they are less likely to pass you. Also to go in the morning as they can only pass so many people per day, which is stupid as if you have a perfect driver in the afternoon but the examiner has passed the limit already the learner fails, as the examiner will mark everything he/she normally wouldn't. Well I decided to check this and its all false. I think most tutors are good and patient as they have to be with the different people they have. I do find my self as a learning sometimes wondering which lane to be in, so sticking in the middle lane, and sometimes I will be told left a little later than I would like. I prefer being told early and at the point of making the action for the turn or route, as the 1st time I am told I can think about where I want to be and things. Well, I am told I am doing very well in my learning to drive tho, and have just done 2 parallel parks perfectly my first time.
Product desrciption; The rally experiance day ,is basically what it says.It a day where you get to learn,and experiance the basic rally driving skills,cars and terrains, with the added bonus of a scoot round in F1 style go carts. There are a whole heap of things to say about it ,but i think I'll deal with them one at a time....so read on........ ------------------- What the experiance involves; If you take the morning booking then you've got to be at the location by around 8am...8.30am latest. Upon arrival you are taken to a changing room,where you are kitted out with overalls and a helmet,given a schedule card and allocated your teams,teams consist of between 4 and 6 people and there are 4 teams.Your valid driving liscences and personal I.D's are also checked . Then it's time for your breifing,headed by the cheif instructor.Here you are given strict guidelines to adhear to,safety rules to follow and information as to your schedule.This takes around 40 minutes and is very well structured and organised. Next the fun starts... Astra Gti; My team got to start the morning off on the gravel and dirt section in the Vaxhaul Astra Gti..which may not sound that impressive,but for a novice was a whole heap of fun!!! Our instructor ran us through the handling of the car ,how to turn slide ,which gears we should be in and when, and how to bring the back end round...Then one by one we got to do a few laps of the track!! With the instructor at my side,I clambered into the car ,belted up and started the engine.............. I had had chance to watch 2 of my team run through the track already and so had observed the points at which they slid the back end round and where to pull it back in.I had also taken a mental note of the fact that the first corner had proved a problem to both of them...and was determined to use this to my advantage!!! I let the clutch out and tickled the throttle. ...OMG I was soon throwing this neat little front wheel drive motor round the track,listening intently to the none stop instruction being shouted to me by the instrucor...left hand down,clutch in ,second gear full right lock and power down......Boy was I going some..and I kept control on that dodgy corner!!! The rest of my team took their turns and much to my glee I was the only one to handle that corner!! Four good laps of the course which was around a half mile long,was ample it's incredably hot and noisy in the cars and hard work throwing them round !! Sierra Cosworth; The next car was the "Cossy"...same track but this time a rear wheel drive and a bit more power!! This time the handling was almost completely opposite to the gti..and I was so glad I was listening well. The first two laps were fantastic, I was getting on such a high!! And despite getting nervous when the instuctor ceased to give me step by step instructions,felt that his confidance in my "doing well on my own" was a good sign.But then disater struck!! I BROKE IT.....well,actually it just broke down,my instructor was telling me to floor it and it would clear...but try as I might I knew it was futile..the car was going nowhere.!! The fact that I could feel the difference between a a stutter and a terminal illness in an engine obviously impressed the instructor, and he radioed in for assistance and the rescue truck came and sorted us out, we got going again but still didn't finnish the next lap as the poor old "Cossy" finally dropped a cylinder and a replacement car was called for....which I soon had screaming round for a final lap!! Evo 6; Time to move on to the tarmac