A driving instructor teaches people how to safely operate motor vehicles. He or she often combines classroom instruction with driving simulators and practical, on-the-road training to help people learn motor vehicle laws, courtesy, and awareness. Most driving instructors are employed by accredited private driver training schools, though some professionals may be employed by public school systems or operate their own businesses. In addition, some driving instructors receive specialized training to work at truck driving schools or racing academies.
Most people who seek the services of driving instructors are teenagers or young adults seeking their first driver's licenses. A knowledgeable instructor teaches such individuals the basics of driving through classroom work, covering topics such as safety, laws and regulations, emergency procedures, and driving awareness. He or she often supplements classroom lectures with written exams to test students' comprehension of material.
Once students have passed classroom requirements, the instructor often allows them to practice their skills on the road in specialized vehicles. A driving instructor usually begins a road test behind the wheel, showing students the proper way to adjust mirrors and seats, start the car, and begin driving. After demonstrating the basics, he or she typically plans out a route and allows a new driver to take the wheel. Many driver training cars are equipped with an additional set of pedals on the passenger side, so that an instructor can perform immediate emergency braking or acceleration if a student happens to make a mistake.
During road tests, the instructor might provide detailed instruction, evaluate and record a student's performance, and offer suggestions and advice. When a student successfully completes a practical road test, the instructor can award him or her with a certificate of completion. The student then becomes eligible to take further exams administered by local motor vehicle departments to obtain their licenses.
An individual must meet several training and certification requirements to become a driving instructor. Specific requirements vary between countries and states, though most localities require a prospective driving instructor to have an unrestricted driver's license and a clean driving record. Individuals typically attend accredited driving instructor training programs and schools to master their own driving ability and learn how to teach and evaluate students. Upon the successful completion of a training program, an individual can take a licensing test administered by his or her state or country to become a certified instructor. Some jurisdictions require driving instructors to take periodical exams or refresher courses to maintain their teaching licenses.