First Driving Lesson – Here’s what to expect…
Learning to drive may be something you’ve been waiting to do for a long time and finally it’s happening. But if the reality of facing the first lesson is bringing on more nerves than you’d anticipated, don’t worry, you are not alone. Nerves can even be a good thing, they keep you cautious and safe on the road and avoid any over-confidence, which can be far more dangerous.
So, the lesson is looming and you’re feeling some anxiety, how best to prepare? Knowing what’s ahead of you is the surest way to feeling more comfortable on the day and making the most of your first lesson. Here’s a quick run-down of what to expect.
It’s all in the preparation
Know what you need for that first lesson and have it ready. Your provisional driving license is a good place to start. And the time and location of where you will be meeting your instructor comes a close second – don’t be late. Wear comfortable rubber-soled shoes (and yes, that means no high heels, platform boots or flip flops!). Oh, and don’t forget your glasses if you need them.
Once you’ve stepped in to take the driving seat for the first time, don’t get too excited – you won’t be going anywhere just yet. Firstly, your instructor will take time to show you the controls of the car. There will be dual controls which means the instructor can control the pedals at any time during your lessons. You’ll be shown the cockpit drill (doors closed, seat in a comfortable position, steering position established, seat belts on and mirrors adjusted) and you’ll run through where everything else is, brake, handbrake, gears, accelerator, and indicators. Remember, your instructor is there to help and this stage is to build confidence and start the tutor-pupil relationship, so don’t be afraid to ask questions, especially now, when the car is still stationary.
It’s most likely that your instructor will take you to a quiet, traffic-free location to give you your first taste of taking control behind the wheel. Your instructor will go through basic clutch control, moving off, using your mirror, checking for any blind spot, signalling, steering, changing gear and stopping. One thing to remember throughout the first (and every lesson!) is that you will probably stall. And most likely more than once. Clutch control is tricky and getting started means getting used to the car you’re driving, the level of clutch control required and not getting flustered when you do stall. It happens to everyone so don’t let it ruin your lesson. Your instructor will teach you the steps you need to go through to get going again quickly and safely and practice will make perfect – trust us.
On your side
Throughout your session, bear in mind that the instructor is on your team. They don’t want you to feel anxious or unable to ask for help. They are there to make you feel more comfortable with the skills you’re learning, they’ll be keeping you safe throughout the lesson with those clever dual controls, and their goal is to help you to see what you’re capable of. They will know how far to progress in the first lesson, so try and relax and enjoy as far as possible.
The lesson is over so now what? Your instructor will have carved out a bit of time after the session to chat to you about how things went, any concerns, questions, and things you’d like to spend more time on. Make the most of it, ask all those little questions that popped up in your head during the lesson and make sure you get enough feedback to walk away feeling good about it. Try to schedule lessons at least once a week, ideally twice if you’re keen to get out on the open road. It is the best way to ensure continuity and embed those good habits so try and set up regular slots with your instructor. If you have a brave parent or sensible older sibling with a full licence, it’s great to get some practice in between the lessons, just to bed in what you’ve learnt and build confidence.
Stick to what works for you, don’t be influenced by what friends are doing, everyone learns to drive at their own pace so just keep focused on your own progress. And, good luck.