In order to drive safely and pass a driving test every learner attends driving lessons. Your instructor can be anyone over 21 years of age who holds a current driving license in the relevant vehicle category and has for at least three years. Driving lessons with an approved driving instructor are not compulsory. However, it is critical that you are taught correctly from the very beginning. Usually an approved driving instructor has the necessary experience, knowledge and training to teach you properly.
Some driving instructors work for driving schools but some work independently. Any driving instructor who is called an “approved driving instructor” should be registered with the Driving Standards Agency, which issues two types of badges. They should be displayed in tuition vehicles. For learners the badges help to identify the instructor's qualification: a green, octagonal badge – the instructor is fully qualified and approved; a pink, triangular badge – the instructor is licensed under training and is not yet fully qualified.
Before you make a final decision, it is recommended that you speak to (and even test - try a driving lesson with) 2 or 3 driving instructors. Don’t hesitate to draw on the experience of your friends, family members and colleagues who have recently passed a driving test. It is important to know what the tuition fee for a full hour will be, whether it will always be the same car, at what times of the day the instructor is available, and whether there will be any other learners present during your driving lessons. It is vital that you feel secure and confident while you are learning to drive.
Content of driving lessons
Driving lessons can be structured in four sections, each of which come sequentially after the previous one:
• Lessons on learning the basic control skills needed to drive safely. This section is crucial especially for learners who don’t have previous driving experience. It includes starting to move, steering, coordination and emergency stopping.
• Lessons on learning the road skills to be able to drive and cope with modern road systems. This includes junctions, crossroads, roundabouts and road and traffic signs.
• Lessons on learning the traffic skills to be able to apply both basic control skills and road skills when other road members are present. It includes hazard perception, defensive driving, dual carriageways, driving in the city centre and progressive driving.
• Lessons on learning various manoeuvres. This includes straight line reversing, reversing to the left, reversing to the right, turning on the road and reverse parking.
Readiness for the driving test
It is the task of your driving instructor to guide you through the learning process and to judge when are you ready for the driving test. A mock driving test is always recommended before taking the real driving test. During the mock driving test a driving instructor acts as an examiner and asks you to follow instructions and implement a number of procedures that will be given, e.g. turning the car on the road. After the mock driving test, you get a clear picture of what is expected in the real driving test. It leads to a better performance and a higher success rate on the day of the real driving test.