How to Choose your Driving Instructor

As a learner driver, one of the most important decisions you will make is the driving instructor you choose. It is vital that the relationship between you and your instructor is a good one, which creates an atmosphere where learning is enjoyable and provides value for money for the customer.

You can choose to learn to drive with anyone. Most learners work with a professional instructor but others choose to use family or friends to teach them how to become a safe road user.

It is vital however that if you are paying an instructor for driving lessons they must be licensed by the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency for that purpose.

If you pay for lessons and your instructor isn’t displaying a licence to teach issued by the DVSA, the instructor is breaking the law. This includes payment in kind, for example if they offer you lessons in return for you buying dinner.

Let’s take a look at the types of people you can engage as a professional instructor.

Ensure your Instructor is Licensed.

Potential Driving Instructor.

A Potential Driving Instructor (PDI) is an instructor in training. The instructor will have completed two of the three steps necessary to become an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI). The Theory and Hazard Perception test and the test of Driving Ability.

The first stage of the process is an Enhanced DBS check to ensure you are kept safe at all times whilst learning.

An example of a PDI Badge, which should be displayed at all times while a Potential Instructor teaches for payment.

In order to become a licensed PDI, the instructor must have completed 40 hours training in instructional techniques and as a condition of their licence must take regular training with an approved instructor or ORDIT trainer.

When you are looking to engage the services of a PDI, you must contact their sponsoring instructor or school. These instructors are not allowed to source their own learner drivers. They are however licensed and qualified to teach you how to drive. Their licence allows them to charge for lessons so they can support themselves while they prepare for the final test.

A licensed PDI is fully capable of offering value for money to a learner driver, you should not be put off working with a PDI who teaches under supervision.

Instructor in Training.

An instructor in training will usually take a ‘pink’ licence however not all do. Some trainee instructors decide instead to teach some learners for free whilst preparing to take their final test and become an ADI. This instructor cannot charge you at all for your lessons.

Approved Driving Instructors.

An Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) has passed all of the necessary tests and is fully licensed to teach for a living. They are able to operate as a member of a larger driving school or as an independent.

It shouldn’t matter whether the instructor works for a larger company or on his/her own as even once fully qualified the instructor is subject to supervision by the licensing authority. Instructors are called regularly checked by them ensure they continue to maintain the standards expected.

An example of an Approved Driving Instructors badge which must be displayed at all times when teaching for payment.

The SDDIA only admits licensed instructors to its membership. Our database of instructors are all DVSA licensed to teach, DBS checked and qualified. Our database clearly shows if your instructor is a PDI or an ADI.