How do you pick a good driving school?
I was asked today, “How do you pick a good driving school? An excellent question. Let me start by saying I own a driving school and every driving school is going to say pick me, but I think there are some points you should consider before you commit to a driving school:
1. Instructor Qualifications
2. Student Centered Approaches
3. Quality and scope of Instruction
1 — Find out the qualifications of your instructor. For you the driving instructor is really the most important part of the driving school. No matter how long a school has been in business, the most important thing for you is the instructor. As with any profession, driving instructors come in all shapes and sizes, some are will be a good fit for you while others won’t be. You need to know what their experience is. A large school may have many new instructors coming and going. Some instructors have worked for ICBC and have an intimate knowledge of the road test because they will have taken an additional three week course as examiners. You might ask if your instructor has ever taught other driving instructors. Teaching other driving instructor is a much more challenging and in depth process, proving additional benefits to students.
2 — Does the instructor adapt the lessons to meet your needs? This is called a student centered approach and incorporates your learning styles into your lessons. Everyone has a different way of learning and your instructor needs to understand how that impacts the way you want information presented. If you are not sure what your learning style is, a good instructor will help you figure it out. There are a number of good assessment tools that can be used to help with this and a knowledgeable instructor would be able to use them to determine how you learn best.
3 — Do you have a choice about when you book your driving lessons? If you are taking a GLP course, having instruction throughout the year is the best way to learn as there are variable driving conditions that you need to feel comfortable with and confident driving in. Many students are reluctant at first about driving in what can be adverse conditions. A good instructor will help you learn the skills over time to be a good driver no matter what the weather or road conditions are. That’s why it is important that your lessons happen over a period of time such that you experience a variety of driving conditions. Make sure your driving lessons cover more than just the test route. The curriculum must also include freeway and night driving, residential areas versus busy streets and identifying hazards, just to name a few areas.
A driving school must provide you with a competent instructor who appreciates learning styles, reasonable booking times and a curriculum that covers as much about driving as you could possibly need to be a skilled, confident, safe and considerate driver. Learning how to drive is fun and enjoyable. You should expect more than a minimum standard from any driving school. Learning to drive well and safely is a skill you acquire through good instruction and experience. It is one thing you cannot afford to skimp on.