How to Choose a Driving School

image of driving school car with student and instructor insideAre you a new driver looking for formal training, an older driver facing an Enhanced Road Assessment or simply one of those rare people who wish to improve their driving skills? Here are a few tips on how to choose the driving school that is right for you.

image of driving school car and chairs

Driving School Licensing

All driving schools must be licensed by ICBC and meet minimum standards. The same applies to driving instructors.

ICBC provides basic information on how to choose a driving school.

Where to Start

Perhaps the best place to start is by asking yourself where you want to be at the end of your training. You will need to learn a mix of skills, knowledge and attitude to be truly successful. It's not just a matter of learning to pass a road test.

Finding a Driving School

Having set your goals, it's time to find a school that will help you achieve them. ICBC provides an up to date list of driving schools by location and the type of training that they provide.

Checking Out the School

If you are lucky enough to have a choice of schools, now it's time to check them out. These days they should have a website that provides comprehensive information and possibly a social media presence.

This is where you may find testimonials and reviews from students.

Give the school a call. If they answer using a cell phone during a lesson that school may not be your best choice.

Go to the school and check out their classroom and training vehicles. Is the training vehicle well maintained, the right vehicle for you and do they have dual controls?

Here are some other points to consider:

  • Is the school located close by or do they pick up students locally?
  • Does their schedule match with yours?
  • How much does training cost and do they offer payment plans?
  • Do they offer specialized training like GLP theory or programs for older drivers?
  • Are they able to accommodate individuals with special needs?
  • Do they speak your preferred language?
  • Is it easy to book and reschedule lessons?
  • Do they offer job placement assistance along with commercial training?
  • Is their customer service friendly and helpful?
  • How long has the school been in business?
  • What does the Better Business Bureau have to say about them?
  • Will they provide written lesson structure and course curriculum on request?

Checking Out the Instructor

ICBC also sets the minimum training standards for driving school instructors. Once those are met, ICBC does not require anything more.

Schools may choose to have their instructors complete regular upgrade or refresher courses and conduct monthly review meetings.

Ask about instructor experience and any extra qualifications that they may have earned.

Learn More

  • Driving School Code of Conduct - ICBC
  • Driving School Inspectors & Investigators - ICBC
  • Driving Schools Aren't All The Same - The Safe Driver

Thank You

I appreciate the time and assistance given by Kate from DriveWise BC and Sunny from The Thinking Driver who helped me create this article for you.

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I would add a few more points to the list:

  • A lesson on driving in the dark
  • A lesson in the rain, fog or snow
  • A lesson on a freeway

I see a lot of commercials by driving schools on the Island.

When passing on the highway, using the centre mirror, to pull on front of you is ignored. This is really dangerous on a rainy day, splashing road water on the wind shield and blinding you briefly.

When I am driving I seriously wonder what they are doing, when teaching.

In Campbell river, as example, many of the vehicles, speeding have the "N" placed in some crooked manner on the vehicle.

Very few people in this city, appear to have no concept of how to make a left hand turn.

Tailgating is the norm. Not using the turn signal, and driving in the city, well lit up with street lights, with High Beams on day and night.

Many side streets have no centre line, but still making no effort to drive on the proper side of the road. They appear to not know where their right front wheel is.

I use my gears, when going down hills, very seldom using my brakes to maintain the speed limit. Some people following react to this in different manner. I once had a man behind me drive close behind, giving me the finger all the way.

To some I believe, driving in school zones is permission to speed up, from my experience signs are ignored.

Yes, I think driving students either are not made to understand the rules, by Instructors, or throw the book away the following day after receiving, their license.