I was surprised to find that my instructor was only a trainee, I did not know this until my friend pointed out his licence in his windscreen was a pink triangle saying trainee, I was still charged full price. When I complained they said they would send me a qualified Instructor, he never turned up, so I changed schools and guess what, I was sent another trainee ! make sure your instructor is fully qualified as many driving schools use trainee instructors and they have not and may never make the grade. BEWARE!!!
My Dad was a driving instructor for 25 years (now retired) and ran his own driving school so I have some experience of driving schools.
I myself was a hideous driver, a terrible learner and was extremely nervous when I learned to drive. Driving didn't excite me, it scared me.
So, whether you're 17 or an older learner, you want learning to drive to be the least painful experience possible. It also gives you a skill for life - driving a car is dangerous, so you need to learn how to do it properly!
Firstly - look around for driving schools - obviously there are national ones like BSM but there are plenty of local ones too. Ask around for friends and relatives opinions - word of mouth is key to finding a good instructor.
Most driving schools offer discounts for block booking lessons but I wouldn't do this until you've had a lesson or two and feel happy with your instructor. If you're not happy, find someone else, you're paying after all. Check they are registered driving instructors - they should have a badge in their car - a green badge, which shows this.
Many instructors offer 'intensive' courses or offer deals such as paying for your test if you fail, or the first five lessons for £50 and so on. Personally, I would steer (see what I did there?) clear of these. Most of these are too good to be true - petrol is too expensive for an hour's lesson to be a fiver, so these instructors will spend 55 minutes talking about the engine and about five teaching you how to drive, total waste of money. Instructors will also make pretty sure that you will pass your test meaning you will spend more on lessons, where as you might have a fifty-fifty chance of passing - so can either choose to take a chance or not.
Most people, unless they are natural drivers, are not going to pass a test after learning for a week. And it isn't just about passing your test, it's about becoming a safe driver.
I wouldn't focus too much on pass rates either - no one can boast a 100 per cent pass rate - no matter how good their instruction is, people can easily make mistakes under pressure on their test.
Most driving schools shoudl help you with your theory test and you should be able to borrow their books and CD-ROMS to practise - these should be free.
Drivign lessons are expensive - depending where in the UK you are, you are looking at about £25 these days. It's a good idea to practise outside of lessons, but people who have been driving for years have bad habits, so don't pick them up!
Yes, learning to drive is an expensive and often stressful business - I was in tears more than once and that was with my Dad! But most instructors are used to nervous drivers and they should be able to help you, but you're not paying all that money to have a jolly time, you are there to learn.
Do your research, test the waters and stick at it - you will pass!
I learnt to drive at the age of 26 and therefore was a late learner but however much I tried to learn with either my parents, boyfriend or freinds it never happened until I became a student with a driving school.
I learnt to drive with new driver, and from start to finish the experience was fantastic, quick, easy and I passed first time.
When I first started lessons I was a little shocked at the price of them at £15-20 per lesson which lasts for one hour, however when I looked at other companies nearly everyone was of similar price so it actually made little difference.
If you are in the process of choosing an instructor I would go with either the main companies such as the AA, New driver, red or BSM. However if you intend to go with an independant instructor then make sure you get testimonials from them of previous students or at least know someone who has learnt with them.
There are many a horror story of young people learning to drive and having absolute dragons as tutors which immediately puts them off, of course these can be found with any driving school but ask about and youll find a great one through recommendation.
Driving lessons are daunting especially at first and more so especially when you are a nervous person but fear not. I was petrified of starting with an instructor but once youve made the first lesson you will have a thrill about learning and you cant drive without learning so before long youll be on the open road alone with the music and freedom. Always think of that in your head with each lesson and youll make it.
Driving lessons can be taken in acute sessions such as 2 weeks however I perosnally dont recommend these at all. I think driving is an art that albeit easy once you know how its down to experience and confidence on the road and this cannot be gained in 2 weeks. Intensive courses I feel are a little dangerous but its down to the individual.
All driving schools offer the same standards and rates and therefore are much of a muchness, as I said get recommendations and go with an instructor you feel comfortable with, feel the fear of the lesson get on with it and before you know it you can pass your test.
