Wednesday, 11 March 2009

How To Find A Good Driving Instructor - Questions To Ask

What questions should you ask to help you choose a driving instructor?

Don't be afraid to ask 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 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, so using a test pass rate as a basis for choosing an instructor is pretty pointless!

Much the same can be said of the "driving instructor grade" question. You wouldn't ask a doctor or a solicitor or a plumber or any other qualified professional person what their "grade" is would you?... so why ask a qualified driving instructor that question? 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 Driving Standards Agency to ensure that the standards of their instruction remain consistently high. Newly qualified instructors aren't even graded at all...

Examples of better "relevant questions" to help you choose a driving instructor 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 needs such as wanting a female instructor or an automatic vehicle etc, 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/college and dropped off at home etc)?

* are there any discounts available?

* can you have a reduced price introductory lesson to see how
you get on with the instructor?

* how long are lessons?

* 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? (some instructors still "piggy-back" i.e pick up or drop off their next pupil during your lesson time...this is rare now thankfully but there are still some driving instructors out there who continue the practice...see "Piggybacking?" for more details)

* (this isn't a question as such, but having spoken to the instructor, you'll be in a position to know the answer) - 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...


Further guidance on "relevant" questions you might like to ask can be found at - A Few More Things To Think About When Choosing A Driving Instructor!.