What is it like working as a Driving Instructor?
If you enjoy driving and are a good, effective communicator, then this work can be for you. Approved driving instructors have a great deal of responsibility to teach customers the skills they need to drive safely “for life”, as well as passing their driving tests.
With each new learner, you check with them about any previous driving or other relevant experience such as riding a pedal cycle or possibly a motorcycle. If they have driven a car before, begin by making a practical assessment. Based on the outcome of this, you can plan a series of lessons to take the learners to the point where they can take their practical driving test. Many driving instructors also choose to become members of the driving instructors association.
You might also cover the theory side in more detail, although most learners will usually do this in their own time. Most driving lessons follow a similar pattern, typically covering these areas:
- Basic vehicle pre-driving checks. Examples include the importance of correct tyre pressures and regular engine component checks such as the various fluid levels. Vehicle type, relevant specifications such as engine size and fuel used.
- Car controls, equipment and components. Examples include understanding the function of the accelerator, clutch, gears, footbrake, handbrake, steering and how to use these correctly. The benefits of ABS and electronic stability programmes.
- Vehicle characteristics. Examples include knowing the principles concerning use of speed and braking distances. This should also include road holding under various road and weather conditions.
- Road Procedure. Examples include the knowledge and skills to carry out the observation routine, mirrors, signal and manoeuvre; correct use of speed and position and respond promptly to all risks.
- Road user behaviour. Examples include knowledge of the most common causes of collisions and which road users are most at risk and how to reduce that risk.
- Adapt to different driving and traffic conditions. Examples include knowing the particular hazards in both daylight and in the dark and on different types of road.
- Motoring law and the Highway Code. Examples include sufficient knowledge about traffic signs, road markings, pedestrian crossing types and parking regulations.
- Environmental Issues. For example, responsible driving technique will minimise the impact on the environment as well as achieving fuel cost savings.
- Dealing with emergency situations. It is important that new drivers know the action needed to avoid and correct skids, how to drive through floods and flooded areas and what to do when involved in a collision or breakdown.
For the safety of learners, yourself and other road users, you will normally teach in a car fitted with dual brake and clutch. As the learner becomes more competent, you will leave the “nursery patch” and take them on to busier roads, dual carriageways and more complex junctions, including roundabouts. Once you believe the driver has reached a high enough standard, you advise them on applying for a driving test date.
To help judge this date, it is useful to conduct a Mock Driving Test that simulates the real thing. You might wish to choose an associate ADI to conduct this for you.
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