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Dobloseven

Crash driving courses

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Hopefully not a very apt title. Second youngest son has somehow managed to reach the age of 23 without learning to drive. He's been at university for 5 years studying music and has another year to do. When not studying, he's teaching or playing for money so to have regular lessons just hasn't worked out because he never knows where he'll be. He did manage a few last year, so he knows the basics and passed the theory test easily recently.Until a few months ago, he had a long term girlfriend with a car who used to run him around, but sadly that ended. Next Monday, on our suggestion (and money) he's starting a 30 hour intensive course with the test on the 17th, so just over a week. Anybody had any experience of these, good or bad? 

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The DVLA published pass rates for each driving test centre. You can look at those.  Does your chosen driving instructor publish his/her own success rates, and are they better or worse than the general figure for your town? 

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I did a five day intensive course as soon as I turned 17 to get my motorcycle licence. Passed (just).  Scary when I think back to it, just turned 17 with 600cc between my legs.

 

But yes, it was good and you go to the test with it all fresh in your mind.

 

That said, I found learning to ride a motorcycle easier than driving a car, so not directly comparable.

 

 

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I did mine whilst on leave form the RN in the late 80s, think I booked a 2 week block finishing with the exam on a Friday, really good way to pass the test I thought, wrote my first car off 6 days later!

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9 hours ago, moorgate said:

The DVLA published pass rates for each driving test centre. You can look at those.  Does your chosen driving instructor publish his/her own success rates, and are they better or worse than the general figure for your town? 

They do, but is it a good measure?

An instructor could hang on to students longer than really necessary a) to guard their 'pass rate' and b) to generate more income. Another instructor could stack em high, sell em cheap and put people in for tests that havent been trained fully. Then theres the middle of the road instructor who does thorough training and when they judge youre ready for a test put you in for the test, their 'success rate being above the national average..

9 hours ago, Dobloseven said:

Hopefully not a very apt title. Second youngest son has somehow managed to reach the age of 23 without learning to drive. He's been at university for 5 years studying music and has another year to do. When not studying, he's teaching or playing for money so to have regular lessons just hasn't worked out because he never knows where he'll be. He did manage a few last year, so he knows the basics and passed the theory test easily recently.Until a few months ago, he had a long term girlfriend with a car who used to run him around, but sadly that ended. Next Monday, on our suggestion (and money) he's starting a 30 hour intensive course with the test on the 17th, so just over a week. Anybody had any experience of these, good or bad? 

It really will depend on your sons ability to learn for extended periods. I used to do intensive courses on behalf of another school and for me, it doesnt work for many students, theres information overload and you get to stage youre just driving for the sake of it and knowledge being gained is reduced as the hours go on. There is also experience, learning to drive over a longer period you experience differing weather and traffic conditions. I turned up to take students in fog, snow, ice (within limits)  etc and often got 'oh I thought you would cancel' in my view it was valuable experience and later they all agreed it was worthwhile.

If your son does do an intensive course and is successful on the 17th (good luck, fingers crossed) please encourage him to do the pass plus course as well. He may or may not know he is allowed to have his instructor in the back of the car during the test, some students find it reduces test nerves, others dont like the idea. It is useful if the test is unsuccessful for the instructor to witness first hand what went wrong.

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A former neighbour is a driving instructor at one of these places, he always said it didn’t work for everyone but most students it did

 

My son will be doing one as his birthday is at the end of the school year so all of his mates will be ahead of him on this - my birthday is at the beginning of September and I was the first of my peer group to pass (mid November), my driving instructor went on the teach a number of my friends and they all passed first time (o think); she was a former colleague of my Dad’s who decided on a career change and a superb instructor.

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I started driving at the age of 15 and passed my test 30 days after my 18th birthday.  You could only apply for the licence on the day you turned 18 and it was "mandatory" to wait 30 days.  I had to redo my driving test when I joined the police force a year later as my licence was issued in another country.  When I returned to that country I had to redo my driving test again as the original one had expired.  On coming to the UK I had to redo my driving test again in 1996.  :D

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I did my lessons over a 5 week period.

