Driving in London can be a stressful experience at the best of times, and it's my aim to make learning as stress-free (and as fun!) as possible. I am a fully DSA/DIA accredited (Grade 5) instructor, CRB-checked, and - as an ex-employee of the prestigious a2om Driving Academy - I was one of the first instructors in the UK (and the first in north London) qualified as a DriveiQ Pro coach.
This is the world's first academic qualification in novice driver training, accredited by Edexcel, and combines a state-of-the-art online e-learning course with practical in-car tuition, resulting in not only a more fully informed driver, but vastly reduced insurance premiums (with participating insurers). Most importantly, this can significantly lessen the risks faced by newly qualified drivers.
Drive iQ Pro is based on software that is designed to accelerate a new driver's ability to manage risk, in a fully interactive online learning environment. This is done independently of the practical lessons, and can often cut down the amount of hours actually spent in-car. Therefore the student can learn faster, and I'm currently offering this course as a FREE option for all new clients. Click here for more details.
This is probably the most common question that I'm asked. The DSA (Driving Standards Agency - the people who conduct the driving tests) advise a minimum of 40 hours' professional tuition, combined with private practice if possible. This is only a guideline, as people tend to learn at different speeds. Plus, this does not take into account the particular hazards encountered in learning to drive in certain parts of London, especially some of the more central areas.
Statistics show that 1 in 5 newly qualified drivers will be involved in an accident during their first year of driving. I believe that experience is the key to reducing this alarming statistic... as the more driving experience a novice can gain, the more adept they will be at dealing with high risk situations. Therefore, it can often be a false economy to attempt a driving test if the student is not properly ready.
From October, the test will feature a ten-minute 'independent driving' element, where the candidate will be asked to drive by either following a series of directions, following traffic signs, or a combination of both. The DSA have published a comprehensive guide to how this will work here, but - as my previous students are well aware - I have been incorporating this kind of training into my lessons for years. Driving independently means making your own decisions - without guidance, and in unfamiliar contexts - and I've always felt that this is an extremely important part of learning to drive. Being able to hone this skill pre-test, under supervision, will greatly reduce the chances of having an accident, post-test.