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Now ye're talking - to a driving instructor

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  • 25-02-2020 3:00pm
    #1
    Boards.ie Employee Posts: 12,597 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Boards.ie Community Manager


    Our next guest is a driving instructor and I'm sure he has lots of stories of near misses and good and bad students. What he has to say:
    I have been an approved driving instructor for 10 years having passed my final test in January 2010. I have always worked as an independent instructor during that time.

    Let's have your questions!


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 668 ✭✭✭Lockheed


    What are your thoughts on instructors that work for actual companies e.g Aviva? Is there less incentive for them to want their learners to succeed? I had a bad experience with one who stopped replying to me after i failed and who told me to book my test when I was in no way ready to book it (in hindsight)


  • Registered Users Posts: 73 ✭✭nf2k


    Thanks for doing this! Interesting to hear about this from the other side.

    Are students who have done some prep with their parents or someone else beforehand easier or more difficult to teach? I could imagine they would pick up bad habits that might be difficult to get over?

    Have you ever had a student who just could not get it?


  • Registered Users Posts: 824 ✭✭✭The chan chan man


    Are men better drivers than women?


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,927 ✭✭✭✭GBX


    What's the craziest thing you've seen a learner do or try do during a lesson ?


  • Moderators, Computer Games Moderators Posts: 23,082 Mod ✭✭✭✭Kiith


    What's the most common stupid thing you see non-learner/novice drivers doing?

    As a new driver, it seems like some of the most basic things i was taught recently seem to have been forgotten by a large percentage of drivers.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,448 ✭✭✭FGR


    Thanks for coming onto boards!

    Do you think the revision of rules as regards use of roundabouts i.e. the old rules of left lane for first and second exits and right lane for third and subsequent exits vs treating roundabout like a clock left lane before twelve right lane after twelve; has caused confusion amongst motorists?

    I think the old rules make more sense and avoid errors being made in interpreting an exit and its location.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,360 ✭✭✭Gloomtastic!


    What did becoming a Driving Instructor (DI) entail? The opening post mentions Final Test. How many tests were there?

    Before you became a DI, what did you want to do for a living?

    How long do you hope to last? Is there DI burn-out?

    Do you meet other DIs? What's the main topic of conversation?

    How much does it cost to convert your car ie add the extra brake?

    When's the last time you had to use it, otherwise you (or your pupil) would have had an accident?

    Would you teach your kids to drive?

    How much has your insurance gone up in the last five years?

    (and here was me thinking initially I didn't have any questions to ask!:rolleyes:)


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,194 ✭✭✭Ubbquittious


    Did a learner ever land themselves (and you) in a situation that was difficult to get out of?

    Do you get to know the testers after a while?

    Anyone do damage to your car?

    How much do you pay for insurance?


  • Posts: 14,344 ✭✭✭✭ [Deleted User]


    My first time driving, getting a lesson, I was in a marked driving instructor's car. We reached a fairly quiet T junction, and I cut out when attempting to move off. Got the car going again, and moved off. Took a total of about 8 seconds I'd say.

    A car arrived behind me, and gave me a lovely big beep to get me moving. I have to be honest, at the time, I actually didn't even realise i had been beeped (my instructor said it to me afterwards, not to worry about it, and I hadn't a notion what he was talking about). I must have been so zoned in on what I was doing that I didn't notice.

    To this day, many, many years later, I still get annoyed about it (the beeping itself, not that I didnt realise I was beeped).

    Is this common, do you find?

    Personally I always give marked Learner vehicles (cars, trucks, buses, whatever) looooads of space and do what I can to make life easier for them, incase they're in a test. It really irks me when I see people be impatient with L drivers, especially in marked cars.


