We would always recommend undertaking professional lessons with an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) alongside any private practice that you take.
The lessons with your ADI should be frequent and spread over a number of weeks and months, rather than condensed into an intensive course. Learner drivers who gain lots of experience in a wide variety of different situations and conditions, before taking their practical test, generally perform better on the test and go on to be safer drivers.
The number of lessons needed will vary, but at least 50 hours of professional instruction is a good guide.
During your lessons with an ADI you may get the opportunity to drive on the motorway. In these sessions you will learn how to join and leave the motorway, to overtake and use lanes correctly, to practise driving at higher speeds, to understand motorway traffic signs and to improve your confidence of driving on roads with a higher speed limit. Motorway lessons are not compulsory and it is not currently included in the practical driving test.
Remember: Parents or other supervising drivers cannot take learners onto a motorway during private practice – this can only be done on professional lessons with an Approved Driving Instructor.
What is an ADI?
An ADI is an Approved Driving Instructor. Only ADIs, or trainee ADIs, can charge for driving lessons, it is illegal for anyone else to charge or receive money to teach someone to drive.
They must reach certain high standards of instruction which are set and monitored by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).
Approved Driving Instructors will display a green ADI certificate in the windshield of the vehicle during lessons. Some will have a pink certificate which indicates that they are a trainee instructor, and are gaining teaching experience before they pass their instructors exam. When booking driving lessons, don’t be afraid to ask if your instructor is a fully qualified ADI.
Choosing an ADI
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) checks ADIs at least once every four years to assess their ability to help their pupils become safe drivers. ADIs are marked on three main areas:
- Lesson planning
- Risk management
- Teaching and learning skills
A-grade ADIs have achieved an overall high standard of instruction.
Using a local directory or this online search is a good way to find ADIs located near you. Lots of people prefer word of mouth recommendations, so ask around and consider the options. We recommend looking for ADIs who have signed up to the DVSA’s voluntary Continuing Professional Development (CPD) scheme and the ADI Code of Practice.
Also take the ADI’s car into account; you might prefer that it’s of a similar size and power to the car you intend to use for private practice and it should certainly have the same type of gears – manual or automatic.
Your ADI will advise you when you are ready to take the practical test. More information on the practical test can be found here.
Remember: If a learner driver passes their test in an automatic car, they will only be licensed to drive an automatic car. To gain a licence to drive a car with manual gears, they would have to take the practical test again in a manual car.