My Driving Lessons are Going Badly

My Driving Lessons Are Going Badly

It’s reasonably common to be taking driving lessons and after a certain amount of hours, you feel that your lessons are going badly and that you are no longer making progress.

This can happen almost right from the start, or at any point whilst learning to drive. Some individuals pick up the entire learning to drive process with considerable ease and reach test standard in minimal hours.

For most however, this process doesn’t come naturally and within the learning process, some elements will be more challenging than others. The entire process involves how good at teaching and experienced the instructor is and the ability of the learner to understand and execute the various procedures and controls.

So if your driving lessons are going badly, the key is to try and conclude whether it’s an issue with the instructor or whether your abilities are somewhat limited. So let’s look at a few tips for making those terrible driving lessons good again.

Your Driving Instructors Abilities

Your driving instructor should provide feedback at the start of the lesson covering what was dealt with in the previous lesson and what will be dealt with during the current lesson. At the end of the lesson, feedback should detail what progress was made during this lesson and what will be attempted (progress) on the next lesson.

For the learner this is very important, as a novice driver will not know what they are supposed to be achieving and whether or not they’re making progress. If your instructor doesn’t do this, then this will become a problem and where an alternative instructor might prove beneficial.

I’ve Stopped Making Progress

Your driving instructor should continually be encouraging you to progress throughout the process at a pace that is comfortable for you. However, if you feel that you’re confident with your abilities at the current stage of your driving, but you keep covering the same stuff, then you’ll need to tell your instructor to pick up the pace and provide greater challenges, else you’ll not be progressing.

Bare in mind though, learning to drive comes in different stages. Initially you’ll be dealing with the mechanics of the car – clutch, gears, steering etc. This’ll be dealt with on quiet roads at the start. Busier roads will follow where you’ll need to control the car and become much more perception of other road users, pedestrians, awareness skills and the ability to make quick effective decisions.

High speed roads and challenging traffic systems will all follow and you might find that whilst you were good at an earlier stage, you are now struggling. This is perfectly normal and providing your instructor is giving constant feedback, instructions on what you need to do and prompts during the lessons, then this is simply a case of practice makes perfect.

Not Done a Manoeuvre Yet

So you have had 5 / 10 or more driving lessons but have not tried a manoeuvre yet? Generally it’s a good idea to get manoeuvres underway as soon as possible. ‘Possible’ meaning that you’ll need a reasonable level of control of the vehicle before attempting one. If you are struggling with the initial mechanical control of the car, then there’s little point in starting manoeuvres. As a result, you may find that your instructor is constantly taking you over quiet roads in order to gain proficiency in control.

However, if you are well into your lessons and feel that you have reasonable control of the vehicle (not constantly stalling and can accurately steer), you’ll need to ask your instructor when they intend on starting the manoeuvres.

Ok, But My Driving Lessons Are Still Going Badly

It doesn’t happen too often, but sometimes people just don’t ‘click’. If your instructor is constantly encouraging you to progress at an appropriate rate, providing constructive feedback at the start and lesson end and is providing instructions and prompts during lessons, then the chances are that they are doing a great job. But if you just don’t click, then you’re just not going to get each other and even if your instructor tries different teaching techniques, then it probably wont help.

It happens, I’ve had it once or twice. It’s no ones fault but the only course of action is to look for another instructor.

Bad Driving Lessons Before the Test

Bad driving lessons just before the test happens very frequently, where your driving is inconsistent and where you’re making mistakes that you normally do not make. It’s similar to having a maths exam tomorrow for example, and after months of study, you’ve suddenly forgotten how to add 2+2. This happens in just the same way for the driving lessons prior to the test. Don’t worry though, it will usually all come together again on the day of the test.

Driving Lesson Progress

Everyone does of course learn at their own speed and will meet different hurdles along the way – some easy, some hard. Here’s a few tips on making driving lesson progress a little quicker.

  • To start off, you’ll need to make sure you have a good driving instructor. For an idea on what to look out for, see should I change driving instructor.
  • Try to be consistent with driving lessons. Leaving long breaks between lessons will hinder progress.
  • Consider an alternative driving course. Some people learn better under pressure and if weekly lessons aren’t working out, consider a semi-intensive course.
  • Communication! If you feel your lessons are progressing too slowly, you are feeling negative or that you do not understand something fully, talk to your instructor about it. You’ll be surprised at the amount of learner drivers who are confused and say nothing. If you really don’t understand something, ask your driving instructor to get in the driver seat and show you. It can often help looking at it from a different perspective.
  • There’s never enough driving experience. If possible, take private tuition with friends or family. You can get daily learner driver insurance quite cheap but make sure you only cover what the instructor has already taught you else you may be learning more bad habits than good.
  • Don’t beat yourself up about it. It’s normal to hit a particularly difficult hurdle during driving lessons, but you’ll get over it in time. If you are feeling particularly negative and stressed, ask your instructor to take it back to a easier, more manageable pace and to progress at a slower rate.
  • Don’t let bad lessons knock your confidence. Almost all learners will at some point do something contrasting to their typical driving behavior. This is perfectly normal, so don’t dwell on it.

2 thoughts on “My Driving Lessons Are Going Badly”


    It’s frustrating when you driving differently from private practice and lessons , feel more comfortable in my own 07 Corsa than in my instructors fiesta eco , it’s so sensitive , still coming to terms with it , that’s why I feel nervous before lessons , frustrating !!

  2. Hi Barry,
    If your driving is at a safe standard, you could ask your instructor if they’re prepared to offer lessons on your own car. Some instructors do, some prefer not to.

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