At the age of 28 I have avoided learning to drive over the past 10 years due in part to fear, and in part due to lack of necessity. I have always lived in cities where the public transport is adequate.
However the instigator for me to learn to drive was a personal tragedy, which would have been easier to deal with, if I could drive. Also, I am soon to be moving to America and driving there is a necessity. So learning to drive will give me freedom, peace of mind and less nagging from my friends and family.
I chose to learn with Bernie Price after finding his website via a Google search. The website had a very friendly feel and was full of feedback provided by previous students (many who had passed first time). The lessons prices seemed extremely reasonable, although I firmly believe that you can’t put a price on learning to drive safely, and thus cost wasn’t a big factor to me. When I called Bernie to arrange some lessons, he was professional, friendly and informative.
I was unsure what to expect for the first lesson. My general thoughts were that I would be taken to a quiet industrial estate or large car parking area, and talked through how the car works. After this I expected to start the car and just moving a little bit.
Bernie took me to a quiet housing estate with generous road space, some parked vehicles, pedestrians and other learner drivers. Upon arrival, we swapped seats. Bernie spend 15-30mins telling me how the car worked, with many points punctuated by useful pictures and interactive videos on his IPAD. And then we were off !
Bernie calmly talked me through starting the car, doing the right things with my hands and feet, moving the car off and then stopping the car safely. Once it was clear that I was comfortable with the basics, we moved onto left turns and emerges which were practiced until the movements became muscle memory. At that point we moved onto right turns and emerges, practicing those until the lesson time was over.
My second lesson immediately began with me taking off where lesson 1 had finished. After it was clear that I had left and right turns and emerges mastered, we moved to a busier estate that had much more traffic, parked cars and some small hills. This facilitated learning more vital skills (such as clutch balancing and hill starts) quickly and safely. I drove for around 90% of the lesson time.
What struck me most about learning with Bernie is how quickly he taught me to do things, without me feeling rushed or scared. At one point during my second lesson, I was driving on a real road with real traffic, and wasn’t in total panic mode. For me this was a minor miracle!
I know I made the right choice with Bernie for the following reasons:
- Professional but friendly
- Extremely patient
- No panic when students do something dangerous (just calm help and guidance)
- Excellent understanding of a persons comfort zone and how much to push them.
- Diving straight into driving (after the critical theory bits are taught and explained)
- An easy manner of chatting that allows students to let muscle memory kick in while driving, but not distracting
- Great choice of roads to learn on
- Total respect for the learner and their judgement.
At one point, he directed me to take a turn but I didn’t believe I had enough clearance before the oncoming car. He totally respected my decision and applauded me for using my judgement.
Katherine Houghton, Didsbury
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