Below are a few case studies from customers who have taken refresher & confidence-driving courses with us. We have tried to outline the broad range of clients we work with to help them become safer, more confident drivers.

Mrs A, Surrey – A Promotion at Work & Motorway Fears:

Mrs K approached us as she had a promotion at work, which would involve a lot of travelling and motorway driving. She always avoided the motorway if possible.

“I would often take the longer rural non-motorway route if I had to travel a distance. But with work, this would not be possible, especially if I have colleagues in the car with me. Motorways terrified me. I had to address this issue.”

We arranged a full-day session for her, which initially involved a chat about her driving history and why she found motorways so scary. It turned out that some years back, she was involved in a near-miss with an HGV, which pulled out in front of her, which really knocked her confidence. From that point, she really didn’t like motorways, and the longer she left driving on motorways, the worse the fear became. During the session, we introduced her to motorways during a quieter time of the day. This gave her time to really get used to them again without the added pressure of additional traffic. Our tutor, Chris, reassured her and put her at ease from the start.

Initially, Chris noticed she was not looking that far into the distance, and her driving was rather reactive. Observation and planning are huge factors in making a safer, more confident driver. Chris set about helping her improve her observation through commentary driving and using a funnel-type approach to her observation, expanding her observation field and scanning and asking “what if”.

She was amazed at how much she could see and plan for – often seeing and preparing for hazards long before drivers in front saw. The session also looked at blind spots on HGVs and why it is vital not to sit in them. It was concluded that the near-miss with the HGV, which triggered her motorway fears, was possibly down to her sitting in the blind spot of the vehicle, which she had no idea about.

Improved observation and planning using the system of car control really helped boost her confidence. She was not suddenly “reacting” to things (which compounded her anxiety) but seeing them well in advance and planning.  With rest breaks, they covered around 250 miles of motorway driving. During that time, they covered a huge amount of different situations, traffic types and a number of busy junctions, exits and merging traffic. Chris also outlined safety tips and what to do in the event of an emergency or breakdown on a motorway.

“Although I know I won’t ever be the world’s most confident driver, I certainly have really rediscovered my confidence in not just motorway driving but also on all types of roads. It’s amazing how you can apply advanced driving techniques to all elements of driving. I feel much happier now about using motorways thanks to this course and Chris.”

Mrs P, North London – A Baby Changes Everything!

Mrs P booked 3 x 3.5hr bespoke refresher driver training with us. Living in London meant she didn’t need to drive much at all, and although she had a full driving licence, she drove less than 2,000 miles a year, all of which were on very short, familiar, local routes. A baby changes everything! All of a sudden, she needed to drive a lot more and with precious cargo. The thought of driving longer distances to relatives in the daytime and other various locations filled her with dread. Having a baby on board only added to the stress. She wanted more confidence and to be safer.

The three sessions were carefully designed to help identify reasons for her anxiety and what she specifically wanted to achieve from the sessions. She wanted a refresher to be more confident in driving on unfamiliar roads, and while she generally felt confident on busy urban roads, she dreaded the motorway, especially when dealing with busy roundabouts in areas she didn’t know. So, the training took her out on the M25, where we worked on her speed management and planning further ahead to avoid getting boxed in. At busy roundabouts, we helped her with reading the signs in plenty of time, which lanes to get in, and if she ever got in the wrong lane (which everyone does from time to time), what to do to remain calm and safe. Her confidence increased rapidly – the key was improving her power of forward planning and observation, and from then, all parts of safer driving dropped into place.

A number of bad habits were identified and addressed, which included a lack of mirror use, and sometimes vague lane positioning on roundabouts. Working on these points alone dramatically helped, as all of a sudden she was noticing hazards more – motorcyclists were not “all of a sudden” appearing along her side, also vehicles to her side on roundabouts didn’t seem quite as close as they used to.

“I realised that I needed to refresh my driving and to improve my confidence. It wasn’t just to settle my nerves; having a baby I felt I owed it to her to be a safer driver. I now feel a much more confident driver and even enjoy driving. The points I’ve learnt I continue to practice each day, which further helps me. I can also give my husband some useful advanced driving tips, which he appreciates. I think……!”

