I’ve had many queries relating to driving tuition since the end of lockdown 3.
Here are some facts,
& some honest advice & tips for anyone who or whose child is wanting to learn to drive.
1. There are backlogs.
Booking theory tests 5+ weeks.
Driving practical 5+ months! Yes there are cancellations available but you should be ready before you look for one.
2. The pass rate % for 1st time theory test is 27%……
that means 73% have to book a 2nd or 3rd attempt with another 5+ weeks wait each time!
3. According to the DVSA it takes an average of 40-50 hours of professional training + an additional 20-30 hours of private practice with family/friends in order to pass your driving test.
Some take less, some take many more.
You can’t put a price on safety of your child.
4. Regardless of what you as a parent think of your child’s driving, we as professionals are trained to know when they are up to pass standard & will NOT allow your child to “ just give it a go” in our tuition car. That also does not mean they are safe for you to take them to test in your own car.
Along with all other road users, your child’s safety is paramount, we have a duty of care to ensure only those completely ready to drive unsupervised are sent for test.
Imagine if they accidentally passed but were not ready?
You may see your child’s pass as lucky….. we know it’s an accident waiting to happen & we just pray it’s not a serious one.
5. When we say they are not ready, this is based on too many dangerous mistakes made, that we have witnessed, that would be deemed dangerous driving following many mock tests. It would be remiss of us not to warn you of this. You have paid us for professional tuition & advice, please accept it without trying to convince us otherwise. Just because you has a license does not make you an expert.
E.g. I use my brain daily but I wouldn’t know how to repair it or dream of telling a surgeon how to perform an operation on it.
Your definition of them not being “dangerous-dangerous” is an ill informed opinion.
Our definition of dangerous is defined in law & a standard we (ADI’s) are trained to judge by, along with the DVSA examiners during the driving test & the police.
6. Not everyone can charge for driving lessons, they must be accredited by the DVSA & awarded an ADI badge. We ADI’s (Approved Driving Instructors) have been through rigorous training & tests that cost us thousands of pounds to be accredited professionals. We will only send those who are 100% ready for test. Please accept our advice on whether your child is “test ready”
Our ability to retain our ADI license & continue coaching is regulated by DVSA based on who we send through to test. If the examiners feel we are sending through those under the required standard, we risk our licence, income & future in the industry. Please do not ask us to risk our livelihood, reputation, other road users or your child’s safety to allow them to go for test when they are not 100% ready to be an unsupervised driver.
It’s futile & not going to happen.
1. There is no targets of passes/fails the examiners have to hit per week/month/year.
Every fail I have witnessed from the back seat, I have understood & agreed with.
You often hear pupils blame someone else for failing their test…..
yes other road users may have been involved or factored in……
but ultimately how the pupil reacted or didn’t react to a situation is the reason they failed.
The sooner pupil’s take ownership, recognise their part & take personal responsibility for their own reactions to situations, the sooner they learn to plan ahead, take action to avoid any potential hazards & become safer, test ready drivers.
2. We are not here to stretch out lessons & earn more money. We are here to coach responsible, conscientious & safe drivers. The learners ability to retain information, develop practical skills, learn from things that work or don’t work & control the car safely, smoothly & effectively without help or intervention, will determine how long it takes them to be test ready.
3. “My friend passed their test after 3 lessons”
bullshit….. Bullshit…… BULLSHIT
Did they forget to mention driving with dad for 100 hours & failing 2 precious tests then the 3x professional lessons they did have were quadruple lessons to rectify bad habits?
4. You can not just call an instructor & ask “Do you have availability for my test in 4 days? My instructor says I’m ready but his car isn’t available anymore” We all know you’ve been told to move your test. Without my car I can not teach, it is my business, so NO you can’t risk my car, my reputation & my license instead of theirs!!!
THE ADVICE & TIPS
1. DO IT EARLY
You can apply for a provisional license at 15 years & 9 months but you can’t start lessons until your 17th birthday.
