Finding a good Driving Instructor

Find an Instructor

Find an Instructor

Are recommendations really the best way of finding a good driving instructor?

Not in my experience because they are usually given without comparison to any other instructor.

For my money, the best method is look on the internet and call instructors directly.  Most people already do this but they don’t always ask the right questions. With this method, at least you have an opportunity to question the instructor and simply having a conversation over the phone can sometimes elicit a great deal of information – If you know what to ask.

A Fair Comparison on Price.

Over the years as a driving instructor I have received hundreds of phone calls from people looking for driving lessons and it is quite clear to me that most people haven’t a clue what to ask and end up only asking about price per hour. Unfortunately this question, on its own, tells you nothing and in a market where instructors compete for work, the cheapest instructors are usually cheap for a reason!

Naturally, price is very important to you but the cost per hour is irrelevant unless you know how many hours you need. All instructors will rightly say that everyone is different and its impossible to predict how many hours you will need. However, all good instructors keep records and should be able to tell you the average number of hours his clients take before passing a test. You must make your own judgement of any instructor who is either unable or reluctant to give this information.

The instructors price per hour is now positively useful because a simple calculation will tell you the total cost of learning to drive for the instructors average client. I agree it doesn’t necessarily tell you what the cost will be to you but irrespective of whether you learn faster or slower than average, you can now make a fair comparison on price.

How much training will you need?

It’s not all about price. How quickly you learn is dependent on many factors, not least of which is how well you get on with the instructor. If you think back to your school days, did you feel you learned more or less with the teachers you liked? I can just remember my school days but the teachers I liked I remember very well and I am convinced I gained more from their lessons, and my progress was more rapid.

The importance of the relationship between you and the instructor is even more important because you are working in a one to one situation. A five or ten minute telephone conversation can enable you to judge if the instructor is someone with whom you can be at ease. If you find you are beginning to develop a kind of rapport with the individual it’s highly likely that the same will exist during driving lessons. Learning can be much easier and often quicker, in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere.

If the instructor is not easy to speak to or, for whatever reason, you feel uncomfortable when talking over the phone, you may well find you have the same feeling during your training sessions. Unfortunately, the only qualification a driving instructor requires, does not include a test of ability to communicate effectively, with empathy, or sensitivity.

Pass rates – Are they an accurate guide to an instructors ability?

Instructors worry about pass rates and believe them to be important to their clients. I too remember feeling I needed to have the best pass rate in the area but then I started to feel it might be getting in the way of giving my clients the best training.  The ends don’t always justify the means and keeping an eye too closely on pass rates can sometimes lead to teaching people to how to deal with the ‘difficult bits’ on test routes rather than enabling clients to learn how to deal with ‘difficult bits’ wherever they go in the future.

Try Before You Buy?

The most important part of any search for a driving instructor should be to arrange sample training sessions with those on your shortlist. Many instructors, including me, offer a test drive or introductory sessions at very low rates. We do so in the hope that you will be impressed with the training and you will return to buy the full priced lessons but there is nothing to stop you trying more than one or two instructors before deciding which you prefer.

I make a point of suggesting to new clients that they try at least one or two different instructors to find out who they feel most comfortable with and I am amazed at how many don’t take the advice because you have very little to lose but could potentially gain a great deal.

What should you expect from your instructor and your training?

My list of important elements for great driver training includes the following:

  • At the beginning each session you should have a clear idea of the goal you want to achieve.
  • The goal should be selected by you, or with your agreement.
  • At the end of each lesson, you should be able to assess what you have achieved?
  • You should be progressing at least as quickly as you expected.
  • Your training sessions should be enjoyable, even fun!
  • You should always be able to look forward to the next lesson.

Happy hunting!