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How To Find A Good Driving Instructor

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!

Personal recommendation is a great way to find a good driving instructor

Personal recommendation is a great way to find a good driving instructor

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 are not a reliable way to find a good driving instructor!

Driving test pass rates are not a reliable way to find a good driving instructor!

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!

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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!

Find a driving instructor who sounds both professional and nice - remember you'll be spending a lot of time together!

Find a driving instructor who sounds both professional and nice - remember you'll be spending a lot of time together!

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.

Driving instructor grades - are they a true reflection of how "good" an instructor is?

Driving instructor grades - are they a true reflection of how "good" an instructor is?

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.

That grade is based solely upon a driving examiner observing ONE HOUR of driving tuition given by an individual driving instructor every four or more YEARS.

The check is nothing more than a snapshot of performance and takes into account NOTHING apart from what the examiner sees on that particular driving lesson. There's no regard given to how many people have successfully been taught to drive by that instructor or how their students regard them. There's no interview, written tests or other performance related reports taken into consideration. If the driving instructor is nervous (and it's human nature to be nervous when someone is watching your every move), then that can affect the way they "perform" on the check lesson and may mean that what the examiner sees bears little or no resemblance to how they usually teach or interact with their students.

To many it seems like a crazy way to assess how well someone can REALLY do a job!

Yet, I often come across advice given to learner drivers telling them to ask for grades and only choose instructors who are grade 6 or A.

But no-one ever asks other qualified professionals such as doctors, solicitors, plumbers etc what their "grade" is - so why should a fully qualified professional driving instructor be any different?

The qualification process to become a driving instructor is VERY challenging and involves not only the ability to drive to a very high standard, but also to teach to a very high standard.

Only about 6% of people who start training to be a driving instructor actually succeed in qualifying, that's how high the standard is.

Approved Driving Instructors (ADI's) have passed all three of the qualification exams required and that fact alone should negate any need for questions about grades.

Any driving instructor whose grade (under the old system) was less than a 4, or who does not achieve a Grade B (under the new system) is subject to further checks by the DVSA and if the standard of their tuition fails to improve within a very short period of time, they risk having their driving instructor licence withdrawn.

Ask about instructor grades if you want, but do bear in mind that as with test pass rates, you'll find some driving instructors who tell LIES - and unfortunately, you have no way of checking whether the grade you are told is the grade they really are!

A professional image is usually a good indicator of quality and customer service

A professional image is usually a good indicator of quality and customer service

Does The Driving Instructor Have A Professional Approach?

Customer service standards matter - remember you're the one paying!

A professional image and a clean, tidy and well presented driving instructor and vehicle is a pretty reliable indication that you are likely to get good customer service.

Does the school or instructor belong to any professional organisations such as the Driving Instructors Association (DIA), the Motor Schools Association (MSA), the ADI Federation etc.

Keep a look out for tuition vehicles. Do they look clean, well maintained and reasonably new, or are they shabby, old wrecks with L-plates precariously tied on to the bumper/s?

If you catch a glimpse of the instructor themselves inside the vehicle, do they appear to be anything less than clean and tidy, are they smoking (they shouldn't be as it's against the law!), are they on their mobile phone/making themselves a drink/eating their lunch/staring glassy-eyed out of the side window or doing anything else which might lead you to think that they aren't paying 100% of their attention to the pupil sitting in the drivers seat?

Does the driving school or driving instructor have a website? You can get a good idea of the personality and professionalism of a driving instructor by reading their website and often quite a lot of information about the instructor themselves, their experience, testimonials etc.

Don't choose a driving instructor on the basis of price alone!

Don't choose a driving instructor on the basis of price alone!

The Cost Of Driving Lessons

Is the price of driving lessons an important factor when looking for a good driving instructor?

Often the one and only thing people consider when looking for a driving instructor is the price a driving school or instructor charges for their lessons. They spend a considerable amount of time shopping around for the cheapest driving lessons they can find without thinking about what they're actually going to get for their money.

It's a fact of life that everybody has to work to a budget, but basing your choice of driving instructor simply on how much they charge could mean that what seems at first glance like a great deal for you to learn to drive as cheaply as possible may come with restrictive terms and conditions, or the quality of the lessons or the service you receive may turn out to be poor value for money!

