Author Archives: john

Mature Lessons

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Are you in your 30s, 40s, 50s, or even 60s and would like to learn to drive for the first time? ( Beginners lessons)  Already had some lessons and would like to restart?(Refresher lessons)  Failed your driving test? (Test rescue) or would like to brush up your driving skills?

Are you concerned you’re a little too old to learn?

You are never too old to learn.  As a Driving Instructor, I have helped lots of mature people to learn to drive and go on to pass the driving test –  many, the first time; the oldest to date was aged 63.  In my experience as an Approved Driving Instructor, teaching the more mature learner, being older can be a big advantage. You often have better road sense and judgment skills, recognise potential hazards and take road safety more seriously. You may have been a passenger for many years and picked up more then you think.  If you have any concerns or worries about learning to drive, at any age, then give me a ring.

0161 480 2210

John A Star Driving School

Worried about learning to drive

Does the thought of learning to drive scare the life out of you? Well you are not alone!   Lots of people are scared or terrified.  They are worried even to the point of not  starting to learn to drive because of this fear. Just type into Google the phrase “worried or scared about driving lessons” and see how many results come up – literally thousands.

There can be lots of reasons for you feel nervous, like making a mistake, stalling the car or even the thought of crashing, or just being surrounded by all the pedals, gears, gadgets and gizmos. Rest assured, you have no reason to be nervous.  Remember you are learning to drive and may make a few mistakes or even stall the car.  If you do, I will always be patient.  I am never going to shout or get annoyed with you.  I will just explain to you why the mistake was made and help you to rectify the fault.  Also I will help with any fears or worries you have about learning to drive.  Also please remember the car you will be learning to drive in has dual controls so I can take over if things start  to go wrong to keep us and other road users safe.  By teaching and helping you in this way you will soon be enjoying your lessons and looking forward to the next one and be really glad that you did start to learn to drive.

As a qualified driving instructor with many years experience of teaching people to drive, I fully understand how you may feel.  I have helped lots of pupils just like you to get over their fears and to enjoy the lessons and go on to pass their driving test – many of them first time.  Check out my Testimonials

If you would like a chat about your fears or concerns, just give me a ring. 0161 480 2210   John             A Star Driving School

Warning Learner Drivers

Police warning over unlicensed driving instructors

Police are warning learner drivers to ensure instructors are properly qualified, after roadside checks found some giving lessons were unlicensed.

The Metropolitan Police told the BBC that if people were not taught properly it could impact long-term road safety.

The Driving Standards Agency has undertaken 30 roadside operations since 2011 to target illegal instructors in England, Scotland and Wales.

On average a suspected illegal instructor is reported to it daily.

They are defrauding people who believe they are a licensed instructor”

Vince Brady Metropolitan Police roads unit

Vasim Choudhary, a DSA fraud investigator, said: “They sticker up their car to look like reputable driving schools, and candidates presume they are legal when they are not.

A qualified instructor will teach you skills which will set you off on your driving career, so you can be a safe driver for life, as opposed to someone who might just teach you skills which are very limited,” he said.

The police are also worried that illegal driving instructors may not have been through the obligatory criminal background

A green badge shows that the instructor is fully qualified and undergoes regular DSA checks.

A pink badge indicates a trainee who can teach for six months while acquiring teaching experience.

The badges should carry the instructor’s photograph, a unique reference number and an expiry date.

Learner drivers are now being urged to check their instructor’s qualifications before getting into the car.


Pupils Comments Stalling


Stalling on your driving lessons can make you feel like giving up, even after a few lessons I was still stalling at every set of lights I came to.
When I stalled I would get embarrassed and feel like I was holding everybody else up, this would make me stall again. It wasnt that
I didnt know what to do, it was in my head that I was going to stall everytime I stopped. I just had to learn to stay calm and take my time and not worry
about the people behind me. I would panic when I stalled as I felt like other drivers were judging me. The main reason why I would stall was when the lights
changed to green I would be rushing to move off and was bringing the clutch up too fast. Now I have learnt to relax more and take my time. It does get better with practice, John my instructor was very patient and explained what to do if i stalled which made me feel better
you just have to keep trying and dont let it bother you. At first everytime I stalled I would get frustrated with myself because I couldnt do it, this would make me feel like
giving up my driving lessons all together .if I stall now I dont let myself get flustered as I know that everybody goes through a stage of stalling and its all part of learning.


Car Buying Advice

Before training and becoming a qualified Driving Instructor in 2006, I worked in the motor trade for over 25 years, firstly as a Motor Mechanic,  working my way up to General Manager.  I also ran the used car department, buying cars for stock and getting them ready for resale.  For a short period I also worked in a new car dealership, selling new cars.

Decide on the make and model of car that  you would like and can afford.  Think too about the cost of insurance, the running cost, repairs, fuel etc then do your homework by checking out reviews on the Net to find any common faults to look out for.  Check the insurance groups Car Insurance and advice Check out parker. com or what to get an idea of the price/value  you can expect to pay for the car of your choice.  This all depends on the condition and the mileage.  Check out the auto trader    to find out  how much the car you are thinking about is being sold for. If you have a family member or a friend that as a good knowledge of cars, get them to help.

