It's all about live and let live.I've been reading those driving instructor trade magazines again and there have been some interesting pieces about how locals get wound up by driving school cars using their area to practice and the shocking behaviour of some driving instructors. It's always something I think about when practising manoeuvres or getting a new learner going on those quiet streets.
In the fair city of Nottingham there is a lot of development going on all the time. New houses going up and more supermarkets than we'll ever need. This means that the quiet areas of land I once used when starting a new learner are disappearing with first lesson pupils now starting out on the road. There are a few areas where it is possible to start out and obviously these are popular with driving instructors. Wide roads, no speed bumps and little traffic mean we can put a nervous pupil at ease without them panicking about getting in everyone's way.
Unfortunately a few locals seem to resent this enough to start complaining to test centres and local authorities. Nothing better to do it seems. As instructors we must do everything we can to make the situation as peaceful as possible. If I see two driving school cars on a stretch of road then I'll go elsewhere. I find it embarrassing when we're all bunched up together. Some don't though and will happily become the third, fourth or even fifth car on the road to be parking or whatever. Not very diplomatic and sure to wind people up.
Manoeuvres can be tricky and finding a suitable place to practice is all important. I won't do a left hand reverse on a road that means we will be hindering traffic. On test a candidate may be asked to manoeuvre on a reasonably busy street but on lessons I don't think we should. I see main roads on an estate I use being blocked by pupils practising the turn in the road when just round the corner is a road with hardly any traffic on it. That makes me wonder what's happening, so the people who live on the street are bound to be annoyed. Makes it look like we don't care what they think. When doing a reverse parallel park I always tell my pupil not to pull out and start if there is a car within view coming down the road. If someone comes round the corner and you've already started, that's one thing. If you blatantly pull out and force them to stop when you could see they were coming then that's something else. Ignorant if you ask me but I've seen it done.
On the odd very rare occasion I've had people come along and ask us to move. I just act all polite and professional and then move as asked. I don't like it and I am well within my rights to refuse but in the interests of diplomacy and people putting bad things on the internet I comply with their wishes. I've read reports of instructors giving the locals verbal and throwing litter out of the car windows but that must be a real small minority who give such a bad impression of us all.
There you are. There's only so much space on the road and it's getting more crowded all the time. Let's keep things nice and cosy eh?
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