stage..and awaiting us were 2 Mitsubishi Evo 6's.These amazing speed machines looked dazzling as our team approached,and I was itching to to put my pedal to the metal...until I realised one of them was left hand drive...which is my wors t nig htmar e!!!! ! My turn came round all too quickly as I uncomfortably got into..yes you can guess, the left hand drive Evo!!! This was the only point in my life that I have ever felt like a "woman" driver....time and time again I missed gears,and felt the colour rising in my cheaks. But despite the missing of gears here and there , pushing a car to 160 mph in like zero seconds has a way of getting the adrenalin flowing freely!! The cone manouvers on this track were cool, the car handled like a dream and although I'd have been much more capable in the right hand drive I did feel as though I had more of a challange in the left hand drive car. F1 go carts; The final driving activity of the morning was on the F1 go carts, and I think my team got the best deal having it as the last stage,it gave us chance to wind down and have a good old play.So having donned the full face helmets provided for this activity I was ready to go. The carts are actually pretty fast and require some serious handling, and belting round in them for over half an hour made my arms ache so much that I thought they would drop off!! I managed to lap a few of the team members and give the others a run for their money and enjoyed finding the best racing line to improve my lap times, but all too soon it was time to pull in to the pits and head off for the end of session breifing. Breifing; After a quick change back out of the overalls and helmets we were once again in the breifing room for a well done and a certificate presentation. All drivers get a certifcate and you are graded on the three main stages with 50 points a stage up for grabs.I was over the moon with my 141.5 out of 150 points and felt more than happy to have been in the top 10% of the days drivers, but a tad narked that I'd let myself down when it came to the left hand drive Evo..only 2 points stood between me and the driver of the day!!!!..But all in all I ha d such a f ab time an d was thri lled that my performance was as good as it was. ------------------- Safety; They take safety very very seriously and lay out a whole range of comprehensive rules and guidelines for safety.Overalls and well fitting helmets are provided and checked once on. Even getting belted into the cars is checked and double checked and I felt totally safe at all times ------------------- Cost; The rally driving experiance costs £175 , which though it may seem alot is actually incredably good value. I was lucky enough to have won mine (extra lucky as i wouldn't have thought to have had a go otherwise!!!) ------------------- Location; There are around 150 locations across the county where these days are held, most of the locations only operate on a Saturday and not all are on your doorstep, but 30 miles is about as far as you should have to travel from most areas. I did mine at an old airstrip site in Leicestershire and it was easy to find and directions and instructions were all posted to me well in advance. ------------------- More info; If you fancy a try at this ,then these activities and a whole host of others can be bought from www.redletterdays.co.uk. You don't have to book the date when you buy,as they come as gift certificates, ideal for pressies.To book you simply phone up the local rate number in the pack you receive and quote your certificate number.They will then tell you anything you need to know,for example you need to be 18 and hold a full uk driving liscence to participate in the rally experiance. The pack they send you has all the locations available in ,and when you book they send you even more useful info,like a detailed local map and all your booking details. If you have a problem after booking ,28 days notice is required for changes to dates,but they are extreamly helpful if you have to. Spectators are welcome,an d it's worth taking a pal,partner or kids for some moral support and there are cafe and toilet facilities accessable to them. ------------------- Summery; If you try it you won't regret it.It is an amazing experiance and I was amazed at how much I enjoyed it and what great value it was.I will remember it for a great many years!! And how could I forget to mention how curtious and freindly all the staff were..they were great!!!
