Choosing Your Driving School and the right Driving Instructor
One of the most important things when it comes to learning to drive is to choose the right driving school for you. Firstly, you need to consider how quickly/slowly you want to get to test standard and how many lessons you want to take a week that fits in with your budget. Often it is worth asking friends or family members for their own experiences to see who they passed with or if they know people that passed with a particular instructor/school as this could be a very easy way to find a good driving instructor.
Failing this, it is important to look at the performance of the driving school you are considering. So for example, look at their previous passed learners and read up on any reviews or testimonials on their web sites, facebook or google pages but most importantly, speak to the school itself. Get a feel for their style, character, personality and service levels. Don’t be afraid to ask them to clarify any points that don’t make sense or ask any questions on things that could be bothering you i.e. your nerves etc. The response back from the school will give you an idea of what to expect from them while you are in the car.
Remember, you are the customer and you are the one wanting to learn to drive. You need to be able to learn to drive by a knowledgeable and safe instructor but also enjoy your driving lessons and have fun at the same time.
Below are a couple of questions that may help you in choosing the right driving instructor:
1) Are you a DVSA Approved Driving Instructor?
All driving instructors are required to be approved by the DVSA to be allowed to teach learners for reward. Your driving instructor should display either a GREEN license or PINK license in their windscreen. A green license identifies the instructor as fully trained and qualified by the DVSA. A pink license identifies the instructor as a Trainee Instructor who is allowed to train learners for reward but have yet to complete their final test to qualify for the green badge. If your instructor is not able to show you his badge, DO NOT get in the car as they will not necessarily be insured or certainly legal to teach a learner for money.
2) How many hours does it take on average to get your learners to test standard?
The DSA (DVSA) suggest that it takes on average 45 or so hours of professional driving lessons plus a further 20+ hours private practice to achieve test standard. This is an average only and while some learners can achieve test standard much sooner, others can take many more. It is worth understanding your instructors average.
3) What is your 1st time pass rate?
Ask about 1st time pass rate. If an instructor states 100% then they are one of the very rare breeds of instructors or are not necessarily telling you the truth. Sadly as Driving Instructors, we do not have the power to manipulate humans to such an extent where we can eliminate test nerves or guarantee a pass, which makes a 100% 1st time pass rate very difficult to achieve. A 90-100% pass rate (including 1st, 2nd, 3rd+ attempts) is a very good sign as it shows that even though a learner has failed on 1st attempt, they have stayed with that instructor until they have passed.
4) How Many Lessons Can You Offer Me Per Week?
At present, a lot of the good instructors out there are very busy which is a positive sign from a learners perspective. A good instructor will be able to effectively manage their diaries so that they can offer you regular lessons without huge breaks in between. Make sure that you ask the instructor if they are able to commit to the number of lessons you need before jumping in. While times are busy right now, they are not always as the driving instructor sector is very feast or famine. Therefore, some instructors may take on learners like crazy to make up for the quieter times but then get too full where the learner is let down as there is not enough room available for them. If an Instructor is on a waiting list, and you like the sound of them then it is sometimes worth waiting for that 2-4 weeks and get a good quality service and you know that you will not get shunted for the next new learner that comes along.
5) Where Will My Lessons Be From?
Ideally, you want an Instructor that is reasonably flexible in terms of pick up/drop off locations. For example, you might want to start your lesson at home and end it at college lets say. Provided that college or work isn´t way out of their catchment, you want to be sure that there is that element of flexibility available.
6) As A Parent, How Can I Keep Track Of My Sons/Daughter´s Progress?
If you are the parent or guardian paying for the driving lessons, then it is important that you know where your money is going and how things are progressing. Find out from the instructor, how they keep you updated and informed. Do you get support in helping with private practice? How will your son/daughter know what they will need to work on to get to test standard i.e. how is this communicated? Are you allowed to sit in the car an observe a lesson if you ever felt the need to?
And one more, very important point. Remember that cheap is not always best. One off special offers or massively discounted offers often come with a sting in the tail with terms that perhaps you have never thought of. So if an instructor or driving school advertises 10 lessons for £99, ask the instructor if this is the first 10 lessons or are those 10 actually divided up where you can only take them at certain points during your tuition, also how much will you have to pay once the first 10 are up - will you even save any money in the long run?.
Jumping in on a deal without knowing the real details could cost you a lot more money than you budgeted for. Also consider that driving instructors are in business too. If their prices are a super cheap then it might be a warning sign. If a driving instructor offers lessons at £15or £17 per hour it could seem too good to be true but ask yourself “Why would they have to advertise at such a low prices when the average driving lesson in South Wales is £20-25 per hour. Is it perhaps because they are really quiet and need to attract new learners in or is there another underlying reason?” Also, if a school does have a lower lesson cost, then it is definately worth asking them the question of how many hours on average it takes their learners to pass versus the DSA average. The answer could very well surprise you! Remember, if a deal looks too good to be true then it often is.
XLR8 Wales Driving School have a wealth of experienced driving instructors, all who are down to earth, fun, honest, reliable and knowledgable. We are happy to communicate our pass rates and average hours to test standard, we don’t advertise crazy misleading prices and we believe that our service and commitment levels to all of our learners are second to none in South Wales. Why not get on the phone to us and see what we can offer you as a learner.