When you’re learning to drive, knowing how to choose a driving instructor can be a tricky business. There are lots of them out there. Some work with larger driving schools, others work on their own; but they all have their own style and personalities.
How do you know which one to choose?
The best way is to get personal recommendations from other people. Some might say that they have a laugh with their instructor, or tell you to choose a driving instructor because they are very friendly; so is that good enough? An ADI (Approved Driving Instructor) should be friendly, but that in itself is no guarantee of quality training. Anyone who recommends them should hopefully already have passed their tests at first or second attempt with this instructor to show proof of their ability.
Don’t let low prices and special offers fool you. A good instructor should not have to sell themselves cheaply!
When you first meet with your new instructor there are certain things that they need to carry out with you:
- a check to make sure that you have a valid driving licence
- a basic check on your eyesight by asking you to read a car number plate
- and an introduction to the car’s controls
Car Controls Lesson
If you have never driven before, your instructor should give you a detailed car controls lesson. However, if this just a car that you have not driven before, you should still have an introduction to the controls so that you know where they all are.
If you have had previous experience, then your instructor’s job is to find out where to begin with you. They should ask questions about what you have covered before; what you feel confident about and what you feel you need to work on.
As your lessons continue, you need to feel comfortable with the speed of your progress. If you feel you are being held back, you should let your instructor know this. Similarly, if you feel that they are pushing you into situations that you are not ready for; let them know. There should always be two-way conversations, and the ADI needs to listen to you and tailor the training to suit your needs.
Always be ready to ask if there is something you are not sure about; and if you feel that you are not being taught something that you need to know, ask why.
When things go wrong, your trainer should be patient with you; you don’t choose a driving instructor to make you feel bad about your ability! If you are struggling with a particular aspect, they should try approaching it in different way. Again, they should also ask you if there is anything you feel that is causing you difficulty; and at no time should they lose their temper or shout at you.
You need to be relaxed and comfortable in each other’s presence. And at NO time should your instructor make any unnecessary physical contact.
Anyone who gives driving lessons for money must display a pink (trainee) of green badge on the car windscreen. The green badge shows that they are a DVSA (Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency) Approved Driving Instructor.
Unfortunately however, the quality of training and standard of professionalism varies enormously from one ADI to another. The tests that the DVSA set for driving instructors to qualify are not very challenging. Even those with very poor ability can easily pass them once they have been shown how to ‘play the game.’
So during your lessons, if you ever feel that something isn’t quite right, never be afraid to cancel your lessons and to choose a driving instructor from another school!