My instructor was an elderly large lady who never stopped talking from the moment we got in the car.

She had been a driving instructor but her lack of qualifications meant she couldn't teach officially - she was a friend of the family. 

After completing my test in the £25 Austin A40, the examiner said "Mary Baldrey taught you didn't she? We can tell. Congratulations on passing",

One of her more memorable comments whilst I was on my lesson; It was summer and I was admiring the female scenery. "Keep your eyes on the road and off the ladies. You're as bad as your Brother. And your Father! "

One bad habit she didn't get me to break 😊

 

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Slightly different because they are already a 'driver' but most learn to drive an LGV in 5 days

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I did a 5 day Motorcycle course which was OK.

 

But, I had been driving cars for a while so had road sense and awareness.

 

And I'd been riding bikes for years off road and on provisional licence.

 

It would have been a tall order if I was totally green.

 

 

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Is that not how the army do it up in North Yorkshire. They do a week course of driving then pass them at the end of it, be it hgv or land rover etc.

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37 minutes ago, logiclee said:

It would have been a tall order if I was totally green.

Being later in life, totally green and never having had a motor bike, I decided to take a Direct Access course which was on a 500.

 

I really struggled particularly with U turns and general nervousness on faster roads like dual carriageways.

 

On the test I put my foot down on the U turn and made other mistakes and quite rightly I failed.

 

Had I have started from scratch with a smaller bike and worked up I would have probably been OK.

 

The instructor said he would get the next test booked but I said no thanks, I didn't think biking was going to be for me.

 

Had driven powerful cars in the past but a powerful motor bike was a different cup of tea.

 

Probably would not have been here now had I have passed and bought a big bike.

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I had a “crash” driving course back in 1967.  I got my licence on my 17th birthday 6th November, had four driving lessons and passed my test in my mums Morris 1000 on 8th December. I still remember the instructors car, a red Viva SL registration GSD 7E.

During that time I was involved in two accidents in my mums car, both while stationary and not my fault.

A bus undertook me (partially on the pavement) and damaged the rear wing. The driver didn’t stop and simply drove onto his next bus stop further down the street. Meantime I removed the ignition keys and ran after him to have a few “nice” words.

Two weeks later a van hit the other side exiting from a car park. He gave my mum a false address.

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1 hour ago, Griff said:

Being later in life, totally green and never having had a motor bike, I decided to take a Direct Access course which was on a 500.

 

I really struggled particularly with U turns and general nervousness on faster roads like dual carriageways.

 

On the test I put my foot down on the U turn and made other mistakes and quite rightly I failed.

 

Had I have started from scratch with a smaller bike and worked up I would have probably been OK.

 

The instructor said he would get the next test booked but I said no thanks, I didn't think biking was going to be for me.

 

Had driven powerful cars in the past but a powerful motor bike was a different cup of tea.

 

Probably would not have been here now had I have passed and bought a big bike.

If you struggle with u turns it would of been the same on a small bike. Some people are naturally like a cat and always balance well, others not so. As people get older we are probably more risk adverse and know falling off hurts so put our foot down sooner. Not against training though, but I don’t think you can teach natural balance.

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I never took a driving course, my father sat with me while I learned.  I had taken a strong interest in cars and the road* from about the age of 5 and by the time I was learning I knew the signs and rules.  I like learning and reading, and had three books I almost knew by heart - The Highway Code, Roadcraft, and a 1930s(?) book of my fathers called "How to drive a Motor Vehicle" - old fashioned but with detailed diagrams of how to manoeuvre in tight spaces and what happened inside gearboxes etc.  As a kid I had built a large box cart and was well practiced in making three-point turns and such with it.
 