    Secondly, obligatory question everyone wants to ask - Have you ever heard of anyone try and sexualise things to get a pass in their driving test, that they wouldn't have otherwise gotten (perhaps I'm on the internet too much!) :o


  • Company Representative Posts: 46 Verified rep I'm a Driving Instructor, AMA


    Lockheed wrote: »
    What are your thoughts on instructors that work for actual companies e.g Aviva? Is there less incentive for them to want their learners to succeed? I had a bad experience with one who stopped replying to me after i failed and who told me to book my test when I was in no way ready to book it (in hindsight)

    Hi, thanks for your question.
    TBH, I can't see why there would be more of an "incentive" simply because they work for a larger company over a totally independent instructor. You actually tend to find that most instructors who are tied in with the bigger firms aren't actual employees in the true sense of the word, most are sole traders who pay a franchise fee to the company and use their logos etc.

    I tend to be quite frank with my pupils and if I feel they aren't ready for the test I'll be straight with them. Going into the test ill-prepared can be a very lonely experience (which you might appreciate) and can actually have a detrimental effect on your confidence going forward. Fail to prepare....prepare to fail and all that.

    As an ADI, I don't like to hear of bad experiences as it can cast a bad light on us all. I hope you passed in the end!


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  • Company Representative Posts: 46 Verified rep I'm a Driving Instructor, AMA


    nf2k wrote: »
    Thanks for doing this! Interesting to hear about this from the other side.

    Are students who have done some prep with their parents or someone else beforehand easier or more difficult to teach? I could imagine they would pick up bad habits that might be difficult to get over?

    Have you ever had a student who just could not get it?

    Thanks for your question!
    Sometimes it's nice to get a blank canvas to work with. A bit of an idea can help too but you might have to undo a couple of little things to get them starting off the way you'd like them. TBH, it doesn't really bother me either way. Even if they have come to you with habits once things are explained and/or demonstrated to them they normally come round in the space of a couple of hours.

    I haven't encountered someone who "just couldn't get it"
    I think everyone is capable of learning to drive but it might just take a person a lot longer than someone else. Like anything, people can be naturals at certain things whilst others need to work harder. I suppose it then comes down to how badly someone wants to learn. I've seen some pretty determined people over the last decade. The ones which found it hard are often the most satisfying passes.


  • Company Representative Posts: 46 Verified rep I'm a Driving Instructor, AMA


    Are men better drivers than women?

    Thanks for your question :D
    Are you trying to start gender wars? haha

    Statistics will tell you women are safer. In my experience, I can't say one sex has been better than the other.
    I have commented to some pupils that I've noticed a marked increase in being tailgated on the roads by an alarmingly high number of women recently, many with kids in the car.


  • Company Representative Posts: 46 Verified rep I'm a Driving Instructor, AMA


    GBX wrote: »
    What's the craziest thing you've seen a learner do or try do during a lesson ?

    Thanks for your question, how long have you got? :D

    2 have attempted to go the wrong way around a roundabout.

    One day it started raining, I asked the pupil to turn on the wipers, which they did. It started raining a little heavier so I asked them to turn on the dipped headlights. They turned off the engine........at 50km/h :eek::D In the blink of an eye they turned it back on without hardly skipping a beat. I was in hysterics!! I did threaten to out them on my Facebook page but I wasn't that cruel!

    Very common ones like, not spotting pedestrians approaching crossings, not spotting red lights etc. The most dangerous part about that is when I then brake, they panic and brake harder bringing us to an uncontrolled stop rather than the controlled stop I'd be making. It's very hard to undo too much braking!!


  • Company Representative Posts: 46 Verified rep I'm a Driving Instructor, AMA


    Kiith wrote: »
    What's the most common stupid thing you see non-learner/novice drivers doing?

    As a new driver, it seems like some of the most basic things i was taught recently seem to have been forgotten by a large percentage of drivers.

    Thanks for your question!
    I think all drivers are guilty of forgetting the way they were taught tbh. I genuinely think that's a huge issue. I don't teach people how to pass a test, I try to teach people how to drive safely. That's something they should be doing for life. If more drivers treated others the way they'd like to be treated themselves there would be fewer accidents on the road.

