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Third Gear: finding The One for the road

Driving instructor

We want to drum it in to parents that they need to get more involved in choosing their child's driving instructor. Right now, if you told a mum she needed to ask a driving instructor for their Terms of Business document, she'd look at you like "Huh?"

But that's the kind of thing someone needs to be asking - and, let's face it, what 17-year-old's going to be demanding documents?

There are things you need to know that you didn't know you needed to know

Consider this: your 17-year-old daughter, Annabel, has just started learning to drive. Your friend gave you the number of an instructor so you called and asked how much he charges. You talked to Annabel and agreed a 50/50 split. She rang back and booked her first lesson.

The day came and Annabel slammed out the door and nervously greeted the man waiting by his car. At this point, you knew zero about this person other than they taught your friend's daughter Phoebe to drive and she passed first time.

You didn't know if the guy had recent training. You didn't know if he was kind and patient. You didn't actually even know if he was a qualified driving instructor.

What you should have asked on the first phone call

  • What qualifications do you have? (Anyone giving lessons must be a Potential Driving Instructor (PDI) or Approved Driving Instructor (ADI).)
  • How long have you been teaching?
  • How do you and your students agree that they're ready for their test?
  • What lesson length do you advise?
  • How long do you recommend waiting to start private practice? What should I focus on?
  • How much do you charge per lesson and how many lessons a week do you think is most efficient? Do you have a discount for block bookings?
  • Where will you pick up and drop off? Is college or work OK?
  • What is the latest notice for cancelling a lesson without losing the fee?
  • How flexible are you on lesson times and days?
  • Can I see your Terms of Business?

Find out more about what you should be asking.

Honor Clement-Hayes

By Honor Clement-Hayes

Honor joined ingenie in 2014 and is in charge of words on the Young Driver's Guide and blog. Her first car is a Peugeot 206 cabriolet, which is a very sensible choice for the British climate. Follow her on .