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What happens in your first driving lesson?

Cailyn Bendall profile

Cailyn Bendall

May 15, 2019

Learning to drive Young driver stories 7 min read

Learning to drive is a huge milestone in life, and taking the first driving lesson is one of the biggest steps to get you on the road to freedom – but what actually happens in your first driving lesson? It can be scary, confusing and cause a lot of worry for young people, so we’re here to help! Below is a sort of check list – things you need to do in order to book the first lesson, as well as what happens when you do get behind the wheel for the first time.

Starting driving lessons:

Before starting driving lessons, there were a couple of things you need to do. Some of these are easy to forget, but without them, you’re not going anywhere. Make sure you follow all of these things!

1. Getting a provisional licence

Go online to the website to get your provisional licence – without it, you can’t drive. You have to fill out the application online which requires a few details (we’ve outlined everything you need to know in our blog on how to apply for a provisional licence). Once approved, all you have to do it wait for it to arrive in the post!

2. Choosing an instructor

It can be difficult to choose a driving instructor and you may have no idea where to start. We have an article all about choosing your first instructor that gives you loads of tips and advice on what to do but our top tip would be to ask around and see who your friends and family used. They will be able to give you first hand reviews of how their lessons went. Whilst everyone is different, and what may work for one won’t work for another, it’s good to hear what people close to you think.


3. Finding time for the first lesson

Getting the first lesson (and lessons thereafter) booked in within good timing is very important. You need to make sure that starting your lessons now is a good time to see you through to the end. Stopping and starting lessons can cost you more in the long run. Are you ready to pick up lessons and have at least one every two weeks? Is this the right time to be doing this? Can I definitely afford to learn to drive at the moment? They’re all questions you need to sit down and consider. If you’re good to go, check in with your instructor on when to get that first lesson booked in. Make sure you’re feeling fresh and ready to go (probably not best to book it after a long shift at work or on a busy day) as you’ll need to be focused!

The first driving lesson – what happens?

In your first lesson you’ll likely be shown a few of the basics in driving, such as setting your seat and mirrors etc to be right for you, as well as securing the car with the handbrake and gears. Depending on how long the lesson is, you’ll probably move the car too, learning the basics of clutch control, but this will depend on how it goes.

Everyone learns at a different pace so whilst the basics are the same for most in the first driving lesson, what happens after that will likely be different for everyone. Young driver Cailyn is sharing the story of her first driving lesson with us. Yours may be the same, or it could differ but hearing how it went for someone else can help calm any pre first lesson nerves you’ll likely be experiencing!

What happened in my first lesson?

Getting in the car for the first time, I was obviously nervous, as anyone might be.  I had little to no experience in driving – so I didn’t really know what to expect. I also started my driving lessons the same day my sister passed her driving test, which added an element of pressure on me! Before my lesson, I read tips for ‘first time driving nerves’ and ‘an instructor’s tips for calming my nerves’ on Marmalade’s Driver Hub which helped me to understand what the lesson may be like… I remember sitting in the car, slightly shaking but my instructor assured me it was completely natural to be nervous, which helped me in feeling a lot calmer.

I met with my instructor at my college as this was the closest meeting point for us. We chatted for around 15 – 20 minutes – mainly to get to know each other and discuss what I expected from my first lesson and how I was feeling a.k.a calming my nerves! After our discussion, she drove me to a quiet area of town and that’s where I learnt safety procedures, cockpit drills and was my first time hitting the pedals!

My instructor introduced me to the pedals, and we practised finding the biting point parked up. Once I gained confidence, we ‘trundled’ up the road to my first junction. My instructor was very calm which reassured me that I was in safe hands. She got me to use the brake for the first time – basic stuff but enough to introduce me to the journey of driving.


After my first junction, I did a little loop around the quiet part of town. I was quite impressed I even moved the car more than 10 yards, let alone tackled junctions! I was simply practising using the clutch, brake and acceleration pedals – which is super important and something I need to master before trying to learn more. We looped around this area multiple times to make sure I was understanding how each pedal worked.

By the end of the lesson, I was feeling more confident than ever. I was worried and scared of the road before starting my lessons, as you always hear horror stories of terrible accidents and awful drivers. However, after my first lesson, I felt confident to start my driving journey. I was so excited about the next lesson that I went home and told my family about my lesson in detail – which they eventually told me to shut up about because I went on and on! It’s exciting though – the roads aren’t a place to be petrified of. Yes, other drivers can act recklessly, and accidents can happen – but I was on my way to learning how to be a safe and confident driver, and I can’t wait for the day I pass!

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Cailyn Bendall profile

By Cailyn Bendall

'Learning to drive is an exciting journey! My name is Cailyn and I am a new learner myself. I have been driving for a few months as of May 2019 and I want to share my experiences with you. My aim is to pass my test before I go to university in 2020.'  See more posts by Cailyn

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