Learning to drive can be a daunting experience, but your driving instructor is there to provide as much help and information as possible. It’s your right to ask questions of your instructor, and you should in order to ensure you have all the details you need to both feel confident about your driving and to make swift progress through your lessons.
So, here are the top ten questions you should ask your driving instructor, as well as a brief explanation of why.
What is covered in the first lesson?
Your first lesson is your initial foray into driving, ask your instructor to give you a brief overview of what they will do with you. This may include making sure you’re familiar with the vehicle, its controls, as well as a short route on some roads that are familiar to you.
What is the average number of lessons it takes to pass?
There is no guarantee about how long it will take you to pass, but knowing the rough figure of how many lessons it takes your instructor to get a student a passing grade will allow you to plan your budget and time accordingly. It will give you a general baseline to work with.
Does your vehicle have dual controls?
Dual controls are a second brake and clutch pedal situated in the passenger foot-well, that allow your instructor to stop the vehicle at any moment. This can help give you a confidence boost, knowing your instructor has always got a way to stop while you’re still learning the vehicle.
Can you accommodate my special requirements?
If you have any particular medical conditions or specific considerations you need to have taken into account in the way you learn, make sure you ask in advance. Make it clear to your instructor exactly what you need from them, and see if they will be able to accommodate those needs.
Will I have every lesson in the same car?
Independent driving instructors often have just one car, but driving schools may have a fleet of vehicles instructors use. You will get used to driving a particular vehicle over the course of your lessons, and using the same one will prevent you having to get used to a new car each time on top of your learning.
Am I going to learn with a Sat Nav?
It’s now a part of the driving test, as of time of writing, that you drive for 20 minutes unaccompanied using the guidance of a Sat Nav. Your examiner will program a route and you will be expected to follow it. Ask your instructor if they will help you train for this skill as a part of your lessons.
Can you provide a mock test?
A mock test can allow you to get used to the form of the driving test, taking specific advice without the safety net of being able to retry if you get it wrong. This will also give your instructor the ability to highlight key areas where you need to focus on improvement, to give you the best chance of passing.
What are your lesson rates?
Be sure you’re familiar with the lesson rates, so you can budget accordingly. Many instructors offer bulk discounts if you purchase a certain amount of lessons at once. Ask your driving instructor what they can do for you to make learning to drive as affordable as possible – whether it be bulk buy or loyalty discounts.
Are you DVSA approved?
An essential question – the DVSA (Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency) is the Government body that assesses the suitability of driving instructors, as well as MOT testers. You must make sure you only get in a vehicle with an instructor that has proper and current DVSA accreditation that they can produce on demand.
Will I have the same instructor for each lesson?
Just like the car, you will get used to your instructor more and more as you learn. If you have to meet someone new every time, there’s a risk you might not “gel” in the way that’s required for you to comfortably learn. Make sure you can book the same instructor to provide each of your driving lessons.
Remembering to take the initiative
Driving is arguably an essential skill for many people, so it’s important you learn it with the right person for you. You are under absolutely no requirement to take your lessons with an instructor or a driving school that is not happy to answer your questions and put your mind at ease.
Ask these questions while you’re researching the best local driving instructor for you. If they cannot communicate in a timely and professional manner before your lessons, they will not be able to during them either. Be as discerning as you can, and only book your driving lessons with an Essex driving school or instructor that makes you feel comfortable.