Your best resource in preparing for the Practical Driving Assessment (PDA) is a qualified driving instructor. Family and friends will provide most of the supervision you require, but the expertise of a professional instructor is still vital to your progress and eventual success.
Lessons with an instructor will both make you a safer driver and better prepare you for the PDA. The amount invested in lessons will save you time and money by increasing your chance of passing on your first attempt and decreasing your risk of being involved in an accident. Qualified driving instructors know what testing officers assess and the Department of Transport PDA routes. A number of well-timed lessons with a professional will give you an advantage on test day.
Choosing a driving instructor
Choosing an instructor is easier when you know what to look for and how to go about looking. First off, you should definitely be searching for a local driving instructor who knows the local PDA test routes. beyond this obvious criteria, you need to find someone you're comfortable taking instruction from and can spend a lot of time with. This isn't easy to test before you have a lesson so the first few lessons should be used to test the waters and see if you get along well with the instructor. Before committing to more lessons make sure you have a good relationship as you’ll be spending a lot of time (and money) with them.
You can find local instructors in a number of ways:
- Google driving schools/instructors in your area
- Ask friends to recommend someone
- Use a site like drivinglessonguide.com.au
Sites like drivinglessonguide.com.au present relevant information and you can filter your searches based on your preferences.
This makes finding a local instructor a lot easier. You don't have to go through pages of search results and can instead get all of your options on a single page and compare them based on gender, vehicle type and hourly rate.
You can also read reviews left by learners who have used their services before. This means it's unlikely you'll encounter someone you won’t get along with and can focus on learning. This site also has a 3-strike policy to stop instructors who repeatedly receive complaints from listing. So you’ll only see the best driving instructors in your area and be able to quickly and effectively compare their services.
Using a driving instructor
Driving Test WA recommends you take lessons with an instructor at specific stages of your progress.
When you first get your learner permit, organise a few lessons to learn positive driving habits early. Although a great resource, family and friends likely have bad habits gained over years of driving without the PDA in mind. Although accidental, they may pass these poor behaviours on and this could affect you when you try to pass the PDA. A few lessons when you get your permit can set you on a path to success.
When you’re about to finish your hours and take your PDA you should start taking lessons again. At this point you'll be ready to pass the PDA and drive independently, but a driving instructor will be able to put the finishing touches on your skills so you’re absolutely ready to pass. They will also be able to show you the local Department of Transport PDA routes and test you on the manoeuvres in the places you’re likely to be asked to complete them.
It’s also a good idea to have a final driving lesson the day before or before the PDA on the day. This lesson should consist of your instructor acting as a testing officer (just giving directions). This will give you a feel for the PDA conditions and the instructor can provide constructive feedback so it’s fresh in your mind for when you sit the real test.