Choosing a good driving school to take your lessons from can be difficult as if you choose a big driving school, the lessons can be quite expensive, and if you choose a smaller one, you can sometimes have trouble, then have to sort it out with the instructor themself, rather than through the driving school.
As I find driving quite difficult, I deemed it important to find an instructor I would be comfortable with. The first one I went with was recommended by someone else and, being female, I thought I would be quite comfortable. I think the driving school was Happy Hour.The instructor was quite nice but didn't seem to understand why I wasn't getting much better, and I didn't make much progress. She was also quite chatty, which could be distracting sometimes. And once, when I was really ill, she said that if I didn't take the lesson, I would still have to pay. Also, her car had a really weird smell - weird and musty, combined with flash wipes.
My second instructor is a BSM instructor. At first I was wary about having a male instructor as I thought it might be uncomfortable, but he is really patient and professional. I still pay £22.50 per lesson as that is the amount I paid when I started, but I think they are more expensive now. I can recommend my instructor but I think with such a big driving school, it's hit and miss whether you will get a good instructor.
BSM can also be quite sneaky in that when you first phone up for lessons, they will assume you want double lessons, so you have to make sure you correct them if this is not what you want. Also, they kept phoning me to ask if I had booked my theory test, which I found intrusive and irritating. Eventually, I just ignored their calls (I have now passed my theory test by the way!). Some BSM centres have a driving simulator, which you have to pay about £15 or £20 for 45 minutes I think. I was quite disappointed as it did not work very well, and was so expensive. Some centres also have machines which you can practise theory test questions on. I never used this facility.
Overall, I would say when choosing an instructor, it is good to get a few recommendations, then try and work out which one sounds like it would be good for you. I would also recommend only buying a block of lessons (for a discount) once you have taken a couple of lessons with your instructor and feel that you are comfortable, and that you will progress with them.
Thanks for reading!
Driving is the most scariest thing i feel most people will try, so it is important you have a qualified driving instructor from a reputable driving school to keep you calm and collected who will show you through the ropes and teach you every tip and trick you need to know to pass your test.
I passed my test nearly 4 years ago now and i went with a well known company around the area i live at. I was slightly more fortunate than most learners as my mum had let her drive her car around the industrail estate but from that to going on the road is a massive step up.
There is obvious advantages to learning with an instructor, They are qualified, they have the dual controls (pedals in the passenger footwell as well as the drivers side) they know how to pass the test and the criteria you need, they are passionate and understanding.
I also feel there are disadvantages to learning with an instructor. They are very expensive, Mine was £27.50 an hour. Also the other disadvantage is that, i felt my instructor was trying to make me delay taking my Theory and Practical to get more money out of me. I booked my theory and passed it without my instructor knowing and booked my practical test with him knowing too. After a 4 months of learning he told me i was ready to book my theory, i told him i had already passed it, he then said o, ok your ready to book your practical then, i said i had already booked it. Two weeks later i took my test and passed with only 2 minors. I felt comfortable enough to have probably taken it a few weeks earlier than that.
I feel though the experince of the instructor out weighs the expense and is a definate must for any learners
just thought id a dd a little note on my experience with driving instructors.
firstof all i had a lovely man who taught me on time every week-unfortunately i moved house and got pregnant so gave up lessons for a while,the next instructor i booked when my baby was old enough was a complete waste of time- first of all turned up late! then on me getting in the car-yhe was on the phone to his travel agent booking his families holiday and he just told me to drive out of a busy car park -even though i explained i hadnt driven for over a year!!,during this lesson i did a couple of manouvers -from memory not his explanation,then we picked up a lad having his lesson who had to drive me home as part of his lesson!. needless to say i didnt book with him again!-
the next experience i had was with a female driving school whom i thought we got on really well- told me to go ahead and book my test and she would put it in her diary-then low and behold said she was going on holiday that day! -managed to apparantly squeeze it in before she went. however i failed- had a couple more lessons and she said book it again for a cancellation- so i did. and once again she said she couldnt do it,but would find someones from the same company who would- 2 days before my test she rings saying she couldnt find anybody and im going to lose my money. so i had a frantic phone around all the companies trying to get someone who would take me for my test- luckily a gentleman came to my rescue-however after failing again! the company my female driving instructor rang saying that she had been sacked for letting customers down and hadnt even asked any of them to cover my test- it then turned into childish games where they would both ring me telling tales on the other so in the end i just stopped answering to them both- i suppose the moral of my story is i think -go by recommendations
lucky me now has to find another instructor *sigh*
I took lessons with Stan who owns Roadcraft in Isleworth. I used to cry and shake every time I sat behind the wheel of a car. It made me feel sick. I was petrified of driving (i.e. crashing, killing someone, killing myself, being shouted at, stalling, hill starts, changing gears, the clutch, you name it I was scared of it).
