Driving instructors either work for a driving school or they work independently.
Regardless of their trading status, all driving instructors have to be approved and registered with the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) if they want to charge money for teaching you to drive.
A fully qualified, Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) will display a green certificate in their car.
If you see a pink certificate on the windscreen, it signifies that the driving instructor is a trainee who has been given a licence so that they can gain experience before taking their final exam.
As with any service, it’s a good idea to get first hand recommendations from friends or family. Failing that, services such as ours enable you to read feedback from other pupils.
Whether you choose a male or a female instructor depends upon your personal preference. All driving instructors are trained to the same standard.
Driving instructors are assessed regularly by the DSA and graded between 4 (competent) & 6 (high)
Together with their Pass Rate, these give objective indications of the competence of an instructor. Other factors such as reliability and personality are equally important however.
You are not permitted to drive a car on the roads in the UK until you are 17 years old.
You must also hold a valid driving licence which could be a foreign licence or a UK driving licence.
Before you can begin to have driving lessons, therefore, you must ensure that you have a valid driving licence. Your driving instructor is obliged to see both parts of your driving licence before they allow you drive.
You may apply for your provisional licence 2 months before your 17th birthday. You can apply online in person or by post. If you apply online, you'll need a Government Gateway user ID and a UK passport.
Alternatively, you can use the D1 application form available from the DVLA or the Post Office. You'll also need to include original documents confirming your identity, a passport style colour photograph and the appropriate licence fee.
Your application should be sent to the DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AD.
If you want to apply in person, this link will show you the addresses of local DVLA centres.
The government has set up a website called Directgov which includes a section for motoring.
It is well worth a visit as you'll find the answers to a number of questions.
You'll also be able to apply for your provisional driving licence and book your theory and practical driving tests online through this website.
How Many Lessons Will You Need?
The Government’s figures state that on average, about 45 hours of professional training combined with 22 hours of private practice is required. The amount of time that you'll need before you’re ready to take your practical driving test depends upon factors such as your aptitude, the ability of the person teaching you and your age.
Is an intensive course better than regular driving lessons?
The traditional way to learn to drive is through regular driving lessons lasting between 1 and 2 hours in duration. This way of learning suits most people’s life style as lessons can be fitted in around the daily routine of work, education and family commitments.
The overall elapsed time between starting lessons and passing your test can be many months or years depending upon the frequency of lessons and your ability to consolidate between lessons with the help of family and friends.
Intensive courses are designed to reduce the elapsed time taken from starting lessons to taking your test. Driving Lessons of several hours duration are given over a short space of time enabling you to take your test within a matter of weeks rather than months.
Some driving schools offer intensive residential courses which include accommodation.
Is it easier to learn in an automatic?
Learning to drive in a car with automatic transmission saves you having to learn about changing gear manually. However, it’s worth noting that if you pass your test in an automatic, your licence will only cover you for driving automatics. If you pass your test in a car with manual transmission, you'll also be licensed to drive automatics.
Click here to find Approved Driving Instructors operating in your town.