You can find your nearest driving schools and lessons on GOV.UK, but there are many factors to decide when choosing the driving instructor who will really suit you.
Choosing a qualified and graded instructor, with the use of their specially adapted, correctly insured and well-maintained car, is a crucial value-for-money decision. Your investment in learning to drive will help to give you the grounding for a lifetime of safe driving so it’s important you choose well.
The main driving instructor professional associations are experts in helping you to choose the right instructor and to learn to drive in general. They keep a directory of members that you can use to look for a local trainer. Visit https://n-a-s-p.co.uk.
If you have friends or relatives who have learnt to drive recently, ask them if they would recommend their instructor.
To help get the most from your instructor, invite them to your Safe Driving for Life subscription so they can share your progress and help to guide you. This will help you both to plan lessons and enable you to practise effectively. It will also bring the theory of driving to life and make it more memorable for your driving life as well as during your tests.
It’s important that your instructor is appropriately licensed and regulated, works to industry standards, and is right for you. Try to choose an instructor who
- has up-to-date and appropriate licensing; for example, an approved driving instructor (ADI) certificate and a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. Only ADIs and licensed trainee instructors can give driving instruction for a fee under the Road Traffic Act 1988
- has a good reputation
- can give you a programme of learning that matches your individual learning needs
- knows about the National standard for driver and rider training; these are both the framework of learning goals set by DVSA for learners and trainers and the performance standards against which DVSA regularly assesses registered trainers
- is reliable and punctual and has a well-maintained vehicle with an up-to-date MOT and appropriate insurances in place for training
- regularly updates their own skills and knowledge so that everything they teach you is accurate and current.
There are lots of criteria that might be important to you and what you consider to be value for money, such as
- Will the instructor take into account my learning preferences and adapt their teaching strategies, or am I expected to learn their way?
- Will the instructor keep me safe from crashes, bumps, scrapes and costs for life or are they just interested in teaching me to pass the test?
Lots of people want to know their instructor’s pass rate but remember that a poor pass rate might just indicate an instructor who specialises in helping anxious learners or people with other challenges.
If you start your lessons and are unhappy with the instruction you get, the programme of learning, or find you do not like your driving instructor, look for a new one. It’s important that you’re happy and engaged in your learning.
Approved driving instructors can choose to follow the ADI voluntary code of practice. Read the code yourself, so you know what good and bad practice looks like. DVSA also grades ADIs. Find out what the grades mean.
If there’s a problem with your driving instructor’s service or behaviour, or if you think your instructor is acting illegally, report the instructor via GOV.UK.
Planning and recording your driving
To help you get the most out of your lessons, it’s a good idea to plan them with your instructor and record what you cover. This will also help you see how close you are to being ready for your test. Download driver records from GOV.UK.
Like learning any new skill, it’s important to practise your driving. The more you practise, the better you’ll get. You can invite the people you practise with to see your learning progress for your theory test on Safe Driving for Life too. Talk to them and your instructor about what you need to work on.
Remember, anyone who is helping you to practise must
- be over 21 years old
- have had a driving licence for at least 3 years for the category of vehicle you’re driving
- receive no payment, even petrol money, for their help.
If the person who is helping you to practise passed their driving test a while ago, it might be a good idea to remind them to take a look at The Highway Code and refresh their driving knowledge on Safe Driving for Life, and to think about reading The Official DVSA Guide to Learning to Drive and The Official DVSA Guide to Better Driving too.
Just like your lessons, it’s a good idea to record your practice so that your instructor knows what you’ve done and can advise you about what to practise in the future.
It’s also your responsibility to ensure that the vehicle you practise in
- is insured for you to drive
- is taxed
- has a current MOT certificate, if required.