How to Find a Driving Instructor

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The process of learning to drive comes with its own set of expenses and can be rather time-consuming, hence the importance of securing the right driving instructor.

Is it advisable to invest in driving lessons? Alternatively, would having friends or family teach you be a better option? And when opting for a professional, how do you go about selecting the right one?

Here’s the information you need.

What’s the best way to find a driving instructor?

Finding the right driving instructor can be instrumental in helping you feel confident on the road. Below are our expanded tips for finding the ideal driving instructor.

Ask For Personal Recommendations

It’s always a good starting point to ask friends, family, and colleagues for recommendations. Their first-hand experiences can provide valuable insights. However, while one person’s experience can be informative, it’s essential to gather several perspectives.

With a few names in hand, you can proceed to conduct further independent research to find the instructor that’s right for you.

Conduct Online Research

Research driving instructors in your area and check online reviews. Trustworthy and unbiased review platforms can give a broader view of an instructor’s reputation. Services like Rated Driving provide learner drivers with DVSA-approved, rated and reviewed driving instructors.

Rated Driving

Verify their Qualifications

It’s paramount to ensure that the instructor you choose has the necessary credentials. They should either have a potential driving instructor (PDI) certification or an approved driving instructor (ADI) certification issued by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

Adi And Pdi Driving Instructors
Credit: Crown Copyright (Open Government Licence v3.0)

The DVSA website provides a facility to verify an instructor’s registration. Furthermore, certified instructors are mandated to display a badge in their car windscreen: a green hexagonal badge denotes a fully qualified instructor, whereas a pink triangular badge indicates an instructor who is still in training.

Understand their Teaching Approach

Quality driving lessons are rooted in structured lesson plans. Before committing, inquire about their teaching methodology and what you can expect from each lesson.

Seek their Guidance

Ask potential driving instructors about the optimal lesson duration, the recommended frequency of lessons, and when they believe you would be suitably prepared for the driving test.

Evaluate their Professionalism

An instructor’s character plays a vital role in the learning process. Are they punctual, courteous, and patient? First impressions count – note the cleanliness of their car and their overall demeanour during your time together.

Prioritise Compatibility

The rapport you establish with your driving instructor is crucial since you’ll be working closely with them, often during high-pressure situations. It’s beneficial if your instructor is someone you resonate with and trust.

Inquire about Special Offers

Many driving instructors provide discounts for block bookings. However, always opt for an introductory lesson first to ensure compatibility before making any bulk payment.

Clarify Logistics

Details matter. Ask about pick-up and drop-off locations, flexibility in lesson timings, and their policy on cancellations or rescheduling.

Remember, driving lessons are a significant investment, both in terms of money and time. It’s crucial that you feel you’re receiving top-notch service and guidance. If after a few lessons, you feel the partnership isn’t fruitful, remember you’re always at liberty to seek a different driving instructor.

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How often should I take driving lessons?

The frequency of your driving lessons is influenced by a combination of factors, primarily your skill level and financial situation. For many, taking lessons once or twice a week is the norm.

Driving Lessons

However, if you’re keen on speeding up the learning process, you might consider opting for an intensive driving course over a shorter span. On the flip side, spacing out your lessons can provide the opportunity for valuable private practice, aiding in reinforcing what you’ve learned.

Discussing your progress and preferences with your instructor is always a good idea. They have a wealth of experience and can provide insights on the best approach tailored to your individual needs.

After all, finding the right balance should cater to your personal convenience, learning pace, and of course, your budget.

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How much do driving lessons cost?

The cost of driving lessons can fluctuate based on several factors, most notably the qualifications and experience of your instructor, as well as your geographical location within the country.

On average, based on data from Rated Driving, you can anticipate shelling out between £25 and £50 for an hour-long lesson. However, the total number of lessons you might need can vary; though a general benchmark is around 45 hours of tuition costing around £1,125 to £2,250 to be adequately prepared for your driving test.

How Much Do Driving Lessons Cost

It’s worth noting that many driving schools offer discounts if you purchase lessons in bulk, which can be a more cost-effective approach compared to booking single sessions.

In addition to the lesson fees, don’t forget to budget for other essential costs. These include fees for both the theory test and the practical driving exam and any additional study materials or mock tests you might decide to take to bolster your chances of passing.

Read more about how much driving lessons cost from Rated Driving.

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What makes a good driving instructor?

While a driving school or instructor’s pass rate can give an indication of their competence, it’s essential to delve deeper and understand the context behind these numbers.

For instance, an instructor boasting a 100% pass rate might seem impressive, but if they’ve only taught a single student, that statistic becomes less meaningful.

Good Driving Instructor

Similarly, if a driving school counts every pass, regardless of the number of attempts, their success rate might appear inflated.

Hence, it can be more informative to discern how many students passed on their first, second, or third attempts.

However, metrics aside, the true mark of an excellent driving instructor lies in their approach to teaching. The best instructors tailor their teaching methods to suit each student, providing the necessary support, patience, and feedback.