Where to buy from?


You can pick up a bargain when buying from a auction but unless you know someone who knows something about cars and buying at a auction, then I would advise avoid going down this route. These cars are  sold with  no warranty and are mainly  ‘sold as seen’.


Buying from a Dealer is not always the cheapest way of buying a car but at least your have some legal right if the car goes wrong and usually cars are sold with a warranty.  It may be the best way to buy if you have no knowledge of what to look for when purchasing a car and no one to help you with this, other than the seller.


This is normally the cheapest way to buy, but you have no legal rights if things go wrong with the car after you have bought it. You need to check the car and all the paper work over carefully.  Remember it’s a buyers market out there so make sure you haggle to get the price down.  If you do your homework, you should have a good idea of what the car is worth.  Again go on the internet and type in what to check when buying a used car.   You will find lots of information and some really good check lists for what to look out for when buying a used car.

If you need any help or advice and your a pupil or a former pupil, just give me a ring – 0161 480 2210 John

Car Insurance and advice

If you are looking for short-term learner driver insurance on a car that belongs to someone else, so that you can incorporate private practice as well as your driving lessons.  First ask the car owner to check with their insurance company, as not all car insurance companies offer short term cover.  The companies on the links below specialise in learner driver insurance, but do shop around to get the best price.

Please Note
Learners driving a car must hold a valid provisional license and
be supervised by someone who is at least 21 years old who holds a full EC/EEA license for that type of car and has held one for at least three years. You need to display L plates front and rear of the vehicle.

Passed and now you need car insurance for your first car?  It can be expensive for a new driver.  There are a number of things you can do to get the price down. Don’t rush out and buy the first car you see,[Car Buying Advice] – do your homework.  You will need to buy a car with a small engine that has a low insurance group number.  The groups run from 1 to 50. To keep the price as low as possible it will need to be in the 1 to 5 bracket.  For insurance groups, reviews on different makes and valuations go to Parkers.

Don’t buy a car with modifications like big bore exhausts, lowered suspension, big alloy wheels, body kits or a formula one engine fitted under the bonnet.  This will increase the premium and you may not be able to afford to insure it.

The pass plus scheme can help you save money on your insurance premium with some companies.  Pay the whole years premium in one go if you can afford to.  Paying per month will cost a lot more. Offer to pay more excess (the amount you pay up front if you make a claim).  Third party insurance is not always the cheapest – compare different levels of cover, add a  more experienced driver to your insurance policy, possibly your parents.  However, don’t insure the car in one of your parents names if you are the main driver as this is known as fronting and is illegal.   Add a security feature like an alarm or an immobiliser.  Parking it in a garage or on the drive overnight can help you to get cheaper cover.  Limiting the amount of miles you drive over a yearly period to less than the national average can also help. Drive carefully and safely.  Avoid any claims or convictions in order to build up your no claims discount so after the first year the price you pay for your insurance will start to get lower.

Shop around to get as many insurance quotes as you can, then phone up to ask for ways to help with the cost of your first years insurance.  One of my previous pupils did this with Admiral and got a 10 months cover at a  big saving over the 12 month one and still got a good no claims discount at the end of the 10 months for his next policy.

Links to try

Towergate Insurance

Quote 313596 for best discount












Moneysupermaket. com




Co-operative insurance (Smart box or Black box)



Adrian flux car-insurance

Short-term/Annual Quote i803 for best discount


Tesco Motor Insurers


Please let me know if you get a better insurance quote from any other insurance companies so that I can add a link to them.  Just email me from my home page. Thanks John








Stalling the car

There is no need to be embarrassed  or annoyed with yourself if you stall the car when moving off, especially when you first start learning to drive. Please remember this is all part of the learning process and as your understanding of how the car works and your confidence of handling the the controls improves, you will be less likely to stall.  Though even drivers with many years of driving experience can stall the car from time to time.

If you were to stall the car during your driving test, as long as you don’t stall in a dangerous place, such as on a roundabout, or in the middle of a busy junction for example, as long as you restart under control and safely, it may not even be marked down as a driver fault.

If you do stall when moving off, the first thing to do is not to panic, but your need to get the the car under control and apply the footbrake to stop the car from moving or rolling.  You will also have your brake lights on by pressing the brake pedal and this will let the car behind  know you are stopped and then you will apply the handbrake to secure the car, press the clutch down to the floor, if not already down and then restart the engine,  There is no need to go into neutral but check you are in 1st gear, then find and hold  the bite on the clutch making sure it is safe to move off,  release the handbrake, press the gas a little and slowly bring up the clutch to move off again.



Theory / Show me Tell me questions / and Practical Driving Tests videos

The videos below are downloaded from You Tube, which will help you prepare for the Theory Test and Practical Driving Tests, and also the-show-me-tell-me questions.  You can find a full printable list of the show/tell questions at this link.  For more videos on the theory/ practical tests and the show me tell me questions check out You Tube as there are hundreds to look at.  If you have any questions or concerns about the tests, ask your instructor for help

Theory test tips and advice

Driving test nerves

Theory Test

Practical test

Show Me, Tell Me Question


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