Learning to drive

Discussion in 'transport' started by Black Halo, Aug 25, 2014.

  1. Black Halo

    Black Halo Well-Known Member

    So I have some free time coming up as I have packed in my job in The Netherlands and moving back to London. I have had driving lessons (I'd say about 20 hours) but that was almost 10 years ago and in Ireland (never took the test as I had moved to the UK by the time one came up, it used to take 12 months) so have decided to get my full licence in September (well try).

    Anyone have recommendations for intensive courses in central/south London? I like the idea of one payment covering theory and practical training and testing and just getting it all over and done with.
  2. goldenecitrone

    goldenecitrone post tenebras lux

    No responses yet. Surely somebody can recommend a decent driving school in London.
  3. joffy

    joffy Well-Known Member

    I learnt to drive in north London about 10 years ago. The real problem that you're likely to face is getting a test. I had about 6 months of lessons and then a test, which I failed. The next available test was one year later! I ended up going up to Scotland and doing it there.
  4. sim667

    sim667 Licking windows on the 303 bus.

    I learnt to drive with APEX who were brill, they're south of london, sutton way.
  5. pseudonarcissus

    pseudonarcissus fluttering and dancing

    My (brazilian) partner is having lessons with the AA. It wasn't my first port of call, but they came up trumps with a portuguese speaking instructor from Angola who seems to be very good. Multicultural Britain is wonderful.
    Wookey likes this.
  6. Blagsta

    Blagsta Minimum cage, maximum cage


    I'm currently learning, had about 20 hours of lessons so far, over about 3 months. Not sure when I'm gonna be ready to take my test, I kind of feel about half way there I think. I'm enjoying it much more than I thought I would.
  7. Black Halo

    Black Halo Well-Known Member

    Actually in the end I went with 5Day's Barnet branch (they had a course starting the Monday after I got my provisional so went for it). The course suited me as I was not working so could just get it over and done with. The one thing is that you can only apply for your practical once you've passed the theory (usually sit it on Thursday evening/Friday morning) so you're not very likely to be walking away with a licence in a week. They do offer a service to get you a quick booking (they sit on the DVLA site looking for cancellations) but it could be at any time so need to be pretty flexible after the end of the course. I just booked my own cancellation (as I was doing other things so wanted control of when I would sit it).

    I did about 6 extra lessons to keep the practise up and did some driving when back home in Ireland (jaysus just did a quick estimate I must have done 400km :eek: ) before the test. I started on the 29th of September and passed my test on the 31st of October before I started my new job so job's a good 'un. I can now chauffeur my wife around (and return the favour of many years of her driving me around).
    tim and Wookey like this.
  8. el-ahrairah

    el-ahrairah forward communism, forward gerbils!

    i'm going to book my test in january. i had about 18 hours of lessons with Red, who were alright but really expensive to my mind. when the chap said i was ready i stopped having lessons with the intention of doing lots of practise. that was april, and i've not done enough. so i'm going to book my test after christmas, then book some lessons to take the rough edges off and practise on big roundabouts and changing lanes and all that scary shit.
  9. SikhWarrioR

    SikhWarrioR And the Worms ate into his brain

    They used to do all in intensive [over a week with tests at end of week] courses for Motorcycles but dont know if they do simuliar for cars
  10. Blagsta

    Blagsta Minimum cage, maximum cage

    Just passed my theory test!
    Sweet FA, cesare, maomao and 8 others like this.
  11. Mogden

    Mogden I like tea

    Bumping this cos I'm officially an on the road urb now. First proper lesson in over 20 years today. Modern cars are a bloody sight easier to drive than what I was learning in all those years ago.
    blairsh, pseudonarcissus and Rutita1 like this.
  12. SpookyFrank

    SpookyFrank Whatever it is, I'm against it

    Last week was the first driving lesson I've done without stalling the car. My instructor is not big on positive reinforcement but even he admitted that I'd done pretty well. General control of the vehicle is going pretty well, now I just need to get better about deciding where to actually drive the thing :hmm:
    Mogden likes this.
  13. skyscraper101

    skyscraper101 0891 50 50 50

    whaa? A year! thats nuts. I think I only had to wait a month at best (can't remember exactly but that was more recently, 2008 in Isleworth).
  14. Mogden

    Mogden I like tea

    I'm lucky in that my instructor, best mate Mogden's hubby, is so laidback he's horizontal. No nerves even at their wedding. He's got a reputation for getting people passed who have failed numerous times before. So much so that my "niece" gets a free epic birthday cake every year from a now cake maker who finally passed and that meant she could set up her cake business.

    No stalls today, bumped the kerb a little bit but nothing to panic about, changed into the correct gears and didn't piss anyone off too much which I would call a success. But it still blows my mind to think you can do this from such a young age.
    SpookyFrank likes this.
  15. StoneRoad

    StoneRoad heckling from the back!

