7 valuable tips for choosing a driving instructor
Congratulations. You’ve decided to learn to drive.
Like cooking, driving a car is one of life’s key skills. You’re about to have a whole new world of freedom open up to you. No more lugging your groceries back on the bus. Now you’ll be able to go where you please, when you please. You’ve got your provisional license and now all you need is a driving instructor.
So, how do you find one? Here’s some good advice from an experienced team of driving professionals.
First of all, an obvious question. Why do you need a professional driving instructor? A one-word answer here: Safety.
If your Mum, Dad, Uncle or neighbour takes on the task, not only are they likely to pass on any bad driving habits they’ve probably acquired, they won’t have dual control in the car. Here at Steering Clear, we see a lot of young people whose family members have tried, and failed, to get them through their test. And, we have to teach them a whole new set of techniques. Safe techniques.
Almost anyone can drive a car. But there are only a few skilled people who know how to teach others to drive really well.
Besides, you really don’t want to fall out with close family members, do you? It can be very, very stressful!
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Here’s our 7 top tips on finding a driving instructor.
1. Check out their qualifications
Anyone teaching you to drive must be fully qualified and approved by the DVSA (Driving Vehicle Standards Agency). You just need to look for the green licence which should be clearly displayed in the front windscreen of the instructor’s vehicle. If the licence is pink it means that he or she is part-qualified and yet to pass their Part 3 practical teaching test.
2. Ask around for recommendations
Referrals from someone whose judgement and experience you value are very useful. People who look back on their learning to drive experience with pleasure will be happy to endorse a particular driving school, so do ask around.
3. Check out their website
Driving instructors with good websites value their marketing, which is a good thing. They want to convey a clear message and they care about how they come across to future customers.
A clean, unfussy site with lots of information about their lesson content, how they work, customer reviews and an easy way to contact them will always be the sign of a true professional.
4. Ask about their pass rate
Any driving instructor with a pass rate of 60% or more first time passes is well worth considering.
You’ll be able to check their claims with the DVSA. Also, find out how long they’ve been teaching so that you know you’re in safe, experienced hands.
5. Any ongoing professional and personal development?
Driving instructors who strive to improve their skills will have the best interests of their customers at heart.
It’s worth asking if they invest in teaching or personal development courses and if they do, this is a big tick. These are likely to be the forward-thinking, flexible professionals you need.
6. Do a vehicle inspection
You’re not an RAC or AA Inspector of course, but first impressions count and in this instance are important indicators of their overall approach to safety and proficiency. The vehicle should be neat and tidy, equipped with dual controls and the wheel should have a good tread (the minimum national legal requirement is 1.6mm).
7. Make an honest assessment of their approach and style
This is very important. Someone’s general communication and demeanour is a good indicator of their teaching skills. After all, you’ll be spending your hard-earned cash and some considerable time with this person.
Making a personal connection with an inclusive coaching style of tuition helps the process of learning to develop. Your driving instructor should agree with you measurable goals before the lesson starts, with feedback at the end.
Skilled instructors move towards enabling independent driving in their learners. This means starting with direct instructions on how to move off or stop, for example, then naturally incorporating this new skill into new driving situations. The instructor no longer needs to repeat the teaching process every time.
It’s great for your confidence and accelerates learning.
At the end of each lesson, he or she should review the results of the lesson with you and set goals for the next session. An effective, enjoyable driving lesson will make you feel good; you’ve learned new skills and you’ve put them into practice. You can’t wait for your next experience behind the wheel.
Are you ready to become a driver?
Make sure you choose your instructor well. You’ll be set up for life.
And, don’t be nervous, you’ll be with a professional who can guide you through everything you need to know. We’ve all been there. Once you’re actually driving a car it will seem like the most amazing thing in the world. Good Luck!