Bad driving instructor

  • jamauk's Avatar
    I am having to resit my test after a 2 year disqualification due to an unidentified medical condition that caused a serious accident. It is thought that the judge made an example of me because it is such an unusual and unknown case, my doctor, solicitor, friends and family cannot understand why the case went this way. This however is for another topic when I feel I have the confidence to go into more detail, and I don’t want to make excuses.

    After 2 years off the road I received my provisional license and shortly after passed my theory test. I started driving lessons after this due to the availability of instructors.

    My driving instructor often turns up at least 20 minutes late to a lesson, and then will spend at least 1 hour going through diagrams about the topic we will be doing. This involves me being questioned about acronyms used, some that I haven’t been told and then what they stand for, yelling at me that she told me this last week and that I should have read it in my driving essentials book. Refusing to then tell me and help with my answer.

    I originally learned to drive in 2001, things have changed in that time, there are also perhaps some bad habits of mine that I hoped we would identify and resolve, and after taking a five year break my memory has also faded. She frequently tells me about other disqualified drivers that she teaches, and explaining how she has novice drivers who are picking things up quicker and better than me. In my opinion how another pupil is doing should be irrelevant, whilst no names are mentioned it makes me worry about what she says about me.

    I had a serious accident which is why I was disqualified, every lesson she shouts about other pupils and their friends, how they have had accidents and that they or their friends are lucky to still be alive, some ending up upside down in a hedge, and that if I don’t listen to her the same will happen to me again.

    I often get the wheel snatched out of my hands which worries me sometimes because I am not positioned directly in the middle of the road, when I try to correct this I am yelled at for moving too abruptly, I understand that I don’t know everything, but it would be simpler to just tell me rather than intervening. Yesterday she asked me to pull over at the side of the road, before we came to a stop she for no reason slammed the brakes on, never explaining why.

    This then proceeded on to telling me in an argumentative manner that I am holding the steering wheel too tightly, there are a few reasons for this, firstly is the anxiety that she is causing by grabbing the wheel and the associated yelling. I was asked yesterday why I was doing that and I explained that one of the reasons is that my car that I drove before disqualification had heavier steering, this was a wrong answer because after 14 hours (7 lessons) I should be used to her car, the seating position is uncomfortable, but if I put it to how I find it comfortable it is wrong, because of this movement is also limited, making it difficult to check blind spots and look past the A-pillar. With regards to the steering, yesterday she said that if I drive on ice or snow the car will slide all over the road, should you not adapt to the road? She constantly points out how she is an advanced driver and she likes to teach her pupils to that standard.

    In yesterday’s lesson she asked if I had booked my theory test, I explained that I had already passed that, without going into detail that I had told her before even starting lessons with her. She then asked if I had booked my driving test, I haven’t yet, and lessons at my test centre can be up to 6 months waiting time. This was wrong and she yelled that I should have booked it already, after these lessons I have no confidence to do any driving after the way she has treated me. Next week is my last lesson with her and I have pretty much decided that I will not go, even if it means that I loose the money I paid in advance.

    I was also told that I should have insured my car and go out driving with my dad, he can’t do it because he has heart issues and is going between the house and hospital every other day, she said that my mum should do it then, my mum doesn’t want to just yet if she is taking my dad to and from hospital, I am in work half the time and mum doesn’t want to commit to anything right now.

    If I go too slow it’s wrong, even though previously I was told that it is a limit and not a target, yesterday we went past a school, at 3pm, so it was busy with lots of students, I was going too fast then, even though I was doing 20 in a 30 area. This then goes onto gearing, I should change to second before 10mph, the engine doesn’t like it and I can feel it struggling, but if I go at 15mph I am “revving the hell out of the engine”.

    A lot to read here, so apologies! I will be doing an intensive course as soon as I can, but my biggest question in all this is am I being too sensitive or is she a bad teacher?
  • 7 Replies

  • Beelzebub's Avatar
    @jamaukYou're clearly not happy with your instructor, so find another!
  • Rolebama's Avatar
    Agree 100% with Beelzebub. Find another instructor asap.
  • jamauk's Avatar
    I already have found and booked a different instructor, it's a frustrating place to be in. I actually went for an intensive set of lessons, it is expensive and they won't start for another ~2 months, they do however book the driving test for me.

    I found her on a Facebook group and she is highly rated in the area, that is what concerned me. I've watched quite a few YouTube videos about driving instructors and a lot do say about the grabbing of the wheel and shouting can cause problems.

    It also seemed strange that whenever we go past a T-Junction, if there are cars (wrongly) parked opposite I am reminded to beep the horn to let people coming out of the junction know that I am there.

    Another quite strange part of the lesson yesterday, I was asked if I had an interest in sports, play or played sports in school. Ultimately I didn't really care much for sport in school, she thought it was BS, shouting at me that I must have done PE. Of course I did PE, actively participating in it was another thing, I didn't really care much for it, I had to play football or rugby because it was part of the curriculum. The only sport I had an interest in really was golf, that was of course the wrong answer, then it was explained to me that in football you don't look at where the player you are about to tackle is looking, you look at their feet because that is the direction they are going in, and so what I must do when driving is after looking at the front of the car to see where the driver is looking I must work down, see if they are indicating, but not take it as a given as they might have forgotten it, continue looking down to where the wheels are pointing. It just seems as though everything is being over complicated.

    She has warned me that because it is an extended test it will last around twice the time of a normal test and the examiner will test me on every aspect and not just the basics, they will see that I had a disqualification on my licence and will be tough on me. It's all this that worries me and was ultimately the deciding factor to change instructors.