He is BRILLIANT. He is very reliable, super calm, but what I liked most about him was that he managed to explain in plain English where I was going wrong. If he can get me driving he can get anyone driving. I went every Saturday for 3 or 4 months but I passed first time and I was not easy to teach! If he can teach me............seriously, there is hope for everyone. IDEAL for nervous people. And if you are confident he will probably have you driving in a few weeks! He really is that good. HIGHLY recommended.
My lessons are with Acclaim, which franchise their drivers. I live in Leicester and 1st booked mine on the internet, I then got an e-mail saying you lesson is on Monday at 10:30.
Monday came and at 10:45 I was still stood waiting at my door, at 10:45 I rang and Acclaim said, sorry there has been a problem, can we book you in for Wednesday at 10:30?
So I thought it was sorted.
Later on that evening I got a call from the instructor him self saying, the lesson is on Thursday at 11:00. So I though, right I've spoken to the instructor him self so it should all be fine now.
Thursday He turned up at about 11:10, and I was told I've got a 1.5hr lesson, he then drove us to a quite area in Leicester, which took us about 15mins to get there, then he sat going on for a little while, then I finally went. After it all I had done: left turns, right turns, starting off, stopping, up to 2nd gear.
Then we pulled in to the kerb where he said, that's your lesson at about 12:00, so it was really a 40minuite lesson.
I only paid £15 that time, as it was my first, but now it's £20 a lesson from me as I'm a student.
Prices: £7.50 for you first 45mins
£22 per hour from then on
£20 per hour block booking and NUS
Wednesday 15th Oct.
Well my lesson is at 11:15 today, lets see if he turns up ontime, or even at all.
I had driving lessons from a company called chandni school of motoring, they operate in north west london. I found they taught me well as they were proffesional unlike other companies i had heard of. Apparently they have one of the highest pass rates and experiance within that area. I passed first time within 4months of having lessons. I would reccomend them.
I had lessons with orange ADI driving school in tamworth and i think he is the best instructor for this area. i learned a lot quicker as he explained why i had to do things rather than just being told what to do. Now i knew why i had to do things, i could understand it more which aided my learning and knowledge of driving.
I had other instructors before with BSM and AA but now i know, i would not recommend any one else but Orange ADI. Just a shame i didnt go with him in the first place as i would have passed a lot quicker!
I have become a more confident driver and owe it all to Rich.
Oh and ADI stands for Approved Driving Instructor.. just in case anyone was wondering...because i was and he even explained that to me!
good luck all!
Michelle (Tamworth) .
i had lessons with ORANGE school of motoring, in new malden, surrey and they were just great. i had been with another school but they were a big company only after my money. anyone looking for lessons should go for a smaller company and if near were i lived should go to Orange. the lessons were cheap and much longer than others. I would reconmend them to anyone.
i think the number is 0208 942 8724. good luck
I have wanted to learn to drive for as long as I can remember so you can imagine how delighted I was when my parents bought me 10 driving lessons for my 17th Birthday last May. I had also been saving up my pay's from work to pay for driving lessons and a car. So here I was on my journey of learning to drive
~ Looking For an Instructor ~
It is really important to ask around. Don't just pick a random instructor from the telephone book. If you know someone who is learning to drive ask him or her if their instructor is good and how much they charge etc. As my birthday is in May quite a few of my friends started learning to drive before me. One of my friends recommended her driving instructor to me, I passed the telephone number on to my parents as they said they wanted to get me driving lessons for my birthday. My mam's hairdresser also recommended a driving instructor to us so my mam made a note of his name and number too, only to find out that both recommendations were for the same man! So this is the instructor that I learned to drive with.
And I'm so glad I did as he's excellent. He's really patient and never once shouted at me no matter how many silly mistakes I made.
