Driver Hub  Learning to drive  Advice for learners   Preparing for your first driving lesson
We Are Marmalade profile

We Are Marmalade

April 7, 2017

Learning to drive 5 min read

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?

orange_line_icon_map  The pickup

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.

orange_line_icon_steering_wheel  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?

orange_line_icon_car  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.

orange_line_icon_road  Getting moving!

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
  • Signalling
  • 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.

orange_line_icon_trophy  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

Learner Driver Insurance→

Get short term cover on a friend or parent's car as a learner, to help you get that magic pass!

We Are Marmalade profile

By We Are Marmalade

'We champion young drivers with award-winning low cost insurance for learner and new drivers and a great young drivers' car scheme.'  See more posts by We Are

Share this article

Ariel shot of yellow car
News 6 min read

10 of the world's most bizarre driving laws

Holly West-Robinson profile

Holly West-Robinson

September 13, 2017

The laws in some countries do make you wonder what an earth they were thinking when they came up with such unusual motoring regulations!Read more

Car with full beam lights on
Owning a car 3 min read

How to replace a headlight bulb

Chloe Martell profile

Chloe Martell

November 27, 2018

You’re driving along, and you realise your headlight has gone – damn! So what do you do? Pay over the odds for a garage to fix it? Call your Mum in a panic? You could…Read more

Young girls jumping on beach free for summer
News 9 min read

Get set for a summer of freedom!

Chloe Martell profile

Chloe Martell

June 24, 2019

Nothing beats the feeling of summer – when the shackles of school, uni or work are cast aside; possibilities are endless, and the world (or at least the country) is your oyster. 56% of you…Read more