The price a driving instructor charges for their lessons is only one of the factors you should consider when making your choice of driving instructor.

Learning to drive is undeniably expensive, but unlike buying say, a car or a fridge, you CAN'T try to shop around to find the cheapest price for a particular model. A can of Coke is the same product whether you buy it from a large supermarket or the local corner shop.

Diving lessons however, are different! A driving lesson is a service, rather than a commodity or product, so cannot be compared on price alone.

A driving lesson from one driving instructor is not exactly the same as a driving lesson from another driving instructor, so you CANNOT make comparisons or base your choice on price alone as you are not comparing like with like.

You can use price as one of the factors in your decision - but not the only one!

Getting VALUE for your money is the important thing to bear in mind!

I often encounter people who want a driving instructor who is "good and cheap"! Unfortunately for them, those two adjectives rarely go hand in hand when it comes to finding a driving instructor as many people find out to their cost.

Prices for driving lessons vary throughout the country but most areas have an average price which you will soon become aware of if you make some enquiries.

If you find an instructor or school offering lessons for a price significantly lower than the area average, be wary - cheap prices are a sales gimmick to attract customers...ask yourself why they are so desperate to attract customers - it could be that the instructor is newly qualified, gone solo and is trying to build up a pupil base from scratch (everyone has to start somewhere after all!)...or on the other hand it could be that the instructor is unpopular and has problems keeping enough pupils to charge the market rate (and you probably don't want to find out why they're unpopular...) - or even worse, lessons are cheap because the "instructor" is not qualified and therefore illegal (more about that sort of person further down this section)...

REMEMBER: "there's no such thing as a free lunch..." or put it another way, "Supermarket Own Brand Cola" is brown fizzy liquid...but it's not the same as "Coke" or "Pepsi" is it?

There are driving instructors who are reliable, have first class teaching skills, friendly personalities, lots of experience, good pass rates and loads of satisfied customers. These types of instructors are busy and they're busy for a good reason - they do a GREAT job...and because of their experience, their customers tend to learn to drive successfully in fewer lessons and are well equipped for driving safely on their own. These types of driving instructors have good reputations and their pupils tend to recommend them to others who want to learn to drive. This means that they do not need to advertise themselves very much, if at all and it also means that they do not have to resort to cut-price offers for their driving lessons in an attempt to get work - their reputation does this for them to a large extent.

On the other hand there are driving instructors who find themselves short of work and offer cut-price driving lessons. It costs this type of instructor the same sort of money to actually give a driving lesson as it does the non-price cutting instructor, but because they are offering the lesson cheaply, they make little or no money from it - so they have to reduce their expenses to increase their income.

I have heard several horror stories from people who have had so called "bargain" cut-price driving lessons. I know of people who hadn't driven the car AT ALL after 4 lessons. All 4 lessons had been spent sitting in the car with the instructor, engine turned off and parked in a car park with the instructor TALKING about how to drive and nothing else. I have heard of people who have done nothing but drive round and round a housing estate in a half mile circuit for lesson after that really teaching anyone to drive? Not by my definition!

There's a BIG difference between learning how to make a car move and how to stop it and learning how to actually DRIVE. Driving means getting out onto different sorts of roads, different traffic conditions, all kinds of weather and as many unique situations as possible to prepare you for what driving independently is really like...NOT driving around in circles or sitting in car parks to save the instructor's overheads on a cheap driving lesson.

I've also heard many tales of how offers such as "10 lessons for £99" have restrictions on when they're taken, such as the customer needing to pay upfront for 20 or 30 MORE hours at the FULL PRICE to get the special offer, or 6 of the 10 "special offer" lessons being kept back for the week of the customer's driving test...and even the "10 lessons" being for only 30 minutes each!

I know that money is tight for many people but driving is a skill for life, so you have to be able to be clear about what is real value for money and what is a false economy.

What's the difference between an ADI and a PDI? Pink badges and green badges explained!

What's the difference between an ADI and a PDI? Pink badges and green badges explained!

Is The Driving Instructor Fully Qualified Or Just A Trainee?

ADI or PDI...what's the difference in the two types of driving instructor and what do you get for your money?

