How to find the right driving instructor
Choosing the right instructor can make all the difference when you start learning to drive.
Get some insider advice on choosing the right driving instructor in Tyger’s Diary
It’s not just about having someone experienced and qualified in the car next to you – they’ve also got to be someone you trust and feel comfortable with.
So when it’s time to get going, ask yourself these 6 questions.
What do the experts say?
When I say experts, I mean people you know who have passed their tests and are safe, confident drivers.
A personal recommendation is a great way to find a driving instructor so ask anyone you know who is learning to drive or passed recently. Failing that, get online and read some reviews of local driving instructors.
Are they qualified?
Your driving instructor must be DSA approved as a Potential Driving Instructor (PDI) or an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI).
A PDI is a driving instructor who is teaching on a trainee licence – but don’t let that put you off. They have fresh training, they’re heavily invested in you learning well and may even be cheaper.
It's illegal for anyone who's not officially trained to charge for lessons (and there really have been cases of driving instructor fraud!), so you're well within your rights to ask to see some credentials.
Just in case.
Do you like them?
A driving instructor isn’t a friend, a teacher or a parent – but they should be a weird mix of all those things. They’re helping you learn and keeping you safe, as well as making learning to drive a great experience.
It should go without saying that your instructor should be punctual, friendly and give you the full lesson that you’ve paid for. Their car should be clean and in good working order. They shouldn’t shout at you or make you feel tense or uncomfortable.
If they do, they’re just not the one for you.
Do they offer any great extras?
- Ask any potential instructor if they can offer help with driving theory as well as practical teaching.
- If you have work or college during the week, make sure they can teach you in the evenings or at weekends.
- Find out if they can offer you post-test lessons – this is a great way to learn additional skills after you’ve passed your test including night driving and motorway driving.
- Can they give you any advice for private practice like worksheets or resources for whoever will be driving with you? It’s vital that you learn to drive as part of a team (you, your parents and your instructor) so this will give you a good indication of the instructor’s attitude.
- Make sure you check if they offer discounts for block bookings. £5 here or there could save you a fair chunk of cash over the months you’re learning to drive.
What’s their teaching style?
Your priority might be to get on the road as quickly as you can but if you’re not ready, imagine the cost that could have. Not only the higher insurance if you crash, but the danger you’ll put yourself and other people in as an unprepared driver.
Any good driving instructor will be focused on more than just getting you through your test. Ask them how they teach the skills you’ll need after you pass; things like driving attitude, eco-friendly driving, weather issues, and dealing with dangerous road situations.
After all, once you pass you’ll actually have to...you know…drive a car.
What do they charge?
This is the last question for a reason: the others are more important.
Cost can be a big factor when searching for driving lessons but don’t be tempted to go straight for the cheapest. It could mean you end up paying for more lessons if the instructor isn’t right for you.