ADI Annual Mileage

long_routeThis article was written over ten years ago! But it’s had a run of hits, so I’ve updated and expanded it.

Someone found the blog (during the last recession) on the search term “adi drive miles per year”. I was surprised that anyone should think that there is somehow a fixed figure, and that any sort of definite answer could be provided.

At one time, I would cover as many as almost 50,000 miles year on lessons (including travelling between them). During Covid, of course, it was close to zero. Your mileage is a combination of where you live, how wide an area you cover, and what you do on your lessons. For example, yesterday I took someone (qualified Ukrainian refugee) down the M1 to Leicester, back up the M1 and through Loughborough, then down some single-track roads and country lanes. Two hours of solid driving, and we covered about 60 miles. Other times, if we are simply brushing up on manoeuvres near someone’s test, we might only cover 5 miles. On average, though, I tend to do about 10-20 miles on lessons.

I knew for a fact – certainly when I wrote the original article – that some ADIs do a lot less than that all the time. I was also aware of some (far fewer) who did more. Using my figures, above, if every lesson was like yesterday, I’d rack up around 45,000 miles in a typical year. However, if I averaged 15 miles a lesson, it would be more like 22,000 miles.

As both an aside and an example, one of mine passed her test first time recently. She’d been referred to me by her friend, who is also one of my pupils. Both of them had been having issues with their previous instructor, and they felt ‘something was missing’.

The first thing wrong was that neither of them had driven in any of the areas the driving test could cover, and had simply remained very local in each case. Both had tests booked in the short term, and both had done at least 30 hours of lessons. They also had other issues – the one who passed was accustomed to finding the bite with the foot brake on, not using gas to move off, and checking her mirrors far too often.

After the second lesson, when I had to grab the wheel to avoid oncoming vehicles on a bend as she did the head-waggling routine across all three mirrors without actually seeing anything, I questioned her. She’d been told to check all her mirrors every three seconds! I pointed out she was looking in the mirrors almost as much as she was looking ahead, and if your eyes can’t see something in front of you, your brain isn’t going to tell you to avoid it. I explained that checking the mirrors according to an artificial and arbitrary schedule is a stupid thing to teach people, and you simply need to check your mirrors periodically (to remain aware) or when you want to genuinely see what is around you before you do something. Otherwise you mainly concentrate on what is happening in front of you. She agreed after seeing what had nearly happened.

I made it clear before the first lesson that if I didn’t think she could pass the test by the booked time we’d change it, which she also agreed to. Ironically, both she and her friend had chosen their original instructor because she was female (they are both Muslim). I made it clear to both of them I am Muslim-friendly, and that since Ramadan was approaching, if they had any issues with fasting and concentration then I was happy to arrange lessons accordingly.

She did about ten hours with me, and at least seven of those involved 15-20 mile journeys to experience some of the trickier features likely on the Colwick test (Marshall Hill, West Bridgford town centre, Stoke Bardolph and Burton Joyce, the City Centre, and so on), with occasional stops to fix the various issues (the bite/foot brake thing was due to being previously taught in a diesel, whereas mine is a petrol car and easily stalls if you find too much bite with the brake on, as do most petrol cars).

OK. End of digression.

A typical driving test covers between 8-20 miles based on accurate measurements I have taken. It follows that at least some driving lessons should cover that much – and more, particularly if you are covering motorways.

The bottom line is that the annual number of miles covered by ADIs is based on location, lesson quality and instructor competence, part time or full time, areas covered (or prepared to be covered), the current economic climate, and so on.

There is no set answer to this question. You do what is necessary for the pupil, and not what saves you the most money.

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