I know that some instructors are just out to get your money but there are some which genuinely want you to pass as soon as you are ready. If you are not happy with the instructor you are with look for another one.
~ Provisional Licence ~
First of all, before you can even start learning to drive you need to apply for a provisional licence. This will cost you £38. You can apply for your provisional licence two months before your 17th birthday, which is what I did, ready to start on your 17th birthday.
~ Cost ~
Learning to drive is NOT cheap. My instructor charges £16 per lesson or if you pay in advance in blocks of 5 or 10 you get them for £15 per lesson. The amount of lessons you will need varies upon individuals and how frequent your lessons are.
*The cost is continuous once you pass your test, as it is expensive to run a car. *
~ My First Lesson ~
My driving instructor offered a double lesson free for your first lesson. During this lesson he took me through the controls of the car so I understood what everything was for. He then let me drive on a fairly straight, quiet road to get used to the car. He drove me home, as the roads were a lot busier. This was an excellent insight into driving.
~ Lessons ~
I had two or three lessons a week. During these lessons I learned how to drive a car. It seemed to take me ages to get used to changing gears and slowing down for junctions and roundabouts etc but I picked it up eventually! During my lessons I also had to learn to do three manoeuvres; parallel parking, reversing round a corner and a turn in the road (3-point turn). Once my instructor showed me how to do these I did at least one manoeuvre per lesson. Once he thought I was ready, he told me I could book my test. I would not recommend booking your test before your instructor tells you you're ready, as the chances are you would fail. If your instructor is genuine he or she will tell you as soon as you are ready so you have more chance of passing first time.
As my test date got nearer my instructor started asking me maintenance questions in preparation for my test.
~ Car ~
My instructor's car is a Ford Fiesta and it is dual control. I think this is a major advantage of learning to drive with a school rather than with a family member. I don't think I would have had enough confidence to drive a car with single controls when I first started learning.
~ Theory Test ~
I passed my theory test first time about three months into my driving lessons. The theory test involves answering 35 questions relating to road safety. You then have to do Hazard Perception which involves watching some video clips and clicking the mouse when you see a hazard. This is important as observation skills are important when on the road. I would recommend that you revise for the theory test as it costs £21.50. If you do fail you can resit though. The practical test must be completed within 2 years of passing your theory test.
You can buy books which help you prepare for your theory test. I had a book with questions and answers in as well as a CD ROM which included the hazard perception part of the test as well.
~ Practical Driving Test ~
I took this test twice. The first time I was so nervous I kept making silly mistakes. The second time, I passed with only 5 minor faults :-)
During the test you will drive around for about 35-40 minutes on various road conditions. You also need to answer 2 maintenance questions such as where you put the oil or water, or how you would check the handbrake for excessive wear. These are nothing to worry about too much as even if you answer them incorrectly you will only get one minor fault marked against you. (You are allowed up to 15 to pass)
During the test you will carry out two manoeuvres. In both my tests I did a reverse around a corner and a turn in the road. You may also get an emergency stop. I had one of these in each of my tests.
~ Is it worth it? ~
Learning to drive is one of the best things that I have done. I feel so much more independent because I can go wherever I want whenever I want. When I first past my test I was driving a nine year old Citroen Saxo but I recently bought a Peugeot 107, which is great!
If you fail your driving test don't give up. You WILL get there eventually!
Thanks for reading!
I have just turned 18, i was given a large sum of money for my birthday, my dad knew i was desperate to drive an my mum had bought me a car which only made me more eager to pass as quickly as posible. Having found a top grade instructor locally i thought id been lucky, £440 later, 22 hours and im no where near test standard and having to search for an instructor due to the said one, who i believed was teaching me purposely slow as he knew i had the money in the bank, was wasting 15 minutes of every lesson with his clock been ten minutes fast, picking up other students in my lesson time as well as personal errands!!! then after 20 lessons he says why dont i book my test in for in 6 weeks! and continue having 6-8 hours of tuition a week! despte the fact him constantly saying how well i was picking everything up and how he hadn't had a learner like me for ages! i'v spent alot of money and wasted a large part of it, let this be a warning, just because an instructor seems to be teaching you ok, make sure your getting your moneys worth, in the end they're the ones getting paid 20 quid an hour, they say driving examiners dont want you to pass, would your instructor want to loose the regular income you give him? the best way to find a driving instructor is to get one recommended!