You can also book your theory test prior to your 17th birthday as long the test date is after your 17th birthday.
2. DON’T DELAY BOOK TODAY!!!!
The more you know about the rules of the road the easier learning to drive will be.
So by all means check instructors availability but before you book a lesson, book your theory test!
Or better still pass your theory test prior to your 1st lesson!!! Remember only 27% pass 1st time. Effort & practice is needed. If you need to resit this will delay EVERYTHING.
Once you pass you have 2 years to pass your practical.
3. PRE BOOK
Once you have at the very least your theory test booked & are committed to putting in the effort to be 1 of the 27%, call your instructor to pre book lessons.
We are extremely busy so give us a month or 2 notice so we can factor you in to our diary. Hopefully by then you will have passed your theory test & we can look for a driving test together & formulate an action plan to get you ready for that date.
book your driving test & then look for an instructor!!!
We are very busy & have lots of test already in our diaries. You may choose a date/time we are already committed to, or we may not be available to fit in the number of lessons required for your “I found a cancellation in 2 weeks but have never driven before” date.
tell your child “I passed after 6 lessons”.
With today’s test standards this is not even remotely realistic, it’s demoralising & will only serve to knock their confidence from the outset which may then ultimately cost you more money for us to build the confidence your boasting knocked.
6. GET INVOLVED
When you’re driving encourage your child to look for signs, hazards, warnings, marking & brake lights. We can ask them to look be we can’t make them see! Ask them to do the observations & tell you when it’s safe to go. This will encourage them to start doing effective observations & work on judgement. Once they have had some lessons & their instructor says it’s safe, get them insured on your car & take them out as much as possible. Let them drive to college, shops, dancing, football whatever….. it doesn’t even matter if the route is the same, the experience is invaluable. Just don’t teach them any of your bad habits or say “I don’t understand the logic of your instructor teaching you X, Y, Z” If you want to know why, ask us privately! We have our reasons. We don’t coach to fit your logic, we coach to get our learner to their ultimate goal of being test ready. Don’t undermine our methods we need your child to have faith in our ability to support their learning, not yours. If you need advice on any topic, ask us, rules may have changed since you took your test. We value your support in consolidating previous lessons. Remember it should be fun, when was the last time you got to spent precious time with them away from their screens & them asking for your advice & guidance? It also helps you see their progression. You never know they may save you a few bob & teach you something too. Just keep calm & never shout at them.
7. TAKE THE ADVICE YOU PAID FOR
If we say they are not test ready & should move their test, they are not test ready & you should move their test or ask about a crash course of condensed lessons prior to test.
8. STEER CLEAR
of any company promising “pass me fast” “fast track” “jump the queue” these are scams. See below all the messages I’ve received from these companies. They take your money & then frantically search the ADI register looking for anyone (good or bad) who has availability.
Ask yourself, with all the backlogs & waiting lists, why would any good instructor have 30+ hours availability to teach you (not on their waiting list) in a week?
They don’t so when these companies can’t fullfill their promises & you can’t find an instructor willing to take you to test & ask for a refund, they charge you an administration fee leaving zero refund. If you want a crash course, book one months in advance! You can also search for your own cancellation free of charge when you are test ready or we can swap you with another pupil who needs more tuition.
You can move your test 10x but must give 3 clear working days notice (5 actual working days) People tend to leave it until the last minute to move their test in the hope they may miraculously be ready. Therefore most available cancellations are short notice. It is easier to find a cancellation than it is to find an ADI with an empty diary just waiting patiently for you to want lessons!
So get 100% ready before you look for a cancellation.
If you have the time save up & prebook a crash course. Make a plan in advance in conjunction with your instructor & get it done quickly. You have time each evening to reflect on the good & the bad then work on rectifying any issues the following day rather than waiting a week to try again. Single lessons maybe cheaper but most of it is then spent getting you to a location that is why I never do anything less than a double (1h 40mins) or better still triple (2h 30 mins) or quadruple (3h 20mins) lessons. You may even save yourself some money as practice makes perfect!