Driving instructors must pass a difficult three-part examination to fully qualify as an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI), and they have to maintain the high standards required by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) by passing periodic "Standards Checks".

Fully qualified instructors are called Approved Driving Instructors (ADI's)

Trainee driving instructors are called Potential Driving Instructors (PDI's)

All driving instructors must display licence in the windscreen of their tuition vehicle at all times whilst giving paid tuition.

ADIs have a green octagonal licence

PDIs have a pink triangular licence

A PDI can apply for a short-term licence to give driving tuition in exchange for payment after they have passed the second part of the three qualifying exams. This licence is only granted for a six month period (but in some special circimstances can occasionally be extended for a longer time period by the DVSA). So as you can see, they cannot teach as a PDI for very long.

It is important to note that a PDI has not yet passed the third exam which is a test of their instructional ability. The only exams they have passed are driving theory and an advanced driving test.

Teaching on a trainee licence gives the PDI invaluable experience but the level of supervision varies between training schools and some leave a lot to be desired.

Learning with a PDI could leave you needing to change instructor if they do not pass their final exam before their short-term pink licence expires. They cannot carry on teaching if their temporary licence expires.

Watch out for the cowboys - make sure your driving instructor is legal!

Watch out for the cowboys - make sure your driving instructor is legal!

Illegal driving instructors

Not all people who look like driving instructors actually ARE driving out for the cowboys...and even worse, the criminals!

ANYONE can put a sign on the top of their car, fit a set of dual controlled pedals and equip themselves with some official looking training materials in order to make themselves look like a genuine professional driving instructor.

You might even think "So what?" if they're offering bargain deals on cheap driving lessons...but what are they going to be teaching you, how are they going to be teaching it and more worrying, what sort of a person are they?

Without the regulation and safeguards put in place by the government run driver training industry regulator, The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, you could find yourself;

  • taught poorly or incorrectly,
  • being taught by someone whose car insurance does not cover them for teaching learner drivers - leading to BIG problems for you in the event of an accident while you were driving the car,
  • at risk from someone who may have a history of criminal activity such as fraud or sexual offences.

Anyone giving driving instruction in exchange for money (or money's worth such as so-called "gifts or gratuities") MUST by LAW, be registered with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and MUST display a valid driving instructors licence on their vehicle whilst giving driving tuition.

The DVSA is the Government Department which regulates the driver training industry. They check that anyone wishing to become a driving instructor is suitable to work one to one with the public by means of enhanced criminal record checks, they administer the driving instructor qualifying exams and regularly test all driving instructors to ensure that their standards of teaching are satisfactory - if they are not, remedial action is taken, which can lead to the instructor being struck off the Register Of Approved Driving Instructors.

As of June 2014, there were 42,934 people on the Register of Approved Driving Instructors (source: Department for Transport).

Fully qualified Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs) display a green octagonal badge

Fully qualified Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs) display a green octagonal badge

A fully qualified Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) must display their licence (green octagon) on the windscreen of his/her tuition vehicle at all times when giving driving tuition in exchange for payment.

Trainee Potential Driving Instructors (PDIs) display a pink triangular badge

Trainee Potential Driving Instructors (PDIs) display a pink triangular badge

If the instructor is a trainee (Potential Driving Instructor/PDI), they must display their licence (pink triangle) on the windscreen of his/her tuition vehicle at all times when giving driving tuition in exchange for payment.

The reverse side of the licence (the bit visible from inside the vehicle) contains the following details;

  • A photograph of the driving instructor
  • The name of the driving instructor
  • The date of issue and the expiry date of the licence
  • The driving instructors unique registration number

It is illegal for anyone other than a DVSA licensed driving instructor to give driving instruction in exchange for money or "money's worth" (i.e someone giving a driving lesson then accepting something other than money in return, such as "gifts", gratuities or services).

You can check if someone offering driving tuition is registered at the ADI branch of the DVSA:


Phone: 0300 200 1122 and follow the prompts for 'instructor services'.

IF THERE'S NO LICENCE DISPLAYED ASK TO SEE IT - the instructor may simply have forgotten to stick it back on the windscreen after washing the car...or it may mean that the person you are paying to teach you is acting illegally.