Cars. Though they provide a level of drama and intrigue that’s perhaps a touch lower than I’d like for an opening sentence, they are the great love of my short life. As a petrolhead from the age of 5, I was naturally keen to take driving lessons upon turning 17 last July (in reality, it took me until February to find the money for it) so I could benefit from the freedom and mobility only a car can provide, and have a whale of a time while I was at it. Hopefully, this op can point out a few things that prospective learners should be aware of before they take the plunge, and show just how many times I’ve nearly killed myself in the name of investigative journalism. Though I’m not keen on splitting my ops into sections – I prefer them to be more fluid, to have everything flow into the next sentence, and to sound arty and pretentious while I’m explaining my writing style – it’s probably the best way to deal with learning to drive, so here goes… Before you start… Something every learner should be aware of is cost – learning to drive is not cheap, and it’s up to the individual to decide whether or not it’s worth marrying a wealthy African prince to bankroll it all. My lessons cost £12 a go, and this is the cheapest instructor I could find. Depending on who you book with and where you are, you could find instructors asking for closer to £20 a lesson. Don’t just book with the first instructor you find – shop around for the best deals. Don’t forget the added extras – the theory test will set you back the frankly peculiar sum of £15.50, plus whatever it costs you to get to your nearest theory test centre – in my case, £3.20 on buses to Middlesbrough and back. I haven’t even asked about the practical test yet, for reasons that will become clear later, but that will take another hefty bite out of my wallet. Once you pass, of c ourse, there’s the cost of buying and maintaining a car to consider, as well as insurance costs somewhere up into the stratosphere for new drivers. Before you can even learn, there’s a provisional licence to pay for, and once you’ve learned, there’s a full licence to pay for. Then of course there’s the road tax, the ever-more-costly petrol, congestion charges and tolls if you’re really unlucky… It helps to find an instructor you like. Friends of mine have been put off driving by their choice of driving school – they didn’t like the person trying to teach them, so they couldn’t enjoy driving the car, so they stopped altogether. To get around this, you could always try an instructor who doesn’t do block bookings – that way you can head somewhere else straight away if you aren’t keen. The driving part So, you’ve picked an instructor, remortgaged your house, got your provisional licence (complete with the standard “seeing is believing” photo) and now you’re ready to go. As a general set of guidelines, remember the following: 1) Nervousness is natural when you first get behind the wheel. A heartbeat that sounds like the bass line from the last Red Hot Chili Peppers single, however, is not. 2) Do not take it as a sign of religious enlightenment if your instructor takes to quoting from the Bible every 50 yards and openly prays before every lesson. 3) Shouting various expletives at the top of your voice will not make your car stop any faster/that bollard disappear/your instructor happy. Once you get the hang of things, it isn’t desperately difficult to drive a car. In the same way, it isn’t too hard to walk once you get the hang of things (at least under normal circumstances, though there’s a very amusing alcohol-related story that ends with me having to ascend a staircase on all fours before taking a doner kebab to bed with me), but how long did it take you to even make your first, faltering steps as a baby? To start with, every movement I made felt awkward – I pushed the brake pedal too hard, was too hesitant with the accelerator, and I’d rather not comment on my gear changes except to say that the gearbox was a bit stiff and the crunching noise became quite soothing after a while. If, like me, you tended to come bottom of the class in woodwork and your textiles project just had to be seen to be truly understood, you might struggle initially. If, like me, you have the hand-eye co-ordination of plankton, mastering even the basics of driving will take an effort. It’s enough getting to grips with this in a deserted trading estate or car park, but dealing with other traffic at the same time is where the fun really starts. Many of Hartlepool’s motorists, be they the driver of the white van I almost nerfed in a one-way street, the Vauxhall Astra driver I unwittingly brake-tested in the town centre when confronted by a stray twig, or the painter who stalked me for 20 minutes after a slight misunderstanding on a roundabout, will tell you that this wasn’t something I initially took to. It’s terrifying for a start – bumbling along at 20 mph being overtaken at close quarters is no fun, and nor is the feeling you’re going to clout someone when you finally get up to speed. Once you settle in it’s fine, and as with everything practice makes perfect, but this is the area that’ll scare off a good many learners. Given time and an instructor blessed with an impressive degree of patience, things have improved. For a start, my knuckles no longer turn white when I’m driving, and I can straighten my fingers after a lesson for the first time. From a frankly abysmal beginning, I’ve progressed to a level where I have completed most of the manoeuvres I ca n be tested on and feel completely at ease behind the wheel. The key thing to remember when driving is that we all make mistakes. Everyone stalls a car occasionally, or makes a ‘kangaroo juice’ getaway, or misses the odd gearshift here and there. The point of taking lessons is to make sure you stop making them before you’re let loose on your own, so don’t get disheartened if things don’t seem to be going well for you. The sheer prohibitive cost of it all means that you should be sure you want to drive or need to drive before you get going, and there is a lot to get to grips with, but for those who master it, a lifetime of increased freedom and pure driving pleasure awaits – especially if you’re sharing a home with that African royalty. Cheers, Simo
