Check out these frequently asked questions
From ADIs & PDIs from across the industry on a range of issues and topics
Answers provided by Lou Walsh – self confessed ADI Geek!
I know the advantages of teaching block gear changing when going down the gears, but should I be teaching block gear changing up the gears?
Answer: As with most things when it comes to car control, if it’s safe, appropriate and effective, then it’s worth considering. The disadvantages of block changing up is that often it requires high revving in the lower gear in order to allow the higher gear to be comfortably accepted without a loss of power. For example, 1st to 3rd may rarely be an efficient way of driving. However, if the gradient and road speed allows, and the car agrees, there may be some conditions when 3rd to 5th or 4th to 6th are perfectly acceptable. For example, this could be when accelerating from a lower speed road, say 30mph, into a higher speed National Speed Limit road, or on a slip road joining a dual carriageway or motorway. The best thing to do is go and try it in your own car on different roads and see what feels right. Then think of how you would bring the technique into your teaching.
Now we are allowed to teach learners on motorways, are instructors charging more for a ‘motorway’ lesson? I’m not sure if I should.
Answer: Keeping my ear to the ground on this one, I believe that the majority of instructors see the motorway lessons as a natural addition to their teaching curriculum and are pleased to be able to offer this within their normal learning package without increasing their lesson rate. A few instructors are seeing the commercial potential in being able to offer motorway lessons to those who perhaps live some distance from a motorway, and so the motorway experience is offered above and beyond their normal lessons. For this they are charging a higher rate to cover time, fuel and wear. I think it’s about making it work for you. If charging more doesn’t sit comfortably with you, how about using it to take advantage of adding perhaps just £1 or £2 to ALL your lessons with your advertising strap line changed to say something like ‘now including motorway driving as standard!’ It’s a great way to raise your rates with a pay-off for the customer.
I’ve been signed off sick by my doctor, but my Standards Check is next week. Will the DVSA let me change the date?
Answer: Yes! Email them an explanation along with a copy of your official sick note as evidence, and they will be understanding. On the whole, I rarely hear of situations where driving instructors in similar situations find the DVSA anything other than supportive and willing to look for solutions that suit everyone, particularly if they have enough notice to find another ADI to fill the Standards Check slot. Get well soon!
I’m worried about being able to pass my Part 3 within the 6 months of receiving my pink licence. I’m still working a full-time job and only have time for providing 3 or 4 lessons a week.
Answer: 6 months and 4 lessons a week is easily enough, but remember that it’s about the quality rather than quantity. If your training is structured well with your trainer, and you are receiving quality in-car support as well as backing up your lessons with lots of self-reflection and development, then you will certainly be giving yourself the best chance. Support your training with online videos and webinars. Sit in on lessons being given by other instructors and watch them demonstrating the competencies (or not!), taking note of what works and bring them into your own practice. Perhaps your trainer would consider reviewing and feeding back on some of your filmed/recorded lessons if you can’t arrange face to face sessions. This is something I often do to help supplement training for those who live too far away for me to offer 1-2-1 training to. It’s a good second best and, at the very least, watch your own lessons back and review them yourself against the criteria set out in the ADI1.
Going Before Green
How long does it take for a trainee licence to arrive, and can I start teaching before it’s been issued?
Answer: You can start teaching at any point during your training, you just can’t teach for reward until your trainee licence is in your car window. Many insurance companies will insure PDIs following a Part 2 pass, with dual controls fitted to the training vehicle, but without trainee trainee licence. The DVSA will issue your ‘pink’ within 2-3 weeks, although often it can be quicker than that, depending on how many applications they have to process and as long as there are no issues with your own request.
Tilting at Windmills
I have a pupil who says that her friend failed her test because she didn’t point her door mirrors down during a reverse bay parking manoeuvre. Is this true?
Answer: No. Pupils will often come to lessons with ‘stories’ from their friends. Often, they have misheard, or the story has been misinterpreted and misreported, differing slightly from the truth! As you gain more experience and sit in on as many tests as you can, you will begin to be able to ‘hear’ the truth behind the story. What’s possibly happened in this case is that her friend has not parked the car accurately in the bay, and the examiner or the instructor has perhaps suggested that if she was struggling to see she could tilt the mirrors in such a way as to help her get a better view of the bay. This is acceptable and works for many… but has some disadvantages that are perhaps worth discussing in a post of its own! If you are ever unsure if a story is a myth or rumour, it’s worth asking an experienced instructor for their opinion or looking up the DT1 – examiners guidance to carrying out driving tests.
If you have a question for the team please contact Paul@Intelligentinstructor.co.uk