Your provisional licence has arrived, you’ve saved up enough money for lessons (*cough* or your parents have agreed to provide the dough *cough*) and you’re raring to go! The next step in the driving journey is to find the right instructor.
It’s really important that you are able to develop a good relationship with your ADI. This is a person with whom you’re going to be spending a lot of one-on-one time, as you build up your skills and become confident on the road. On top of that, they’re responsible for keeping you in one piece, which is no mean feat when someone’s newly in charge of a powerful machine like a car!
When selecting a driving instructor, one of the first things you might think about is which gender you’d prefer to work with. Although a large majority of registered instructors are male, the past few years have seen a rise in the number of women achieving ADI status. There’s demand for them too–it’s not uncommon for learners to request a female instructor when starting a PassMeFast course.
With these trends in mind, we thought it was about time to explore why some people might prefer to have a female driving instructor, and how easy it is to locate one. Curious? Let’s learn more!
Why go female?
There are a myriad of reasons a learner might choose a female instructor over a male one, ranging from the serious to the superficial. For many people, gender might not be a big deal at all. It is important to remember that all ADIs undergo rigorous training and examination, to ensure that they are competent and up to the job.
At the end of the day, though, learning to drive involves a hefty investment of your time and money. It is only fair that you have a certain amount of say in terms of who teaches you. When it comes down to it, if you think you would respond better to a female instructor, feel free to make it known.
Some people have religious or cultural reasons for selecting a female instructor. In these circumstances it’s usually a case of women not wanting to be alone with a man who is of no relation to them (certain men may actively seek a male instructor for the same reasons). There are also scenarios where negative past experiences can put people off having to be in what is quite an intimate situation with a new man they don’t know.
Other times it is simply a case of personal preference—and that’s fine! This is your driving journey, so you should get to shape it.
What the stats say
So, for those who do have a preference, how likely is it that they’ll be able to scout out a female driving instructor? We turned to the DVSA for answers…
While there isn’t an exact number available for the amount of women currently on the ADI register (that would be too easy!), we do have access to data that gives us an idea of how many there may be. Keep in mind when reading these figures that the amount of people training to be ADIs rises and falls in relation to factors like the economic climate. It is not simply the case that more people take the test every year.
Indeed, a look at the figures reveals that the number of women applying to become ADIs fell between 2012 and 2015. Since this brief slump, however, numbers are back on the up, with more female applicants in 2017/18 than at any other point in the last seven years. This doesn’t tell us exactly how many female ADIs there are—but we can do a bit of deduction. In April 2012, 22.4% of registered ADIs in Great Britain were female. Given that by March 2018 there were 39,248 ADIs on the DVSA’s register, we can guesstimate that there are around 8,000-10,000 registered female ADIs working in Britain today.
That, of course, assumes that the number of female ADIs is consistent or rising. As it turns out, data on part 3 of the ADI test (the final stage of qualification) show that it currently is!
As you can see, between 2013 and 2015 there was a drop in the number of people passing (and indeed taking) the ADI part 3 test across the board. From 2016, however, the tide turned and the figures began to rise again, with the number of women passing actually higher than it was pre-slump.
While men still vastly outnumber women when it comes to how many actually take the ADI tests, the female pass rate for part 3 is consistently higher than that of their male counterparts. The graph below illustrates the (overall) rise in this figure.
|Part 3 Tests Taken by Females||Tests Passed||PASS RATE|
Now, 39.2% may not seem that impressive, but it is when you consider that the pass rate for men in 2017/18 was 34.9%. It is, therefore, women who have dragged the overall pass rate up to 36.1%. This should give you the faith (not to mention bragging rights) that women are well-suited to this job role!
Traits associated with female driving instructors
Let’s make it very clear: gender is not an indication of someone’s personality or demeanour. That being said, one of the most common reasons people choose to learn with a female instructor over a male is down to assumptions about character traits.
Women are often considered to be more empathetic, patient and calm than men. When you’re in a potentially stressful situation in which you need to utilise skills you’ve only just learnt, it makes sense that you would want someone like this around. It takes the pressure off if you feel like your instructor understands your issues and is willing to work through them with you.
Other traits associated with female instructors are that they are friendly, encouraging and nurturing. These qualities are particularly appealing if you suffer from nerves when it comes to driving. Again, this is not to say that male instructors don’t display these traits (all of our ADIs do!), it’s just that a lot of people associate them more closely with women.
The risk factor
A negative stereotype that is completely contradicted by statistics is the idea that women are bad drivers. In actual fact, women have much lower accident rates than men and are considered to be safer drivers. Ready for another stats attack? Men are 6 times more likely to receive a driving ban than women. Furthermore, a 2014 report found that men constitute 74% of deaths, 70% of serious injuries and 59% of slight injuries on Britain’s roads. Eye-opening stuff!
Safety issues are therefore another potential reason that some learners may be more comfortable taking lessons with a female driving instructor.
The word on the street
For the real lowdown on female driving instructors, it’s only right that we look to those who actually have experience with them—our learners! Below are just a few of the many positive reviews we’ve received about our female ADIs…
“I cannot recommend Ann highly enough. She was patient, friendly, encouraging and put me at ease straight away.”
— Neil, 35 hour course with Ann
“I’ve had 3 instructors over my time as a learner driver, all with different companies, but Karen at PassMeFast was by FAR the best. She was kind, patient and I passed my test with 2 minors.”
—Connor, 15 hour course with Karen
“PassMeFast has the best instructor—Michelle. Not only was she a great teacher but the lessons were more like hours with a friend! Going to be forever thankful!”
—Aleksandra, 15 hour course with Michelle
“My instructor Musarat was amazing. She made me feel so relaxed and welcome. Even though I was so nervous about my test she made me feel calm and had so much confidence in me she helped me pass.”
—Tania, 5 hour course with Musarat
Looks like a lot of those traits associated with female instructors ring true! Indeed, words like ‘patient’, ‘kind’ and ‘understanding’ crop up a lot when learners provide feedback on our female instructors.
Learn to drive with a female instructor
When selecting a driving instructor, the most important thing is that you find someone you trust and feel comfortable with. If you think that’s more likely to happen with a woman, then go for it!
PassMeFast are so intent on tailoring a course to your specific needs, we even include the option to highlight your preferred gender of instructor from the get-go. Our ever-expanding fleet of experienced, DVSA-approved driving instructors includes plenty of female ADIs. In fact, if you want to get to know a couple of them a little better right now, check out Ann, Wendy and Michelle’s entries from our Meet an ADI series!
We’re always turning up in new places, so rest assured it’s very likely that we have your driving needs covered. From Manchester to Merseyside, all the way down to London and Kent, we’ll find you the best female driving instructors available!
To stay up-to-date with the latest news and driving tips, keep checking in with the PassMeFast Blog.