If its coming around to that age when you will want to start driving or maybe it?s the kids and you?re the confused parent; Well this should help those that are interested out; ***WHICH DRIVING SCHOOL TO CHOSE?*** There are generally two ways of thinking when it comes to which driving school to chose and how much to pay; JONS CARS, RED-DRAGON etc. These are companies that offer driving lessons at a cheaper rate, but may not be quite up to the standard of BSM. They may also not be able to provide helpful documentation about the car which I found helped my diving. E.g. I was shown a diagram to show simply how the gears of the car worked. I was also given a booklet to track my progress throughout the course, to see what aspects of driving I had covered e.g. three point turns etc and which aspects I was having trouble with. BSM, AA etc. These sorts of driving schools will generally cost a little more expensive to have lessons with; they are the bigger companies, as of course that mean as much profit as possible. BSM (British School of Motoring) was the company that I entrusted to teach me how to drive, and I was rite, they did a good job. JOHNS CARS; REDRAGON CARS These people or teachers will cost a few pounds more per lesson that the other driving schools, sometimes they much smaller companies, sometimes one or two people. Thinking on it if you are paying more per lesson (i.e. BSM), but it takes less lessons it may even cost you less for lessons; now get your head around that one! It all needs to be carefully thought through, if you know a good teacher that has passed a mate in a low amount of lessons then go for it, otherwise go for more expensive, better quality schools of motoring. ***HOW MANY LESSONS WILL I/THEY NEED?*** It all depends on how good you are to start with, some people have a flair for driving and some are hopeless. I took lessons with BSM and had in t otal 22 hours of lessons, not including test. One of my mates was hopeless at driving, he was with the AA and he took 36 hours. I suppose generally/on average it will take somewhere between these two amounts, 22 and 36 hours. ***HOW MUCH WILL IT ALL COST?*** Again this all depends on how many hours it takes you to pass. There calculations can be used to gauge how much its going to cost you or your parents; ME (BSM) total 22 hours + 1 test + 1 theory test; + 22 at £16.50 an hour = £363 + Multiple choice test at £35 + 1 test at £40 (Includes hire of the car plus the test) = (£363+£35+£40) = £438 MY MATE (AA) total 36 hours + 3 test + 1 theory test + 36 at £16 an hour = £576 + Multiple choice test at £35 + 3 test at £40 (Includes hire of the car plus the test) =£120 = (£576+£35+£120) = £731 ***HOW LONG TILL I PASS?*** It all depends on how long you take, how many hours of tuition you may need!. I took 22 hours two pass; I started lessons on March the 1st and passed on June 12th so that took me 3 months. A quick tip I would give if you want to save both time and money is two take two hour lessons together in one go, two a week rather than splitting them up at an hour at a time. It sometimes takes 30 minutes or so to get out of your area, and to travel to the best places to practice roundabouts for example. It makes better sense to give yourself two hour lessons and to really get into the lessons. ***WHATS THE DRIVING TESTS LIKE?*** The test really isn?t as hard as you would have though (maybe that?s juts because I passed first time). The hardest part is controlling your nerves surprisingly, not the car as you may have thought. What BSM did with me was to have an hours practice before the final test and then go for a coffee and listen to the radio in the car, it really did settle my nerves. All you have to do it?s a short-ish 20 minute run in the car, that?s it. The examiner isn?t going to bite your head off, he?s only human, well most are. Just show them what you have learnt, and just think if you fail its going to cost you another couple of hundred pounds! That will spur you on I bet??? ***WHAT CAR WILL I GET TO LEARN IN?*** Hold on, nothing flashy here. IT will be a Vauxhall Corsa , Peugoet 206 or Ford Fiesta; its will be nothing too expensive or anything with a big engine. ***SUMMERY*** This isn?t an advert for BSM, although more expensive they got me through the test quickly with a high standard of teaching which it proved to be. Basically don?t worry; driving will become earlier as you go along, although it doesn?t seem like that at the start. I hope this as help potential learners; P.S Please pull over and let me pass if you see me behind you, I am a fully qualified ?boy racer?. ***Jamespugh***
I?m really depressed because this morning I failed my practical driving test for the 3rd time. You might be thinking, oh well not too bad?.wrong! I started having lessons at 17 because my mom thought it was a good and practical birthday present. Personally I was more interested in passing my ?A? levels. That was 5 pain staking years and thousands of pounds ago and I?m no better off. I?m not opposed to public transport and believe most of the people who run it down, rarely even use it. The reason for my perseverance is now a point of principal. Having already devoted so much time and energy, I want to pass. The main problem has been that I have had so many gaps between lessons and have had 3 different instructors. After today this number will soon be increasing to 4, as he showed me little support and no sympathy after the ordeal. It had been a year since I failed the last 2 which were in quick succession of one