Miss W, South London – Two Collisions in One Year. Shattered Confidence:

I passed my driving test back in 2018, and within a year, I was involved in two crashes. One involved me hitting ice on a corner on a rural road, spinning and ending up facing the wrong way, with a lot of damage to my car. Casper was written off. Then 7 months later, I was on a motorway, and someone ran into the back of me. It was a relatively low-speed impact, but again, my car was written off. Needless to say, my confidence had been shattered. I did actually get back to driving, which I think helped me. However, I was terrified of motorways, especially people getting too close to me. As a result, I drove on motorways too slowly and often got tailgated by impatient drivers, which made it worse. I gave up driving on motorways altogether soon after. While I was nervous on rural roads, it wasn’t as bad as my motorway fears. However, I did notice I lacked confidence on rural roads I didn’t know. Slowly, I drove less and less…….

I took 4 x 3.5-hour sessions with Drivers Domain UK, which my parents kindly paid for (and instigated). I wasn’t sure what to expect. However, my tutor, Fatima, put me at ease right away, and I started to feel calmer than I had imagined. We discussed my collisions and the things I felt most anxious about. I guess it was sort of an “opening up” session where I felt safe to talk, whilst not being judged in any way. While I really didn’t like the motorway training to start, after a while, once I was taking on board what Fatima was saying, things started to flow, and most important of all to me – I felt safe and more in control. No longer were scary cars tailgating me. It was me. I was in control again. On rural roads, I was taught something called the limit point. This is a great way to safely drive roads and assess corners on unfamiliar roads. Overall, I would say this course has helped me. I feel in control and happy when I drive. The 4 x 3.5hr sessions (14 hours) covered so many areas of driving that I feel I have not only identified and removed bad habits, I have a sort of “toolbox” of defensive techniques that I can draw on when I feel I am in a challenging situation. If I hadn’t taken this training, I probably would not have been driving now – and wondering if/when I would ever get back behind the wheel.

Mr L, Bristol – I Passed in 1997. Then Nothing:

I passed my driving test in 1997. Having not driven for well over 25 years, I knew I needed help to get back on the road. I had worked in different countries as part of my job, and then when I returned to the UK, I simply didn’t need to drive. Fast forward a number of years, and that changed. A new job meant driving! I opted for 5 x 3.5hr sessions, mainly as it worked out cheaper per session, but also I needed to “start from scratch”. I have a car (2.0l Golf Estate), although the first 2 x 3.5hr sessions were in my tutor’s car, which had dual controls fitted – perfect for someone having not driven for so long. I was amazed at the coaching and how quickly it all came back to me. I was very rusty with clutch control and use of brakes. However, I was surprised at how I improved. It was very different to a driving lesson, as I was no longer a learner but a full licence holder who needed a refresher.

The first 2 hours were driving on very simple roads. However, we quickly progressed to learn advanced and defensive driving techniques. I can honestly say now I know more advanced and defensive driving techniques that my friends with 25+ years of experience have no idea about. So, not only was this a refresher, but I believe I am a great deal safer and more skilled than I would have ever been.  This kind of training is a must for all drivers – as everyone would benefit. Brilliant training. Not cheap but worth every penny.

Mrs M, Kent – Not Driven in Years:

Mrs M came to us as she passed her test in 2007 and had driven for a few months after, then, due to various reasons, did not need to drive. Fast forward many years later, and she found herself needing to drive again.

This refresher driving course was bespoke to the needs of Mrs M. She didn’t suffer from any form of driving anxiety, but she knew it was vital that she took a refresher course, split over 2 x 3.5hr sessions, to regain her skills behind the wheel. The session started off as more of a learner session, where our tutor, John, took her to a quieter residential area. For this session, she decided to use a tutor’s car with dual controls. Initially, the basics were covered, familiarisation with the controls, and also an introduction to the features of modern-day cars, such as “start-stop technology”. After some basic driving covering clutch use, steering, braking and mirror use, she was ready for more complex, busy roads.

The session was in two parts – to help her get up to speed with the basics of driving again, and then to learn more advanced techniques, which will make her safer behind the wheel – things she could take on board and further develop after the sessions were complete.

Having not driven for 10 years meant she was initially like a learner but then very quickly advanced to that of a qualified driver. Having not driven for so long meant that she had not been subject to deeply ingrained bad habits. A blank canvas if you will. John worked maximised this and introduced her to things like IPSGA (Information, Position, Speed, Gears, Acceleration) – a safe and systematic way of dealing with hazards. At the end of the session, she had not only regained her “driving head”, but she learned some great skills to use for the rest of her driving career.

