A day in the life of an Approved Driving Instructor - by Guy Martin - DVSA ADI (Grade A) and Ordit Registered Driving Instructor Trainer
Whenever I tell people what I do for a living, the first thing everyone always says is 'you must have a lot of patience'. Well its certainly true that a good instructor has to be a patient person by nature, but there is so much more to being a driving instructor than simply showing patience.
I've been teaching people to drive for more than 13 years. I also train driving instructors (known in the industry as PDI's - Potential Driving Instructors). In those 13 plus years, there isn't much I haven't experienced. From the nervous 17 year old novice driver taking their first steps on the road to driving, to the 86 year old man with only one arm wanting refresher lessons!
Intensive driving courses are becoming more and more popular - maybe to help you get your dream job, or perhaps public transport means a 2 hour commute to work every day. Whatever the reason, its always exciting to meet the learner driver on the first day of their course.
We start by talking about expectations - mine and theirs! I always say that I don't have a magic wand and the course requires a lot of hard work and dedication throughout. It's important at this stage to identify any concerns the learner may have and to hopefully answer any burning questions they have. Open and honest communication from the outset is vital - if you need to stop for a comfort break, tell me rather than sitting with your legs crossed! It may be as a smoker, you'd like to have a cigarette every so often. Whatever it is, its important for me to know, so I can plan the course accordingly.
Next we find out your past driving experience. Perhaps you've never sat behind the wheel of a car, or you could have practiced on a carpark with Mum or Dad. Some learners have extensive experience and may have recently failed a practical test, so have booked a short course to polish up on those skills already gained. A good driving instructor will use effective 'question and answer' techniques to find out as much as possible about the learner driver. After all, as the saying goes, knowledge is power!
Lets get started then! I always make sure the learner is familiar and comfortable with the car - I currently drive a Mini Cooper so its a popular choice with learners of all ages. Lessons can be anything from 2 to 6 hours long, depending on the course booked. No one can be expected to drive for such a long time in one go, so expect short breaks through the day - I need to stretch my legs every so often just as much as the learner does! You can bring lunch, refreshments etc, or we can stop somewhere for you to purchase whatever you might want. Remember its your driving course, so its important for you to feel comfortable in every aspect of the training.
You'll be provided with a training plan, so you can see what goals we will be aiming for on a daily basis and what is planned for the next day. Of course, this will change as the course progresses, but rest assured, I will adapt the plan according to how well things go, which means we'll always be working on those key skills needed to help you become a safe driver - and of course to help you pass your practical driving test.