Like this uninsured and illegal fake driving instructor - BBC - Fake driving instructor sentenced

Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) - Formerly Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) Checks On Driving Instructors

Driving Instructor DBS/CRB and police checks

One of the DVSA requirements for all qualified and trainee driving instructors is that the person must be "fit and proper" in order for their name to be entered into the Register of Approved Driving Instructors (ADI).

In 2007, it became compulsory for all driving instructors to undergo an enhanced Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check (as of 2013, Criminal Records Bureau checks are now undertaken by the Disclosure and Barring Service and are called DBS checks).

It is always worth checking whether a driving instructor has had their CRB (now DBS) check done. These news articles are good examples of why you should do this:

Driving instructor's driving ban

'Groping' driving instructor packed 12in carrot down his trousers

* Please note that the media reports linked to above are extreme cases.

The overwhelming majority of driving instructors are ordinary, decent human beings, who go out of their way to provide a courteous and professional service to their customers.

There are good people and not so good people in every profession! Knowing that your driving instructor is fully licensed and has a recent DBS check, will go some way to giving you peace of mind that you're not getting in a car with someone like the two people mentioned in the press articles above.

Will you be getting your driving instructor's full attention?

Will you be getting your driving instructor's full attention?

Will You Be The Only Learner Driver In The Car?

Driving instructor "piggybacking" - or in other words, teaching more than one learner driver at a time!

Do you get the full attention of the driving instructor one to one...or will there be someone else in the car too?

"Piggybacking" is the situation where you are not the only learner in the driving instructor's car!

The idea is that one learner driver drives the car, while another learner (or two) sit in the back seat, listening to the driving instructor and watching the driver. The learner drivers take it in turns to drive and observe.

Sometimes the arrangement is that towards the end of their lesson, one learner drives to pick up the instructor's next pupil and this pupil then drives the first pupil home - this way there is an additional pupil in the car for only part of the lesson.

"Piggybacking" driving lessons used to be very common a few years ago, but is pretty rare these days.

From a driving instructors point of view, the advantages of this system are that it cuts down on the time they spend out on the road teaching, and cuts down on their overheads as they do not have any unpaid travelling time between one pupils lesson ending and the next lesson beginning. It also means that they can deliver a lesson on a particular subject to more than one pupil at a time.

The disadvantages are that most learner drivers don't like it! Learning to drive can be pretty stressful anyway and having a stranger watching your every move can be offputting and embarrassing. This is why nowadays, very few driving instructors piggyback!

Before you book up lessons, it's always worth asking whether your lessons will be one-to-one or whether there will be another learner in the car though, as there are still a few driving instructors out there who think piggybacking is a good thing ;)

What questions should you ask when trying to find a driving instructor?

What questions should you ask when trying to find a driving instructor?

Asking Questions - Know What To Ask The Driving Instructor

What questions to ask to find a good driving instructor!

Don't be afraid to ask the driving instructor relevant questions...but you need to know what you're asking and more importantly what the answers you get actually mean!

You may have seen long lists of suggested "things to ask about", including, "What are your pass rates?" and "What grade will my instructor be?"...a word of advice about those particular two questions though :)

The "driving instructor pass rates" question is meaningless for all practical purposes, as discussed the the section above - in a nutshell statistics can mean anything you want them to mean and some people don't tell the truth!

Much the same can be said of the "driving instructor grade" question. You don't ask a doctor or a solicitor or a plumber or any other qualified professional person what their "grade" is do you? The qualification process to become a driving instructor is VERY challenging and involves not only the ability to drive to a very high standard, but also to teach to a very high standard. Approved Driving Instructors (ADI's) have passed all three of the qualification exams required and they are also regularly re-assessed by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to ensure that the standards of their instruction remain consistently high. Newly qualified instructors aren't even graded at all but that doesn't mean they're bad instructors!

