Top 10 complaints against driving instructors

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As a learner driver, you’re more prone to errors but that’s still okay as the role of your instructor is to guide you so that you become a safe and confident driver. However not all driving instructors are passionate and professional about their work, so let’s find out the things which irritate learners the most:

Late for lessons

Many learners complain that their instructors turn up late for their driving lessons and that cuts into their allocated time for which they are paying. A one off 5-10 minutes lateness can be excused but repeatedly not being on time shows irresponsibility of the driving instructor and it causes more frustration when the teacher does not make up for the lost time.

Uses mobile phone when teaching

It is illegal for a person supervising a learner to use a mobile phone, yet so many learners find their instructors texting or talking on the phone when they are supposed to be helping them. A good instructor should either switch off his cell phone or put it on silent and refrain from using it to prevent disturbing the learner.


There are some who will cancel at the last minute and others who will always have a good excuse to postpone their driving lessons with you. If you notice that your instructor often has something more important to do and forces you to reschedule, don’t be afraid to put him straight or change to a better one.

Short tempered

Being a learner is not easy and driving instructors should know that because they were once a learner themselves. However some seem to be constantly shouting at their pupils because they are not able to do a certain task correctly (eg a manoeuvre like reverse parking, turn in the road or parallel park) and they tend to belittle the students for committing such mistakes. Some are so rude that they’ll even swear to show their disappointment.


Who wants to know what you've been up to during the weekend? How about what movie you watched last night or the problems you’re undergoing with your family? Well no one wants to know about your personal life and these learners are paying you to teach them something and not to listen to the miserable stories of your private life.


It doesn't sound right when your teacher is saying things like “When you pass your driving test, I’ll take you to dinner” or “I’ll give you a cuddle if you do this manoeuvre right”. If you notice your driving instructor is getting a bit too personal with you, calling or texting to say things which have no relevance with your driving lessons, then obviously proceed with caution and if you’re feeling uncomfortable with their behaviour, don’t hesitate to find a new instructor.

Doing errands during driving lessons

Errands should be done outside the hours of your lessons and if you find your instructor constantly needing to pop to the bank to deposit cash or making you drive to drop their family members or friends, then you are better off looking for someone else who will give you the attention you deserve to become a better driver and pass your test.

Does not teach anything new

Do you seem to be learning only one thing over and over again? Well some instructors will tell you that need to master one thing first before moving on to the next and they will therefore stall your learning cycle. Most of the time, they do this so that they can extract more money from you so watch out and if you find yourself practising reverse parking for 8 weeks with no hope of moving on to something else, then you might need to confront the instructor.

Unwilling to refund your money

There may be genuine reasons for wanting your money back eg you paid for block lessons but your instructor now tells you he cannot teach you at the agreed times anymore because of other commitments, or you've realised he’s taking you for a ride or you can no longer learn to drive because of a health issue. Just like with everything else in life though, you will find it difficult to get your cash back once you’d paid upfront and with private instructors, it’s a lot harder because there are no contracts involved.

Tells me I'm not ready for driving test after X amount of lessons

You seem to be learning forever and when you ask whether you can book your driving test, your instructor always tells you that you’re not ready yet. Some people have been taking lessons for more than 6 months (2 hours each week) and they are still not sure when they’ll be sitting the practical test.

Instead of hoping for the best, do something about it and if you can’t make things better, then choose another driving instructor and see how that goes. Don’t just suffer in silence!

If you've had bad experiences with your driving instructor/school, please share them in the comments below.

gices Level 6
I'm a Software Developer and the co-founder of Clever Dodo. Born in Mauritius and now living in the UK, I usually blog about fitness, music, spirituality and driving topics to pass on my knowledge.

12 Replies

x4cqe Level 1

I thought this article was excellent. This is from a parental perspective of a 17 year old who between us has paid over £1000 to this Instructor. Never missed one lesson and my daughter was paying out of Apprenticeship wage Would have to pay 48 hours in advance ( he would only do 2 hour lessons) costing £74 so since November up to this point 6 months and 40 hours plus driving in their own car every day since November! Has become a competent driver and booked test for 2 weeks time which more than reasonable did 2 recent mock tests one only minor faults which built her confidence only to tell her he won’t allow her to use his car only because after this weeks lesson made a mistake at the end of 2 hour lesson when tired which normally wouldn’t He’s telling her this 2 weeks away from test and she had booked it over 8 weeks ago! She was that upset she asked me to go and have a word.

