Confessions of a driving instructor

From car-crashing pupils to the 64-year-old learner, our tame driving instructor dishes the dirt from his years of teaching people to drive and reveals the lessons other drivers can learn...

Driving instructor with male student

Part 3: the job

What car do you teach in?

It’s a Ford Fiesta 1.5 TDCi diesel. Over the years, I’ve had four, plus four Vauxhall Corsas. Like all of them, my current Fiesta is reliable, easy to drive and economical.

Flashier cars like the Audi A1 are becoming popular with driving schools, but I think it’s a fad and they’re just doing it to attract attention. I prefer to teach people in the sort of first car they’re likely to drive after they’ve passed their test.

What car do you drive when you aren't teaching?

Not a Fiesta, but it is a diesel: a Land Rover Discovery 2.5 TDI. I'm a keen fisherman and it’s perfect for all my fishing equipment.

Used Land Rover Discovery 2

What do you enjoy about your job?

I love teaching and helping someone with no experience achieve a high standard. So, in driving terms, that’s taking someone who has never driven a car and taking them to beyond the pass standard. It’s much easier to teach someone with no experience than a person who has a little and thinks they know it all.

The part I don't enjoy is when someone fails their test. You beat yourself up, asking yourself what you could have done differently to help them through it. I take it quite personally.

Who are easier to teach: women or men?

Women tend to be more nervous behind the wheel, but they listen more closely and aren't embarrassed to ask questions.

Most men will have experience of their mates’ cars; they might even have had a turn at the wheel. They arrive at their first lesson much more confident than women. As a result, however, they don't listen so well and tend to rush off. It means they miss the important details that examiners are watching for, so they can take longer to teach to pass standard.

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