Learning to drive in the UK can be an exciting but also challenging experience. Choosing an instructor is the first step to driving independence, and also the most important.
When looking for a UK driving school, there are several important factors to consider to ensure you receive quality instruction and have a positive learning experience. Here’s a list of things to look for when selecting a driving school or instructor.
Check their status and reviews
Check that the driving instructors are fully qualified and approved by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). Look for ADI (Approved Driving Instructor) or PDI (Potential Driving Instructor) badges. Whilst high pass rates aren’t the only indicator of a good driving school, they can give you an idea of the school’s effectiveness in preparing students for the driving test. Ask the driving schools you have short-listed for their pass rates, and also ask if they can provide any reviews or testimonials from previous customers. Online reviews and testimonials from previous students can be freely found online. These can provide insights into the experiences of others who have learned to drive with the driving school.
Ensure their teaching style fits your way of learning
Different driving schools might have varying teaching styles. Some schools might focus more on structured lessons, while others might tailor their approach to individual students’ needs. Choose a school whose teaching style aligns with your learning preferences. A good instructor should have effective communication skills and be patient, understanding, and able to adapt their teaching to different learning styles. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or try different instructors if you find the teaching style of one doesn’t quite fit with your own learning style. Decide whether you want to learn over a longer period of time or whether you’re looking to pass your test quickly. Specialist driving schools such as Fast Pass driving courses can help if you’re seeking an intensive course to pass your test quicker.
Check the condition of the vehicles used for instruction. They should be well-maintained, up-to-date, and equipped with dual controls for the instructor’s use. Ensure that the driving school has proper insurance coverage for both the instructors and the students during lessons.
Do they meet your needs?
Do enquire about the structure of their lessons. How long are they? Do they offer a mix of theory and practical instruction? How do they handle different driving conditions and scenarios? Do they offer flexibility for days and times you can need? Are they located conveniently to offer their service close to your home, work or college? Do you want an intensive course and if so, can they arrange a Fast Track Driving Test?
Does the driving school provided study materials or resources to help you prepare for the theory test and learn about road rules, and how do they track your progress? Regular feedback and assessments can help you understand your strengths and areas for improvement.
Try before you commit
Seek recommendations from friends, family, or acquaintances who have recently learned to drive. Personal recommendations can often provide valuable insights. Once you have narrowed your options down, see if the driving schools from your shortlist offer trial lessons. Taking advantage of this can give you a feel for the instructor’s teaching style and the overall experience before committing.
Tips to gain confidence when learning to drive
Once you have found a driving school or instructor that you are happy with, it’s time to put the wheels of learning to drive in motion, quite literally! Here are some tips to get you started:
Start with the Basics
Before you even get behind the wheel, familiarise yourself with the Highway Code and other essential rules of the road. This will give you a good foundation for understanding traffic signs, road markings, and driving etiquette.
Consistency is key. Try to schedule regular driving lessons to build your skills and confidence progressively. Practice with a licensed driver in between lessons if possible but try to ensure you don’t pick up any bad driving habits that will hinder instead of help you.
Drive on a variety of roads and conditions
Try to experience driving in various road conditions by driving on a mixture of urban areas and rural roads, day and night, quiet periods and rush hour. This will help you become comfortable and adaptable in different driving environments, increasing your confidence whatever the conditions.
Be alert for hazard perception always
Develop your hazard perception skills by paying close attention to potential dangers while driving. This is crucial for both the theory test and real-world driving.
Theory Test Preparation: The theory test includes multiple-choice questions and a hazard perception test. Use official materials and online resources to practice for these tests. There are various apps and websites available to help you prepare. Keep up with any changes in driving laws, rules, and test requirements. Staying informed will help you avoid any surprises.
Take a mock test as often as possible
Carry out as many mock driving tests as possible with your instructor when learning to drive. This can help you understand what to expect during the actual driving test and identify areas that need improvement, and will also help you gain confidence in a number of various scenarios. The more you experience prior to the real thing, the more prepared you will be for it. It also helps to familiarise yourself with the driving test routes in your chosen test center. This is something your driving instructor will be able to help you with.
Learning to drive takes time. Focus on building solid skills and good habits, and always stay safe.
Remember, practice and patience are key to becoming a confident and skilled driver. Good luck with your driving journey!