With a growing number of driving instructors on the road each year, finding an instructor is easy… However, knowing the right questions to ask to find the right instructor can be a little tricky.
Unfortunately as an industry, driver education is not very regulated when it comes to the service and tuition being delivered by driving instructors. With so many options to choose from between larger recognised driving schools, medium sized driving schools and local independent driving instructors, it’s essential to know what’s most important and what to look for in your driving instructor.
Essentially, the quality and style of your driving lessons will be most dependant on your driving instructor. So, having a say on who your instructor will be and having a clear picture on what type of service you can expect from your driving instructor is very important.
There is often be a significant difference in the experience amongst driving instructors and this is also the case amongst driving instructors at the same driving school. Finding a passionate, dedicated and knowledgeable instructor is definitely possible, but it’s often irrelevant whether they work with a larger driving school or work for themselves.
The most important first step is to ensure that your driving Instructor has all the required qualifications, checks, insurances etc… to conduct lessons.
Always ensure that your driving instructor has the following:
- Current full comprehensive vehicle insurance
- Current compulsory third party vehicle insurance (greenslip)
- The vehicle you will be driving is fully registered
- A “Working with Children Check” number – that you have checked and verified online.
- Ensure that the instructor is a licensed and qualified driving instructor. – their driving licence and driving instructor licence is valid and not expired.
- If you’re learning manual, check that your Driving instructor’s Licence has the required conditions to allow them to teach manual.
These items are essential to ensure that you or your loved one are covered in the case of an accident and you’re not opening yourself up to unnecessary risks and liability. However, they represent a minimum requirement for driving lessons to take place and do not offer any assurances on the quality of tuition and service that you can expect. To get a sense of the quality of tuition and service you can expect from instructors, you’ll need to delve a little deeper and ask some questions of your driving instructor, to be.
Questions that you should ask your instructor before making a booking or purchase
- Will you ever answer a phone call during a driving lesson? It’s really important for learner to have the driver instructor’s full and undivided attention, in order for them to get the most value out of the lesson and for the instructor to ensure that the lesson is conducted in a safe manner
- Will there ever be a time when other learner drivers will be in the car at the same time as me? It was common practice, going back not that long ago to have multiple learners in a vehicle at one time. Some instructors would also schedule their lessons back to back, with each learner needing to drive the last learner back home. Whilst this is no longer common practice and it has mostly been weeded out of the industry, there are still some instructors that maintain this practice so they can maximise their hours on the road. And for obvious reasons, this is not conducive to a good learning environment. Particularly, as not all learners are at stage where it would be safe for them to pick up and drop off other learners from across town.
- What is your cancellation policy? If the learner does need to change or reschedule lessons, how much notice will they need to provide? This is something that you should be clear on in advance.
- What are your options for payment? You or your learner should always find out in advance what options of payment are available. Some instructors will only accept cash, others may have a credit card terminal in car and others will only accept a prepayment.
- How long will my lessons go for? Different instructors may have different minimum requirements for your lesson duration. Whilst a one hour lesson has been an industry standard for years, many instructors have found that 90 minutes or even 2 hours can be more effective for driving lessons. A 2 hour lesson can often be too long depending on the learner and instructor, whereas 90 minute is often an ideal duration.
- Do they offer a pickup and drop off service from your home address or from the point where you intend to have your lessons. Don’t assume that because they’ll pick you up and drop you off from home, that they’ll also be able to do so from Uni or work etc… Most driving instructors operate within a defined area so that they have enough time to travel between driving lessons. So its wise to confirm in advance that you’ll be able to conduct lessons from a location that is convenient to you.
- How much experience do you have teaching in around my area?. Particularly for early stage learners, knowledge in the local area that you are learning in is essential to ensure that the instructor takes you to areas that are suited to your level or the skill you’re working on. The difference between a lesson conducted in the right location can be quite significant when it comes to learning outcomes.
While the above list is lengthy for any parent or learner to cross check against all prospective driving instructors, these are all really important to ensure that your learning to drive experience is as safe, risk and liability free, as it should be. There are also some options to get around the process, for example booking your next lesson with a large reputable driving school will offer some assurance when it comes to at least the required minimum qualifications, insurances and checks. However, you can be sure that you’ll be paying top dollar for this privilege. The other option is to use to a service or platform like LHive to access some of your local area’s best fully qualified and vetted driving instructors at a competitive rate.