When I turned 17 people immediately began to ask me about learning to drive, it just seems to be the thing people do for their birthday. Even though I turned 17 in February, I’ve only recently decided that I want to learn to drive. Although I probably won’t be able to afford a car for a long time I really want to have the life skill of being able to drive a car and I think that now is the right time to learn.
I’m at the stage in my life where I feel like if I don’t learn now, it will be a while before I do. I’m hoping to pass my test before I go off to university next September so feel as though starting now will give me enough time to do that. Another reason why I really want to learn now is because I have seen the freedom my friends have now that they have passed, oh and you can’t forget about the trips to the McDonalds drive thru in between lessons either!
Although I know it will be a bit more difficult, I want to learn to drive a manual car. The gear stick is the thing I am most scared about trying to master but hopefully it won’t be as difficult as it looks. You can probably guess that as well as being excited I am definitely nervous for my first lesson, this is why I spent so much time looking for the right instructor. The things I was looking for included dual controls, someone who seems friendly, someone who has a good reputation and lastly and least importantly a car that I would like to learn in.
I know that most instructors have dual controls, although I found out that this isn’t necessary, but was essential in me making my choice. I wouldn’t trust myself to be completely in control of a car so I think dual controls will make me a bit more relaxed and less nervous when I’m in the car.
Most importantly for me was finding someone who is friendly. After hearing of people’s bad experiences with certain instructors I avoided them like the plague whilst researching. I’m sorry but someone shouting at me would not help me in the slightest and would only make me more stressed. The biggest piece of advice I have been given is to change instructor if I really don’t like them or don’t get along with them. One of my friends stayed with someone who shouted at her for 7 months before changing instructors which is something she wishes she did quicker. The instructor I have chosen seems really friendly and from what I have heard has a great reputation.
The driving instructor that I have chosen is Nottingham based and part of a driving school with 3 other instructors. I didn’t get to choose which instructor I wanted as each one covers different areas, however I was completely fine with this as I had read reviews of all of the instructors and would have been happy to have any of them. I hadn’t heard of this driving school until August/September time when I noticed one of their cars mid lesson. The girl having a lesson looked calm and happy which is all the proof I needed to see that the instructors are delivering great quality lessons and giving confidence to the students of the driving school.
After doing some research on the company’s website, which provides so much information, I decided to book my first lesson with them. They couldn’t fit me in for just over 2 weeks which hopefully means they have a lot of interest and people that they are currently teaching which is obviously a good thing. The company claim to be different from other instructors as they don’t keep you parked up on the side of the road for long periods of time and prefer to teach practically rather than talking about everything extensively which eats into lesson time. Although I don’t know anyone who has been with this company and haven’t had any personal recommendations, I think this is a small risk worth taking.
I don’t just want an instructor who will teach me the skills needed to drive and pass my test but would instead like someone who will teach me the skills needed to be safe on the road whilst driving. I wouldn’t want to even sit my test if I didn’t feel confident and safe in the way I was driving, even if I knew I could do all of the manoeuvers etc. so I was looking for someone who will teach both safety and actual driving skills. The driving school I have picked pride themselves on doing just this which was another reason I picked them.
A factor which isn’t too important to me but people may want to consider is price. The most expensive instructor isn’t always the best and the cheapest isn’t always the worst. However this being said I don’t know why someone would charge say £16 for an hour if they are delivering lessons of the same quality of someone charging £24 per hour. I think the average price is around £23 which is the price of my driving school however they offer a £2 student discount which is great if you are in college or university, it’s definitely worth checking if your instructor offers this.
My first lesson is this week, I’ve booked a 2 hour lesson as this is what they recommend for the first lesson. I’ll definitely be watching some of the tutorials from the Complete Learner Driver Suite as this will hopefully give me more confidence when I’m in the car.