“I started out wanting someone to re-introduce me to driving, after so long. Not only did John do this, but he also gave me some fabulous tips and techniques that I have taken away and will use when driving. Great help and much more than expected too.”  

Mr A, Yorkshire – Highly Experienced Driver, With Bad Habits:

Mr A booked a full-day session to have a refresh of his driving. Over the years he felt he had picked up a number of bad habits and felt it was worthwhile to invest a day to help address these issues.

“I have driven close to 1 million miles in my 50 years of motoring. Whilst confident and not generally phased by much, I had started to realise there were some bad habits which needed addressing.”

The session was delivered by our tutor, Phil, who has many years of experience in driver training. The course started with an initial chat about Mr A’s driving history and what he wanted to achieve from today’s session. Phil started with an initial assessment drive, which lasted 30 minutes, so he could see the current level of driving being displayed. The results were recorded on one of our bespoke marking reports. The results were typical of an experienced driver; speed a little excessive, observation could be better, and overly relaxed use of car controls, i.e. hand resting on the gearstick, whilst the other hand positioned at 12 o’clock.

The findings of the initial drive were discussed at some length, and objectives for the training were set. For Mr A this was speed awareness, increasing his powers of observation, anticipation and building a driving plan, and also looking at more effective and safer use of car controls.

The coaching took place on a wide range of roads (motorway, town, rural), where he was introduced to commentary driving (speaking about what he can see), which really helped with planning. Over the session, his driving style became more proactive, thanks to the commentary driving, and much less reactive. Better use of gears helped him with his speed, especially in urban environments, where 3rd gear in 30 limits was introduced. Perhaps the hardest part for him was remembering to keep two hands on the steering wheel. This was a badly ingrained habit and would take some time to shift.

“The day has really been an eye-opener. I became aware more of my bad habits, but most importantly, I learned how to undo them. The advanced skills I was introduced to have made me more skilful, and I feel driving is less stressful than it was before. I feel a certain pride has been put back into my driving.”

Mrs A – Confident Person, Busy, Successful Career, but…Terrified of Driving:

I have been meaning to contact you for some time now as I wanted to first say thank you for your time and patience during our initial calls and also for recommending Fatima as my instructor. I have to confess that it took a lot for me to get in touch with DDUK, and it took more still for me to go through with my first lesson…..To be honest, until I actually sat in my car with Fatima, I wasn’t 100% sure I was actually going to see my lesson through in spite of knowing that I would probably lose the money I had already paid.
However, after meeting Fatima in person and after her initial chat with me in my car, she really did put me at ease. As you know Fatima had already taken the time to call me prior to my first lesson in order to introduce herself and to get a better understanding of my needs and concerns. Then, when we finally met in person, she was equally as patient. Her tone and manner were hugely encouraging and reassuring, and I really felt as if she was taking the time to ‘get under the skin’ of what was inhibiting me and having such an adverse impact on my confidence.
Consequently, once I started driving and whilst I have to admit to still being incredibly nervous, I already had a better understanding of myself. As part of that, I was able to unpick why I was able to drive confidently and as the experienced driver that Fatima helped me to accept that I am, but also why I was allowing nerves and anxiety to creep in when I was driving on the motorway and on rural roads.
Therefore by the time I had my second lesson with Fatima, I could see in myself that she had already helped me to ‘shift a mental gear’ (if that isn’t a pun) and, contrary to my expectations when I first contacted DDUK, I found myself driving for almost a whole day on motorways and rural roads which is something I had done my utmost to avoid for almost seven years!
Thanks to Fatima, I really do now feel that I have turned a corner, and since then for the first time in years, I actually enjoy driving on rural roads, and I also feel much more confident when driving on the motorway.
I, therefore, want to say many, many thanks to you and Fatima once again. Having her as my instructor really has been invaluable. She has not only helped me on a practical level but also on a psychological and emotional level too.
Finally, and on a related note, as a general rule, I do not tend to provide reviews. However, I suspect there are many people out there who are in the situation I found myself in for years and who do not know where to turn for help. With that in mind, if you think my experience might give others the courage to contact DDUK, I would be very happy for you to post some or, indeed, all of what I have said above on the DDUK website.

Read our list of free driving confidence tips here