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Review by Jack3 years ago
I had a terrible driving instructor and I'd like to report my experience so that hopefully no one will ever have to go through the same ordeal.
After I booked my lessons through Driving Dynamics, it took this instructor a long time before he first contacted me.
Then, after my first lesson, I tried to schedule for the next lesson immediately (as per advised by several reputable websites), but I was told in no uncertain terms that he would get back to me about the next appointment, and I should not contact him by any means.
As such I dared not contact him for a couple of weeks. But he never got back to me.
As I could not wait any longer, with no small amount of trepidation I took the initiative to contact him.
His reasoning for not scheduling was because "I stopped my training by not taking the initiative to contact him." Moreover, I should only remind him over the weekend for lessons in the coming week, not before, and not after.
What an unusual way of making appointments, I thought.
For a few weeks thereafter, he was oddly unable to schedule any lessons, despite the fact that I religiously respected and followed his instructions, softly reminding him every Saturday.
On the hindsight these were ominous signs of things to come, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Also I already paid him for 6 lessons.
The next couple of lessons were ok, because I was learning most manoeuvres and to be fair he was able to provide some good guidance on a couple of bad driving habits I have developed over the years, as I got my license in Malaysia, 13 years ago, and I have been driving since. My goal, as I explained to him clearly, was definitely not about learning how to drive from scratch, but more about learning the driving patterns unique to the UK. It was clear the ignored my request.
So skill wise he was ok. Great skills does not necessarily translate into teaching qualities, unfortunately. I started making mistakes that I hardly ever made before because of his behaviour. He was constantly criticising and making me nervous during the lessons. It was unnecessary and not constructive. Lesson after lesson he kept telling me how unready I was. It was as if he felt compelled to undermine my confidence at every opportunity.
I felt exhausted after each lesson.
On three or more occasions, I had to drive his son to or from his school during the lessons.
I also had to listen to him preach about his religion, as he was a Jehovas Witness. I respected his beliefs but felt it inappropriate, not to mention the hypocrisy reflected by his actual behaviour, which is even more infuriating.
Nevertheless, in spite of his constant put downs, and inappropriate behaviours, I felt ready and insisted on booking for the practical test, after 8 lessons. I paid him to book for the exam, and to accompany me for the test, as I'd have to use his vehicle.
Since there were still about 6 weeks before the actual test, there was plenty of time to have many lessons before the test. He told me I needed many more lessons until I am ready, but just like before, he was unavailable for long periods of time, until I managed to finally book him for two lessons on the Friday before the exam.
He failed to turn up for the lessons.
I texted him (he didn't like people calling him) when he failed to appear at the usual location (my office), at the agreed time. No reply. Two hours later, he texted me to say that he waited for me outside for 40 minutes and had to leave because "I didn't turn up." He could not call or text me because "there was no phone reception." And, oh by the way, I'd still have to pay him for the lessons because I didn't turn up.
This was so wrong at so many levels. First of all, assuming he was telling the truth and he didn't have the phone reception, he could have simply walked into my office as he has the correct address. Failing that, he could have simply driven around to get reception. It's an office area, there was plenty of coverage.
Never mind. I didn't want to argue with him because I still expected him to turn up for the test with me. The last thing I wanted was to be upset so close to the test.
He failed to turn up on the test day, in direct violation to DVSA Driving Instructor Code of Conduct.
Fortunately my wife did not have to work on that day, and she could drive me to the test centre and I could use her car for the test.
Despite being told repeatedly that I was not ready, I passed my practical test on my first try, with 3 minor errors. My examiner told me that she really enjoyed my driving and congratulated me.
I could not help but think that I was lucky in that I had options. For young people who may not have cars and had to rely on the instructor's professionalism (and honesty, for that matter), they would have been let down by this kind of blackmail.
I would strong advice everyone to avoid him. His name is Rafal Aulich and you can also find him if you search for "go ras".
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