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How to Choose a Driving Instructor

We all have different personalities and learning styles and so finding an instructor that suits you can make a big impact on your learning experience. Getting this wrong can be frustrating and potentially waste a lot of money on lessons, so let’s avoid that.

In this video we’ll go over how to choose the right driving instructor and what to look out for. 

There are two types of instructor you can legally receive lessons from: an ADI or a PDI. Anyone else taking your money in exchange for driving lessons is breaking the law. How do you know if your instructor is legal or not. It’s simple. An ADI will have a blue badge in their car and a PDI will have a pink badge. 

No badge? No drive.

An ADI is an “Approved Driving Instructor”. This means that the instructor has completed the full instructional course set by the DVSA.

A PDI is a “Potential Driving Instructor”. This doesn’t mean they’re unsure about themselves,  it just means they are licenced to teach learners to drive to build experience as they become an ADI. This is perfectly legal and can be a really good way to save money as PDIs typically charge less for lessons.

So if you want the most experienced teacher, go with an ADI. But if you want to save a little money and get lessons from someone good but not quite as qualified, a PDI is for you.

Breaking this down further, an ADI comes in two flavours: independent or franchise, which means they work for the big national companies like AA or Red Driving School. 

Here are some questions to ask to help you narrow down your search:

  • If I sign up for a course and we don’t get on, can I have my money back? All of it, or just some?

The main thing to focus on is the individual as you’ll be spending hours with them and you want to learn in the most effective way, so picking someone you vibe with is essential. 

Although it can be cheaper to bulk book lessons, at the beginning it’s often a good idea to just book one lesson to make sure you like your instructor. If you guys get on, then go ahead and book a bunch more.

  • Will I get the same instructor and car for each lesson?

If your instructor is independent then it will always be them, but that might not be true if you pick a franchise driving school. So if you want to always have the same instructor, go independent. 

And here are few things to ask potential instructors:

  1. How long is each lesson? Can you choose between 60, 90 and 120-minute sessions?
  2. Can you take lessons at different times to build experience of different scenarios such as night time driving sessions?
  3. Where will you be having your lessons? What types of roads will you be learning on?
  4. Can the instructor pick you up and drop you off at different locations if required?
  5. What is the instructor’s availability? Can they accommodate the amount of lessons you want at the times that best suit you?
  6. Does the instructor offer motorway lessons?

A final thing to consider is do you need an ADI who specialises in a particular thing? If you have a learning disability, will your ADI understand and know how best to teach you. If you want to learn automatic and your ADI has a manual car, might not be the best fit. Would you prefer an ADI who is a man or a woman, or someone who shares your culture? 

There are around 40,000 driving instructors in the UK so taking some time to find one who is right for you can make learning a lot more effective and fun.

Find a RED Driving Instructor near you

Find a RED Driving Instructor near you

RED’s experienced instructors operate nationwide. So whether you’re learning in Newcastle or Norwich or Plymouth or Preston, they’ll find the perfect instructor to help you on your journey to passing.

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