My father did not instruct me much - just as well as he had some bad habits I recognised even then. The driving lessons were really just to develop the physical skills like clutch control - suprisingly challenging.
 
I passed second attempt.  Both tests were on roads I have never seen before in my life.  I saw lots of driving school cars during my tests and realised these were learners rehearsing the known course.  I was shocked - I thought it was cheating (I still do) like seeing exam papers before an exam, being coached what they should do every inch of the way, how could they fail?
 
There was no separate theory test in those days, just verbal questions after the drive. I failed the first time because I could not answer this question : "What does a road sign with three arrows mean?". I was churning images in my mind and came up with "Two lanes one way and one the other?". Nope - he said it meant a roundabout!  Ridiculous, I had known what a roundabout sign was from about the age of 6. I think he had it in for me because I was driving what was obviously not a driving school car.
 
I was also told I did not slow up enough approaching a certain crossroads; this was in the centre of a 400 yard wide grassed area within a 1930's housing estate, with no other cars in sight and no road markings of any sort, it being unclassified roads (there were far fewer cars and markings in those days). That's where a driving school showing me the course would have helped.
 
Is it now a legal requrement to take a professionally run course?
 
* Unlike my grandchildren who spend journeys with their faces in tablet games, only looking up to moan about how long it is taking.
 

Edited by Bolingbroke
Typo

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When my daughters were younger both had lessons and tests but could not pass due to nerves and exam conditions and decided just to be driven around by husbands.  Maybe today there might be instructors who are more helpful to people like my daughters.

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2 hours ago, Odd days said:

If you struggle with u turns it would of been the same on a small bike. Some people are naturally like a cat and always balance well, others not so. As people get older we are probably more risk adverse and know falling off hurts so put our foot down sooner. Not against training though, but I don’t think you can teach natural balance.

 

Don't think I had an overall balance problem Odd days as I was regularly cycling, waterskiing and snow skiing at that time, I think it was a combination of things really and poor interaction between clutch and throttle played a big part.

 

I think that if I had served my apprenticeship on mopeds upwards to the bigger stuff like the rest of my mates did from youths I would have cracked it, I had never ridden a powered bike prior to.

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We will agree to differ, as I don’t really see skiing as anything to do with a motorbike. Some have it others don’t. 

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10 hours ago, Bolingbroke said:

I never took a driving course, my father sat with me while I learned.  I had taken a strong interest in cars and the road* from about the age of 5 and by the time I was learning I knew the signs and rules.  I like learning and reading, and had three books I almost knew by heart - The Highway Code, Roadcraft, and a 1930s(?) book of my fathers called "How to drive a Motor Vehicle" - old fashioned but with detailed diagrams of how to manoeuvre in tight spaces and what happened inside gearboxes etc.  As a kid I had built a large box cart and was well practiced in making three-point turns and such with it.
 
My father did not instruct me much - just as well as he had some bad habits I recognised even then. The driving lessons were really just to develop the physical skills like clutch control - suprisingly challenging.
 
I passed second attempt.  Both tests were on roads I have never seen before in my life.  I saw lots of driving school cars during my tests and realised these were learners rehearsing the known course.  I was shocked - I thought it was cheating (I still do) like seeing exam papers before an exam, being coached what they should do every inch of the way, how could they fail?
 
There was no separate theory test in those days, just verbal questions after the drive. I failed the first time because I could not answer this question : "What does a road sign with three arrows mean?". I was churning images in my mind and came up with "Two lanes one way and one the other?". Nope - he said it meant a roundabout!  Ridiculous, I had known what a roundabout sign was from about the age of 6. I think he had it in for me because I was driving what was obviously not a driving school car.
 
I was also told I did not slow up enough approaching a certain crossroads; this was in the centre of a 400 yard wide grassed area within a 1930's housing estate, with no other cars in sight and no road markings of any sort, it being unclassified roads (there were far fewer cars and markings in those days). That's where a driving school showing me the course would have helped.
 
