Training to be a driving instructor can be a challenging process. You have to have an excellent understanding of the rules and regulations of the road, and you will also have to impart this knowledge to the pupils you teach.
There is a significant duty of care for the safety of your pupils and other road users during driving lessons, so ensuring you have the knowledge and skills to teach is essential.
Anyone aspiring to be a driving instructor must pass the 3 DVSA ADI tests. Lots of hard work will be needed, but it will put you in the best position to help learner drivers and enjoy a rewarding career once qualified.
If you train to be a driving instructor, the following tips should help you with your journey and make it as straightforward as possible.
Driving Instructor Training Tips
Take a look at the tips provided below if you are interested in qualifying as a driving instructor or are just beginning your journey.
Explore what the job entails
Before you embark on any career path, it’s important to do your research and figure out what the job actually entails so you know whether it’s the one for you. One of the first steps is to check what skills and knowledge you will need to ensure you are the right fit for the role.
The following tasks can be part of the day-to-day role of being a driving instructor;
- Business management
- Handling records and payments
- Creating individual lesson plans for pupils
- Coaching pupils to independent driving on a range of subjects
- Monitoring pupil knowledge and ability
- Instructing and teaching how to use a vehicle safely
- Instructing and teaching driving laws, road safety, and the Highway Code
- Explaining and demonstrating how to deal with emergencies
- Providing vehicle checks
You will be working in close quarters with learner drivers, so patience and being a good communicator are essential. By being friendly and approachable, your pupils will feel more at ease whilst they are learning and make the whole process more enjoyable.
Check if you are eligible
If you feel you would be a good fit for the role of a driving instructor, have the necessary driving skills, and are good with people, you should then check your eligibility. To become a driving instructor, you must;
- Pass background checks
- Pass motoring offence checks
- Prove your eyesight is at an acceptable level. This includes wearing glasses or contact lenses.
- Have held a full UK or EU driving licence for a minimum of 3 years.
- Be at least 21 years old.
Explore driving instructor training options
If you are considering driving instruction as a career, driver instructor training will help you reach your goals.
Bill Plant Driving School’s Driving Instructor Training courses are aimed at those hoping to establish themselves as driving instructors and provide valuable information and guidance to help you achieve this.
The training takes you through all 3 DVSA ADI tests and gives you access to study materials, online training resources, expert training, and practical driving sessions with an ORDIT (Official Register of Driving Instructor Training) registered training establishment.
An optional 20 hours of free PDI training (Potential Driving Instructor) is also available. This means when you complete your Part 3 training, you can earn money by providing driving lessons with Bill Plant Driving School, which we’ll sponsor you on for six months.
These lessons provide invaluable experience that can often be the difference between passing or failing the final Part 3 exam.
This one may seem obvious, but studying your Highway Code and traffic and road signs book will help you to become a more proficient driver and teacher.
Studying the DVSA Guide to Driving, the Driving Instructor’s Handbook, and Qualified: The Guide to Becoming an Approved Driving Instructor can also be highly beneficial.
Not only will a better understanding of these books and guides improve your knowledge, it means you will be ready for any questions pupils may have for you. Being well informed and having the answers to learners’ questions will instil confidence in your ability to teach them, providing a better learning experience.
Thorough knowledge of the rules, regulations, and signs is essential for the ADI Part 1 Theory test.
Like the previous tip, this may seem obvious, but practising your driving will be essential to passing the ADI Part 2 driving ability test.
It can be easy to fall into bad habits after passing your driving test. Taking the time to retrain in line with the regulations means you’ll learn how to drive at an advanced level, increase your efficiency, and remain a safe and considerate road user.
Speaking out loud, even in an empty car, may seem strange, but it can help you to maintain focus and analyse each action.
Commentary driving will help you acknowledge road signs and other road users and clarify why you are taking any actions.
Get familiar with local roads
Getting familiar with local roads and the roads around the driving test centre will be beneficial when you teach and take your ADI Part 2 driving ability test and ADI Part 3 instructional ability test.
A good understanding of the road systems means there won’t be any surprises; you will be able to adjust for approaching junctions or potential hazards and plan out your lessons.
Individual lesson plans are an essential part of being a driving instructor. Understanding the roads and where driving instructors can teach different skills will make creating lesson plans easier.
Most of the experience you gather will come from getting out on the roads, but studying will give you a good understanding of the rules of the road and what different signs mean.
You can find most of this information in the Highway Code and Road Signs guide, but online studying also has many benefits.
As part of your ADI Part 1 Theory and Hazard perception test, you will use a computer to answer multiple-choice questions or watch videos to identify developing hazards.
Online studying can help you prepare for these by taking mock tests. It will give you a better understanding of the types of questions you’ll be asked and how they are worded and make you aware of any gaps in your knowledge that need to be patched up before you sit the final exam.
Practising your hazard perception test is also advised. You might feel that your practical experience will help you with this, and to some extent it will, however, reviewing how hazards develop on a screen and figuring out when you should click will be more beneficial. Some trainee driving instructors struggle with this part of the exam, so familiarising yourself with how it works will make it easier.
