When your children are ready to take to the road, hit the big city streets, earn their stripes, you need to find the quickest, most painless route to get them moving independently. Here are six things to look out for when you’re choosing a driving school:
Driving schools are a dime-a-dozen, finding the right one can be a challenge.
Your first point of reference will most likely be a google search. Make a few calls and compare rates, lesson schedules, pass rate and vehicles. You want to find a school that has relatively new vehicles and has a good first-time pass rate.
Make sure the school has an appropriate license
Go online to see if the school is registered and is allowed to give driving lessons according to the officially approved standards. You can visit the Southern African Institute of Driving Instructors (http://www.saidinational.org/) for a list of approved driving schools. They have rules and regulations governing the Driving School industry and your rights to appeal an unfair fail.
Check if the training cars are in good condition and have been properly modified.
Driving school vehicles need to have a dual control system installed so that the instructor can step in and control the vehicle in case of an emergency.
The vehicle must also be clearly marked with the Driving Schools name and contact information. It also needs a great big “L” to alert other road users that a learner driver is behind the wheel.
The instructor must be able to show you the service history of the vehicle. It might be a good idea to take the vehicle for a spin yourself.
Check your driving schools’ insurance
A driving school must have insurance for the vehicle to cover any damage that may arise from an accident while your child is behind the wheel. Advanced and experienced drivers have accidents all the time. It therefor makes sense to take preventative measures when a brand new driver is learning the ropes out on the open road.
If a driving school or instructor refuses or fails to produce adequate proof of insurance, chances are they don’t have it and you should move on.
Meet the instructor
It’s important to meet the instructor before lessons begin. Ask them questions about their experience and teaching method and if possible, for a few references. The instructor needs to be competent and confident. Driving lessons can be tense so it helps to find an instructor you and the learner are comfortable with.
Don’t pay for all your lessons upfront
Now although your chosen school/instructor passes all of the above criteria, you might still get into your first few lessons and feel that they are not a good fit. If this is the case you do not want to battle for a refund or have to continue taking lessons you are not comfortable with.
The solution? Let your instructor know upfront you would like to pay for the first few lessons to see how it goes. If you are happy you will settle the balance and continue with lessons and hopefully get that license.
Remember that not everyone passes on the first try. The test environment is a different experience for everyone and it might take you a few tries – practice is key. Good Luck!