I passed my driving test in October of this year (2014) with Roads Ahead Driving School. I am 39years old. For me, I thought that I would never get my licence. My work colleagues call it “The Modern Miracle” I am severely dsypraxic and have difficulty with hand to eye co-ordination. This made PE for me difficult as a child and I did not learn to ride a bike until I was eight. Why am I telling you this – believe me if Stuart can get me through my test and I think he will agree I was his biggest challenge to date – he can get YOU through your test also.
I am from Middlesbrough originally and I started my driving career when I was 17, my instructor at the time was horrible and just shouted at me – despite paying for lessons up front I decided to let him keep the money and stopped driving altogether. When I qualified as a teacher in 2000, I was 25 at the time and thought it was about time I started to learn to drive again, I went with BSM and was ready for my test –even passed my theory first time too but then I moved to Sheffield and I was scared about hill starts that I started again with BSM but had two lessons and then packed it in.
So my husband took me to work faithfully every morning and brought me home faithfully, even when I had our first child in 2005, I vowed I would take up driving again but it didn’t happen and for nine years my husband took me to work and brought me back again this time with our son in the back. In 2009, I was 34 and I thought I better bite the bullet and get back in a car. I did my theory tests again (I passed again first time) but I made a mistake and went with another instructor. It was a disaster he did not teach me any manoeuvres and just let me drive his car. He persuaded me to go for my driving test several times and I ended up having four and failing all on manoeuvres. I was not ready, I was not confident and ultimately I was not safe. I felt totally humiliated and had wasted a lot of money. This guy then began making jokes about my driving and it made my confidence even worse. I was a nervous wreck and after everyone had taken the mick for me failing my fourth test I vowed not to get in a car again as a driver. My husband continued to take me to work every morning and brought me home every evening this time we had two children in the back of the car.
However, in 2012, I decided I had to try again and this time I was looking for the best instructor around. My dad who is a bit of a petrol head said that I had to look for an ex traffic cop to teach me to drive. My dad figured this person would get me through my test no matter what. I did some research and came across Stuart’s website. I looked at his picture and thought he looked friendly and the fact that he is an ex traffic cop with years of experience as well as an advanced motorcyclist who has escorted Lady Di round. I told my dad and my dad said I had to go with him. My dad is a good judge of character and I trust his judgement. I am so glad I did because Stuart is the best instructor ever (I have had 5 in total)
On our first lesson, Stuart put me at ease he has the patience of a saint. I was all fingers and thumbs and he told me that I would get there. Even when I made mistakes, he was kind and most of all he did not patronise or make me feel stupid. You feel quite vulnerable when you are learning and Stuart lets you set the pace and if you don’t feel like doing “Whit Moor” roundabout he will not take you there until you are ready. Even when I first started doing Whit Moor and I stalled and I was sat in the middle of it on rush hour, Stuart was very calm and made a joke about it afterwards. As I am a teacher, my head teacher has said that Stuart should have been paid danger money to let me drive his car. Stuart understood that I am dsypraxic so come up with new techniques to help me to reverse round a corner – showing me photos of where the car should be and visual clues to help me, he gave me access to a bank of resources to help re sit my lapsed theory test and sent me updates about roundabout and driver theory to help me to understand how to drive. Stu can also train you in Level 2 Driver training and this is worth a GCSE pass.
I would consider Stuart and his family friends for life now- even his missus Sally looked after me on cold winter nights when she would invite me into her home and make me a cuppa and chat about the world and everything. These two are lovely sincere people. It was so refreshing to be known that people had faith in my driving ability and they both told me that I would eventually pass my driving test. I would poodle around with Stuart and not even realise I was learning because it was so relaxing – I would tell him all of my woes and he would regal me with bawdy jokes and words of wisdom about life. He gets the best out of all of his students by getting to know them and makes the time to understand if you are having a bad day and therefore do not want to do hornsbridge roundabout in the dark. Most of all he never gave up on me and believed in me every second of the way. To be honest I am sort of gutted that I have passed my test on one level because I will miss our weekly chats where we put the world to rights but I feel that he has not escaped from me just yet and as soon as I can I will be booking his services for a pass plus. Even if it’s just to see whether his jokes have got any better!!
By Gaynor Black Dsypraxic, October 2014