another and were with the same examiner. To give myself a better chance I changed test centres, but it did not help me any. I have 10 GCSE?s, 3 ?A? Levels and a law degree yet I cannot pass my driving test. Angry , irritated and conned is how I feel, as whilst I admit to not being the World?s best driver, the things I failed on were not in my opinion serious. Gone are the days when they take a rounded look at your driving, now if you are not perfect, you might as well not bother. I liken the experience to that game at fun parks, when you have to get the metal rod to the end of the puzzle without it hitting the sides of the metal. One zing and you are a gonna!!!!!!!!!! Even worse is that now I have to re sit the theory test as I took it 2 years ago, what a swiz!!!!!!!!I mean who actually benefits in reality from it? They managed in the past without it? It is yet another money making scam. The whole thing is nothing but a lottery , in fact I think I have more chance of winning the jackpot. Take my advice don?t start having lessons until you have loads of time a nd money to devote to it and then try and blitz it. Don?t prolong the ordeal like I have, else you will end up feeling bitter and cheated. Would like to hear from any one with a similar axe to grind, or indeed any one who has an opinion on driving in the UK.
Last thrusday I was taking my driving test for the first time, this was pretty scary as you can imagine, being let loose on the roads without your instructor there to help you, with a wierd man in the passanger seat watching you like a hawk, watching for all the little mistakes that you are trying to avoid. I walked into the test centre pretty confident, I was able to do all the possible tasks safly. The last lesson had gone well without a single fault in my ability to control the car. I really thought that I had a good chance of passing first time even if I had only had half the lessons my mates had. The test started well until I was asked to do the emergency stop, this was easy, I had done it loads of times without problems, I accelerated up to 20-30 mph as i was instructed to do so and carried on going, half way around a tight corner the examiner stoped me, at this point I pressed on the brake and brought the car to a stop safly even if I had to fight to keep the car on the road while trying to not skid and not to stall the car. This was a terrible mistake/idea by the examiner, every one knows that you are only supposed to break in a corner if it is really an emergency, especially a corner like this one, what was he thinking? After this the test went well until we came up to a junction at a blind bend that is a well known accident black spot in the area, at this junction I had been taught that I was to approach the junction, stop, apply the hand break before leaving because other raod users would not see me as they came around the corner. After stopping I checked that the road was clear and pulled out safly and carried on. During the talk to the examiner at the end of the test he told me that I took far too long in junctions when he gave this corner as an example, I felt that I took the junctions at a speed that was suitable for taking them. I almost told him to get back in the car and to take them faster himself, the truth is that no o ne sane would have been any faster, especially some one who knows how dangerous these corners are. This was one of the few dangerous corners that I was made to take, the truth is that while being driven around by my parents who are both advanced drivers, they take the same corners as I took them during the test. I didn't think that it was fair that he gave me a major fault for keeping safe rather than jumping out of blind junctions into a possible fast moving car. I thought that these tests were to see that you are safe on the roads. Whould you rather be willing to smash up a car just to reduce the wait of the cars that are behind you coming up to a junction? I also recieved 2 minor faults for going too slow when I thought I needed to be slow but he didnt agree. I cant be bothered moaning about this now, mabey some other time. For now I am just planning how to improve my speed for the next leg of the driving test race, this will have to include shooting around corners instead of reducing speed and forgetting about junctions, just getting too them and hoping that no one else is going to get in the way. If I survive the next test I will let you know
Waiting for the bus which is always late for the last 17 years has been getting on my nerves for a long time now, but the magical age where I can start to drive arrived last June. It costs about £15 for an hours lesson and this adds up by the time you taken the theory and practical tests!!! However, it is not so much the cost of having to learn to drive, it existing road users which seem to get on my nerves! My first lesson was nerve racking, but I had a lot of fun. As I became more confident about driving, much more of my concentration went on the road, and it is over drivers who believe that they own the road which has an affect on me. It is not their road manner which I have a problem with, it is the fact that people don't follow the rules of the roads - this not only makes people unaware of what 'you' are doing but also it makes learners affraid of the situation they are put in. Many a time have I experienced drivers in the wrong lanes at Roundabouts, and pull out in front of a relatively unexperienced driver. So the next time you as a driver approach a Learner driver, just consider how the youngster is feeling when you pull up close behind them, overtake them at twice the speed limit etc. What they learn on the road is not just taught by an instructor but also by what they learn from other road users. Just becasue we might be holding you up in a 30mph limit zone, it gives you no right to endanger them while they are still learning.