Examples of better "relevant questions" include:

  • do tuition vehicles have dual controls (and if you'll be learning to drive in the summer, air conditioning)?
  • if you have any specific requirements such as wanting a female instructor or an automatic vehicle, ask whether the driving school or instructor can supply your needs
  • can you be picked up from one place and dropped off somewhere different? (e.g picked up from work, school or college and dropped off at home)
  • can you have a reduced price introductory lesson to see how you get on with the instructor?
  • are there any discounts available?
  • how long are lessons? Don't assume that the price means per hour (especially beware of "bargain" offers such as "10 lessons for £99" - if each lesson only lasts 30 minutes, that's not such a bargain after all!)
  • what is the lesson cancellation policy? (you may well be charged if you do not give adequate notice if you need to cancel a driving lesson so this question is well worth asking)
  • will you be the only pupil in the car?
  • (this isn't a question as such, but you'll need to have asked some questions to find out!) - can you understand what the instructor is saying? It's vital that you can understand what you're being asked to do and be understood in return - an instructor with a poor command of English or a heavy accent might make that difficult for you!
Tips on what to look for when choosing a driving instructor

Tips on what to look for when choosing a driving instructor

A Few More Things To Think About When Choosing A Driving Instructor!

Interview With A Driving Instructor!

Lots of professional organisations (including the DVSA!) often pass on what they think is "helpful advice" to those trying to find a driving instructor. Unfortunately, although well meaning, the advice they offer can sometimes be misleading and/or irrelevant.

I asked Peter Cary, former Director of The ADI Federation and a fully qualified and very experienced driving instructor who specialises in teaching the disabled, nervous and those with learning difficulties to drive, what advice he would give to customers seeking a good driving instructor. Here's what he said:

"I believe that customers should be equipped with the "right questions" to ask.

The "right questions DO NOT include;

"What is your pass rate".

"What is your grade"

BUT should be....

1) Are you a fully qualified ADI? (Approved Driving Instructor)

It is possible to be taught by a PDI (Potential Driving Instructor) and to be honest some are very good, but unfortunately the vast majority never qualify as driving instructors.

29,000 people tried to become ADIs last year with just over 4,000 actually qualifying.

In fact in the case of one of the largest schools in the UK, almost half of their instructors are PDIs, easily recognised by a large red triangle being displayed on their ADI Licence displayed on the windscreen as apposed to the green octagon shown by a fully qualified ADI

2) How long have you been qualified?

A recently qualified ADI should be up to date with latest thinking, but may not have so much experience in teaching people to drive with various different techniques in helping clients to accomplish the task of driving.

3) Do you belong to a professional body?

Paying membership to one of the several bodies representing ADIs means they have the back up of a large organisation who can give them advice with problems they or their pupils may have with motoring law or the DSA.

4) Do you belong to any other road safety bodies?

A few instructors are members of bodies such as AIRSO (Association of Industrial Road Safety Officers) again demonstrating a strong commitment to improving driving for everybody.

5) Do you have any specialisms?

If the instructor teaches the more "challenging" members of society, the elderly, learning difficulties and disabled, they probably will have more patience than some who don't.

6) Do you have any extra qualifications?

You may not need some of the qualifications but the fact the ADI has gone out of his way to widen their knowledge shows that they have a commitment to their students

Some of the extra Qualifications they might have.

IAM/RoSPA membership

To belong to these organisations one has to pass a high standard of practical driving test.

Dip Di

This is a written exam in 5 parts that thoroughly tests the ADI knowledge in management of a driving school,car mechanics, motoring law, teaching techniques and of course driving theory, skills and procedures.

Banstead/ QEFH trained

This is a three day course devoted to teaching the disabled to drive, learning about "problems" the disabled may have and what aids are available to help overcome them.

City and Guilds 7307

This an adult teaching certificate that some colleges require before you can teach on the premises, but shows they have communication skills to impart their knowledge to others

Fleet Trainer

This is a voluntary register run by the DSA for ADIs to train FLH (Full Licence Holders) requiring an ADI to pass at a much higher standard than the basic ADI is required.

NDIS (National Driving Improvement Scheme)

This is as the name suggests a national scheme where drivers make an error of judgment, the police can offer a training course to improve their driving rather than taking the driver to court to be only fined and have points added to their licence, there are very few instructors selected to do this work.

SAFED (Safe And Fuel Efficient Driving)

This a government incentive to improve the driving of white van man there are approximately 320 ADIs out of a total of 42,000 ADIs doing this work.

There are more qualifications, but this should cover most of them.

You will be able to gauge what sort of instructor you are dealing with by the response you get to these questions, as most people don't know what to ask.

The DSA propose to make public the pass rate and grade of an instructor, which at first reading seems very useful information to make a subjective choice, however if you follow the thinking through you might not feel it's so useful.