They should foster a comfortable learning environment, promoting confidence and understanding. Remember, it’s your hard-earned money at stake, so it’s crucial that you feel content with both the pace of your progress and the quality of the instruction you’re receiving.

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Signs of a bad driving instructor

Recognising the warning signs of a bad driving instructor is essential to ensure you’re getting the best possible education. Here are some potential indications that your instructor might not be up to par:

  • Absence of a licence displayed prominently in the windscreen.
  • Neglecting to spot or rectify your errors.
  • Being preoccupied with their phone or allowing other distractions during your lessons.
  • Displaying a consistently irritable disposition or showing signs of impatience.

Should I choose a trainee instructor?

Choosing a trainee instructor isn’t inherently a flawed decision. While they might not have decades of experience under their belt, they aren’t novices either. The DVSA assesses them rigorously, and they undergo the same stringent criminal record checks as fully qualified instructors.

Given their trainee status, their fees tend to be more affordable. You might also benefit from their keenness to impart knowledge, innovative teaching methods, and a fresh perspective on driving. In contrast with well-meaning friends or family, they’re still likely to offer more structured, informed guidance.

Can I pay someone I know to teach me to drive?

Whilst it’s entirely possible for a friend or family member to offer you driving lessons for free, it becomes a legal issue if they charge you without the proper qualifications.

To legally charge for lessons, an individual must be registered either as an approved driving instructor or as a potential driving instructor with the DVSA. If you suspect someone of operating unlawfully in this capacity, it’s vital to report them to the DVSA to maintain the integrity and safety of driving education.

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When will I be ready to take my driving test?

Commonly held belief suggests that individuals typically require between 40 to 50 hours of driving practice before they’re adequately prepared for the test. However, it’s crucial to remember that learning to drive is a uniquely personal experience and everyone progresses at different rates.

When Will I Be Ready To Take My Driving Test

Your driving instructor, with their expertise and keen observation, is ideally positioned to gauge your abilities and readiness. They can provide invaluable feedback and guidance on when it might be appropriate for you to consider booking your test.

To maximise your proficiency and confidence behind the wheel, it’s beneficial to supplement your structured lessons with additional practice. If possible, seize opportunities to drive with experienced friends or family members.

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This not only enhances your skill set but also provides varied driving scenarios, increasing the likelihood of you successfully passing your test on the first attempt.

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Will I need car insurance when learning to drive?

Yes, insurance is needed when you’re learning to drive. The silver lining is that if you’re taking driving lessons with a professional instructor, their insurance policy usually encompasses cover for their students, ensuring you’re protected while behind the wheel of their vehicle.

Learner Driver Car Insurance

However, the scenario shifts if you opt to practise in a car owned by a friend or family member. In such cases, you must buy specific learner driver car insurance to ensure you’re adequately covered during these practice sessions.

Once you’ve successfully navigated your driving test and earned that coveted driving licence, it’s imperative to set up your own car insurance. If you plan to share a car with family members, considering a family car insurance policy might be better.

The world of car insurance is vast, with myriad options tailored to different needs and budgets. To find a policy that aligns with your circumstances, it’s wise to invest some time comparing different car insurance offerings to secure the most fitting and cost-effective deal.

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Frequently asked questions

Yes, driving instructors can provide lessons during night-time hours.

Gaining experience in night-time driving is highly beneficial. The conditions at night differ significantly from daylight hours, with reduced visibility and the need to use headlights appropriately.

By practising in the evening with an instructor, you can familiarise yourself with these conditions in a secure and guided environment. This experience becomes particularly valuable during the winter months when the days are shorter and you’re more likely to find yourself driving in the dark.

It’s always beneficial to be well-prepared for all potential driving scenarios.

Yes, driving instructors are permitted to conduct lessons on motorways.

In England, Scotland, and Wales, learner drivers can venture onto motorways, but there are certain stipulations.

The lessons must be under the supervision of an approved driving instructor, and the vehicle in use should be equipped with dual controls to ensure safety.

The rationale behind this is to enhance the competency of new drivers in navigating motorways confidently and safely. However, this aspect of driving education isn’t mandatory.

It remains at the discretion of your driving instructor to assess your readiness and decide whether introducing motorway driving is appropriate at your current stage of learning.

It’s always best to trust their judgement, as their primary concern is ensuring you gain a well-rounded and safe driving experience.

The cost associated with taking a driving test in the UK can be broken down into two main components. Firstly, there’s the driving theory test, which is priced at £23. This test evaluates your knowledge of driving rules, hazards, and road signs, and is an essential precursor to the practical test.

The practical driving test, where your actual driving skills are assessed on the road, comes at a cost of £62. This fee covers a standard weekday test; however, it’s worth noting that prices can vary if you opt for a weekend or evening slot, which might be priced slightly higher.

Always ensure you’re checking the latest prices on the official DVSA website or with your driving instructor, as rates can change over time.

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Video by René Boinski