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I still suck after learning to drive for 2 years Watch

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    I started learning just after I turned 17. My mum got in touch with an instructor she knows personally, and I've been having a lesson a week since then. But I'll be turning 19 soon, and I'm still terrible at it.

    The instructor isn't a problem - he's (apparently) the best-qualified instructor in my area (which also means he's super-expensive), and has taught me everything really well. I know exactly what to do in any situation.

    But actually applying it is a different matter entirely. For the last six months, I've been spending £22/week on driving around getting told off for getting too close to parked cars, not looking both ways early enough at a junction, trying to pull out in front of another car at a roundabout, forgetting to change into first gear when I stop, etc.

    These silly little mistakes (which would actually be really terrible mistakes if my instructor weren't there to slam the brakes on) aren't going anywhere no matter how hard I try, and I'm out of ideas.

    And as soon as I make one mistake, I end up getting hung up on it and completely lose my focus, which obviously leads to a whole bunch more mistakes.

    My instructor has decided that I'm not learning anything new any more, since I know it all, so he wants to put me in for my test in the hope that it will give me something to focus on and encourage improvement (or some teacher-stuff like that that doesn't really make much sense).

    So I have however long the waiting list is (5 weeks?) to stop making these stupid mistakes. How do I do that?

    [This is longer than I intended. Sorry! TLDR: I suck, how do I stop sucking?]
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    Maybe you just shouldnt drive because you could cause some serious accidents. Maybe its a sign that you should stay away from driving or take more lessons
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    Get provisional insurance on a family members car, and get driving as often as you can! Although you'll be picking up bad habits from your parents, the hour a week with your instructor can be used to correct them. Yes, you may be scared of anything happening, but this will make it less likely that anything actually will happen.
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    Although that instructor is good they might not be good for you. Different people learn in different ways, and this nstructor may not be explaining things in a way that you can understand. Change instructor.
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    (Original post by amiaht)
    Maybe you just shouldnt drive because you could cause some serious accidents. Maybe its a sign that you should stay away from driving or take more lessons
    ...Yes, I'm trying to learn to drive so I don't cause any serious accidents. That's kinda the whole point of learning. And I made this thread so people could help me learn.

    I can't exactly "stay away from driving", since it's pretty much necessary for modern life. I've had at least twice as many lessons as the average person already, and I haven't progressed much (if at all) for about half of those, so "more lessons" doesn't seem to be a solution either.
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    (Original post by glelin96)
    Get provisional insurance on a family members car, and get driving as often as you can! Although you'll be picking up bad parents from your parents, the hour a week with your instructor can be used to correct them. Yes, you may be scared of anything happening, but this will make it less likely that anything actually will happen.
    I don't think I'd feel confident enough to drive in a car without dual controls. My instructor doesn't need to use them that often, but it's often enough that not having them there would probably end up writing off the car.
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    Why are you making the mistakes when you know that they are wrong. For instance, when approaching a junction you know that you must slow down and look both ways, so why are you hesitating? Likewise you know that you must leave a gap (drains width) between you and parked cars and you know that you cannot pull off in first gear. These are very trivial things and after two years you should not be making mistakes like this. But guess what, we've all been through it and made these mistakes, including me So chin up and don't feel too bad ok? Right, you clearly know what you are doing wrong so it's just a matter of reassuring yourself that you can handle the situations correctly in practice. When you're forced to do something other than drive on a straight road, think about what you're about to do and how you must deal with the situation. You're approaching a junction with a bus stop on the edge of the junction ,so you cannot see clearly. Straight away you know that you must slow down and get into gear one and creep forward. Likewise, if you've stopped, just put your hand on the gear stick and ensure that it's in gear one (I still do this to prevent embarrassing stalls). With regards to your problem with roundabouts, that's purely a judgement problem. Approaching a roundabout is so easy if you pre-plan and think ahead. If you can see a gap whilst approaching then you can carry on without lowering gears, if there isn't then you know that you must stop. Once you've stopped it's just a matter of patience and waiting for the next gap (take into consideration how good you are at pulling off) don't rush because you have all the time in the world. I think you're a good driver but you have become too dependent on your instructor to make decisions for you, during your lessons strive to perform perfectly and try to go the entire lesson without your instructor having to use his pedals. Once you start to become more independent and make your own decisions, you will iron out those small problems and ace your test
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    Change your instructor. My first instructor, whilst appeared to be a good one at first, was in fact ****. I very suddenly realised when I switched and I passed first time after about 4 weeks of lessons. Seriously, change instructors and I bet you'll notice the difference.

