BLOG: 4 # Driving Lessons and Practice Sessions.
Learning to drive can be a very enjoyable experience if done in the right way. It is also a huge undertaking with many responsibilities, commitments and challenges. Research has shown that when learning to drive the best approach is a combination of formal training and informal practice. Coming from a professional driving and training background, our experience would support this view. We recommend that anyone wanting to learn how to drive should first seek professional advice. This will help to evaluate and identify his/her training needs and individual learning style.
In the early stages of the learning to drive process, the two most important people who will shape your driving career are:
- Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) and
Let’s have a quick look at (ADIs) and the roll of a sponsor.
In late 2010, there was a major overhaul of the training and testing within the driving instructor industry in Ireland. The Road Safety Authority (RSA) put in place a system in which a person wanting to enter the driver training industry had to meet certain criteria.
An ADI must be a
- person of good repute,
- have passed a (RSA) three-part test in
- driving theory, practical driving skills and Instruction ability
- be periodically check-tested
- re -register every two years and
- always carry their instructor’s permit during lessons
ADIs have a great deal of experience and knowledge of the rules and of regulations that govern driving and have the expertise to deliver structured training and lesson plans. With these systems in place, learners can be confident that the services that ADIs provide will be professional, efficient and effective. At the same time, choosing the right instructor is important, so ask a family member or friend if they could recommend any instructor with whom they might have taken lessons in the past. You’ll want to choose someone with whom you get on and who instils confidence! To find an ADI in your locality simple log on to rsa.ie where you will find a full list of ADI permit holders.
Note: Only RSA/ADIs can accept financial reward for lessons.
The role of a sponsor is that of someone who is willing to devote a lot of time and effort in supporting, in advising and in supervising your practice sessions. A sponsor can be a:
and must hold a full driving licence for at least two continuous years for that category of vehicle and ideally must have at least 100,000 km of driving experience.
When choosing a sponsor you should choose someone
- with whom you feel comfortable
- to whom you can ask questions and share experiences and ideas
- from whom you can accept guidance and
- who will give constructive feedback
The benefit of having a sponsor is that you can supplement your formal lessons by informal practice. The general role of a sponsor is to create an environment not to dissimilar to the ADIs and replicate the learning that is being covered in the formal lessons. This experience will certainly stand to you in your driving career as statistics in other countries have shown that when a learner driver has had a lot of supervised practice, he/she is less likely to be involved in a collision when he/she starts to drive on their own.
The RSA has produced a booklet for anyone accompanying a learner driver. The booklet is full of advice and tips and can be viewed at www.rsa.ie
There are three books containing essential reading at the early stages of learning to drive and they are:
- The Rules of The Road
- Learning to Drive a Car
- Irish Traffic Signs – The Essential Guide
Two of the manuals are produced by the RSA and are full of information on:
rules, laws, safety and on practices that promote good driver behaviour. Both can be purchased in hard copy in good bookstores nationwide.
The Rules of The Road can also be downloaded free from the RSA website. “Irish Traffic Signs – The Essential Guide” can be purchased on Amazon. amazon.com/author/mrsigns-2019
One of the many conditions of holding a learner permit is that you must complete twelve one-hour mandatory driving lessons before you can do a driving test. These twelve lessons are commonly known as ESSENTIAL DRIVER TRAINING (EDT) and are derived from the LEARNER DRIVER TRAINING SYLLABUS (LDT) which can be viewed at www.rsa.ie
The EDT programme is designed to:
- cover areas that, according to research, have greatly contributed to collisions
- detail important skills and driving habits that a learner must have and
- prepare a learner for the “L” practical test.
These lessons should be spread out over a minimum of six months and have at least two weeks between lessons to allow for informal practice. It is important to state that the EDT programme does not cover the entire learning to drive process and only ADIs can deliver the EDT programme.