What To Look For In A Driving Instructor
So you’re ready to start learning to drive – but how do you choose an instructor? Here are some things you need to keep in mind.
So you’re ready to start learning to drive? Excellent! However, are a few things you need to consider before you hop behind the wheel. Firstly, make sure you’ve got a provisional licence. Step 2? Find a driving instructor…
Choosing the right driving instructor for you is arguably the most important decision you’ll make on your journey to becoming a fully qualified driver. Your instructor is the person who will teach you everything you need to know to become a safe and confident driver, and you’re sure to experience many ups and downs with them along the road. We’ve put together a list of things to look at when finding a driving instructor.
A driving instructor should make you feel comfortable, after all you’ll potentially spending several hours a week, for several months, in a car together with them. This means that they should be patient, calm and encouraging. This also means that they should be engaged and constructive – so they should be pointing out when you do things wrong and giving you helpful feedback and demonstrations. But watch out for someone who is too nice! If you think that your driving instructor isn’t correcting you when you do something wrong, pull them up on it. After all, the examiner will be far more alert to your mistakes than your instructor. Before committing to a block of lessons, have an “introductory” lesson to get to know the instructor, their teaching style, and their car.
Cheaper doesn’t always mean better! Have a little shop around to see what the average price in your area is and go by that. While you don’t want to be paying an extortionate amount per hour, don’t jump at offers that look too good to be true because they usually are. Remember that the instructor will need to included running costs in their hourly rate. If someone is offering lessons for much less than £20 an hour, ask yourself why and how? Are lessons for a full hour? Maybe there are hidden charges or the instructor is less experienced. It’s more important to look at quality, rather than cost when choosing a driving instructor. Lower quality lessons may cost less, but if it takes you longer to pass your driving test, they’re really costing you more money in the long run.
Make sure you look at any potential instructor’s reputation. Ask for recommendations from your friends. If you’re the first of your friends to learn to drive, read public reviews on sites such as Free Index or Facebook. If someone is willing to recommend an instructor, chances are there is a good reason. The same goes if they won’t recommend their old instructor! Don’t just go by the testimonials given on the school/instructor’s website, though, because they will have hand-picked the good ones.
Many learner drivers are interested in their driving school or instructor’s pass rates. However, these statistics are not necessarily the best indicator of driving test success. Driving test pass rates could be for first, second, third or even more attempts! If you are interested in pass rates, ask if they are for first time driving test passes.
Good Egg Drivers ran workshops with more than 2000 students from across the UK. It turns out that 95% of attendees didn’t know the qualifications of their current instructor! Here’s what you should be looking out for.
An ADI is an approved driving instructor, a PDI is a potential driving instructor. While instructors can start to give lessons after taking only the first two tests, instructors must undergo three tests to become ADIs. The first test is a theory & hazard perception, the second is a driving ability test. So, PDIs will have sufficient driving ability. The third test is a test of instructional ability – meaning that they’ll be tested on how they train a pupil. As ADIs will have taken all three tests, and may have more experience than PDIs, they may be a little bit more expensive than a PDI.
You can spot whether your instructor is fully qualified by looking at the licence in their window. A PDI will have a pink triangle, whereas an ADI will have a green octagon.
Driving instructors are regularly assessed on their instructional ability by the DVSA on how they planned the lesson, manage risk to their pupil and other road users and use the best ways to help their pupil learn. As of 2017, instructors grades represent the following:
- Grade A – the instructor has shown a high standard of instruction
- Grade B – the instructor has shown a satisfactory standard of instruction
- Fail – the instructor’s performance is unsatisfactory and they are removed from the ADI register.
You can always ask your instructor what their grade is before deciding whether or not to take a lesson.
Found the perfect instructor and feeling ready to practice outside your lessons? Check out our Learner Driver Insurance. With policies from two hours to 90 days, get all the practice you need under your belt before test day!