    As far as learner/novice drivers are concerned they often drive second by second not looking far enough along the road to spot and anticipate changing conditions in the distance. Another is not stopping at stop signs and also a lack of awareness/observations approaching roundabouts and emerging from junctions or changing lanes. Some seem to think the mirrors are painted on :D


  • Registered Users Posts: 81,543 ✭✭✭✭Atlantic Dawn
    M


    Are there some students so bad and beyond help that you just have to tell them that driving is not for them?


  • Company Representative Posts: 46 Verified rep I'm a Driving Instructor, AMA


    FGR wrote: »
    Thanks for coming onto boards!

    Do you think the revision of rules as regards use of roundabouts i.e. the old rules of left lane for first and second exits and right lane for third and subsequent exits vs treating roundabout like a clock left lane before twelve right lane after twelve; has caused confusion amongst motorists?

    I think the old rules make more sense and avoid errors being made in interpreting an exit and its location.

    Thanks for the question! This is one I'm always asked down the pub tbh :D

    The "Old" rules work fine for a straight forward, standard crossroads style roundabout however, as the road networks around the country have improved and junctions have been changed to free-flowing ones, using the likes of a roundabout which then aren't standard with 4, 5 or even 6 exits I definitely think the clock system works better imo. Learners seem to take to it easy enough but I can understand how the older generation who were used to the other method may become confused.


  • Company Representative Posts: 46 Verified rep I'm a Driving Instructor, AMA


    What did becoming a Driving Instructor (DI) entail? The opening post mentions Final Test. How many tests were there?

    Before you became a DI, what did you want to do for a living?

    How long do you hope to last? Is there DI burn-out?

    Do you meet other DIs? What's the main topic of conversation?

    How much does it cost to convert your car ie add the extra brake?

    When's the last time you had to use it, otherwise you (or your pupil) would have had an accident?

    Would you teach your kids to drive?

    How much has your insurance gone up in the last five years?

    (and here was me thinking initially I didn't have any questions to ask!:rolleyes:)


    Thanks for your questions, you could nearly have your own thread :D

    We have to sit 3 tests in order to qualify.
    1) Extended theory test of 80 questions covering driving, rules of the road and instructional questions. I can't remember the pass mark off the top of my head but it's circa 75/76 out of 80.
    2) Extended/More Advanced driving test lasting 1-1.5hrs which covers all types of driving including motorway. We have to parallel park, reverse around a left and right corner and perform an emergency stop (which I think should be done in the normal test). I think we're only allowed 4/5 faults from memory.
    3) Teaching test: 2x 30 min sessions where the tst role players a pupil. You're given the scenario and have a couple of mins to plan the lesson then you conduct a "lesson"

    Our ADI Permit lasts 2 years. Within that time we get called for Check Test where an ADI Tester will sit in on a lesson and assess our performance including our EDT paperwork etc. If you fail the Check Test 3 times your badge won't be renewed and your out of work!


    I worked in construction before becoming an ADI. I always fancied doing it though and I'm glad I got the chance to.

    I don't see any reason why I wouldn't carry on til retirement tbh.....unless I win the lotto! The lad who trained me reckoned there was burnout. He reckoned 12 years or so. He's no longer doing it which is a huge shame, he was a superb trainer and is a definite loss to the industry.

    You do meet other ADIs around the centre. In terms of chat it may be regarding new routes or just normal stuff like football etc. I don't really socialize with any in my personal time. It's not like working in a normal workplace tbh.

    The dual controls cost about €700 supply and fit. Last used yesterday as they never copped a red light. The joys!


    I'm currently teaching my daughter to drive. It's a weird dynamic tbh, totally different from teaching someone else's child. I genuinely care about the long term safety of all my pupils on the road but that's amplified 1 million times with my daughter. The dynamic is mainly different due to her back chat but we're getting there :D

    My insurance has stayed virtually the same as I've been claim free since I started barring a couple of windscreens.


  • Company Representative Posts: 46 Verified rep I'm a Driving Instructor, AMA


    Did a learner ever land themselves (and you) in a situation that was difficult to get out of?

    Do you get to know the testers after a while?

    Anyone do damage to your car?

    How much do you pay for insurance?

    Thanks for your questions!