It was so obvious he had been milking her over money. She stood her ground and was assertive to that he drove away He acted in such a harsh and arrogant way she is still going to take her test in her own car despite what he has done so this is so true what it says in part of this article.

We were misled over his website which advertises lots of different instructors to choose from when it’s just him and there is a video that is not him and an office background so appears to be a business with many instructors which it isn’t and I feel a lot of the testimonials in terms of what they say been created in his words as they all say the same so in his words not the learners! Shame on this Man!

Driving Instructor Using Mobile Phone During Lesson

My driving instructor uses his mobile phone, while giving me a lesson.

2 weeks ago, we was in Cambourne, and he was using his mobile, and behind us, was a police patrol car. He removed his diving instructor license from the windscreen, and said, "if we got pulled up, we both could get a fine".

May i ask, could i get done, when my instructor is using his mobile phone.

Now he is avoiding me and he has phoned to confirm, about my next lesson and i have passed my theory test, and now due to book my practical test, and i have brought a car, which he advices me to get. Please help.

geraldinecox Level 1

Read driving instructors code of practise and get his green window display number and report him.

kendawg Level 1

Okay so I have already gone through 1 driving instructor and I'm starting to think he was better than the person I have now. She makes me run errands taking up to half an hour, she always flips out at me when I go slightly wrong, shouting at me and then a few minutes later going well you're learning faster than anyone ive ever taught and then she will start shouting because I'm going wrong againS she talks in the phone, on loud speaker talking to her boyfriend whilst they're arguing and sometimes flirting which is vulgar. She then talks to me about how she's in an abusive relationship and how she has loads of problems at home. I am doing nothing an intensive driving course and so do 4 hours a lesson for 7 days a week, and she always stops off and grabs a McDonald's or a latte from coffee #1, I once went to her accountants office and she spent half an hour signing papers having tea and having a friendly chat as they did paperwork whilst I was in the car boiling to death, needless to say I then opened the car door to breath. The only time she talks about driving is when she's shouting at me. I pay £240 for 10 hours, she does this, should I stop using her?

gices Level 6

The purpose of intensive driving courses is to cram in as much driving practice as possible. You should really change instructors as this one is not being professional at all.

anonymous_2 Level 1

paid my instructor 40 pds for 2hrs.
it was my first lesson. was on phne texting
and short accident, i broke
the car key as i was startin the car. he tol
me to
pay straight away 80pds.told him i
only 20pds. he took it and now demanding
foqg 60pds. should i pay for it?
want an advice plz.

anonymous_2 Level 1

At 1st my instructor seem cool after a few lesson it seems like I was doing the same thing over an over again n I felt like this man was eating my money I work so hard for now that I booked my test my instructor tellin me if I don't drive better he's gonna postpone my test is that right or wrong I have paid over a thousand pound for lesson because I was booking 5 hours lessons

anonymous_2 Level 1

Me I have suffered I pay £26 per hour
2 hours a week after 4 months I am still nowhere I passed my theory test long time ago
What surprise me is late October my instructor said I should think of booking my test for December coz the only things I am not good at is the bay parking, speed my reverse parking has improved coz after a while I realize where I was making mistakes.
So my instructor said he can book the test for me coz he did not want my test to clash with any of his other test, that was fine by me
After a week he says to me there are no test dates available in December. Shoe suggested booking the test end of January 2013
I said to him hold on i will let him. Know the days I am free in January so I went home checked the Internet I found there are dates available to book the test December 2012
Why did my instructor lie to me then?
After 10 lessons he was not telling me where my faults were or how I should do better just driving around
I started doing maneuvers after 10 lessons
We drive stop and chatt comments on my driving
If I make mistake he will say
You are being silly ooh thus silly he would go into a rage raises his voice
It knocks my confidence off then I panic and make more mistakes
Sometimes I just feel life is cruel
I am a student all weekend I work night shifts just to pay for my lessons
My family cannot afford do I have to do it my self
I worked all summer budgeted £700 for the lessons now it's almost gone and the instructor drags on
It's just cruel ripping me off
Is it just me being sensitive or does anyone in the world have ever had such experience
Yours in torture in torment

