Posted on: 27 October 2015
That dreaded time has arrived, your child has turned 16 and is desperate to learn to drive. You may feel confident teaching your child yourself, but remember, teenagers are more likely to listen and take instruction from a non-parent! Additionally, driving hours accrued with an instructor are worth more than normal driving hours (instructor hours count as 3 normal hours until 10 instructor hours have been reached). This means reaching the goal faster when aiming to achieve the 120 driving hours required before moving from L to P plates. So, what should you look for when choosing a driving school both you and your child will be comfortable with?
The price of lessons will always be a major factor, especially if your child is funding their own lessons from a Saturday job or birthday money. However, look beyond the cost per hour an instructor is advertising and ask about discounted rates for multiple lesson packages or weekday lessons instead of weekend. The most expensive does not always equate with the best, but be wary of any that seem unusually cheap and check the instructor's qualifications and the condition of the vehicle. Contact a professional driving service, such as Roadwise Driver Training, and inquire about their prices and any available discounts.
Some driving schools will come and collect your child from your house, but others expect the students to come to them. As your child is unable to drive themselves to and from lessons, a local instructor or one close to easy public transport is advisable. Another advantage of a locally based driving school is that your child will already be familiar with the roads and traffic layout. Make sure the lessons are taking place in the same area in which your child will take the driving test.
Experience and the necessary qualifications are obviously the first criteria for an instructor. Almost as important, however, is that your child is comfortable with the person themselves. Being in close confines under stressful circumstances amplifies any unease there could be. Some teenagers respond better to discipline and clear commands, others will need a jokier, more gentle approach. A bullying instructor could put your child off lessons for some time, so check after the first lesson that a rapport has been established that can see them through.
The ideal combination is a good driving instructor working in tandem with a parent willing to go out on regular practice drives. This will give your child the skills and confidence needed to be safe on the roads.