As with any other teacher, some driving instructors will be better than others, and some will be better suited to your learning style than others. Just because your friend found driving a breeze with one instructor, it doesn’t mean you’ll have the same luck. But as a general rule, what should you be looking for when you’re choosing an instructor to help you pass your test?
Firstly, as an ‘official’ sign to look out for, they should be a grade 6, or ‘satisfactory’ driving instructor, based on their last test as an instructor. They should be highly proficient in the core competencies, such as fault assessment and teaching techniques, but there are no specific guidelines for the characteristics a good instructor should have.
You should be looking for someone patient. Are they willing to offer you 200 lessons if that’s what you need to feel confident enough to take your test? Will they be happy to move at your pace and not rush you through the learning process, making you feel under pressure? If they are happy to work to your schedule and don’t want to force you to take your test after x lessons no matter what, they’re probably not the instructor for you.
While there are no prizes for being friendly, you want your instructor to be approachable so that you can ask them questions when you need to. If your instructor makes you dread your lessons by being surly and unhelpful, this is a sign you need to switch and find someone more understanding. Learning to drive can be a daunting process as it carries a lot of responsibility, and you need someone who won’t make you feel bad when you’re trying your hardest to get it right.
One practical consideration is punctuality. You don’t want a driving instructor who will always be late to your lessons or who will need to leave early. Driving lessons don’t come cheap, and you need to make the most of all of your sessions. Turning up ten minutes late for six lessons in a row means you’ve lost an entire hour of driving time, which is a whole lesson! Find someone who turns up when they say they will to make sure you get the maximum benefit from your sessions.
It also helps if the driving instructor is based in your area. They will be able to take you around roads you already know, and will be familiar with the place you will be taking your driving test when you’re ready, which is invaluable knowledge, and will help you get comfortable on the roads you will probably end up using a lot both before and after your test.
So if you live in Mid Sussex and know your test will be held at the Burgess Hill test centre you’d be wise to get yourself a local Burgess Hill Driving Instructor. But of course if you’re in Northampton you’ll be wanting lessons with a driving school local to you there. It might sound obvious but often the location of your driving school can be mysteriously overlooked!
Kristy Callen works with local driving schools to help improve their student engagement levels on and off the road