I decided to learn to drive over a year ago mainly for my own independence and I hate catching a bus. 1. Driving Schools I won't go into this too much as it is a seperate subject on it's own. My first school of choice was the AA which I won't go into indepth here as I have already wrote a review on it (it can be checked out under driving schools A.A.). Briefly however this is not a school which I would recommend. My second driving school of choice was A C School of Motoring mainly because they had a really really good gimmick namely IF YOU DON'T PASS 1ST TIME WE PAY THE 2ND FEE, which to someone who had failed twice was really good. This is the school I passed with. I guess my point is that it is a good idea to shop around, and get other peoples opinions as the biggest isn't always the best, and if your not happy with your instructor request a change, if your not happy with the school go elsewhere, I only wish i'd changed sooner. In total I went through 2 driving schools and 5 instructors 1 of these however was because he went long term sick. 2. Theory Test This is a touch screen test, and to be honest it's not as scary as everyone makes it out to be you have to answer 35 multiple choice questions by touching a screen on what you think is the correct answer. The trick is to revise, and if like me you get bored revising by books, then there are loads of ways to revise on line there are some very good sites which do online tests with real time marking. These tests are normally harder than the questions you will get asked in your actual theory test, I got 33 out of 35 so it can't be a bad way to revise. 3. THE DRIVING TEST This is propably the most scary demon of them all and yes everyone does get as nervous as you. I passed on my 3rd attempt. To put a few myths to rest no the examiner doesn't have to fail a certain amount of people if you good enough you will pass. The important thing is to make sure it is you who is ready to take it and not your instructor who says book it your ready, you must feel ready. They will not test you on anything you haven't bee taught. The first trick is to relax, I know easier said than done but it is important little jitters are fine but big ones mean trouble, eat breakfast or it will just make you feel more sick. On my first test I failed at a roundabout - I now realise roundabouts are just one way streets and the trick is to judge the gaps, don't race out because you think the examiner is getting impatient he/she isn't they are judging your observations 'IS IT SAFE TO GO'. Watch the signs I failed my second test when my examiner said take the next available right turn (Big hint next AVAILABLE) and tried to go down the 1st right turn which was a one way street. Manouvers - you will only be asked to do 2 you've done them before. Despite all this if you don't pass it is natural to be upset the first time I failed I cried all the way home. The 2nd time I failed it was because I rushed into retaking the test again (10 days after) and my confidence wasn't back. The third time when I passed it just felt right (i even slightly hit the kerb as we set off but the examiner put it down to what it was nerves, yes they know your nervous). I felt that I could do it, which was the most important thing as well as my instructor feeling I could pass. It took me over a year but i did it.
