Feeling a bit jittery before your first driving lesson is to be expected. Every driver on the road today has been where you are right now. They all made it through that first lesson, and beyond – and so will you!
Why am I so nervous?
If you’re feeling anxious, don’t worry, it’s totally natural. What you’re feeling is the fear of the unexpected. It’s the reason why any new situation makes us nervous.
So let’s banish the nerves by preparing you for what to expect from your first lesson. When you know what’s coming up, your mind has something tangible to focus on.
What to expect from my first driving lesson?
Your driving instructor will have arranged a pickup location with you – most likely your house, or outside your school, college or work. You don’t need to get behind the wheel just yet! Your instructor will pick you up and drive you to a quiet street free from traffic – the ideal place for you to get to know the basics.
The cockpit drill
OK. Now it’s time to switch so you’re in the driver’s seat. While parked, your instructor will talk you through the DSSSM cockpit drill – how every motorist should start their journey:
- Doors securely closed?
- Seat in a comfortable position?
- Steering position established?
- Seatbelts on?
- Mirrors adjusted?
Getting to know the car
Now your instructor will talk you through the car control’s, including your ABC – accelerator, brake and clutch. You’ll learn how to operate the indicators, mirrors, handbrake and the gear stick.
Depending on the length of your lesson, you should now get the chance to actually drive. This can be an intimidating moment but it’s worth keeping in mind that – thanks to the magic of dual control cars your instructor is every bit as in control of the car as you are, so don’t worry about making mistakes.
Before you get going, your instructor will talk you through some of the driving basics, which may include:
- Moving off – this is a phrase you’ll hear a lot. It means getting the car and gears ready for driving off from a stationary position
- Clutch control – how to find and operate the clutch, including finding the bite point
- How and when to change gear
- How to stop the car – ways that you can use the brake, handbrake and clutch to slow and stop
- Basic parking – tips for how to park at the kerb
You’ll usually only drive a very short distance, and along a straight road, just to get you accustomed to the feel of the car and the basic controls.
End of lesson
And that’s it. Your instructor will then drive you back to your drop off point and you can have a chat about how the lesson went, and what you’ll cover in the next lesson.
If you’re happy with your instructor you might want to talk to them about making a block booking as this can work out cheaper than booking individual lessons.
Practical prep tips for your first driving lesson
- When should you book? – whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, pick the time of day when you feel freshest
- 2-hour lessons – it’s a good idea to book a longer 2-hour lesson at first. This gives you time to get picked up, driven to your lesson location, go through the basics and have a shot at driving
- Sleep – try to get a good night’s sleep beforehand and don’t drink the night before
- Provisional licence – make sure you’ve got this with you for your first lesson so your instructor can see it
- What to wear – stick to flat shoes with thin or flexible soles so you can feel the car respond better to what you’re doing. Comfortable clothing will help you relax and manoeuvre more easily
- Talk to others – have a chat with friends and family who drive or head to a first-time driver forum to pick up tips and stories from those who’ve been there before
- Ask questions – don’t be afraid to ask your instructor plenty of questions. Don’t worry if you think your question’s silly, trust us, instructors have heard them all before. They’re there to help, and having your questions answered will instantly boost your confidence
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