Welcome to Part 9 of Jess’ Driving Diary. The Driving Diary will be a weekly blog of the driving lessons for a 17 year old pupil but will be from the perspective of both the pupil and the instructor. Our aim is to help learners understand that the challenges they encounter are dealt with by most pupils and that they need not be as nervous about driving as they think. It will allow them to follow the lessons from the beginning to test of Jess Smith and her driving instructor Nick Freeman. We will hopefully bring you the emotions, practical and technical elements of learning to drive.
The Pupil – Jess Smith
Jess Smith is a 17 year old young lady who hails from the glamorous town of Southend on Sea in Essex. She is a generally confident person. Jess enjoys her sport and has good eye hand coordination, which will definitely help whilst learning to drive. Jess is presently studying A Level English Language, English Literature, History and RE. Her long term goals are to become a primary school teacher.
Nick Freeman is a Southend on Sea based driving instructor with 9 years’ experience in teaching people to drive cars. Nick spent 24 years in the Navy where he defended this great Isle of ours and got the bug for training people albeit in a completely different style and without the guns of course. For his sins Nick is a West Ham fan but we don’t generally hold that against him. With a great sense of humour Jess is definitely going to enjoy her driving lessons!
NICK: Today we only had an hour lesson. At the beginning of the lesson we agreed we would have a recap lesson on what jess has learnt so far. I went for this option as although it is important to progress with training it is also important to retain and practice what the pupil has already been taught.
JESS: Today was an hour session at half 4 therefore we wouldn’t try anything new I knew that it would be more of a recap lesson which I enjoyed because it would give me a chance to make sure I am fully practiced before moving onto the next thing in driving.
NICK: It is not just a case of jumping in the car and driving, as a Driving Instructor I plan each lesson and route before the pupil gets into the car. Unfortunately due to heavy traffic we spent a fair bit of time in jams. Sometimes this is not always a bad thing.
JESS: The traffic was mental so we didn’t really get a chance to go anywhere far or many turn in the roads however it did help me in stopping and starting and pulling away a bit faster.
NICK: It is always good to practice moving off and clutch control. Jess improved in her moving off and it got a lot quicker and natural. At one stage Jess was stopping a bit close to cars in front of her, I reminded her of what we talked about in previous lessons and she stayed back more. Jess has also improved in checking her mirrors and being in the correct gears.
JESS: I thought this was really helpful because I went back to the basics to make sure I hadn’t forgotten anything. I was remembering to look into my mirrors and putting the hand break on as well as being in the correct gears.
NICK: Jess has been driving her own car recently, at her stage of driving this is always recommended, it will give her confidence on the road which is not a bad thing. Whenever a pupil drives their own car it is important that they recognise the difference in clutches as all cars have different biting points.
JESS: So this lesson was also useful because it got me used to the two different cars. My car is much older therefore you have to push down on the accelerator harder than in Nicks car so it took time to adjust to Nicks car again after being in my car.
NICK: I must stress if any pupil drives their own car the authorised driver must ensure that whenever a learner gets in the car it is treated as a lesson.