driving-diary-18Welcome to Part 18 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

jessJess 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.

The Instructor – Nick Freemannick

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!

JESS: We had a lesson at 2 so it was light and we could work on more things because it’s better learning in the daytime.


NICK: We had a lesson in the daylight today so I was keen to see Jess doing her manoeuvres. Jess struggled a bit with her clutch control again this week.


JESS: I have been driving my car a lot more recently so I am used to the biting point, so it took a bit of time to get used to Nicks car again. There were some times when I revved too much because im so used to doing that in my car, as well as having different shoes on.


NICK: Again I think it’s because she is using her own car as well. She also was using a different pair of shoes which can sometimes affect the driving.


JESS: I wasn’t used to driving in them shoes. I didn’t think that shoes would have such an impact on how well you could drive and how much you can feel the pedals.


NICK: We went into Thorpe Bay today to practices her manoeuvres. The first one I asked her to do was the reverse round the corner. Unfortunately Jess’s manoeuvres were not up to her normal standard today, she struggled to do her reverse round the corner without hitting the curb.


JESS: I was shattered on my lesson because school has been really stressful but I concentrated as much as I could. However when I tried to do a reverse around a corner I couldn’t do it. We tried a few times but I kept nearly going into the curb. It was annoying because I really want to be okay with my manoeuvres but there is still a lot of time before my test so I have time to work on them.


NICK: I could tell jess wasn’t happy with herself and was getting frustrated with herself. As jess was getting more and more frustrated she was making more mistakes. I gave up with the manoeuvre for this week and worked on her driving.


JESS: I definitely want my manoeuvres to be perfect because they are what a lot of people fail on so I’d rather get them perfect.


NICK: Jess has managed to keep her speed down and she is also using her mirrors more which will help her on the test.


JESS: I am becoming a lot more confident on roundabouts, but sometimes still get confused when and where to indicate when approaching a roundabout but I am getting used to it now. My speed has also got a lot better and I am more aware of it now and glance at the speedometer more often than I was. I still need to work on my mirrors and work on turning my head to make it look obvious to the examiner that I’m checking them just in case they can’t see it when I just look.


NICK: At the end of the lesson we had a talk about how the lesson went. Jess was a bit down as she felt nothing went well on the lesson. I pointed out that although the manoeuvre didn’t go to well her driving was still improving , I also pointed out that lessons don’t always go to plan but not to be disheartened and I’m sure she will do a lot better next lesson.