I’m getting calls now from people who either aren’t in this area, or who can’t wait until I’m available for lessons to learn with me that want to know how to pick another driving instructor.
So here’s my top 9 tips!
1) Are they an approved driving instructor?
Sounds obvious but some are only what’s called a PDI (Potential Driving Instructor)- This means they haven’t passed the instructional Test and might not have received any additional training in instruction at all and are just using you for practice! You can tell because their badge is a pink triangle.
When I train people to qualify as driving instructors, I’ll always be in the car and it’ll be with prior arrangement with you.
2) What other driving qualifications do they hold? It’s not difficult to qualify as a driving instructor (I’ve done it twice) – Look for instructors that hold additional qualifications over and above this standard. The higher the standard of the instructor the higher they can bring your own driving to.
3) The car – Many instructors use totally unsuitable cars, large 4×4’s and estates because they can get a good lease deal from the manufacturer. This is because they use the car as their own personal transport as well. The staff at Mcdonalds don’t pop along and use the grills to cook their breakfast, instructors cars should be purchased and equipped to be used for instruction. Not for trips to Alton Towers with the family at the weekend.
4) Grade – I’m currently ungraded having let registration lapse when I left the police, I re-qualified in 2015, on a previous badge number I was a Grade 6.
The passing grades in old money were 4,5 and 6.
Many driving instructors are still graded on the old system as they haven’t taken a new Standards Check.
Grade Overall performance
6 Very high
Many are only Grade 4 – Do you really want to be taught by someone who is only classed as ‘satisfactory’ ?
Now Grades are A and B only. B is a pass – A is a High Standard.
5) Where to take the test – Many instuctors only favor a single test centre, often driving miles out of the way because it’s ‘easier’ – If they want you to take a test in a particular centre, ask why you aren’t being taught to drive in any location?
6) How they drive – Watch them drive, if they aren’t driving they way they tell you to drive ask why. Don’t believe “I’m an Advanced Driver so I don’t have to” It’s either safe or it isn’t – There is almost nothing in Advanced Driving that would affect a test outcome so don’t be “baffled by science”
7) Records – The records shouldn’t be just a list of times and dates – You should know what you covered and how well you covered it, and what’s left to do – I let people grade themselves, some ADI’s do it for you.
8) Pass Rates – The old favourite – There’s a lots of ways to talk about this – My current pass rate across Learners and Advanced tests this year (2016) is 100% – Every candidate that has trained with me and been presented for test has passed first time. (And no – There’s none that switched to another trainer.) and I’m happy for anyone to contact the DVSA, RoSPA , IAM, or West Midlands Ambulance Service to confirm this.
Technically most ADI’s could claim a high pass rate – I mean eventually everyone they’ve trained passed a test, even if with another ADI, 5 years later, some less scrupulous trainers will even dump clients that they don’t believe are to standard or even the old trick of removing the badge from the windscreen so the ADI number isn’t recorded by the DVSA on the stats if they fail !
9) Driving the Essential Skills – This is the syllabus – Ask to see their copy – They are an instructor – If they don’t have a copy of the book available in their car ask why ? You wouldn’t attend a course in any other subject and expect the trainer not to have a copy of the course textbook!