Is it now a legal requrement to take a professionally run course?
 
* Unlike my grandchildren who spend journeys with their faces in tablet games, only looking up to moan about how long it is taking.
 

No.

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As a Motorcyclist, the "new" licensing rules which require a Compulsory Basic Training certificate, followed by a graduated license, and allows older riders to do "Direct Access" under strict conditions (one instructor to two  pupils,  radio comms, between all three, training run professionally)  I am fed up that the car regime hasn't been upgraded to match.  In the days when I learned (BSM 1100 Mk1 Escort producing all of 48bhp) cars were much less powerful.  I've seen L plates on a BMW 323... 

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49 minutes ago, Guzzilazz said:

As a Motorcyclist, the "new" licensing rules which require a Compulsory Basic Training certificate, followed by a graduated license, and allows older riders to do "Direct Access" under strict conditions (one instructor to two  pupils,  radio comms, between all three, training run professionally)  I am fed up that the car regime hasn't been upgraded to match.  In the days when I learned (BSM 1100 Mk1 Escort producing all of 48bhp) cars were much less powerful.  I've seen L plates on a BMW 323... 

image.png.d1614e04eda7e37a3c550262b1d80711.png

 

 

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On 04/09/2019 at 08:02, Griff said:

Being later in life, totally green and never having had a motor bike, I decided to take a Direct Access course which was on a 500.

 

I really struggled particularly with U turns and general nervousness on faster roads like dual carriageways.

 

On the test I put my foot down on the U turn and made other mistakes and quite rightly I failed.

 

Had I have started from scratch with a smaller bike and worked up I would have probably been OK.

 

The instructor said he would get the next test booked but I said no thanks, I didn't think biking was going to be for me.

 

Had driven powerful cars in the past but a powerful motor bike was a different cup of tea.

 

Probably would not have been here now had I have passed and bought a big bike.

 

I do agree, experience counts for a lot and the type of bike matters too. Give me a taller bike like a TDM or TRX or even an Africa Twin and I could spin it round on a road all day.  Give me a supersports or 1 litre superbike and I'd have my foot down most turns.

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On 04/09/2019 at 08:02, Griff said:

Being later in life, totally green and never having had a motor bike, I decided to take a Direct Access course which was on a 500.

 

I really struggled particularly with U turns and general nervousness on faster roads like dual carriageways.

 

On the test I put my foot down on the U turn and made other mistakes and quite rightly I failed.

 

Had I have started from scratch with a smaller bike and worked up I would have probably been OK.

 

The instructor said he would get the next test booked but I said no thanks, I didn't think biking was going to be for me.

 

Had driven powerful cars in the past but a powerful motor bike was a different cup of tea.

 

Probably would not have been here now had I have passed and bought a big bike.

 

I did the DAS route twenty years ago, but built up to it commuting and chugging around on an old Honda 125 for a few months.

 

When I was doing the DAS training, the instructor used a narrow road for the U-turn and kept us practicing until we got it right. When I finally took the test, the road the examiner used was twice as wide!

 

Strangest thing about it all was having to take the Theory Test after driving for over twenty years before I was allowed to go for the practical test.

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14 hours ago, robloasby said:

Strangest thing about it all was having to take the Theory Test after driving for over twenty years before I was allowed to go for the practical test.

 

I don't find that strange. I'm sure many older drivers would fail a spot check theory test miserably, so making them brush up on it is no bad thing.  Some of the "theory" has changed since many of us took our test, and there was no serious theory test at all back then. You were just asked a couple of questions verbally at the end of the test (see my above post for how silly they could be).

 

For example I don't recall that mini-roundabouts even existed when I took my test.  My father used to drive straight over the middle of them and then complain about the "bump that someone had put there".

Edited by Bolingbroke

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When I did my test in the UK in 1996, I think I was probably more qualified than the examiner.  :D

Edited by Durbanite

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