You’re planning to spend good money on driving lessons, so it’s important to do as much research as possible when choosing who you’re going to trust to teach you how to drive.

In the U.K., the DVSA has an official approval program for all driving instructors, which means that only instructors that have been tested and received a license from the DVSA can call themselves Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs) or charge you for driving lessons.

When you meet your driving instructor, you should check that they are DVSA Approved. If they have a badge that looks like a green octagon, it means they are a fully licensed and Approved instructor. However, if they have a pink triangle as their badge, it means they are just a trainee, and may not be fully approved yet.

All of South London Driving School’s instructors are fully approved, and trained to the highest possible standard. If you don’t live in South London, you can search the DVSA website to confirm whether the instructor you’re thinking about using is fully qualified.

Not all driving instructors are the same. It’s important to find someone with experience that you can feel comfortable around. Remember, you may end up spending over 40 hours with this person, so make sure they are respectful and have a teaching style that suits the way you learn.

We’ve made a short driving instructor checklist to help you choose the best person to help you learn how to drive:

  • Time/Location Flexibility

South London Driving School makes a point of allowing students to always pick the time of their lessons, as well as the location. If you don’t live in one of the areas we serve, it’s important that you ask your driving instructor whether they have availability on the days/times that you’re free. Do you work/go to school during the day? – If so, it’s not unreasonable to expect your driving instructor to have availability for you in the evenings or weekends. If they don’t, then it’s time to find a new instructor.

  • Driving Lesson Quality

Every driving instructor is required to carry their credentials and certifications with them during a driving lesson, and you can request that your driving instructor show you their credentials at any time. At the very least, you should do this when you first meet your new instructor.

You should also inspect the car you will be learning in. It’s best for learning drivers to learn in a new-ish car (without too much “wear and tear”) that’s fitted with dual controls. Dual controls are a must, so if your instructor’s car does not have this, find a new instructor immediately.

You should also ask around to see if any of their friends, family, or close associates have used this instructor’s services before, and whether they enjoyed the experience.

  • Driving Lesson Cost

You should compare to cost of the instructor’s lessons to other driving schools in your area. Is it similar to other instructors, or suspiciously higher/lower than the others?

You will also want to consider the length of the lessons. Some instructors like to do “block” lessons, where students learn for multiple hours at time, in an attempt to make more money. However, this rarely works out well for the student, since lessons of longer than one hour can be tiring and make it difficult for you to retain the knowledge and skills you gain.

Many driving schools also offer an initial lesson for free or at a discount. At South London Driving School, we offer the affordable single lessons so students can try us out before having to committing to any of our learning packages.

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Always do your research, and seek out recommendations before committing to a driving instructor. Most good instructors would be more than happy to speak to you over the phone about your goals and about why they are a best choice before you hand over a single penny.

Good Luck and Happy Driving!