    Just an additional thought, concentrate more on the road/when doing a manoeuvre.
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    Since you've said your instructor has taught you how to deal with most situations you would encounter, driving is not necessarily the problem here, rather your focus is. You need to be attentive and vigilant, and keep in mind all these little things that you need to avoid accidents. All you need is more practice driving so you can iron out your mistakes, what you've listed are all problems that new drivers experience and that A LOT of people still make even after passing their license.

    I'd say go for your license, it's only driving around for a short while so who knows you might make no mistakes that time. On my test I was so nervous I forgot to put on my seat belt! I waited for the first light to put it on, which thankfully was only 100m away from the starting point. :P
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    I was making those mistakes only two weeks ago (esp the first gear thing). I've improved and don't make them anymore, but I'm not even thinking about my test yet.. I think you'll waste your money if you don't feel up to scratch for the test, it's a recipe for a fail and £X down the pan.

    The thing about losing focus after you make a mistake was one of my main difficulties. You just have to learn to get over it. It happened, you rectified it, you're back on your way. It takes time to learn, but you'll get there. I'm the most flailing, nervous driver ever and it was really bringing me down but with practice and a little pep talk from my instructor, I'm now much, much better. Not immune to a hiccup, but better.
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    It sounds like you're simply not mentally/physically fit/able to drive a car.

    How are you doing in school/uni? Are you having trouble doing any other
    very complex activities or sports?
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    Have you tried looking at each part of driving separately, breaking it down into "scenarios" as it were.

    So you have normal driving around, on roads, standard stuff you're doing 80% of the time, where you need to be vigilant, keep to the speed limit, aware of your gears and aware of road signs and other users.

    Then you have junctions: turning left and right into major junctions, left and right into minor junctions, traffic lights, roundabouts.

    With these, you have a set routine to follow. Mirrors, signal, then slow down, change gear as you approach the junction to 1 or 2 (depending on what the junction is) and then following through with whatever action you need to take.

    With manoeuvres it's a similar thing: particular turning points at particular stages, hopefully your driving instructor has been through this with you.

    Follow these routines at every junction, and soon it becomes so natural that you just do it naturally. Also try booking your lessons for non rush hour periods etc.

    And don't forget that it happens to all of us and we all take longer for some things than others keep trying and you'll get there!
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    As the others have said, try a different instructor. Whilst your current instructor may be highly regarded he may not be the best for you. Have a lesson with another instructor and see how you feel. You don't have to ditch the current one until you're sure.
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    (Original post by TitanicTeutonicPhil)
    It sounds like you're simply not mentally/physically fit/able to drive a car.

    How are you doing in school/uni? Are you having trouble doing any other
    very complex activities or sports?
    Not at all. I'm on track for A*A*B in my A levels, and they're not exactly the easiest subjects (physics, maths, and biology). I also do a lot of writing, and I've taught myself HTML, CSS, and PHP to a good enough level that I'm currently working on a corporate website for a news organisation.

    I'm sure the whole driving thing is just a matter of practice, I was just hoping someone could give me some advice about how to speed it up - I'd like to pass my test before I go off to uni in October.
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    Perhaps putting in for your test will give you that focus you need. I feel if you have lessons for too long, you kind of lose it a bit. The enthusiasm is lost, and you are not going to progress if you do not drive on your own. When they say you learn to drive after passing your test, it is true.
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    (Original post by cant_think_of_name)
    Have you tried looking at each part of driving separately, breaking it down into "scenarios" as it were.

    So you have normal driving around, on roads, standard stuff you're doing 80% of the time, where you need to be vigilant, keep to the speed limit, aware of your gears and aware of road signs and other users.

    Then you have junctions: turning left and right into major junctions, left and right into minor junctions, traffic lights, roundabouts.

    With these, you have a set routine to follow. Mirrors, signal, then slow down, change gear as you approach the junction to 1 or 2 (depending on what the junction is) and then following through with whatever action you need to take.

    With manoeuvres it's a similar thing: particular turning points at particular stages, hopefully your driving instructor has been through this with you.

    Follow these routines at every junction, and soon it becomes so natural that you just do it naturally. Also try booking your lessons for non rush hour periods etc.

    And don't forget that it happens to all of us and we all take longer for some things than others keep trying and you'll get there!
    Well, I can do the normal driving around just fine, until somebody else does something I don't expect. Then I get thrown off and end up making mistakes. The only issue that keeps cropping up when I'm driving normally is getting too close to parked cars, and that only happens when a moving vehicle is coming on my other side - I end up giving them too much space.

