Louise Kirkpatrick owns a driving school in the East Midlands region of England.
Advice, Hints And Tips On The Best Ways To Find A Good, Reliable And Safe Driving Instructor!
How do you find a good driving instructor?
There are so many driving instructors and driving schools to choose from - where do you start and what should you look for?
The aim of this page is to provide you with some straightforward, simple advice on how to choose a driving instructor!
Read on for lots of helpful advice on what questions to ask and what to look for when choosing a driving instructor - and what to avoid!
Personally Recommended Driving Instructors
Customers of good driving instructors are always happy to recommend them to others!
Do you know someone who's learnt to drive recently? Ask them about their experiences...
Ask members of your family and friends who they learnt to drive with - personal recommendation is probably the best way to find a reliable, punctual and patient driving instructor.
The sort of driving instructor who gets recommendations from happy former customers, may be so busy that they do not need to advertise in the Yellow Pages or the local newspaper, so don't be put off if you've never heard of them!
Really good driving instructors rarely need to go in for special offers, cars with gimmick-laden signwriting, or expensive advertising, as customers seek them out, rather than them having to make a big noise to let people know they exist!
A busy driving instructor is busy for a reason i.e. they're good at their job!
A fully qualified, experienced, driving instructor is also more likely to cost less overall even if their hourly rate for driving lessons seems a bit higher than the "special offers" and "bargain deals" you find advertised in local newspapers or via flyers or website offers. This is because their experience and knowledge means that they tend to get their students to the standard needed for the driving test in significantly fewer lessons than less experienced driving instructors.
If you come across someone who learnt to drive with a large driving school who have lots of instructors, make sure you find out the name of the specific instructor who taught them and make sure that you get that particular instructor!
It seems obvious, but it doesn't follow that ALL the driving instructors who work for a particular driving school are good just because one is personally recommended!
Driving Test Pass Rates
How many people have passed their driving test with a particular driving instructor?
Asking a driving instructor about their test pass rate may seem like the best way of establishing whether they're any good or not....but unfortunately it's not that straightforward!
The "driving instructor pass rates" question is meaningless for all practical purposes, as statistics can mean anything you want them to mean!
I've heard driving instructors quote a "100% Pass Rate", justified on the basis that "everyone passes eventually". Is it true? Of course not...some people give up learning and never pass...some people pass first time and some pass after several attempts, so how do you measure a "pass rate"?
A "pass rate" is only relevant if everyone is interpreting statistics in the same way...but they don't! If an instructor tells you my pass rate is "x%" what does that actually mean? Is it their pass rate since they started as a driving instructor, or their pass rate this week...and so on? What factors have they included in their calculation of their pass rate, do all instructors calculate ther pass rate in the same way? The simple answer is "no"!
I'm sure you can see the problem with using pass rate as a measure of how good an instructor is - you can't compare "like with like"!
Driving instructor pass rates are not published by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA - the government agency who set the driving test, employ all driving examiners and regulate driving instructors) so you have absolutely no way of checking whether the test pass rate you've been quoted is genuine!
I'll conclude this section by giving you a bit of food for thought...some of the best driving instructors I know have very low pass rates! Their pass rates are low because a fair amount of their work is with people for whom driving does not come easy, or who have special needs that mean for them mastering the art of driving is a slower process. It may take more than one attempt to pass the driving test for some people, but the important fact is that they do...but they would not do so without the input of a great driving instructor!
Get A Feel For The Driving School Or Instructor
Do some research!
Has the school/instructor got a website? Many instructors give details of themselves, their experience, personality and school ethos in their website design and content. Spend some time looking at driving school websites as the more information you can get, the better!
Ring around several driving schools or independent driving instructors.
Do they sound approachable, friendly and helpful on the phone? If the instructor seems grumpy, cagey, rude or disinterested during a telephone call, then the chances are they'll be the same (or worse) when you're stuck in a car with them on a driving lesson.
How easy is it to get hold of someone on the phone if you have a query or a problem?
Some "one-man band" driving instructors teach all day and will only be available to return messages after they finish teaching for the day (which may be quite late). There's nothing wrong with that and many instructors work this way with minimal problems, but if you are happier knowing you can get hold someone to talk to if you need to, this may be an area to think about.
What Grade Is The Driving Instructor?
Until 7th April 2014, driving instructors were graded from 1 to 6, with 6 being the highest grade possible. From 2014, the grading system was revised and there are now just two grades - "A" and "B". Both A and B graded driving instructors have met the standards required by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) regularly check the standards of tuition given by all driving instructors and assign them a grade which they retain until it's time for their next check.