    It can happen yeah. What prevents it becoming worse is being on the ball and concentrated not only on what's happening outside the car but inside also. It's amazing how good my peripheral vision is. You can be looking outside the car and still spot the pupil attempting or going into 1st gear when they've been accelerating and heading to 3rd.

    You get to them them to a certain degree but we're often like ships passing in the night. The centre I'm in have seen a lot of tester changes over the last couple of years so I don't feel I know the currents ones as well as I used to know the others.

    As far as insurance goes.....I pay enough :D


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,172 ✭✭✭cannotlogin


    Who are the most difficult people to teach?

    Do you think age is much of a factor I.e. the younger you start, the easier it is?

    Have you ever been surprised by someone who passed when you thought they wouldn't?

    Is it a good job in terms of earning a living or is it more something people do for the enjoyment, flexibility etc?

    Has anyone ever caused serious damage to your car during a lesson?


  • Company Representative Posts: 46 Verified rep I'm a Driving Instructor, AMA


    My first time driving, getting a lesson, I was in a marked driving instructor's car. We reached a fairly quiet T junction, and I cut out when attempting to move off. Got the car going again, and moved off. Took a total of about 8 seconds I'd say.

    A car arrived behind me, and gave me a lovely big beep to get me moving. I have to be honest, at the time, I actually didn't even realise i had been beeped (my instructor said it to me afterwards, not to worry about it, and I hadn't a notion what he was talking about). I must have been so zoned in on what I was doing that I didn't notice.

    To this day, many, many years later, I still get annoyed about it (the beeping itself, not that I didnt realise I was beeped).

    Is this common, do you find?

    Personally I always give marked Learner vehicles (cars, trucks, buses, whatever) looooads of space and do what I can to make life easier for them, incase they're in a test. It really irks me when I see people be impatient with L drivers, especially in marked cars.


    Secondly, obligatory question everyone wants to ask - Have you ever heard of anyone try and sexualise things to get a pass in their driving test, that they wouldn't have otherwise gotten (perhaps I'm on the internet too much!) :o

    Thanks for your questions :D

    Fortunately, it's not an everyday occurrence but it can happen. It's very frustrating when it does and it can be hard to keep your cool and not react to them. I find tailgating is a much more serious issue which occurs hourly let alone weekly.

    I once had a lad turn up for test looking like Freddie Mercury in the "I Want To Break Free" video in order to seduce the male testers into passing him!
    *this may or may not have happened :D


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  • Company Representative Posts: 46 Verified rep I'm a Driving Instructor, AMA


    Are there some students so bad and beyond help that you just have to tell them that driving is not for them?

    Thanks for your question!
    It's not been something I've ever had to say to a pupil. I have suggested to a couple that they might try an automatic car which they've done and gone on to pass.


  • Company Representative Posts: 46 Verified rep I'm a Driving Instructor, AMA


    Who are the most difficult people to teach?

    Do you think age is much of a factor I.e. the younger you start, the easier it is?

    Have you ever been surprised by someone who passed when you thought they wouldn't?

    Is it a good job in terms of earning a living or is it more something people do for the enjoyment, flexibility etc?

    Has anyone ever caused serious damage to your car during a lesson?

    Thanks for your questions!

    Age is very often a factor. When pupils are younger they don't have the same appreciation of the potential danger than they might when they mature a bit more, "bulletproof" is often the mentality which means they just get in and do it. Statistics would back up what I say here if you were to look at age as a demographic they younger categories would generally take less lessons to pass.

    I have had a few surprises yeah. Similarly, I've had pupils who I wasn't remotely worried about go in and fail. It's the nature of it and once they go out there there's absolutely nothing I can do for them, their destiny is in their own hands......and the testers :D

    I thoroughly enjoy my job. It's not an easy job. You have to have the right personality and mentality to do it well. It takes loads of concentration. It can be mentally tiring. Some people say, "Ah you're sat on your bum all day" We have to be spotting everything. It's a really satisfying job though. You get someone who's never sat in a driver's seat and teach them how to drive and ultimately pass the test. That's very rewarding, you've both went on a journey and did it together. I earned more in construction but I'm way happier doing what I'm doing now.