Like TV's Maureen I have been learning to drive for some time now - over three years now. My old driving instructor was very derogatory and fed up with me towards the end of my time learning with him. I ended each lesson feeling really stupid. I have managed to learn most other things - and it really depressed me that I was getting no-where. I gave up for six months. I spent well over £1000 on lessons, tests and books trying to get to the bottom of what I thought was my problem - my Maureen complex! Leaving Maureen Behind After a long break from lessons I realised that my Theory test certificate would soon run out and I had to have a go - but how? What was going to be different this time? I would have to think carefully, and be determined. Here are some of things I did and would recommend. Online Highway The first thing I did was scour the search engines on the Internet for driving instructors. I found a massive site that covered the whole country. The site told you the car, types of lessons, availability, email addresses and web page links. I have no doubt that Dooyoo visitors have reviewed plenty for you. I was particularly impressed by one instructor's site. It seemed different. I was really interested in the subject she talked about and his style of explanation. I also found that he had gone out and taken his own photos of some of the most notorious junctions had hazards and written rough guides to them all! His car was brand new - a Ford Ka. He did weekend lessons and I investigated further. The Web site was a really good guide to his character and his training ability as I was later to find out. Customer Satisfaction I tried to remember that I was a customer who had wasted money on driving lessons that didn't work. Like eating a bad pie on a restaurant - you wouldn't do that - would you! Stand up for yourself! If the driving instructor is not listening to your needs or is showing little enthusiasm give him the 'This is a terrible pie' treatment. You DO not have to have bad lessons. There are loads of instructors. Do you remember your favourite Teacher? Choose your driving instructor for his style - or at least try to ensure that if the instructor doesn't suit you that you recognise this early and move on sharpish. Think about when you were at school and if there was a teacher who really motivated you and taught you really well - ask yourself what it was about that teacher that worked for you. You'll find that some people just make you feel useless - it can be a straightforward personality clash! Remember - don't pay for bad pie! Get value by getting involved! I used to dread my lessons and just 'got through' them to get them out of the way - after all the way they were going, they ruined my weekend. With my new instructor I make sure I have had a good lunch and have had plenty of rest so I'm alert and taking in what he says. I have the courage to say when I don't understand so I don't miss out on getting better skills and flexibility. Sometimes instructors don't spot your weak points or things that you are doing the hard way - talking these things through is the best way to gain confidence! Here's another lasagne-ism - you wouldn't pay for an appointment with a private doctor and not answer the question 'what appears to be the problem?' would you! I am getting ready for my fourth test - it sounds like a cricket match doesn't it! I don't really think I'll pass but I have improved so much that I'm ready to learn more and beat this challenge by being realistic, keen and wise with my cash!
Waiting for the bus again !! Standing waiting, waiting and waiting for the bus was something I used to do most mornings come rain or shine, so when my seventeenth birthday came about I was more than happy to be able to embark on a course of driving lessons, well that was a least until I saw the cost of them. Like older teenagers I was one who only had a pathetic paying part time job and after many hours of contemplation. I came to the decision that I simply couldn’t for the time being learn to drive. I can afford to start learning now. It wasn’t until my turn into adulthood came about at my eighteenth birthday that I got enough money to be able to start to move away from that regular wait at the bus stop. After making several enquiries to different driving schools and coming to the conclusion that I wouldn’t be able to even turn the key in any ignition unless I paid on average £15 to £19 an hour for lessons and obtained a provisional driving licence at yet more expense, I booked a block of twelve lesson, (well thirteen really as the first one came free) at a cost of just over two hundred pounds. Little did I know that this was the start of one very expensive journey, but I was at the beginning and my first time driving a car was upon me. Thats just the start of it all. Well thirteen weeks later and all my birthday allowance gone on the first block of lessons, I had only just leant the basics of the driving side and also the rules of the road. On the advice of my instructor the average learner needs the amount of lessons based on their age plus their age so to his calculations I would need at least thirty six lessons, costing me around the £600.00 mark…a little more than I was expecting but in desperation to get away from that dreaded bus I continued with the lessons. The theory test. As well as the practical driving test every learner has to pass the theory test. The test comprises of thirty-five que stions on topics related to driving and the rules of the road. To pass the learner has to get thirty questions correct in a set time. Sounds easy, yes it is if you have got all the right books to learn from and at a