cathy7 Level 1

My instructor done and said the same thinks like to you Anonymous. Since I booked my practical test he is rude to me and he is highlighting my mistakes after all his negative criticism. He was okay in the beginning never said to me negative comments as he does now. I am driving with him since August 2014 and he told me I can book my test at December. But Then he changed his mind as he said as I m going for holiday that's taking out some time so I should book in January. In January he said I should wait until February just to be sure in the driving... I booked my test for 2nd march he told me just before to change it as "You not ready yet". So I changed for 31st march the test date. he is very rude to me while I m driving with his negative comments. right if I make mistake he should tell me how should I do it correctly instead to highlight the mistake and make it big deal. He doesn't motivate me with this. I told him to correct me...but instead he shouted at me. I told him I lost my confident after this and he said some jokes and "oh you can operate the car but you need more practice" Next lessons asked me to do reverse into road and I only done it once I had no practice as every time I asked him to practice he said "don't worry about it more important to driving in traffic" so he asked to do reverse into road and I went to the curb a little and he was angry at me and shouted it is my memory not working well and I should know that now. I asked him to talk me trough of it and I did it right. Then I wanted to repeat again without his help just to practice then he didn't let me he said " it's unnecessary".
The lesson finished after 45 minute and he told me loudly "you not Ready" " You must change the test date for few more weeks later" He knock down my confident but the last lesson I felt I m driving confident I knew what I was doing and I didn't do any mistakes but he said I looked confused and I should book more lessons. I told him I have to discuss that with my partner as I drove 49 lessons and I feel ready. He said " go ahead and talk but you not going anywhere with it. 2 days later he text me he is not going to give me his car for the test he thinks is dangerous to do so and he will refund my next booked lesson and he wants me to let him know my decision.
I am very upset and I feel he want to ripping me off. I would like to know where could I make a complain about him coz I don't think he is right. I already booked an other instructor just to get his opinion.

anonymous_2 Level 1

Yeah I agree with 10 complaints against all instructors. I have heard a driving instructor who was doing all the above to me except flirting. I confronted my instuctor for shouting at me but he did not change. The last lesson I saw him he told me he was going to see me the following week he never turned up. So i had to look for another instructor who works at a professional level.

anonymous_2 Level 1

This article is not entirely great, there are some fair points but I question some of it. What is your intention here? This could make pupils doubt their instructor who is doing a perfectly a great job. For example saying a pupil is not ready after 'x' amount of lessons. Now the fact is some people will take longer than others due to worse co-ordination and nerves even when being taught perfectly well. What you may achieve here is to make the pupil doubt their instructor when he is indeed doing a great job on the person he is teaching despite their lesser than average development. That is just plain wrong. What are you suggesting. Let them go for test before they are ready essentially lying to them? You know instructors would get more money if they did this. But the fact is some of us actually do what is best for the pupil because they want to get them through with as least hassle as possible.

. . Does not teach new subjects? Sometimes it is important to do one before the other. You should master the MSPSL routine on junctions before you do large roundabouts and national speed limit dual carriageways for example. That is just common sense. Pushing on before a pupil is safe could cause an accident or near miss which nobody wants. The rest is okay.

gices Level 6

Although there are many great instructors out there, there are also many bogus ones operating too. The aim of this article is to raise awareness for learners.

Sure different people learn at different rates, some are quick to grasp new concepts while others take more time. However many have found that after doing say 100 hours with an instructor and still being denied to take the test, they were being led on.

Similarly, some instructors were intentionally impeding the learning cycle of many by constantly asking to do the same thing over and over again.

I agree a good instructor will know when someone is ready to take their tests or when they are ready to learn something new, but mind you that there are many money minded instructors teaching too and prevention is better than cure...

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