    And my manoeuvres are all fine. I've practised them so many times that I can do them without really thinking about it that much.

    The problem is junctions, roundabouts, etc., where I have to look at everything everyone else is doing all at once. I think 90% of my problem is observation - I usually see other cars, but I misjudge either their speed or direction (which probably isn't good for a physics student). If I'm the only person there, I'm happy to sit and wait until I'm sure, but if there are other cars behind me I feel like I have to rush so they don't get annoyed.
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    Hi, a lot of these problems sound like those that I was having. I'm very nervous driving, and I often made silly mistakes which lead to the driving instructor that I had for around a year getting annoyed and telling me off & me panicking even more and losing my concentration.
    I finally got to the stage where my instructor said I "could easily pass my test", I put in for my test and failed a couple of times, carried on having lessons, but my instructor just wasn't helping me. He was stressing me out even more but he didn't even seem to care that I wasn't getting anywhere.

    So I'd taken three tests over the course of a few months & I was ready to give up, but my dad spoke to a completely different instructor and booked a block of lessons, in which I became more comfortable and more confident driving. I then went on to sit my test again and passed first time

    For me, being able to feel confident was the only way that I really got focused and pushed me to improve on the silly mistakes I was making, and the only way I could do this was changing instructor!
    I would definitely recommend it, because different things work for different people, and just because some people pass with him, doesn't mean he's the best person for you.
    Also, are you insured on your parents car or your own car? I know how scary it is driving without dual controls, but that also helped my confidence massively, as you're responsible and this also pushes you to improve. Good luck

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    It sounds like you're making these mistakes because you're lacking in confidence and as soon as you make one your mindset has gone, which, as you said, leads to many more mistakes. Perhaps try changing instructors? Other than that, it seems to me to be a complete mindset issue so there's nothing anyone can do for you over a forum apart from telling you to change it.
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    (Original post by dendodge)
    Not at all. I'm on track for A*A*B in my A levels, and they're not exactly the easiest subjects (physics, maths, and biology). I also do a lot of writing, and I've taught myself HTML, CSS, and PHP to a good enough level that I'm currently working on a corporate website for a news organisation.
    What about sports? Crafts? Hand/eye coordination?

    (Original post by dendodge)
    I'm sure the whole driving thing is just a matter of practice, I was just hoping someone could give me some advice about how to speed it up
    Sorry, but if you don't have it down after TWO YEARS of practising something's wrong. I had 11 practise lessons spread over 4 weeks before I did the mandatory ones (we have a different system here in Germany) before passing my test with flying colours.
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    (Original post by dendodge)
    Well, I can do the normal driving around just fine, until somebody else does something I don't expect. Then I get thrown off and end up making mistakes. The only issue that keeps cropping up when I'm driving normally is getting too close to parked cars, and that only happens when a moving vehicle is coming on my other side - I end up giving them too much space.

    And my manoeuvres are all fine. I've practised them so many times that I can do them without really thinking about it that much.

    The problem is junctions, roundabouts, etc., where I have to look at everything everyone else is doing all at once. I think 90% of my problem is observation - I usually see other cars, but I misjudge either their speed or direction (which probably isn't good for a physics student). If I'm the only person there, I'm happy to sit and wait until I'm sure, but if there are other cars behind me I feel like I have to rush so they don't get annoyed.
    Try to forget (but not too much ) about the irritated lorry driver behind you and go at a speed you feel comfortable at - if this is 40mph in a 60mph zone, then so be it. The idiot behind you can just overtake. You'll gradually build up speed as you become more confident. Concentrate on making sure you are positioned perfectly in the middle of the road (using the mirrors), and be careful when changing gears (I tend to swerve into the kerb... ). Give yourself a list of what to do in each situation, even the most basic ones. e.g. changing gears: 1. check positioning on road and see if there are any changes to the road ahead (e.g. a tight corner which you may want to take fairly slowly and not change gears half way through) 2. Check mirrors 3. clutch down and ease off accelerator 3. go into neutral and then into the new gear (don't try to drag the gear stick at a 45 degree angle into the new gear, it won't like it!) 4. Lift clutch to bite point 5. Bit of accelerator as you ease the rest of the clutch off (not if you're going down a gear though...). I find these simple routines make sure you do absolutely everything required and make me feel more confident that it is safe to do something.
    When approaching roundabouts/ parked cars/ any kind of crossing etc. slow down if you need to to give yourself enough time to look around and prepare for any actions you need to take.
 
 
 
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