cost of about £10 to £15.00 each, I class it as another hidden expense of learning to drive. Then there’s the actual theory test itself. Well you didn’t really think you could do that without forking out again do you? Yes more expense. The theory test costs £15.50 and its not done in the comfort of your own home, the learner driver has to travel to their nearest centre to complete it and in the unfortunate case of a fail its another £15.50 every time a test is taken…luckily I passed mine first time. Dooyoo know how much a practical test is ? So here I am with my theory test pass certificate, a few more lessons under my belt and my purse minus just short of £700.00 and my instructor tells me to go ahead and book my practical test. No surprise though when I am asked to pay just short of £40.00 for the driving examiner for their service of testing me on the day and just over £40.00 for the use of the car in the test and an hours drive before hand to settle me down. So at a cost of just over £80.00 for a quick thirty minute drive around showing a complete stranger that you can control a car and obey all the rules of the road you may or may not have a piece of paper saying that you have passed your practical test. Unfortunately once again if you don’t pass your practical test first time in the case of many leaner drivers, then it’s around another £80.00 for each re test. More expense. So you have done it, all that money has been spent and you can finally avoid that bus and drive your way around…well to be blunt no you can’t, not without a lot more strain to those purse strings. The first expense after passing your test to be faced is the swapping over of your provisional licence to your full driving licence at which you will be charged for (Oh there’s a surprise). So now your ready and if you have enough money to buy yourself a car I advise you make it a small sized car to begin with. It's more expensive than raising children. From my many hours of trying to find an affordable, decent priced insurance quote I regretfully gave up. Every insurance company I rang in the nation wouldn’t insure me on my parents car as its classed as a sports car and they are of they view that because it has the capability to move a bit quicker than the average car, that me being a new driver to the road would immediately go and take it to have a close encounter with a wall or something along those lines. But I ask the question doesn’t ever car start at 0 miles and hour and it depends on how hard you press the pedals as to how quick it goes, but still no quote and no car to drive. I even tried to get a quote on the smaller car but couldn’t get anything below more than what is to me affordable. In my opinion, us new young drivers should be able to get a quote we can at least semi afford and then if we do have an accident like everyone seems to think we are going to in our first journey, then raise the cost. I don’t see why every new driver should be stereotyped as a hazard on the road and charged incredible amounts and I am sure that a lot of you hold the same view as me out there. Even when we are able to overcome the problems of insurance costs there is still the ever-growing cost of tax and petrol not to mention the cost of repairs and maintenance every car needs. Think before you drive. So please take it from me even though I have wrote this opinion in a negative form and you may be thinking differently ask yourself this question. Do I really need to be able to drive and can I really afford to do it? I know if I had though about it more learning to drive is something I would have waited to do at least for a whil e anyway. Just think when you are stood waiting for that bus how much money your really saving and then the wait really won’t seem that bad at all. ********** UPDATE *********** I have now passed my test, after just over a year of learning and I can assure you that the costs of driving are still huge. I have just recently bought a little car and it has cost me just under £2000 to get it on the road. Although it can be worth it in the end, I would still advise anyone who is thinking about learning to drive to make sure you can afford to. The bus is still cheaper by far any day.
I am back, after a 2 months absence to write on my first review for the month. Most of you would not have missed me, as I am not too popular here. Anyway, back to the subject. I started my driving lessons approximately a year ago. I did my theory test last June, failed it the first time and passed it the second time. As time went by, I became confident with my driving and I decided to go for the practical test two months later. I failed the first time and I went for it again. I failed, failed and failed for the 11th time. I have decided to take a break from driving for now but I will be back to pass this time. Whose fault is it then? I would blame the school and my driving instructor. Firstly, my instructor never comes on time and at the end of the day he asks me for a cheque which I reluctantly give. Days before the test, we drive the same routes and he always promises me that we will drive a different route for a change but never do. On the test, every thing will seem new to me. Enough said my instructor is only after my money and not me passing the test. And finally, I blame the driving school for changing cars every 4 and increasing their prices annually (For legal reasons, I cannot mention the school in question). The final word I know what I have said is not much but I would advice anyone considering driving to opt for better driving schools like the AA and BSM. These schools want you to pass first time and are not after your money whatsoever.