Driving advice please

I failed my driving test because of how I maneuvered the car, the instructor couldn't tell me why though when I asked so it's hard to know but I am guessing it could be it should come more naturally to me than it does and I should feel more secure in where to place myself on the road when there's multiple files... He also gave me advice to "not practice in difficult situations". He didn't know where i've practiced though... But I have mostly practice driving in the city lately and other difficult situations. I said this at home and got the advice to not do that anymore because it makes me a "stressed driver" always jumpy and prepared for something unexpected like someone running across the road. Is this true?
My brother who is a brilliant driver mostly drove long countryroads while practicing. Is that how you should do it? I accept any advice on how to start maneuvering more automatically without having to think about it and the best roads to practice on. It would be expensive to fail again.
I drive stick shift.

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  • Boo-ya! My time to shine XD

    Driving is a skill that takes time to learn, but one thing you gotta understand first is that stress is your enemy.

    I got every drivers license category available (EU license) and I love driving. On Saturdays I work as a part time bus driver. Got my license back in 2010 and I've probably done more than 250000 kilometers. Driving is second nature to me.

    Anyway, start by setting up everything properly. Make sure you adjust your mirrors and seat correctly. Don't put your nose up against the windshield, don't have your own vehicle fill up most of the side mirrors (those are used to see what's behind you) and practice, practice, practice.

    At driving school, we started off with countryside driving, gradually working our way deeper into the city. I never did any highway driving while learning to drive... So when I went on a highway for the first time (aged 18), I did what any young man full of testosterone who's never driven on a highway does - top speed test.

    Don't do that, don't be an idiot like me. Drive the speed your are comfortable with, but also do try to stick to the speed limits. If you're only comfortable with 40kmh for example, but the speed limit is 70kmh, try to do at least 60 then... You'll learn to handle the speed better and you won't get bullied and stressed out by people stuck behind you. If you made a mistake like mount a curb, or stall out. Don't worry, mistakes can happen. Learn from them and carry on.

    Well done on learning to drive manual. Here is a quick tip. Don't use too much gas while setting off. Nothing is worse for a clutch than a driver that revs the engine at something like 3000rpm and then slowly eases the clutch... You'll burn the clutch and those things ain't cheap to replace.

    What I like to do is get a feel for whatever car I'm driving and in normal traffic, the first second or two, I just set off by slowly releasing the clutch so it grabs and then I give it some gas. If I'm on a hill and I need to use a bit of gas from the start, I get to the point where the clutch starts grabbing, right foot off the brake and immediately on the gas. Setting off at no more than 1000-1400rpm.. It's a skill that takes time to learn, but once you learn it, your clutch and wallet will thank you. And you won't look like an idiot redlining their car while backing out of a parking space (I've seen that quite a few times XD).

    Also don't let anyone tell you that you have to shuffle the steering wheel when turning (common idiocy across EU driving schools) you do hand over hand instead, or that you hold your hands at "10 and 2". That's garbage left over from pre-airbag days. You hold the wheel at 9 and 3, or on some cars 8 and 4. This is done for safety and better control.
    Car manufacturers don't put those fatter parts on the upper half of the steering wheel just for style... That's to guide your hands to the ideal steering position for the vehicle.

    As you get better at driving, you find your ideal steering position. I have several, depending where and how fast I drive.

    As for your instructor saying that city driving makes you jumpy and a stress driver is BS. You gotta learn that too and the more you get into city driving, the more you gotta be aware of what's happening around you. Who's in your blind spot, is the BMW in front gonna suddenly decide to switch lanes again and cut you off. Is the hot chick looking at her phone gonna start crossing the street without looking...

    The list goes on and on. But don't stress out yet. This part comes naturally to you the more you drive.
    You learn to discover potentially dangerous road users and you learn to give them a bit of extra room, or when near them, have your right foot cover the brake pedal. This is a thing all good drivers learn as they rank up those miles.

    Also I'd suggest one day after getting your license, you go out to a big empty parking lot. Ideally in winter, when it's snowy and learn a bit of advanced car control. Learn how you car handles, when you go into a skid. What's understeer, what's oversteer... Learn to steer into the skid. Get a feel what it's like to slam on the brakes to do a full stop test and feel the ABS as it does it's job and see for yourself how much longer you need to come to a full stop.

    It's not only great fun, but it will help you understand how to handle difficult situations. Drifting around at snowy, empty car parks did teach me how to correct a skid and has probably saved my life a few times. Also a great trick on date night. Woo that special someone with your sick drifting skills XD

    Good luck and stay safe!

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  • Best advice is to keep driving as much as possible. Make sure you do it alot. Also you can try a different DMV if you dont want to have the same inspector.

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  • I had to do my driving practice and test on winding over-crowded suberban roads so I sort of feel your pain.

