First driving lesson anxiety – tips and advice

Anxiety and driving lessons can be difficult. If you’re experiencing anxious thoughts about learning to drive, check out our top tips and advice


By Marmalade Author

Updated on Nov 1st, 2022

Learning to drive is a huge milestone in life, probably the first real big milestone you’ll experience if you choose to start learning to drive at 17. There are some who find the process of learning to drive nothing but exciting, but for many others, it’s an incredible stressful process and can trigger real driving lesson anxiety which, can put the brakes on the progress you could be making.

It’s understandable, learning to drive consists of so many different things – from the new skills you need to pick up, to the cost. Whatever aspect of learning to drive you’re finding difficult to cope with, we hope these tips will help in one way or another.

Finding the right instructor

The first and probably the most important aspect of driving is your driving instructor – right? I mean after all, they’re going to be the ones who are teaching you this key life skill, so you really need to know you’ll get on and feel comfortable around them. Now believe it or not, driving instructors are people just like us, which means they’ll have different personalities and likely different ways of teaching. It’s ok if you don’t get on with your first choice of instructor, finding the right one for you is the most important thing, so have a look around. We have a handy blog which can help you figure out how to find the perfect driving instructor. 

Worried about the cost of learning to drive

Not only is there so much to learn, but it also costs quite a bit of money, and this may be another aspect of stress – trying to pass as quickly as possible so you spend less on lessons for example! Unfortunately, if you put this added pressure onto yourself, it’s likely it’s going to take you even longer to learn than it would have before. So – our top tips to combat this are:

  • Try and find deals when booking a driving instructor. Some instructors and driving schools will offer you a discount if you choose to bulk book lessons. This can help with the costs, and means once paid for a set of lessons, you’ll have time to save up for the ones that come after
  • You may consider booking in an intensive driving course to ensure you pass quickly and efficiently. This works for some, but it’s worth taking a deep dive into how they really work and if you will be getting your monies worth. We have a young driver sharing her experience on our blog that you may find helpful!
  • If you’re really worried about covering the cost of your driving lessons, perhaps now isn’t the right time for you to learn, and that’s ok! Saving up before starting lessons will help you in the long run, as picking up lessons and taking extended breaks in driving can affect not only your purse strings but your mental health too if you feel like you’re not progressing

Be proactive

A great way to reduce your anxiety when learning to drive is to be proactive and this can start before you even hop in a car! There are loads of resources online that will let you know what driving lessons are like, so have a read through different blogs and articles. You can also start preparing for your theory test before taking lessons, and even take some mock tests online – not only will this, of course, help you when it comes to taking the test, but it also gives you an insight of what is to come in your driving lessons and will introduce you to things like road signs, driving rules and of course, The Highway Code.

Get in the right mindset

If you can, try to figure out the root of your anxiety towards driving. It could be simply that you already have a lot to deal with in life and taking driving lessons is just an extra stress factor that you cannot cope with right now, and that’s ok! If you don’t desperately need to pass your test, take your time and start lessons when you feel mentally ready. If you’re determined to get behind the wheel and fight your anxiety before driving lessons, try to see your driving lessons as an escape for your regular life. Those couple of hours a week doing something different and learning a new skill could be what you need to help you focus and take time out from the world.

Get in private practice

Learning to drive can often feel quite fast paced. One lesson you’re practising roundabouts and the next you’re picking up the parallel park. This is where private practice can really help. Outside of your driving lessons with an instructor you can practice your driving with a parent or friend who has already passed, as long as you have the right insurance in place. They’re not there to teach you, but simply to sit in the passenger seat whilst you practise and perfect the skills you’ve been picking up in your lessons. This can really help reduce the anxiety of learning to drive, especially if there are aspects of driving, you’re struggling with. There’s no time limit on private practice, no cost of lessons and no worrying about making the most of the time you have – you can do as much as you like (or as long as you can convince your Mum or Dad to sit with you for!)

Make sure you display your L plates on the car before setting off! It's a legal requirement, in order to be recognised, they must meet the criteria. Luckily for you Marmalade has your back, with our very own magnetic plates. If you're unsure on how to fix them to your car, check out our useful L plate guide.

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By Marmalade Author

Providing tips and advice for young drivers on all aspects of driving - from getting through the driving test to buying and running your first car.

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