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  • Is it easier to learn in an automatic?
    Yes, the main reason being you are free to concentrate on the road rather than worry about the clutch and gears. A lot of students struggle with this initially and the first few lessons can often be taken up getting the student to grips with the clutch and gears. There is also no risk of stalling an auto which is the bane of a manual driver's life! Automatics will be easier on hills generally and specifically on the dreaded hill start as the car takes care of it for you. Automatics are much easier in heavy (city) traffic as you're not constantly using the clutch.
  • Is learning to drive in an automatic cheating? Does it stop you being a real driver?
    Most definitely not! What makes a good driver? Good awareness, planning, control and hazard perception are the traits of a good driver. Remember practically everybody will be driving an automatic in a few years
  • How many lessons will I need?
    How long is a piece of string! Everybody is different. The DVSA state that the average learner requires 47 hours of driving lessons in a manual car. Seems like a lot? In my experience taking a student in a manual car from scratch I think these figures are about right. In an automatic however because there is a lot less to get to grips with especially in the early stages you should find significantly fewer lessons are needed. I promise you I will never mislead you into more lessons than you need
  • What is covered in the first lesson?
    The first lesson is often referred to as the controls lesson and this simply means you the student being shown such things as lights, windscreen wipers and adjustments such as seats, mirrors, seatbelts etc. Its about familiarising yourself with the inside of the car and its all important safety features. We will talk a little bit about the mechanics of the car and what we will cover in the weeks ahead. We will also test your eyesight by getting you to read a number plate just like you will on your test. After this it's about us getting to know each other and hopefully forming a professional bond that will carry through to passing your test
  • Does your vehicle have dual controls?
    Yes it does or rather control. As the car is automatic the only dual pedal is the footbrake. This is really important as I will not let a safety critical incident arise. You can relax in the knowledge that I will take care of any difficult or potentially dangerous situations that may arise. This is especially true in the early stages of your learning. Latterly as you approach test readiness you should be able to deal with everything that the road and its users throw at you but that safety blanket of the dual control and obviously myself as the instructor is always there
  • Are you CRB checked?
  • Can you help me with my theory test?
    No at least not at the moment. The reason being is that right now and probably for the foreseeable future practical driving tests are incredibly difficult to find. So not having your theory will really hold up your progress and likely make the driving process a bit fragmented which is no good for either student or instructor. Many students find driving itself a breeze but struggle to pass their theory test. There are many good apps out there to practice and if I had to pick one it would be Driving Theory Test 4 in 1.
  • Where will I be having my lessons?
    Initially in a number of areas that I know to be relatively quiet and stress free. While learning in an automatic is a lot easier being on the road can be a daunting experience. We will ease you in at your own pace. Then we move to areas that have the appropriate road design for example roundabouts, crossroads, narrow tight roads to name a few. When we feel real progression is happening and approaching test we will practice around the test area so that you are familiar with any parts that have the potential to cause problems. It is important to note that in those first few lessons it will probably be me driving to these quiet areas so your driving time will be reduced in these first few lessons.
  • Do you know the test routes well?
    Very well. It is though crucial to note that while familiarity with an area or routes is very useful and builds confidence, driving instructors are not in the habit of teaching a pupil to pass a test route. They are in the business of teaching safe driving skills for life. If a student is at the appropriate standard they really ought to be able to turn up in Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds, Cardiff etc and pass their driving test.
  • Why are automatic lessons more expensive?
    .......because the cost of buying and insuring automatic cars is significantly more than a manual car of the same class - this is because automatic cars generally cost more to repair. Everything related to automatic cars is a little more expensive.
  • Can I go out the night before my lesson?
    Of course you can and I was young once too! However something to bear in mind particularly with weekend lessons is that drinking alcohol the night before your lesson could have an affect. Alcohol stays in your system far longer than you probably realise so if you have 3 or 4 drinks late on the Friday evening and into the early morning you won't be fit to take your driving lesson at 9am on Saturday morning so please plan your big nights out wisely. Alcohol effects people differently but if I smell alcohol on a student getting into the car I will refuse to take the lesson, regardless of how much the student says they've drank and will not refund the money for it.
  • What should I expect from the test itself?
    The official DVSA guide is here Read more of my thoughts for test day here
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