There are lies, damned lies and statistics...

A) Grades

ADIs are graded 1 through to 6, six is the best grade, the vast majority of ADIs are grade 4.

With grades 3 and below the DSA will be taking action to remove them from the register if they do not improve very quickly.

However ADIs are graded by an examiner who sits in on ONE lesson and sees how they perform according to the DSA method of marking, we can all have a bad day, the examiner may have missed a key point in the lesson, it has happened that there has been personality clashes between ADI and examiner.

I know of many grade 4's that give wonderful training, make it fun for their clients and lots pass first time with them, I also know grade six instructors who shout and have a very short fuse with some of their students.

B) Pass Rates

The DSA used to send all ADIs their pass rates, but they gave up because no ADI ever agreed with the figures given by the DSA, there were instances of instructors who had been dead for over a year still getting pupils through the test - now that's what I call dedication!

Some instructors publish their pass rates, how are they working out their pass rate? Are they taking every customer on or are they "cherry picking"?

There is a recently formed driving school aiming at the top end of the public school market Eton, Harrow, etc and they are expecting their clients to have 4 times the average amount of lessons combined with plenty of private practice, I would be very disappointed if their pass rate was below 99.9%.

I believe if the pass rates are published it will hurt the more disadvantaged members of society as they will be turned away as "difficult" to teach and drag the pass rates of instructors down, or maybe even worse some instructors may take them on but have no intention of ever presenting them for a test.

Even though I specialise in this sector of the market and my pass rate is above the national average, if I thought it would affect potential clients considering me as an instructor, I would have to seriously consider if I would continue to accept them onto my books.

Raw statistics don't tell the whole story.

If you had a serious heart condition who would you prefer to treat you a surgeon whose patients had 20% survival rate or a surgeon with 99.9%?

The answer may seem obvious until you dig deeper, maybe the first surgeon specialises in the cases where the condition has progressed so far that no other person will attempt the operation, whilst the other specialises in "Ingrowing Toenails"!

As you can see there are lots of things to be considered when choosing an ADI.

Unfortunately most people think an ADI is an ADI and can be chosen on price alone, all the extra training I've listed above entails more cost and loss of earnings to an ADI so a more qualified ADI will normally be more expensive per lesson, but hopefully with a higher standard to training you should be better equipped to drive safely for life on the road.

The last question you should ask is

"When can you fit me in?" :) "

If you would like to find out more about Peter Cary, please see his website - Peter Cary, Driving Instructor - Specialising For Those With Disabilities Or Anxieties About Driving

Where to find UK driving instructors and driving schools

Where to find UK driving instructors and driving schools

How To Find A Driving Instructor In Your Local Area

The following links are provided for information purposes only. No endorsement or guarantee is offered in respect of any of the companies featured in these lists or directories and no liability will be accepted for any transactions entered into...but if you follow the advice given on this page when you choose who is going to teach you to drive, you won't go wrong!

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency Videos

Advice videos for learner drivers from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA)

© 2008 LouiseKirkpatrick

Comments and Questions

Aaron Seitler from Manchester, United Kingdom on June 30, 2016:

My driving instructor does a lot of yelling but you know what? After 6 months, he's done a damn good job of teaching me to drive :)

Surreymagic on October 22, 2012:

Hiya- great lens, very informative. I've added it to my "British Squidoo lenses" lens!

CristianStan on July 02, 2012:

great advice and tips, though I am not from UK and I passed the driving test, still useful for the new candidates

slotowngal on May 25, 2012:

Super lens! We aren't in the UK, but much of the advice applies in other countries too. angel blessed.

radkoaleks on April 24, 2012:

Great lens.

cdltraining lm on April 13, 2012:

When my son was learning to drive, we when through the process of choosing a driving instructor and based out decision on the amount of time the instructor has been giving lessons. We also called him beforehand to speak to him...we figured if he had not had time to speak with use for a few minutes, then he probably wouldn't have been patient enough to instruct our son.

anonymous on February 08, 2012:

Bought a great dvd called "Driving Test Success Hazard Perception" really helped a friend to pass her test.

anonymous on January 19, 2012:

Just read 'How to Choose a Driving Instructor' which I thought was an excellent guide, containing a lot of common sense. I particularly agree with the comments about the Grading System and DSA proposals to publish same to potential customers, which I think is intrusive and unlikely to help the new learner. I have just sent a letter to the DSA about this (more in hope than expectation) and I used the example of commercial pilots, who are regularly check-tested, but whose individual check test scores are not published, since passengers know that every one has passed a tough test set by an external regulator. This seems like a fairly close parallel to the situation with ADIs. I suspect that the DSA will follow their controlling instincts and decide to go ahead with publishing grades and introducing workbooks, and that the consultation process won't involve a huge amount of consultation, but perhaps I am being cynical!

RichardMillerADI on November 28, 2011:

Excellent advice there. I have similar advice on my blog but I am impressed by your lens.

E L Seaton from Virginia on October 10, 2011:

Twin daughters just finished last year. Glad it's over and sorry I just saw this lens. Great job! I'll be sure to share.

Jen Maskill on October 06, 2011:

What a brilliant lens! I will come back to this. Learning to drive has been a frustrating experience for me so far but at the moment as I am between jobs my lessons are on Hiatus. Ive been thru 2 instructors so far and will be looking for someone new as soon as I get back to work.

Thank you.

LouiseKirkpatrick (author) from Lincolnshire, United Kingdom on January 22, 2011:

@LouiseKirkpatrick: The above should have been a reply to MissMerFaery AAARRRGGHHH!

LouiseKirkpatrick (author) from Lincolnshire, United Kingdom on January 22, 2011:

If you're anywhere near us (East Berkshire/South Buckinghamshire/West Middx/North Surrey) get in touch when you're ready to start lessons - we practice what I preach! There's a banner link to us (Clearway Driver Training) under the list of driving schools/instructors above :)

Missmerfaery444 on January 21, 2011:

Excellent and comprehensive lens! I am hoping to start learning to drive this year (at the grand old age of 31 - yeah I know, what kept me??) and there are some great pointers here for helping me choose an instructor. Blessed!

Glenn619 on January 18, 2011:

I am looking to get my driving license soon. Thanks for all the info you have shared in your lens.

Anthony Godinho from Ontario, Canada on December 21, 2010:

This is a great resource you've put together! It's so important to get a good driving instructor. I remember when I first started driving in Dubai, UAE, it was a nerve-wrecking experience because the authorities are pretty touch and the process of obtaining a driver's license is extensive. I was lucky to get a great driving instructor. When I moved to Canada, I didn't need much of practice so the process was so much easier. **Blessed by a Squid-Angel**

David Lawrence from United States on September 06, 2010:

Great lens - Squidoo Thumbs Up!

LouiseKirkpatrick (author) from Lincolnshire, United Kingdom on April 15, 2010:

@Airinka: Hi Airinka, I have 4 driving instructors working for me and none of them are angry or nervous (if they are they're certainly professional enough not to show it!!!!). Seriously, though, you're right, there are some driving instructors out there who are quite probably in the wrong job - but the aim of this page is to help UK learner drivers know what to look for when choosing someone to teach them to drive, so hopefully anyone who's read this can avoid the "angry and nervous" instructors ;)


Airinka on April 14, 2010:

Great lens! As I remember, all instructors are angry and nervous!

LouiseKirkpatrick (author) from Lincolnshire, United Kingdom on October 05, 2009:

Hi Clare, while I do know of a couple of instructors who specialise in teaching people with learning difficulties, neither of them are based in Scotland.

I suggest that you have a look at a very helpful internet message board for learner drivers and driving instructors called Driver Training Today and use their "Learning To Drive" forum to ask for an instructor.

There are lots of very helpful and friendly driving instructors who post there and if they can't help, they may be able to refer you to someone who can :)

anonymous on October 05, 2009:

does anyone know of a driving instructor in GLASGOW, Scotland who has experience of teaching learning disabled adults?

LouiseKirkpatrick (author) from Lincolnshire, United Kingdom on March 10, 2009:

Sorry Dee Sam, can't help with finding driving instructors in the USA... :)

anonymous on August 06, 2008:

Any Idea about how to find instructors in the USA? In Los Angeles or California? Your site is very informative, I loved it. Thanks so much.

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