    Touch wood, only a burst tyre and a scrape to an alloy. Please don't have just jinxed me!


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,462 ✭✭✭Bob Harris



    You get someone who's never sat in a driver's seat and teach them how to drive and ultimately pass the test. That's very rewarding, you've both went on a journey and did it together. I earned more in construction but I'm way happier doing what I'm doing now.

    Touch wood, only a burst tyre and a scrape to an alloy. Please don't have just jinxed me!

    Is that an intentional pun?

    It's a how long is a piece of string question but what percentage of people who have their licence 10+ years would pass the test if they did it now without lessons?

    Should there be a refresher test after a certain number of years?


  • Registered Users Posts: 67 ✭✭SketchyPrince


    Have you ever had people come to you from another instructor because they didn't get along?

    Myself, I ditched my first driving instructor when, after my 12th lesson, he gave me a bollocking and told me I was miles off being ready for a test. Moved onto another who was much easier to work with.


  • Company Representative Posts: 46 Verified rep I'm a Driving Instructor, AMA


    Bob Harris wrote: »
    Is that an intentional pun?

    It's a how long is a piece of string question but what percentage of people who have their licence 10+ years would pass the test if they did it now without lessons?

    Should there be a refresher test after a certain number of years?

    It was a little bit, yeah :D

    I think quite a high percentage who've held their fill licence for 10 years+ would fail without any refresher instruction. Unfortunately, most see the test as a means to an end and tend to slip into the easiest ways to do things rather than continuing with the correct way.

    I'm on the fence with a refresher test tbh. I can see the benefits of having to do it. It would be a brave government who tried to bring it in, turkeys rarely vote for Christmas.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,436 ✭✭✭dartboardio


    Do you often come across people Who are quite nervous at first and then calm down quickly after a few mins of it?


  • Company Representative Posts: 46 Verified rep I'm a Driving Instructor, AMA


    Have you ever had people come to you from another instructor because they didn't get along?

    Myself, I ditched my first driving instructor when, after my 12th lesson, he gave me a bollocking and told me I was miles off being ready for a test. Moved onto another who was much easier to work with.

    It happens all the time. Like any situation in life, there's some people you get on with and some you don't. It's life, it happens. I always tell my pupil's right at the start that if they don't feel the relationship is working to feel free to try someone else. At the end of the day personalities can and do clash. It's their lessons, they're paying.
    A good instructor, should though, be able to assess which pupils need an arm around them and which ones need the tough love. We're part instructor, part psychologist I often say. That's why personality and people skills are such a strong component in doing this job.
    I've told pupils in the past that they wouldn't pass if they continued at their current rate but give them the incentive to "prove me wrong". The best result is them doing exactly that, in those cases I'm giving them a nudge with reverse psychology.


  • Company Representative Posts: 46 Verified rep I'm a Driving Instructor, AMA


    Do you often come across people Who are quite nervous at first and then calm down quickly after a few mins of it?

    Ah yeah, that's very common, especially when going out onto the road for the first time. when they arrive home safely they're buzzing. Others can still be nervous after numerous lessons.
    I've a pupil just now who completed the EDT lessons with another instructor. They admit openly they overthink everything. This causes them to worry about things quite a bit. I need to help them make logic of things, give them various options about how to deal with things so it can take a good bit of talking through the various situations. This has impacted on their actual driving time so I suggested doing 1.5hr lessons. That seems to have helped because they said the other day they can feel the confidence growing


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,256 ✭✭✭Ronin247


    Is going over the posted speed limit an automatic fail? My siblings instructor said if the limit is 50 you should be driving as near to 50 as possible and not to worry about possibly going 1 or 2 kph over the limit momentarily. I was taught (pre kph) to stay at least 1 or 2 mph under.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 16,361 ✭✭✭✭Galwayguy35


    Do you give lessons on other vehicles like buses and trucks or is it just cars?


This discussion has been closed.
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