Only a few days ago, I was on my way to Mayville Mall in Parktown Estate and witnessed a driving school instructor was on the cell phone (in the passenger seat.) As he was babbling away his young student was turning left from Cambridge Street into Van Rensburg Street, without an indicator!
When she pulled away she oversteered completely, and almost hit a big tree on the side of the road. Talk about dangerous!
If I hadn’t honked, the driving instructor would have been too late to react to the situation.
That girl’s parents obviously trusted that driving instructor with their child, and he was failing miserably at his responsibility.
As a parent you need to make sure your child is safe, and being taught how to drive safely on South Africa’s roads. So it’s up to you to choose as well as you can right from the start.
Let’s take a look at the top 7 tips when choosing between the driving schools in Pretoria.
1. Always be willing to ask Management of the driving school to show you their Certified Instructors Certificates. Only certificates accredited by the South African Department of Transport are deemed legal.
2. Personal appearance is key. If the Instructor looks “sloppy”, expect their standard of work to be “sloppy” too. Although common in South Africa, smoking in the vehicle is very disrespectful to the student. And the vehicles must always be immaculate.
3. Your Instructor must always be attentive to you and to what you’re doing. They must be willing to answer any questions and give tips and tricks where needed. So no unnecessary cell phones calls (!), reading the newspaper, or speaking to other Instructors for the duration of the lesson.
4. The vehicles should all be fitted with a safety braking device. This is a key safety feature for your instructor to have the ultimate control. And the vehicle should always have the necessary signs to notify all road users of a learner driver. Don’t miss this simple point.
5. Always ask for additional contact details, so that if there is a problem, there is an additional number to phone in case of emergencies. A number of the smaller local schools either can not or do not do this, and you shouldn’t risk it.
6. Always listen to your gut feeling. There are about 30 different driving schools in Pretoria, so If a student feels uncomfortable at a particular Instructor, speak to the Owner/Manager of the driving school. Any driving school who cares for their students will act immediately, and if they don’t then go elsewhere.
7. And lastly – Speak to your friends and family. Find out what driving schools in the area do they recommend? There is nothing more powerful than a word-of-mouth recommendation