I was a very nervous driver who had been searching for a very long time for a driving school who could make me feel calm and relax. By chance while googling I found a New Concept Driving school that provides a holistic and relaxing approach to driving, which includes in car aromatherapy, meditation, flower essences and stress management techniques. The driving instructor was very calming and I finally passed with her on 16 Oct on Monday.
Driving lessons are one of the best investments you'll ever make in your life. If for instance, a 17 year old spends £500 on lessons and passes the driving test first go, they have a minimum of 53 years driving ahead of them without a retest (under current legislation... this might well change in the future), less than a tenner a year..not bad.
Of course, not everyone passes the test first time, and lessons can start to get expensive, so I have made a list of 'Dos' and Don'ts' when deciding upon a choice of Driving School.
I don't intend to deal with the driving test itself..that's what the school's for.
1) Don't go for the most expensive. Yes.. some people do, working on the misguided principle that anything costing that much must be good. Some of the larger driving schools have quite hefty rates..but remember, schools are only made up of instructors, and your lessons will only be as effective as that individual.
2) Don't fall for the old chestnut some of you might have heard, "Oh yes, it's about one lesson for each year of your life". This is absolute nonsense. Driving schools are dealing with people who have different learning capabilities, and there is no hard and fast rule as to how long it will take an individual to reach test standard. If your would-be instructor comes out with this one, look elsewhere.
3) Do be wary of recommendations. This might sound a little odd, but ask yourself are they recommending instructor 'A' because they passed with him first time. Obviously they're going to be over the moon, but there might have been other factors..had they previously learnt to drive with someone else, and instructor 'A' simply took them for their test?.it happens. He might have been a rotten instructor, and they just happened to have an aptitude for driving. Look for a NUMBER of recommendations for the same school, this is less likely to be simply a case of chance.
4)Don't listen to your Dad, mum, uncle, granny (unless they're a driving instructor). There's a good chance they'll have picked up some bad habits over the years, and they'll pass them to you. If you're going to pay someone..listen to them. The test has changed considerably over the last few years, and there's a good chance your Dad & Co would fail it miserably.
5) Do comment if you don't get your full lesson, you're paying by the hour, and you want the hour.
6) Don't be afraid to get rid of your instructor if you don't like him/her. There are people in life we don't like, which is not normally an issue..we avoid them, but this is a different matter, you need to be able to 'get on' with him/her, or you won't learn.
7)Do make sure that your instructor is qualified. An A.D.I. ( Approved Driving Instructor) will have passed three examinations..theory, his/her own driving, and instruction. When they are fully qualified, they will display a green octagonal badge in the front windscreen of their vehicle. If you see a red triangle badge, the instructor has only passed his part 1 and part 2 examinations. He/she is allowed to instruct by the Driving Standards Agency for a period of 6 months whilst preparing for the final part 3. Most trainee instructors are more than capable of teaching you, but you should be aware that you are not getting a fully qualified driving instructor.
8)Do think hard before embarking on a 'Crash Course' (a rather unfortunate title). These courses are advertised in the local and national press, and are becoming increasingly popular. "Learn to drive in a week" they declare, but as with most things in life, it is rarely that easy. The idea is simple..take a week off work, and take all of your driving lessons in that week, with your driving test on the final day. This sounds a very attractive proposition, particularly if time is an issue with the learner, but be prepared for a gruelling schedule. Driving is a skill that will last you a lifetime, and those type of skills are rarely learnt in a week. If you are fortunate enough to pass your test doing one of these (and many are not), be aware of the fact that all you have done is learnt to pass a test, you won't be able to drive..you'll learn how to do THAT when you get on the road, and a week's preparation doesn't seem adequate to a lot of experts who have voiced doubts concerning these courses.
9)Do find a school that can provided regular tuition. It will hamper your efforts if the instructor is too busy to fit you in on a regular basis. Lessons need to be regularly spaced to gain full benefit from them.
10) Finally..don't throw your dummy out of the pram and sack your instructor if you happen not to pass your test first time. The best instructor in the world will get the odd test failure..that's life. Be honest with yourself, and don't blame him/her if you've screwed up..there's always next time