Seeking Ideas: Driving Instruction

Can anyone recommend a good driving instructor in Los Angeles? …preferably for one on one instruction. My wife and I moved to LA 5 years ago from New York, and she still doesn’t drive or have a license. I made the mistake of listening to advice that if I bought her a car, it would inspire her to get a driver’s license. After several hundreds of dollars spent on local driving schools, she has failed three driving tests, and is nowhere close to being able to drive. I’m getting desperate, because, now in addition to the cost of her taxi cabs, we have a car payment. I don’t know what to do. Can anyone provide any help?


What exactly is she doing wrong to fail the tests and to be nowhere close?

Does she have some kind of irrational fear of driving, perhaps? If so, a psychologist would probably help more than yet another driving instructor.

Driving is not for everyone. Maybe she should not.


Here’s a thought

If you’re not confident, you won’t pass

Confidence comes from experience

Perhaps the wife needs MANY more hours of behind-the-wheel instruction

Another idea

Why don’t you practice driving with the wife in the evening, on the weekends, etc . . . in addition to the driving school

After I got my learner’s permit, my dad drove EVERY day with me for one whole year, until I was old enough to take the driving test and get my own license. In all conditions . . . day, night, rain, ice, windy, cloudy, street, highway, dirt roads, parallel parking facing uphill and downhill, holding the car on a hill using only the clutch, etc. By that time, I was very confident and easily passed the driving test.

Yes!!! Db that is exactly how I taught my kids. I expected them to have at least 1,000 miles under all those conditions you list BEFORE they took driver’s ed in school.

I also started in a very slow progressive pattern. First, park the car in a large empty parking lot. Have them adjust mirrors and such things, including seats.

Then, have them start car and turn it off. Have them push on the brakes (auto trans) and throttle until they had no problem finding the right thing.

Next, when they showed they could find throttle and brakes, have them move car to another slot. Then, shut car off, get out and look how close they were.

At each stage, they did not advance until they mastered that goal.

Very small steps.

However, let me add a note. I married my wife when she was 33 years old. Raised in Mexico, she had never driven a car. And, she does not take criticism well at all. I realized there is no way I can teach her to drive.

She is now 71 and still does not drive. I assure you she most likely never will drive. She is easily rattled and can be very indecisive. So, it is not appropriate for her to even try to drive.

I wish she did. In Mexico, no problem, mass transit everywhere or cheap taxis. But, in McAllen, where she is likely to live if I die, it can cost $50 for buying groceries using a taxi.

I advise against couples trying to teach each other, it makes for a bigger problem. I tried that.

I learned driving at a very young age, mostly due to curiosity and again mostly without even my parents knowing. Would steal the car keys and slowly mess with it. Push the clutch, put in the gear, stall the car, repeat. I got the hang of it very early and since my dad had very poor vision, I became the family driver well before actually having a license. This was not in US.

My wife, on the other hand, started to learn after age 30. We were just married and I tried taking her to the parking lots and teach her. It didn’t go very well. I soon realized that even though I was broke, paying for an instructor is way cheaper than going through divorce.

As far as the original poster, seems like they have given the instructor a decent chance. But like everything else, practice makes up for other shortcomings. I suggest on top of more driving sessions, you get a computer game that simulates driving, with a steering wheel and shifter and have her go at it. This will work, only if she really wants to drive.

We have a few members of our extended family that clearly have decided that they are never going to drive a car and rely on other means to get around.

Does your wife have a good female friend that drives? If she does then the friend may be the best bet for a successful driving instructor. The friend will be able to put your wife at ease and the driving experience will be more pleasant. My mother never learned to drive and her sister (my aunt) didn’t learn until she was over the age of 60.

I taught my son with ‘Drivers ed in a box’. It worked fine for us, I know it might be a problem with a spouse! But it is approved in California:

People only change when the current method becomes more painful than the alternative. If I had access to someone who would drive me wherever I wanted to go and there was no economic impact (that I felt), why would I want to go through the pain and suffering of learning how to drive, fueling it up and other inconveniences?

It may not be the case here, but sometimes people fail because they either wittingly, or unconsciously, prefer to fail. First, you have to establish if there is some fundamental reason she does not want to pass. Then you have to figure out how to get past it if it is worthwhile to do so.

I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag but some men actually purposely display ineptitude to get out of certain chores. Shrink the wife’s favorite sweater to barbie size in the washer and you’ll never do laundry again. Small price to pay :wink:

While I agree that she needs to be motivated and if not, no point, but around here we have a lot of immigrants from Somalia that have hardly seen a car let alone driven one. They are often down at the vacant Kmart lot practicing. They set cones up and practice going forward, backward parking, and so on before they ever get on the road. So get out of town to practice first or find a vacant lot.