'Piggy backing' used to be seen as part and parcel of driving lessons years back.
However, over the years it has gradually faded away due to improved instructor training which has lead to
better quality services being provided by driving schools.
Unfortunately, it hasn't disappeared completely and some driving instructors continue to piggy back pupils.
If you don't know, 'piggy backing' means: picking up a pupil for their driving lesson with the pupil from the previous
driving lesson still in the car. Then, the first part of the lesson consists of taking the previous pupil back to their drop-off point.
Driving instructors that use this technique will have plenty of excuses as to why it doesn't matter, or even why it's
a good idea. But, the reality is, it's about making more money at the exepense of lesson quality.
When an instructor uses the current pupil's driving lesson to take the previous pupil back to their house, they are
essentially creating extra time and money. This is because they are eliminating the unpaid, 'non-lesson' time taken up when driving between pupil
pick up points.
However, the truth is that a pupil who has paid for a 1 hour driving lesson should expect exactly that -
an hour long lesson focusing on their syllabus.
Put another way, if your lesson is 'roundabouts', it's going to be tricky for the instructor to incorporate and teach
that subject whilst thinking about the quickest way to get the previous pupil back to their drop off point.
They might say there are roundabouts on the way, but it doesn't take away from the fact that there is an ulterior
motive behind the drive which ultimately means, until the previous pupil is out of the car, 100% focus is not being given to the current pupil.
It becomes even more obvious that lesson time is being wasted if you are expecting to learn a manoeuvre.
Put simply, you are taking time out of your lesson to drop the last pupil off when you should be learning and practicing.
There should not be 10 minute drive to the last pupil's house which is thinly disguised as part of your driving lesson.
At the very least, the presence of a stranger sitting in the back of the car changes the atmosphere and the dynamics of the lesson.
Because driving instruction is mostly a solitary career, it's easy for instructors to use piggy backing. In fact,
we have had pupils from all the major driving schools tell us it was happening in their lessons. It's fair to say that this will be a choice made
by the individual instructor, not the school and may well be happening without their knowedge.
Happily, one to one driving lessons are seen by most driving schools as a good selling point, which means pupils
are much less likely to experience piggy backing these days.
However, it does go on and if you are concerned about it, the first thing to do is to ask up front before booking
your driving lessons. Any good driving instructor will be happy to clearly explain their policy.
If you're already having driving lessons where piggy backing is happening, you have the right to ask for one to one lessons
and of course, the right to move elsewhere if you aren't happy.
If you don't want to ask your driving instructor outright, you could always say that you're not confident with
someone else sitting in the back of the car and it's effecting your ability to learn.
In summary: piggy backing is not an acceptable part of driving instruction - whatever the reasons given! Insist on
one to one driving lessons and make it clear that it's what you are paying for.