When choosing a driving instructor there are many things to consider; like the age of the instructor, the type of car and the price range of lessons. It is a big decision that should be thought through properly before booking your first lesson, after all you are going to learn a skill that, if taught correctly, will set you up for life, and keep you and your passengers as safe as possible.
Age and experience
The age of an instructor does not necessarily reflect the amount of experience they have. Many people train as driving instructors later in life following early retirement or redundancy and may have had years of practical driving but not of teaching driving. Younger instructors often have a fresher outlook and find it very easy to relate to first time drivers as they can remember being in that situation themselves.
Prices of lessons
There are many companies offering cheap driving lessons – but beware of a catch. The average price of a driving lesson in the UK at the moment is £24 per hour so when a company is offering 10 lessons for £99 this is obviously a lot cheaper. However, a lot of these lessons are spent sitting at the side of the road, rather than driving and developing road skills. It is not uncommon to see a car in the same spot for 45 minutes. I believe that you can only be taught so much theory and that it is not until you are actually out driving and making mistakes that you can really start to learn.
What do you want to achieve when you go out? It is important that you learn at a pace that suits you. I think you want to be challenged and feel that you mastered something at the end of each session. With some people the pace will be a lot higher than others, just like it was at school. I think it is important to drive on a wide range of roads and areas to maximise the learning. I know some instructors who would be very easy to locate as they are always in exactly the same area; surely this must become a little boring and repetitive for the student taking the driving lesson?
Driving instructor’s attitude and feedback
This is a really important thing as it will be the key to pulling everything together and hopefully have you working as a team with your instructor to become an extremely capable driver.
You want an instructor to be friendly and approachable and help you build your confidence whilst not shying away from pointing out mistakes. You want the instructor’s full attention with feedback and encouragement during your lesson to help you develop and progress your skills to the next level. If something is not right you want to be told what is not right, why it is not right and how you could complete the task in the future in the correct way. You want to feel that you are progressing and learning. You want your instructor to be reliable and professional. Driving lessons are a big investment so you want to know that the instructor is giving you their full attention for the duration of your lesson. When I was training my instructor repeatedly took phone enquiries, eating into my lesson time. In my view this is totally unprofessional and is also very rude.
Overall, learning to drive should be an enjoyable experience and something which gives you a real sense of achievement.