Learning to drive is a rite of passage, a move to independence and a very firm first step into adulthood – but it is also a scary time filled with nerves and uncertainty, and then we are not even discussing learning how to parallel park. Sometime in the not so distant future it is conceivable that car manufacturers will produce a self-driving vehicle and getting a drivers’ license will become obsolete but until then, getting a driver’s license will be on the to-do list for many youngsters.
Finding or being a good driving instructor is not an easy job. It takes very particular skills, attitude, and approach, and having a great instructor can make all the difference when learning to drive. Here are the skills and traits which all great driving instructors have, and what to look for.
According to the United Kingdom’s Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency, a driving instructor needs a driving instructor license and should have a clean driving record and must undergo a criminal record check. They go through three tests – one for theory, a practical driving test, and an instructional ability test. An ADI is an approved driving instructor while a PDI is someone still undergoing training but who are allowed to give lessons for payment according to Driving Test Success.
As learners are on a mission to get their drivers’ licenses as speedily as possible it is important that an instructor keep appointments and are reliable – as an instructor this might meant that you have to be work slightly weird hours as most of your clients would have to fit their lessons in around school and other activities.
Learner drivers are spending a lot of extra money on driving lessons while waiting for their test dates – as the average waiting time is ten weeks and a compulsory waiting time of 10 days before booking another test if you failed. All this extra time and money stress the importance of being a reliable person if you are a driving instructor.
Don’t create false expectations
Driving Test Success warns learners that there is no such thing as a pass guarantee. In fact, as an instructor, it is wise to discuss pass rates – given that the national pass rate is 45.65% it would be good to have a talk that provides a reality check. It is also important to discuss some of the risks and safety concerns involved with driving, such as drink and drug driving.
In his blog, a driving instructor with 15 years’ experience explains what he thinks a good driving instructor should be like. “Happy outgoing, personable and mix with anyone,” is his advice but he adds that there is a dark side to driving instruction that you should also take into account if you either want to be a good learner or a good instructor. This, he adds, include the ability to deal with learners with bad breath and those who crash a vehicle because they think it is funny.
“You are going to be involved in car crashes,” he adds rather glumly. “You are spending your day with people in a car who can’t drive.” Therefore that patience would be essential. Instructor school, The Driving Force, also adds in their blog post on the matter that having a teacher shout abuse at a nervous learner driver will never help the situation and instead lead to more “frayed nerves” and an increased number of mistakes. It would also be good to remember that “left and right” doesn’t come naturally for everyone.
Knowledge and the heart of a teacher
The Driving Force, also adds in a blog post that a good instructor also has a strong knowledge base, knows the rules of the road and how to operate a vehicle but add that they are also good communicators and able to provide clear instructors. Given the demands of the job, a sense of humor is also essential, they added.
Share driving test tips
Driver app Mi drive advises learner drivers to ask their instructors for tips to pass the driving test saying that they know best how to do it.
In an article published late last year, the London Post reported on calls from civil society have been made to driving instructors to impart information on the dangers of drinking and driving. This, after data released by the Department of Transport showed that more than 24% of drunk drivers arrested were between the ages of 16 and 19.