Learning to drive can be a pretty intimidating process. You’ll have to pick up dozens of particular skills and habits, and to develop an understanding of what life on the road is like. This means spending time in the driver’s seat, alongside an instructor who’ll provide you with the right guidance.
Your choice of instructor might make the difference between you passing your test within a matter of months, and the process dragging on for much longer. They’ll make a big difference to your experience behind the wheel in the long-term, too, as the lessons that you learn at this early stage of your driving career will tend to ripple outward into the future.
So, how do you decide ahead of time whether a driving instructor is good or bad? While there’s no fool-proof method, there are a few ways to narrow the field down.
Check qualifications and history
If a driving instructor has a string of qualifications to their name, and a history of getting learners through their driving test. The pass rate of a given instructor can give you an idea of when you can expect to pass your own test.
Your first step should be to check whether your instructor is present on the DVSA’s database. You’ll be able to see whether your Approved Driving Instructor (or ADI) has passed their standard test grade. The database is voluntary, so if you’re unsure you can either check their windscreen for a badge, or get in touch with the DVSA directly.
Just because a driving instructor has been approved, doesn’t mean that they’re going to make a good match for you. Get talking to them and see if their personality suits you. You’re going to be spending hours in an enclosed space with this person, so make sure that you feel comfortable. Also, make sure that they can meet your needs when it comes to time and intensity. If you want to learn at an accelerated pace, but their available time is limited, then it’s probably best to keep looking.
Weigh up the cost
The cost of your driving lessons can quickly accumulate, especially if you’re having several of them every week. You can expect it to take around forty-five hour-long lessons before you’re ready. Some students might take even longer. Seemingly marginal differences in the hourly rate can rack up over time. You might seek to limit this cost with the help of a long-term lease on the car you’re learning in.
If you find that you’re not satisfied with the driving instructor you pick out, then it might make sense to make a switch sooner rather than later. Whatever’s driving your uncertainty – even if it’s a strange vibe you can’t quite put your finger on – it’s better to make the switch.