Driving Instruction & Private Parental Practice
To train to become a approved driving instructor (ADI) is a long, hard and expensive process. I have been lucky to recruit and train many instructors and without exception at the beginning of the training it is quite a shock as to exactly what the training entails. Before starting the journey every potential instructor understands the test is in 3 parts.
Extended Theory Test
Firstly you need to pass an extended theory test. Once this is completed then you train to become an advanced driver and are tested by doing an extended driving test. Finally you have to do an instructor test.
Part 1 (theory test) is often a shock in itself as although you may have been driving many years you need to re read the highway code. When was the last time you read it to understand what to do in the event of a crash where an injured party may have received a chemical burn for example?
Part 2 again might seem simple, after all you passed your driving test years ago and have been driving safely ever since.
But we all pick up bad habits when driving and it is definitely harder to change bad habits than it is to form new good habits. Learning to driving in an advanced manner and pass this part of the test without training you are unlikely to do this. To become an ADI you only have 3 attempts at this part. The final part of the instructor test is the actual instruction part. You need to learn how to teach a person to drive to modern standards. It’s easy to control the car with the clutch on a hill as you know how to do it but explaining this and having the patience when training a nervous pupil, potentially with learning difficulties, is much much harder than you may think.
Training to Become An ADI
This part takes many many hours of training in role play scenarios with another qualified ADI and with real students. Once again we only have 3 attempts to pass this part. If we fail 3 times in either parts 2 or 3 we have to cease training and can only start again 2 years later. The training can also cost thousands of pounds and you really need to be dedicated to complete the course. This whole training process often takes between 6 months and 2 years, and in some instances many more years than that.
Less than 25% of potential ADIs who start this process actually qualify. So the next time you see and instructor with a student who might be struggling, please give the learner time and space and trust that their instructor is highly trained to deal with each situation that may arise. We all had to learn once.
Many parents decide they wish to save money and train their child themselves. Of course this is totally legal in the UK (not in many other countries however). In my experience many a student has come to me for a couple of lessons pre test who have only been taught by their parents and I must say some parents do a great job. However the vast majority of purely parent taught students have habits and lack of knowledge of the rules which wont pass their driving test. We naturally teach as we drive so habits parents might have are passed on to their children (and the parent might not know that this is a problem on test).
Qualified Driving Instructors
With today’s roads and rules I would always advise that a student learns with a qualified instructor (if only for the fact we have dual controls). However I am not against private practice with a parent alongside this professional training. In fact I actively encourage private practice. You will notice I call it private practice and not private instruction. Learn from your instructor and practice it to gain experience with a parent is my best advice. I can teach how to drive but experience and responsibility can be best acquired through this private practice. 2 hours a week with an instructor alongside 15 mins daily with a parent will normalise driving and often produces much safer drivers… and of course it takes less time to learn and the amount of money you spend on an instructor will reduce as a result. What price on the safety of your children?
Find a good instructor who works well with your child. I also advise if you are going to give your child driving experience as well then communicate with the instructor yourself. A good instructor should work with you. After all our final goal is the same as yours. Safe driving for life… and of course a safe driver will always pass their driving test.