A successful driving instructor should learn which techniques work best for different people.
Your ultimate objective is to impart the knowledge and skills to your pupil that will let them develop into a safe and efficient driver, but not every learner will develop at the same pace or respond to teaching methods in the same way.
Some learners will benefit from multiple demonstrations, whereas others will be better suited to practical experience and lose concentration if they aren’t getting enough time behind the wheel..
Always take the time to speak with your learner to find out what they are most comfortable with. Ask for feedback at the end of the lesson to figure out if there were specific things that helped or hindered them, then use these insights to tailor future lessons accordingly.
Work on your communication
Even though communication is key to being a good driving instructor, it does not mean constantly talking during lessons.
Being a good listener is equally as important as providing information. This way, you will learn how the driver feels about certain aspects of the lesson and their learning experience.
Communicating clearly and effectively at the right time will minimise the risk of your student panicking, ending up in the wrong lane, or making a mistake.
Being patient should also be a key component of your communication, as it allows your learner to feel more confident and at ease with you. Creating tension can lead to anxiety and loss of concentration for the driver.
Improve time management skills
Time management is an essential part of being a driving instructor, as it ensures you are on time for lessons and maximises the learning experience.
Good lesson plans will help with this, as will a good understanding of the roads in your local area.
If someone has booked a 5pm lesson on a Monday, for example, they might spend most of the drive waiting in rush-hour traffic.
While waiting in traffic occasionally will help the learner with things like clutch control and finding the biting point, you don’t want the whole lesson staring at someone else’s back bumper.
Exposing learner drivers to rush hour traffic can also be disconcerting as there are far more instances of road rage among impatient and frustrated motorists.
An alternative could be to find a quiet car park, industrial estate or side street to practise manoeuvres near parked cars, safe driving techniques in quiet neighbourhoods, or an emergency stop in controlled settings.
Approved driving instructors typically have a good understanding of which roads to take and when to minimise time wasting during lessons. Spending time planning routes on local roads based on personal driving experiences will help you to deliver the most effective lessons for different clients.
Improve your vehicle knowledge
Before you start the practical aspect of the ADI Test 2, you will be asked several ‘Show me, Tell me’ questions about car maintenance. Having a better understanding of your car means you will be able to complete this section of the test comfortably.
Good vehicle knowledge is also necessary when teaching people how to drive, as the learner driver may have questions about how motor vehicles work.
Another reason is that you will use your car for several hours daily. Taking it to the nearest garage to fix minor issues can result in cancelled lessons. A good instructor will know the basics, at least, and be able to perform routine maintenance on their vehicle to keep it running properly.
Check the vehicle
Carry out a visual inspection at the start and end of every day to pinpoint potential issues and check that the tyre pressure is acceptable, among other things.
Keeping your car neat and tidy will give a more professional impression and will also minimise the risk of something making noise and ending up a distraction.
Your fluid levels should also be checked regularly, especially during the winter.
Carrying spares, such as window wipers, bulbs, and even L-plates, means you are equipped to deal with issues that may arise whilst out on the roads, be it in a lesson or travelling between clients.
Ensure there are no distractions
Whether you are driving or taking a lesson, there should be no distractions.
Loud music can often be a distraction for both experienced and learner drivers. Having a radio on is fine, but it should not make it difficult to hear an instructor’s or sat nav’s instructions.
You should avoid visual obstructions such as things hanging from a mirror, sitting on a back parcel shelf, or stickers on windows.
Clean the car regularly
A regularly cleaned car will look great and minimise the risk of your view being hampered. A dirty windshield or back window can be almost impossible to see through when the sun is low in winter, which can be dangerous and frightening for the driver.
Keeping window cleaner and something to wipe the window with during winter when the roads are being gritted will allow you to clear them when you stop, improving visibility.
Driving Instructor Training with Bill Plant Training School
Starting off as a driving instructor is hard work, but it can lead to a rewarding career. There may seem like a lot to take in, but completing each step one at a time and using great training programmes can help people develop into fully qualified driving instructors in a relatively short time.
Bill Plant Driving School offers a great range of intensive driving courses, instructor training courses, and pass-plus driving courses led by approved driving instructors to help learners and trainee driving instructors to get on the road with confidence.
What happens in a first driving lesson?
A professional driving instructor will typically show the learner basics and controls of the car in the first lesson. This will include learning to set mirrors and seats and getting comfortable with the handbrake, gears and pedals. They might then move on to basic clutch control to allow the learner to get a feel for the car.
There typically isn’t a lot of driving done in the first lesson, or even the second for that matter, as the learner needs to build up the confidence to take to the roads.
What is the Vehicle Standards Agency?
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency is the body that carries out driving tests, approves MOT testers, and conducts assessments to ensure vehicles are roadworthy.
Is being a driving instructor worth the effort?
Being a driving instructor can be a very fulfilling and rewarding profession. You will get to meet a whole range of different people and help them to gain the skills and knowledge needed to pass their driving tests.The average UK driving instructor’s salary is around £32,400 annually, depending on location and hours worked.