    I overthink things, that's probably one of my problems, but it worried me that my intensive lessons are through National Intensive, now it was on Friday morning that I received notification of a test date, later that day she was asking if I had booked, where I wanted to book for. It made me question if she would either have access to this sort of thing through the MyDriveTime app that she set me up on. It doesn't show anything about tests being booked on there, it just seemed too much of a coincidence.

    Knowing my luck I would end up with her as an examiner 😂 or instructor, both of which I would with good reason walk away from.

    Anyway, thank you for reading through my long winded rant on here, I just had to say something, I have woken up thinking about it and this just seemed the easiest way to do it. I can't exactly go to my parents about it, I don't live with them full time, I am only staying with them to offer support whilst my dad is in hospital, they are finding every day life stressful enough without me adding to it.
  • Rolebama's Avatar
    After a while, you will find yourself looking at those things you mention, and taking them in with a glance. Unfortunately, I think roadcraft comes with experience, and is not so easily taught. Scanning parked cars, checking shop windows for reflections, checking road conditions, looking for shadows etc I mentioned them all to my daughters but only as 'advisories, now they tell me of things they've picked up.
  • jamauk's Avatar
    I have booked intensive lessons with National Intensive who have booked a test for me, I actually called them yesterday for an update with who the instructor would be as there is no name of instructor listed.

    The person I spoke with explained that they get instructors to put themselves forward, and they would choose the instructor they feel would be best for me. I asked them to put a note on my file that I did not want the instructor I was with previously because without going into any detail, a number of issues I had with her teaching abilities. I did apologize for having to do this, and she did explain that they quite often have people calling to ensure that they don't get a particular independent instructor that they had to move away from.

    Hopefully this time it will be an instructor that doesn't argue, slam brakes and clutch down, randomly grabbing the steering wheel, being 20 minutes late for every lesson and spend over 1 hour of a 2 hour lesson talking and questioning me about various acronyms used in driving.

    I also hope that the new instructor lets me position the seat to how I feel comfortable and not a generic seating arrangement. I have to say, there is a lot of love for the Mini out there, but I found the seats uncomfortable, this however was possibly due to how she made me adjust the seat leaving me hunched up too close to the steering wheel and the seat high up.
  • Drivingforfun's Avatar
    I know there are 3 sides to every story (your side, her side, and in the middle: the truth) but she does sound like an awful instructor

    I think I would be wary of the fact that someone is highly rated on social media sites, to the point that not only would I treat it as irrelevant but it would actually be a turn-off for me as it's so easily manipulated and corruptible

    Putting that aside and focusing on some constructive points because having a (justified) bash at her doesn't do any good, except perhaps you feel a bit better...

    "Speed limits are not targets" I was told this is wrong. If there is no reason not to drive at the speed limit, you should aim to do so because driving unnecessarily slowly is a sign of anxiety and/or doubt of your own ability (hesitancy counts as a "fault" during a driving test)

    Revving - most advanced drivers I know make full use of the engine's rev range - safety and control becomes above economy. 15mph in 1st gear is what, 2500-3000RPM? Even if it's a diesel you probably had another 2000 revs to use if you wanted

    2 things I'd say she was correct on though

    Sitting too high up - I drive a Mini and am over 6 ft tall and I have the seat quite high. I find it interesting seeing so many oncoming cars with smaller drivers whose head is barely visible above the dashboard, they surely can't see properly to manoeuvre and position their car?

    Horn use - using the horn as a warning and not a response after the incident has happened is correct. It's refreshing to see someone try to encourage this ... that said personally I still try to minimise horn use as rightly or wrongly it's seen by most as an aggressive signal, and seems to get you into conflict even if used correctly
  • jamauk's Avatar
    2 things I'd say she was correct on though

    Sitting too high up - I drive a Mini and am over 6 ft tall and I have the seat quite high. I find it interesting seeing so many oncoming cars with smaller drivers whose head is barely visible above the dashboard, they surely can't see properly to manoeuvre and position their car?

    Horn use - using the horn as a warning and not a response after the incident has happened is correct. It's refreshing to see someone try to encourage this ... that said personally I still try to minimise horn use as rightly or wrongly it's seen by most as an aggressive signal, and seems to get you into conflict even if used correctly

    I probably didn't word the horn use comment correctly, I understand using it as a warning, essentially to let other motorists know that you are there. What I found frustrating was that she was leaning across in front of me to press the horn instead of saying "this is what you could/should do" sometimes even nudging my left hand out of the way to do it, then telling me that I should have both hands on the steering wheel.

    I'm just under 6 ft, the problem with the seat position was that my legs were stretched out, the seat too high and upright, it made my arms feel hunched up, it could have done with the seat being just slightly lower, slightly further forwards and not as upright. The seat position actually made it feel as though all of my weight was on the base of my spine, I pointed this out several times and was told that it is what the DVSA guide to driving says it should be and is something the examiner would test me on.

    Seeing DVSA on the above paragraph reminds me of another thing I was abruptly corrected on, when I said DVLA I was shouted at because I should have said DVSA, it just seemed a very pedantic interruption that could have waited until I had finished talking.

    Perhaps some of my points were said just to make myself feel a bit better, I think a better way to word it would be that she was a passenger that couldn't give up control of the drivers seat. When I read that back it doesn't seem to get my point across. Essentially she couldn't explain something without taking complete control back. Even when I parked perfectly at the side of the road, wheels around 5 cm from the kerb she said "I don't know what the wheels are like on your Focus, but I'd rather not have chunks taken out of my wheels".

    With regards to her on social media, what it doesn't show is how many pupils she has/had, there are 7 5/5 reviews, but these date back to June 2018, I wish I had checked this before, I presume anything less than 5/5 would be deleted, anyone could put a negative comment about her, what proof is there either way if there is only two people in the car.