Learning to drive can be a daunting task, so many cars and junctions to negotiate can be a very scary thing for some of our young learner drivers. So it is very important that you find the right driving instructor and the right learner car for you and your needs.
As with most things in life, experience makes a big difference and normally leads to a better understanding and more knowledge of a subject.
When choosing a good local driving instructor in Bristol it is very important to find out what experience the driving instructor has, how many years have they been teaching and are they fully qualified.
Fully Qualified Driving Instructor or Trainee
The DVSA who approve and monitor driving instructors allow PDI’s (trainee driving instructors) to teach learner drivers using the trainee licence. These instructors have undergone the standard DBS check (formerly a CRB) and passed both Parts 1 (Theory and Hazard Perception Test) and their Part 2 (Driving ability Test) to a very high standard much above the standard required for learner drivers. They then undertake 40 hours of training on how to teach learner drivers. They still need to pass their Part 3 (ability to teach test) before they are fully qualified driving instructors.
Do not let this put you off as these trainees will already have shown competence in their theory and driving technique and undergone a lot of training towards being fully qualified instructors (ADI’s) and quite often have good pass results with learner drivers as all the knowledge is still fresh in their minds and they are anxious to get things perfect for their Part 3 exam. Nearly all fully qualified driving instructors learnt this way and have gone on to be really good and well sort after driving instructors.
You may even be able to get some extra discounts on the hourly rates if you decide to have a trainee driving instructor for your driving lessons in Bristol.
How do you tell if a Driving Instructor is an ADI or a PDI?
Fully qualified driving instructors that have passed all three training exams, known as ADI’s will display a Green Octagon Badge displaying their picture and badge number of the instructor. The badge will also have an expiry date, please make sure the badge is in date.
Trainee Driving Instructors (PDI’s) will display a pink triangle badge with trainee written across the badge. The badge will still have the instructor’s name and badge number along with their picture displayed. Again please always check the expiry date of the badge.
It is a legal requirement for any driving instructor either ADI or PDI to display the correct badge in the training car in order to be paid for driving tuition. If the badge is not displayed please do not hesitate to ask to see the badge as any genuine instructor will not have a problem showing you their DVSA driving instructor badge.
So moving on….
So now you know how to tell if a driving instructor is qualified to teach you and what previous experience they are likely to have.
Saying that, the very best way to find a good driving instructor in Bristol is to look for customer reviews. These reviews should always display the pupils full name and should sound realistic. Remember if its too good to be true then it usually is.
A lot of driving instructors nowadays will normally have pictures of pupils stood next to their car along with the written review and this will show you proof of driving test successes . Some are even beginning to use video reviews but this is a fairly new addition and not all instructors have taken to doing this just yet.
Driving Instructor Grading
Another way of seeing if a driving instructor is any good is the DVSA grading of standards checks.
Every 3-4 years driving instructors are required to attend a standards check. This is where the driving instructor gets to perform a driving lesson in front of a higher level driving examiner with a real pupil. The examiner sits in the back of the car and monitors the driving lesson, then uses a point scoring system and the examiner will give the driving instructor a grade.
Grades used to be given as 4/5/6 but since the new standards check came into force a few years ago the results are now given as A and B.
Please remember that grades are not always a great way to see how good a driving instructor really is and it is only a snapshot of the instructors ability with one particular pupil and there are quite a few things that can affect the instructors score on the day including believe it or not nerves. Yes that’s right driving instructors can get nervous under test conditions as well and of course just like learner drivers this can affect how we perform on the day.
Driving Instructor Pass Rates
We find that a lot of people ask us what our pass rates are, as I have told them many a time I don’t know and I dont record them as they are not really important or a good way to find a good driving instructor.
Let me explain this in more detail…
Any good driving instructor will not let a pupil go for their driving test unless the truly believe they are ready to take the driving test and are going to be a safe driver. Obviously because of other people on the road, nerves on the day or simple moments of madness, learner drivers don’t always pass the driving test first time.
Everytime a pupil takes the driving test and fails, our pass rate will take a hit. So if for an example we have 4 pupils in for test and 3 pass and 1 fails then we would be left with a pass rate of just 75%. If the same pupil is nervous and they fail for a 2nd time then our pass rate would drop even lower to just 60%. Now most people will pass on their 1st or 2nd attempt but saying that every year we can almost guarantee that we will get a pupil that just can’t perform on test day and may fail their driving test 3-4 times. Now imagine what this does to our pass rates.
Some driving instructors will claim to have 100% pass rates, either they are exaggerating the truth a bit, or sometimes the way they see it, its 100% because everyone one of their pupils passes eventually, even if it is the pupils 2nd, 3rd, 4th time at the driving test.
Even myself, I passed my learner driving test on my 3rd attempt and I went on to pass my PCV (Bus licence) and LGV2 (Large Goods Vehicle licence) both first time and then I became a driving instructor and have hundreds of successful learner drivers pass their driving test with me, so you see it can happen to the best of us.
So you see, Pass rates are not a good example of a good driving instructor in Bristol.
Other things to consider when choosing a good driving instructor in Bristol
Price, is price a good way of finding a good driving instructor?
Well the way I see it, all the best people no matter what job they are in demand higher wages or income. Top Authors, Movie Stars, Doctors, Chefs, Fitness Instructors, Mechanics, Hairdressers, Estate Agents, Lawyers, Salesmen of any kind, Managers, Supervisors and so on and on. The best of the best almost always demand a premium for their experience and knowledge and Driving Instructors in Bristol are no different.
The best driving instructors will charge more for an hourly rate, better still the best ones won’t even do hourly lessons. Pupils always learn more and progress further doing two hour lessons instead of one hour a week. This saves the pupil money and time and the best instructors know this.
So you call up a driving instructor and they can fit you in tomorrow, hang on a minute, if a driving instructor is popular and at a time when there is a very high demand for driving instructors, then how can they get you booked in so fast?
Nearly all good above average driving instructors in Bristol will have a small to long waiting list. You can expect to be waiting from anything like a week up to 8 weeks for some of the best driving instructors in Bristol. Yes we all have passes and this of course opens up available spaces in our diaries but the popular ones will have someone on a the list waiting to fill that space within seconds of it becoming available.
If they don’t, then just stop and ask yourself why. Makes sure you have a look for their customer reviews and remember, check the customer review is genuine by having a full name or a picture of the happy customer.
Almost all driving instructors are self-employed but some work under a franchise or Driving School and some work on their own as Independent Driving Instructors.
But are there any differences between the two?
Not really, most driving instructors do this job because they love it and they love helping pupils become safe and confident drivers. But not all driving instructors feel this way and unfortunately there are bad instructors as Independents as there are also bad apples working under a school names as well.
If you have a problem with a driving instructor such as not turning up or taking money for lessons and then not delivering them, there isn’t usually much you can do about it. One advantage of an instructor working for a driving school is that you will have the driving school to back you up as they will want to keep their good reputation and they will normally chase the driving instructor for you.
To help your situation further it can also be safer to pay the driving school directly over the phone instead of paying cash directly to the instructor as you will then have a record of your payment and the full backing of the driving school to uphold standards among its team of instructors.