    Best wishes to anyone in this situation - modern driving in busy towns can be hectic.

    Years ago I did what was effectively a conversion course - from M/bike to Car - but due to being very nervous / shy under tests and examinations I took a couple of goes at passing the actual driving test - not helped by a very strange and new car, had the fiercest clutch and brakes; which the instructor with me hadn't quite realised as we got the car about 10mins before the appointment, swopped out because the other car needed a garage visit - broken handbrake cable!
    (This was well before the theory and practical tests were separated)
  16. Dogsauce

    Dogsauce Lord of the Dance Settee

    I did my first test the day before my eighteenth birthday (end of April), having had thirty odd lessons paid for out of my Saturday job wages. Failed, and the next test date was after I'd have moved away to university in October. I ended up leaving it another sixteen years, until work badgered me into going for it again.
  17. Mogden

    Mogden I like tea

    2nd lesson done. One stall from coming off the clutch too quickly. Got into 3rd gear today though with some proper driving along navigating around cars, stopping for other cars to come past. Last week was drive, pull in, park (of the stopping close to the kerb kind, not reversing), repeat. Also did turning left at a junction and getting the stop line, stop then turning left. There was a fair bit of traffic this afternoon and I didn't flap at all. Quite pleased with myself.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2015
    Greebo and Blagsta like this.
  18. Blagsta

    Blagsta Minimum cage, maximum cage

    Been practicing in our family car, feeling much more confident. Hoping to be test ready by April.
    Greebo and Mogden like this.
  19. Mogden

    Mogden I like tea

    I'm doing 2 lots of 2 hour lessons a week at the moment. Assuming I can continue at that pace once I'm working I should be about the same.
    Greebo and Blagsta like this.
  20. Mogden

    Mogden I like tea

    So today more left turns, and also right turns. Tiny bit of reversing and some unguided driving at which point my brain went "Buggery bollocks you're actually driving someone" and I nearly got the fear. Bit of stalling, at least twice from trying to remember a lot at once. Also a bit of proper driving on a main road as opposed to pootling round housing estates. It was peeing down with rain so doubly pleased today. Also my instructor said the woman having her lesson before had just got the hang of coming slowly off the clutch after 4 months of lessons!
    Blagsta likes this.
  21. Blagsta

    Blagsta Minimum cage, maximum cage

    Took me about 4 months to properly get the hang of clutch control.
  22. Mogden

    Mogden I like tea

    Oh I don't mean to diss! I think I'm doing okay with it. He said she's been bouncing down the road every lesson even when told to let it go slowly. I first tried to drive 20 years ago when you used to have kick the clutch down and yank the gears in so to me this is much smoother. Scares me silly to think kids can learn to do this.
  23. mauvais

    mauvais change has become unavoidable

    It may or may not help, but have you ever thought about what's actually happening when you press the clutch?
  24. maomao

    maomao 四月她爹

    That's good to hear, I've been feeling a right idiot about the clutch. Only two stalls in today's lesson (8th two hour lesson) which was a major step. Also first time in fourth on a dual carriageway, still going slower than all the other traffic and getting tailgated and beeped a lot. Luckily many years as a cyclist have got me used to being hated by all other road users so absolutely no shame or embarrassment.

    Got my theory a week on Saturday. I'm consistently getting 48/49 out of 50 in my mock tests but still failing the odd hazard perception test, mostly out of boredom.
    Mogden likes this.
  25. Blagsta

    Blagsta Minimum cage, maximum cage

    Ha ha, no probs.

    Bouncing down the road was never a problem, but I used to stall a lot when moving away at lights and roundabouts. Sussed it now though. Gently, gently, slow and steady. If you rush it, you'll stall. At one point thought I was never gonna suss it. Practice, practice, practice.
    Mogden likes this.
  26. Mogden

    Mogden I like tea

    My instructor showed me just what it does in my first lesson and made me tootle round using just the bite in the clutch and no acceleration. I was amazed how far and fast you can move with no gas.
    Greebo likes this.
  27. Blagsta

    Blagsta Minimum cage, maximum cage

    Theory test is easy. I found the hazard perception a lot slower and easier than practice ones online.
  28. maomao

    maomao 四月她爹

    I passed the first time on the DVLA DVD version but I've done it too many times now and I'm literally nodding off or getting distracted halfway through. I think I should just have another one or two goes before the test so I don't feel the same when it counts.
  29. Mogden

    Mogden I like tea

    I keep saying hazard when there is one during my lesson. Not every single time but enough to remind me.
    Greebo likes this.
  30. bi0boy

    bi0boy Power User

    I remember when I was learning I kept stalling, until one day I asked my instructor "does my heel need to stay on the floor when operating the clutch". He said, no, it doesn't, and I didn't stall again until after I passed my test.
    Greebo likes this.

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