    My only advice is to narrate yourself as you drive, you’ll feel like an idiot but (at least in the uk) the examiner cannot penalise you for it. Learn the rules of the road by heart and the confidence will come. Most people I know took at least 2 tests to pass, especially in a built-up area it’s normal.

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    • Really? I aced my test first try and the examiner even tried the usual tricks... Taking me to the hilliest road and as luck would have it, the light was red... so hill start.

      Then he tried making me go down a one way street the wrong way. In Bulgaria, if the examiner remains silent, you drive straight. You only turn when they tell you to. And they love taking you to a bit of road where straight is down the wrong way of a one way street. So you have to chose left, or right at that particular intersection.

      I had points knocked off my score for not yielding to a pedestrian. Cause when they set foot on a zebra crossing, you gotta wait for 'em right?

      Well, in my case, there was an old grandpa just starting to cross the street. I came to a stop and gave him a wave to pass. He made 3 steps, stopped, smiled and gave me a wave to go first. I gave him a wave to go ahead, he did the same... I knew that if I did, I'd get points knocked off. But cars started to form behind me and obstructing traffic is a bigger offence... so I legged it, chirped the tires and drove off. The examiner then exclaimed "Why didn't you wait for the old dude?! That's one mistake!"

      I got one of the worst examiners in my city, but still aced the test. The other 2 people that were in the car failed their tests. Girl didn't come to a complete stop at a stop sign 1 minute in - failure. Other girl mounted every curb, stalled a dozen times and didn't follow his directions.

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      • I'm not the Op, but you were right about my Nissan Versa Note's problem. It was in fact the transmission. The dealer is fixing it for free and I can finally have my car back. Thanks for telling me what to expect.XD

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        • Glad everything worked out for you. Just keep in mind... CVT transmissions are generally garbage, unless you drive like an undertaker. So try to be easy on it. On the plus side, CVT cars get much better gas mileage.

          When you buy your next car, do look for one with a conventional automatic, a manual (if you want to do things the hard way) or a double clutch automatic.

          The trouble with CVT is that moving a car, obviously requires a lot of power... Transmitting that power through hydraulic oil and hard, metal cogs works perfectly well. Transmitting it through a clutch and metal cogs works even better, cause you have less power loss... But in a CVT transmission you only have 2 weird moving conical pulleys, 1 planetary gear set for reverse and a weird rubber/ metal belt. And no matter how many Japanese car makers try to convince me that CVT is good, I will continue to disagree.

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          • I'll keep what you're saying in mind.

            To be honest, I only got the Versa because my old car that was destroyed by a tree was also a Versa and I wanted something exactly like my old car. XD

            What you're saying makes me think I might've gotten lucky with my old car because the entire time I had it, I had no problems with it. It always got me to where I needed to go.

            I'm thinking when my new car ultimately gets hit by a tree(my boyfriend lives in a huge area with waaaay too many trees so it's bound to happen), I'll probably go with a Toyota or Honda. Everyone tells me those brand of cars are the best for getting to point A to point B.

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      • You had 3 people in the car? Sounds extra stressful.

        Yes, here in London the test is infamously hard thanks to over-crowding. The only person I know of my generation who managed first time did it in a country area.

        I also had someone try to screw my second test up, some dumbass kept gesturing for me to drive into the right lane at a cross roads (we drive on the left) and acted like she wouldn’t move until I did. If I hadn’t held my ground it would have been an instant fail for me.

        Some advice for OP (if you’re British) take your test on a Monday as they can only pass X number of people each week so on Monday they are the most lenient.

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  • My wife is from a country were few people drive - and had never driven anything with a steering wheel before.

    I started her in large parking lots to learn how to steer, break, back up, etc.

    I then enrolled her into a driving school and let them teach her a lot of things.

    Then when I was comfortable that she knew the basics it was country roads.

    Then I moved her to the interstate and how to get on and off - and learn to drive at higher speeds.

    Finally, I had her drive into and out, and around a large American City (Milwaukee) and then progressed to some trips to Chicago.

    We laugh now at many of her mistakes and situations - and she is so grateful that I took the time with her and showed her many different things.

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  • I started on back country roads. I’m a pretty good driver but I do tend to speed. Since I started working in the city I’ve gotten used to pedestrians and crosswalks. But still prefer others to drive in areas like that.

    Being nervous is the worst way to drive.

    On highways, I always stay away from merging lanes. I constantly check my rear view mirrors. The first several years of driving I avoided highways all together. It’s much safer to spend the extra 10-15 minutes then put yourself in an uncomfortable situation.

    If you fix the side mirrors to where you can see your tires just enough in the bottom corner and to see what’s coming from behind in the next lane, you’ll save a lot of heartache. I’ve known so many people who’ve gotten into accidents bc they didn’t have their mirrors properly positioned.

    Hope this helps.

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