Training To Become A Driving Instructor

We all remember a time when we had to learn to drive, whether just before leaving school or in later life, and we needed somebody to teach us both the rules of the road and how to learn our vehicles.

Driving instructors provide the platform on which to learn how to drive a car, and there is no shortage of driving schools and self-employed driving instructors out there, so new drivers can be spoilt for choice in places.

But what about if you want to become an instructor? Maybe you fancy a career change and want to pass on your driving experience to the next generation of new drivers, or diverse into specialist areas such as advanced driving techniques or driving specific vehicles such as HGVs.

Where Do I Start?

Firstly, you’ll need to apply to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to become what is known as an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI), you must meet the following criteria to be successful:

  • Be over 21 years of age
  • Have held a driving licence for three years or more
  • Pass a criminal background check and motoring conviction check

After you’ve successfully received your approval to begin training as a driving instructor, there are then three Approved Driving Instructor tests to complete. In total, the process of training to become a driving instructor takes about six to nine months to complete, depending on your progress through the courses.

ADI Test: Part 1

The first part of your journey to becoming a driving instructor will cost around £81 which lasts around 1 hour 45 minutes and can be repeated should you fail.

Part 1 of the test is a theory test, much like when you first learned to drive and involves multiple choice questions based on the Highway Code.

There is also a computer-based hazard perception test to complete, and upon successfully passing the test you can then move onto Part 2.

ADI Test: Part 2

The second part of the test will cost you around £111 and tests several aspects which are crucial to your ability to drive a vehicle. You must also take this next part within two years of passing the ADI Part 1 test.

You’ll have to take and successfully pass an eye test to begin with as well as be tested on your ability to drive the vehicle. This will involve testing your ability to perform certain manoeuvres, including those that you’ll be teaching your students – such as emergency stops and reversing around corners.

Once you have passed Part 2 of the process, you can then apply for a trainee driving instructor licence which is valid for six months and will allow you to begin the process of teaching people how to drive. This costs £140 and comes with two criteria:

  • You must have passed the ADI Part 2 test
  • You must have accumulated at least 40 hours of training with a qualified ADI instructor

There are driving schools up and down the country that offer courses for driving instructors, allowing you the chance to accumulate the hours required to take Part 3, but you can take more if you like to make sure you’re completely comfortable in your driving before taking the plunge into teaching.

ADI Test: Part 3

The third part of the test must also be taken within two years of passing your ADI Part 1 exam – this will test your abilities not as a driver, but as a tutor.

Part 3 will test how you approach teaching someone to drive, testing your techniques and characteristics through the use of role play and reactions to specific situations. These can vary depending on your driving school, but don’t be surprised if you’re tested on how to deal with certain types of students – including those who are nervous.

Once you’ve completed all three ADI tests, you can then apply for an Approved Driving Instructor badge and join the ADI register.

SEE ALSO: How Can I Become A Taxi Driver?

Applying For An ADI Badge

ADI badges cost around £300 and are available from the DVSA online where you will be issued with a username and password and have to apply to join the Approved Driving Instructor register before you start teaching. ADI badges must also be renewed every four years and you must display the badge in your vehicle.

Where To Now?

Once you’ve gotten all your documentation the world is your oyster, now it’s just a case of deciding which direction you want to take yourself.

Driving schools can be a good start for both learning to drive, and learning to teach, so it can be worth looking into vacancies in your local area once you’ve completed all your tests and become a fully qualified driving instructor.

Setting Up As A Sole Trader

If you’re looking to set up on your own, you then need to think about drawing up a business plan, making modifications to your vehicle, sorting out driving instructors, insurance, advertising, and so on to get your business going.

Driving schools can offer you advise on setting up on your own, as well as allowing you to join a fleet to build up your experience. It can be worth garnering some advice from these before you set out on your own.

Understanding Ride-Sharing Apps

Ride-sharing apps such as Uber and Lyft have provided us with the opportunity to make a little extra money in our spare time. But should we be wary of using our own cars as taxis and how will it affect our existing insurance policies?

Uber allows users to hail a taxi using a click of their thumb, any drivers local to them are alerted to their journey request and the user can see the details of their driver before they arrive.

How do I get paid?

Customers pay their fares using the app at the end of the trip, the app client who then pay the driver on a weekly basis, and how much money you earn depends on how hard you’ve worked.

The flexibility afforded by such apps is tempting to those who want to earn a bit of extra cash in their spare time, but what effect can it have on your existing vehicle insurance?

Can I begin driving immediately for a ride-share app?

Before you even begin as a driver you must have the relevant paperwork in place, including Private Hire licences issued by local councils to taxi drivers and specialist taxi insurance, which you’ll need to get on top of your existing car insurance policy in order to cover yourself.

UPDATE: As per Gov.uk’s announcement, you no longer need to apply through your local council and pass a DVSA taxi assessment to be eligible to drive a Private Hire Vehicle (PHV). You may visit this website to see how you can apply for a driver’s licence for taxis and PHVs.

Do I need any additional insurance?

Your personal car insurance policy will not cover you against commercial use, so having additional taxi insurance is essential if you want to make use of such schemes.

Uber and others do not offer insurance as part of the service but do conduct background checks on potential drivers, and will look at aspects such as driving convictions when selecting if you’re suitable.

Having a public liability insurance policy helps to cover you against claims made by passengers who may get injured or lose possessions whilst in your car. Because of the unpredictability of your passengers and situations, having said insurance in place can help protect you as you’re doing your rounds.

Can I use my current car for such a scheme?

Uber and others will usually have criteria as to what vehicles can be used as taxis, with minimum requirements for each level of service, including vehicle age and size

For example, some can be used but must be at least a saloon model, while some may be classified as higher-type vehicles and therefore qualify for a different class of pay.

Say you have an 8-seater MPV and are able to transport more passengers as a result, if you wanted to use it for a service like Uber it would fall under a different category due to the size of the vehicle, which may lead to a higher rate of pay but could also incur extra costs.

You can usually find a list of suitable cars on the company’s website, so it can be worth double-checking if yours if eligible before starting out.

How much is it going to cost me?

Tariffs are worked out according to the length of a journey, with factors such as traffic and any subsequent delays adding to the estimate as you go as these are determined using speed, time and distance.

When the customer pays the app you’re then paid a percentage using a weekly payment, so the more pickups the more you’ll take home.

Bearing in mind you’ll have other costs, such as petrol to keep it running, maintenance costs as a result of an increased use and the additional insurance you’ll require on top of what you already pay.

Is it for me in the long-term?

For some, it’s a useful little extra earner, but it doesn’t suit everyone so research is key when deciding if it’ll work for you, be sure to weigh up all the costs before committing.

Also, keep in mind that all those extra miles you’re putting onto the vehicle, as a result, could add to the cost of your car insurance in future, particularly as it would have increased the distance of travel per year.

If you’re thinking of embarking on ride-sharing as an additional job it can be worth researching into taxi insurance to see how much it’s going to potentially cost you.