the difference between ADI and PDI driving instructors

Understanding the Difference Between an ADI and a PDI in the UK

When it comes to learning to drive, it’s crucial to understand the roles of an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) and a Potential Driving Instructor (PDI). Whether you’re a learner driver looking to choose the right instructor or an aspiring driving instructor yourself, knowing the distinctions between these two roles can make a significant difference.

In this blog, we’ll explore the key differences between ADIs and PDIs, and why it’s important to choose the right instructor for your needs.

What is an ADI?

An Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) is a professional who has completed rigorous training and passed a series of exams to earn their qualification. The ADI qualification process ensures that instructors possess the necessary skills and knowledge to teach learner drivers safely and effectively.

To become an ADI, one must:

  • Pass the ADI Part 1 Test – A theory test consisting of multiple-choice questions and a hazard perception test.
  • Pass the ADI Part 2 Test – A practical driving test that assesses driving ability.
  • Pass the ADI Part 3 Test – A test of instructional ability, where the candidate’s teaching methods and effectiveness are evaluated.

Once these steps are completed, the instructor is added to the ADI register and is fully qualified to teach learners.

What is a PDI?

A Potential Driving Instructor (PDI) is someone who is in the process of becoming an ADI. PDIs have passed the ADI Part 1 and Part 2 tests and are working towards passing the Part 3 test. During this training period, they can obtain a trainee licence, which allows them to give paid driving instruction while they prepare for their final exam.

PDIs are required to display a pink triangular badge in their vehicle’s windscreen, indicating their status as a trainee instructor. This is different from the green octagonal badge displayed by fully qualified ADIs.

Key Differences Between ADIs and PDIs

  1. Qualification and Experience:
  • ADIs: Fully qualified with proven instructional ability.
  • PDIs: In training, yet to complete their qualification.
  1. Teaching Experience:
  • ADIs: Generally have more teaching experience and have demonstrated their teaching skills through rigorous testing.
  • PDIs: Gaining experience and honing their skills under supervision.
  1. Licence Display:
  • ADIs: Green octagonal badge.
  • PDIs: Pink triangular badge.
  1. Professional Assurance:
  • ADIs: Undergo regular standards checks to ensure they maintain high teaching standards.
  • PDIs: Monitored during their training but may not have the same level of oversight as fully qualified ADIs.

Choosing the Right Instructor

When selecting a driving instructor, it’s important to consider your preferences and comfort level. While ADIs bring the assurance of full qualification and experience, PDIs can also provide quality instruction as they are closely supervised and are working towards the same high standards.

If you prefer an instructor with proven experience and qualifications, an ADI might be the best choice. However, if you’re open to supporting an instructor in training and potentially benefiting from a more flexible schedule or lower rates, a PDI could be a great option.


Understanding the differences between ADIs and PDIs helps you make an informed decision when choosing a driving instructor. Both ADIs and PDIs play essential roles in helping learner drivers develop their skills and confidence on the road. At our dual control vehicle hire service, we support both ADIs and PDIs by providing reliable vehicles that ensure safety and ease during driving lessons. Whether you’re a learner or an instructor, our vehicles are designed to meet your needs and help you achieve your driving goals.

If you have any questions or need assistance with hiring a dual control vehicle, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help you on your journey to driving success!

If you are an ADI, you can hire a dual control vehicle from us. 

We have a wide selection and offer short, medium or long term hire- perfect for if you need a temporary learner car in a pinch.
Email our team to learn more:

Our First Blog !

Welcome to our first ever blog ! Here at Specialist Vehicle Rental, we are striving to ease the process of learning about wheelchair accessible vehicles.